Homily after Florida School Shootings, Thursday after Ash Wednesday!

Homily after Florida School Shootings, Thursday after Ash Wednesday!

I was asked to type out my homily for today, but not sure this is really what I said.  It was one of those inspired days and my second liturgy had a much deeper message, even through I set out to repeat what I had said in the morning.   I felt numb this morning, more people dead.  Another young person takes the lives of others and this person doesn’t even seem to have any guilt.  More senseless shootings.  The Gospel talks about putting the needs of this world behind.  We are called to put the needs of others first.  The one that saves their life will lose it.  The literally happened yesterday.  Ash Wednesday and Lent call us to reflection and looking at our relationship with God.  People have a tendancy to question God’s will when things like this happen, but God does not do these things to us.

Some people say, “well all we can do is pray.”  All we can do?  It is the first thing we should do.  How can we cope with out prayer?  What hope to we have without prayer?

Your Will be done

When we pray “Your will be done” we are praying that we are living up to our God given potential, that we are being the presence of God in this world.  For the life of me, I would love to make sense of this.  I can’t.  My brother posted on line and used the word simple and there is nothing simple about this.  There is of course a mental health issue with this and with how we deal with those that take life like this, but how can we stop this?  How can we know what God is calling us to do, how do we know God’s will.  That is the most simple part of this, to know these things we pray.

Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we make a commitment to do our best to do God’s will.  We promise to be God’s presence in the world.  We promise to make a difference.  How do we help those grieving in Florida?  All I know is that it starts with prayer.  Prayer for them and prayer for insight into what God’s will is for us.

Sutherland Springs

After Sutherland Springs, I started a process to look at this issue and start get some of the smartest people I know to start evaluating what we can do to change this culture.  We will have something to email out as a framework for this process in the next week or two and will meet the end of March when I get back from the Holy Land.

This will all be done with open minds and not fixated on any one case.  Who/what is the enemy?  Why now? What do we do?  That is over simplified, but what we are going to try and put together and get it to Archbishop Gustavo and some politicians that we know!

If you want input, comment below and I will let you know how to participate.

Everyone, please pray!  We need to be God’s agents in this world.  He is the Prince of peace and has left us to bring that peace to our world.

Homily The 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B January 14, 2018 Deacon Dan McShane

Homily

The 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Year B

January 14, 2018

Deacon Dan McShane

 

Opening:

I’m sure if you speak to anyone that is in the Ordained or Religious Life, or in Lay Ministry, they can all tell you a story about their call to their vocation.  Some might say that it was one specific incident, or others might say that it was a process that took place over time, but they will all share one thing.  They said yes to God!

First Movement:

In my own case saying yes to God was a process that took decades to come about, but was really focused for me on one specific event and person.  Let me take a moment and tell you about it:  As a boy I think I felt a calling to a vocation to the priesthood, but I refused to listen to it.  Instead I got interested in the things of the world, not the least of which was girls, and I refused to listen to God’s call.  But God is certainly patient with us all and will just provide other opportunities for us to serve him.  That is what happened to me.  As some of you know, I had a long career in executive management in the railroad industry, and at the time of this life changing event my company was in the process of participating in the privatization of the railways in Peru.  I spent a lot of time there and as part of the process traveled extensively throughout the country looking at the railway’s facilities.  These travels took me to lots of places the average tourist never sees, in fact, I found myself in a number of areas where people speak an Andean Indian dialect, and don’t speak Spanish at all, not that my Spanish would be much help in talking to them.  In one of those villages we hi-railed into the town and a group of children gathered around us even before we could get out of the truck.  One child, that was maybe 10 to 12 years old wanted to show me something.  I followed her and she lead me across the tracks to a shrine that had a statue of Our Lady in it and the shrine was dedicated to the health and safety of all railway workers.  While I couldn’t understand a word she said, I was touched by her faith as she prayed at the shrine.  This child lived in a shack with a dirt floor and probably had no idea where tomorrow’s meals would be coming from yet she wanted to pray for me and the men that were with me.  At that moment, I knew that God wanted me to do something more, and like Samuel, I had to answer that call.

I had been blessed in many ways in my life, now it was time to give back, which ultimately lead to my early retirement from the railroad industry and entry into ministry and ultimately my Ordination to the Diaconate.

I wonder about the little girl sometimes, she would now be in her late 30’s now, and I can’t help but wonder how her life has turned out, what she is doing, does she have a family of her own, is she even still alive, and if she had any idea of the impact she had made on my life!  How her faith touched my heart that day, and opened me up to respond to a call from God that had been there for a very long time.

