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April 22, 2018 - Lessons from the Good Shepherd

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings 

As you can imagine, Holy Week is one of the most demanding weeks in a priest’s sacramental life. Not only was I ill this Holy Week, but Fr. Dave’s illness and hospitalization made the week even more demanding than it generally is. Nevertheless, to say, by the Easter Sunday 6pm mass was over, I was overworked, exhausted, and hungry. I said to the congregation, “Jesus is risen, but I am dead!” I was looking forward to kicking my shoes off, having a glass or wine or three, some dinner and crawl into bed. I also said this to the congregation: “I don’t care what you are doing tonight, but I know what I am going to do.” I Left the sacristy, entered the kitchen and had barely poured my glass of wine, and my phone rang. There was a call on our emergency line that somebody was actively dying at hospice. This person was not a parishioner at any of our local parishes. Hospice had been trying to reach priests at many of our neighboring parishes, but they were not available. Most probably they probably were visiting family. I looked at my wine glass and then I looked up… and said to Jesus, “You are really not funny!” I also said to myself, “You think you know what you are going to do next. You don’t!” 

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April 15, 2018 - "That You May Not Commit Sin... For Real?"

Third Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings

In preparation for a weekend homily, I read the scriptures the prior Monday. I let a few themes revolve around my small brains for a couple of days, and finally by Wednesday, I have a more defined theme. This week things worked very differently. I chuckled when I read this statement in the second reading from the 1stletter of John “My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin.” My instinctive reaction was, “Yeah, right!” Over the next couple of days, the thought just would not leave my head. And even though, the gospel reading is a much more attractive passage and perhaps easier, I decided that I would reflect on John’s letter.   

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April 8, 2018 - Feast of Mercy

Second Sunday of Easter (Or Sunday of Divine Mercy)

Scripture Readings

Once so often somebody comes into the confessional with such a sense of sorrow for sin, that they find it had to believe that God can forgive them and love them. This is not because they do not believe that God is all forgiving. The darkness they find themselves in, is a little too dark for them. For some reason they think that they do not deserve God’s forgiveness. I am saying to you today what I say to such penitents: “If you put all the sins that you have committed today together, you cannot beat God’s love and mercy. If you put all the sins you have committed your entire life together, you still cannot beat God’s love and mercy. If you put the sins of all the people in the entire world together, you still cannot beat God’s love and mercy. If you put all the sins of all the human beings from the beginning of creation to the end of the world, you still cannot beat God’s love and mercy. Now if you think that your sins are too much for God, then the Sacrament of Reconciliation is not for you! You can leave!” Nobody has ever left. Most of the time, by then, they are in tears and accept that they can be and are forgiven!

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April 1, 2018 - The Holy Exchange

Easter Sunday - The Resurrection of the Lord - The Mass of Easter Day

Scripture Readings

The story of Arnaud Beltrame has taken the world by storm. He is the 44 year old French Police officer who offered to exchange his life for a hostage in a recent armed struggle in a supermarket in France. After exchanging his life, he helped guide the special forces by leaving an open-line cell phone on a table. The terrorist was finally taken down but not before Arnaud was stabbed in the throat. On his deathbed, Beltrame received two sacraments - the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and the Sacrament of Marriage. His newly-wed wife said of him at his funeral that his heroic sacrifice was "the act of a policeman and the act of a Christian.” I call Arnaud’s act a “holy exchange.” 

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March 25, 2018 - Obedience is Salvation

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

Scripture Readings

We are entering Holy Week. We are doing so as March Madness reaches it climax. Holy Week is the climax of the Church’s liturgical year. What shall we do? Holy Week or March Madness? Some might be asking the wrong question - “How can I squeeze Holy Week into March Madness? Do it the other way around, people of God! How can we squeeze March Madness into Holy Week? In reality, these two events need not be in competition. Holy Week is about the events of our salvation. March Madness is pure entertainment. We know, don’t we not, that March Madness will not save us! Salvation is at the foot of the cross!  

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