Second Movement:

Eli tells Samuel to respond to the Lord should he speak to him again, and when God does speak, he responds, “Speak, for your servant is Listening.”  It is the listening part that is so difficult for us, isn’t it?  I initially didn’t want to listen because it meant making some major changes in the way that I saw my life taking shape.  Isn’t that the case for a lot of us?  Don’t many people feel a call from God to serve Him in some way, but just put it aside?  Maybe you heard an announcement before Mass saying we need more Lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, or to volunteer with the St. Vincent de Paul, or for the young people to be an altar server and your initial reaction is, “I could do that.”  But then you put it aside because you might have to attend some training classes, or it would mean you have to be at a Mass on a specific date and time, and you just don’t want to be obligated to be somewhere during your free time.  That’s God calling you, but how are you answering?  Are you responding like the Psalm response, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will,” or are you responding, “There are lots of people here today, some of them will do it, I don’t need to.”

3rd Movement:

When John the Baptist said of Jesus as he passed by, “Behold the Lamb of God.”  Two of his disciples immediately followed Jesus.  John had never proclaimed anything like this before about any of the hundreds that had come to him for baptism.  The two disciples immediately recognized Jesus as the Messiah and set aside their lives to follow him.  They didn’t choose to watch others from the sidelines, they stepped up, and Andrew even went and got his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus as well.

Each of us are called to bring our brothers and sisters to Christ.  We do it by word and example, in our homes, schools and workplaces.  We can’t rely on someone else evangelizing for us.  We have to do it.

Closing:

St. Paul warned the Corinthians that just because they had become Christians, it didn’t give them a right to go back to their old ways of sin.  As Christians, they had a new responsibility to live in ways that people saw in them the special relationship that Christians have with one another through their membership in the Body of Christ.  We are not to stay on the sidelines, St. Paul would tell us to enter the race.

Does God’s call always come at the perfect time for us? Probably not.  Is there sometimes confusion in our lives when God Calls us? Yes, after all it took Samuel three times and the counsel and advice of Eli before he got it.  Do we always recognize God’s call for what it is?  No, but the power of prayer to the Holy Spirit can help us to hear and understand that call.

My prayer for each of you this evening, is when God reaches out to you, you will decide to get into the game, and answer him like the Psalm response, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”

 

Pope Francis Lenten Message 2018

Pope Francis Lenten Message 2018

I figure most people can get this, but this is very, very good!
Message of the Holy Father Francis for Lent 2018, 06.02.2018

 

The following is the Message of the Holy Father for Lent 2018 on the theme: “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24: 12).

 

Message of the Holy Father

“Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24: 12)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near! In our preparation for Easter, God in His providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a “sacramental sign of our conversion”.[1] Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.

With this message, I would like again this year to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth. I will take my cue from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (24:12).

These words appear in Christ’s preaching about the end of time. They were spoken in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, where the Lord’s passion would begin. In reply to a question of the disciples, Jesus foretells a great tribulation and describes a situation in which the community of believers might well find itself: amid great trials, false prophets would lead people astray and the love that is the core of the Gospel would grow cold in the hearts of many.

False prophets

Let us listen to the Gospel passage and try to understand the guise such false prophets can assume.

They can appear as “snake charmers”, who manipulate human emotions in order to enslave others and lead them where they would have them go. How many of God’s children are mesmerized by momentary pleasures, mistaking them for true happiness! How many men and women live entranced by the dream of wealth, which only makes them slaves to profit and petty interests! How many go through life believing that they are sufficient unto themselves, and end up entrapped by loneliness!

False prophets can also be “charlatans”, who offer easy and immediate solutions to suffering that soon prove utterly useless. How many young people are taken in by the panacea of drugs, of disposable relationships, of easy but dishonest gains! How many more are ensnared in a thoroughly “virtual” existence, in which relationships appear quick and straightforward, only to prove meaningless! These swindlers, in peddling things that have no real value, rob people of all that is most precious: dignity, freedom and the ability to love. They appeal to our vanity, our trust in appearances, but in the end they only make fools of us. Nor should we be surprised. In order to confound the human heart, the devil, who is “a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44), has always presented evil as good, falsehood as truth. That is why each of us is called to peer into our heart to see if we are falling prey to the lies of these false prophets. We must learn to look closely, beneath the surface, and to recognize what leaves a good and lasting mark on our hearts, because it comes from God and is truly for our benefit.

A cold heart

In his description of hell, Dante Alighieri pictures the devil seated on a throne of ice,[2] in frozen and loveless isolation. We might well ask ourselves how it happens that charity can turn cold within us. What are the signs that indicate that our love is beginning to cool?

More than anything else, what destroys charity is greed for money, “the root of all evil” (1 Tim 6:10). The rejection of God and his peace soon follows; we prefer our own desolation rather than the comfort found in his word and the sacraments.[3] All this leads to violence against anyone we think is a threat to our own “certainties”: the unborn child, the elderly and infirm, the migrant, the alien among us, or our neighbour who does not live up to our expectations.

Creation itself becomes a silent witness to this cooling of charity. The earth is poisoned by refuse, discarded out of carelessness or for self-interest. The seas, themselves polluted, engulf the remains of countless shipwrecked victims of forced migration. The heavens, which in God’s plan, were created to sing His praises, are rent by engines raining down implements of death.

Love can also grow cold in our own communities. In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I sought to describe the most evident signs of this lack of love: selfishness and spiritual sloth, sterile pessimism, the temptation to self-absorption, constant warring among ourselves, and the worldly mentality that makes us concerned only for appearances, and thus lessens our missionary zeal.[4]

What are we to do?

Perhaps we see, deep within ourselves and all about us, the signs I have just described. But the Church, our Mother and Teacher, along with the often bitter medicine of the truth, offers us in the Lenten season the soothing remedy of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

By devoting more time to prayer, we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception,[5] and then to find the consolation God offers. He is our Father and he wants us to live life well.

Almsgiving sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbour as a brother or sister. What I possess is never mine alone. How I would like almsgiving to become a genuine style of life for each of us! How I would like us, as Christians, to follow the example of the Apostles and see in the sharing of our possessions a tangible witness of the communion that is ours in the Church! For this reason, I echo Saint Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to take up a collection for the community of Jerusalem as something from which they themselves would benefit (cf. 2 Cor 8:10). This is all the more fitting during the Lenten season, when many groups take up collections to assist Churches and peoples in need. Yet I would also hope that, even in our daily encounters with those who beg for our assistance, we would see such requests as coming from God Himself. When we give alms, we share in God’s providential care for each of His children. If through me God helps someone today, will He not tomorrow provide for my own needs? For no one is more generous than God.[6]

Fasting weakens our tendency to violence; it disarms us and becomes an important opportunity for growth. On the one hand, it allows us to experience what the destitute and the starving have to endure. On the other hand, it expresses our own spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God. Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbour. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.

I would also like my invitation to extend beyond the bounds of the Catholic Church, and to reach all of you, men and women of good will, who are open to hearing God’s voice. Perhaps, like ourselves, you are disturbed by the spread of iniquity in the world, you are concerned about the chill that paralyzes hearts and actions, and you see a weakening in our sense of being members of the one human family. Join us, then, in raising our plea to God, in fasting, and in offering whatever you can to our brothers and sisters in need!

The fire of Easter

Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew.

One such moment of grace will be, again this year, the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, which invites the entire Church community to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation in the context of Eucharistic adoration. In 2018, inspired by the words of Psalm 130:4, “With you is forgiveness”, this will take place from Friday, 9 March to Saturday, 10 March. In each diocese, at least one church will remain open for twenty-four consecutive hours, offering an opportunity for both Eucharistic adoration and sacramental confession.

During the Easter Vigil, we will celebrate once more the moving rite of the lighting of the Easter candle. Drawn from the “new fire”, this light will slowly overcome the darkness and illuminate the liturgical assembly. “May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds”,[7] and enable all of us to relive the experience of the disciples on the way to Emmaus. By listening to God’s word and drawing nourishment from the table of the Eucharist, may our hearts be ever more ardent in faith, hope and love.

With affection and the promise of my prayers for all of you, I send you my blessing. Please do not forget to pray for me.

From the Vatican, 1 November 2017

Solemnity of All Saints

 

[1] Roman Missal, Collect for the First Sunday of Lent (Italian).

[2] Inferno XXXIV, 28-29.

[3] “It is curious, but many times we are afraid of consolation, of being comforted. Or rather, we feel more secure in sorrow and desolation. Do you know why?  Because in sorrow we feel almost as protagonists. However, in consolation the Holy Spirit is the protagonist!” (Angelus, 7 December 2014).

[4] Evangelii Gaudium, 76-109.

[5] Cf. BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, 33.

[6] Cf. PIUS XII, Encyclical Letter Fidei Donum, III.

[7] Roman Missal (Third Edition), Easter Vigil, Lucernarium.