Archive for June, 2004

June 27, 2004

There are a couple of typos but if I waited to fix them I wouldn’t get it up. Going fishing tomorrow for the Bishop’s tournament. Should be interesting since I haven’t fished (other than deep sea fishing) in about 10-15 years.

Homily Ė 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)
All three of todayís scripture readings deal with Godís call for our lives and how we respond to that call. In latin the verb call is vocare. It is from here we get the word vocation. Vocation is the word that means Godís call for our lives, and each of us has a vocation. In fact we each have at least three:
Every single person has a personal vocation. That is that they were called forth from non-existence for a reason. Each person has a purpose. Nobody is an accident and there is no such thing as an unplanned pregnancy. In Godís plan each of us has a place and a purpose. That purpose is what gives us dignity.
God is all knowing, all powerful and all good. I think there would be few arguments from anyone in this parish on that. Letís look at each one individually.
God is all knowing. What this means is he knows everything that is and he is always right. So in his plan for us he knew every possibility that could happen and he chose to create us. That means that no human being is a mistake. To argue that you would have to say God was wrong. He isnít. To say that someone shouldnít exist is to question Godís Wisdom and Knowledge. To do so is stupid and arrogant. God knew what he was doing when he made you and he made you the way you are. Even in your deepest moments of self doubt and pain, when you think you are no good and should have never been born, remember then that God disagrees with you and he is always right. You are not a mistake.
The next one is that God is all powerful. Very simply put he could have made you anyway he wanted to and he still made you the way you are. Many times we think of good ideas but donít have the power to make them happen. This isnít the case for God. He thought of a perfect plan that included you the way you are and he made you the way you are. His knowledge wasnít limited by his power. Whenever someone doubts your worth, or questions your gifts, or even if you doubt your worth or question your gifts, know that God doesnít. He planned you and he made you. He could have done it different but he didnít. Anyone who tells you different is doing the work of Satan the Father of lies.
The third is that God is all good. God is incapable of doing something imperfectly. His nature is that he is all Good. No imperfections exist. Therefore the will of God is perfect. In his perfect goodness, in his perfect knowledge, he decided you should exist and because he is all powerful he brought you into being. You are a part of perfection if you choose to work according to Godís plan. Anyone who tells you different is a misinformed or a liar.
Godís plan that called you forth from nothingness includes a purpose for your life. All of us that are baptized share a universal call as well as a specific one. Our universal call is to holiness. At baptism we each have the Divine life of the Trinity come to dwell in us. It gives us rights, but also responsibilities. It means we are called to love God above all else. We are called to love our neighbor as our self. We are called to practice the faith handed on to us by the Apostles. We are called to keep Godís commands. We are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Christ. Each one of us is called to Holiness without conditions, terms or stipulations and we are called to that Holiness daily. That is the call we share in common by virtue of our baptism. It is the reason for which we were created.
That holiness is lived out in different ways, each according to our specific vocation. He is to preach and to teach. The priest is called to be a shepherd and to order and govern the Church of God in union with his Bishop and the pope. The religious is to be a witness to the world that this world is not our home and higher things away. The laity have their own unique call and purpose as well. They are called to sanctify the temporal order; That is those things having to do with time. All the things of this earth are supposed to be ordered and made holy and bring glory to God. This job belongs specifically to the laity as their call from God. That is why faith can not be divorced from daily life. In fact the call of the laity is to take that faith life into a Godless world and transform it, sanctify it, and order it back to God.
Our purpose, our vocation is not ours to choose. We cannot tell God why he created us. Our purpose and call from God was set before we were ever created. We can discover it and live according to it or we can rebel against it. The surprising and dangerous thing is that many do not even ask God what he wants them to do with their lives. Rather they tell him. I am going to be this. I am going to do that. We want to be the masters of our lives. We want to define our meaning and purpose. We donít want to be told what we are. We think we are all knowing, all powerful, and all good. We argue with God about what is best, we argue about what is good, we argue about who has the power to decide. If we choose rebellion then we choose slavery to a lesser good rather than for the perfect purpose for which we were created.
This is what our second reading speaks about. Stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. You were called to freedomÖ but do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. Galatians speaks of the war between the flesh and the spirit. That is Godís spirit living in us and our flesh. And the scripture says that the flesh has desires against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; they are opposed to each other so that you may not do what you want.
We are all faced with a decision. We can live according to the purpose for which God created us or we can live according to our own purpose and desires. To live according to Godís law and spirit brings us freedom for he is all knowing, all powerful and all good. To live according to our own flesh and desires that are in contradiction to Godís law means that we choose slavery because we are not all knowing, all powerful and all good.
Two of the three men in the Gospel today heard Godís call and started to answer but set conditions. Jesus refused their conditions. He wants us unconditionally. If he allowed us to set conditions then he would have to allow imperfections and he calls us to perfection and will accept nothing less. Our purpose and our response if we wish to be free and happy must be like that of Elisha. We must leave everything, and give away all if it is required of us in order to follow God. We cannot set the hand to the plow and look to what was left behind. Only if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and his will for our life will we be able to answer his perfect call for our lives.
If you truly want to be happy then you must find a quiet place and ask God what he wants you to do with your life. This must be a daily question we ask. What is your will for me? If his will is perfect why would we want anything else? If he is all knowing, all powerful and all good, and we are not, why would we not ask him and just do what we think is best. You were created for a purpose and can be a part of a plan for perfection or you can choose to reject that plan and follow your own. You must decide. Freedom or slavery; Godís will or your will, Spirit or flesh? The choice is yours. Choose well.

A Pleasant Call

June 26, 2004

I had a very pleasant call form Msgr. Charles Mangan today. He is working for the Congregation for Religious in Rome. He was in my parish for about 8 weeks helping out a few years ago while a priest was on sabbatical.

He also was my confessor for the first 6 months I was in South Dakota before I went to the seminary.

It was nice to hear from him and hopefully I will get a chance to see him when he comes home in a few weeks.

Now I need to get busy on the homily.

The king as opposed to THE KINGe

June 25, 2004

We have an Elvis impersonator in town tonight. Show kicks of in about 30 minutes. It should be a hoot.

June 22, 2004

Homily Ė 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Our Gospel contains a very unpopular message for our modern culture. Christ says ďIf anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.Ē Many today would like the first part of this to read ďIndulge yourself, lay down your cross, and go where you want. In the End Jesus will love you no matter what you do and there will be no consequences to your actions. The devil opens the door with the truth in order to get us to let in the lie. The truth is that God will love us no matter what we do. The lie is that there are no consequences of our actions.
A life of indulgence doesnít lead God to stop loving us but it leads us to stop loving God. We become turned in on ourselves instead of turned outward toward others. To love someone is to will their good. We can not do that if we are completely turned in on ourselves. The consequences of indulging every appetite, desire, philosophy or belief that we wish is that we stop loving God and others and only love ourselves. How many people have we met like this? How many of them think they donít love God or others. That is part of the indulgence. They indulge themselves into thinking that there is nothing wrong with them. The problems lie with others. This allows them to continue to do as they wish even if it means that they contradict the laws of nature or the laws of God as he has revealed them through is Holy Scripture and Holy Catholic Church. Their indulgence cannot be corrected by anyone. Who are you to tell me what I can do? Or Who are you to judge me? Or the Catholic Church has no place in the Bedroom or the voting booth. The devil has many tools to get us to turn our ears and hearts from Godís voice. God established the Church and told them to go and teach and correct. Yet some people say God speaking through the Church cannot teach them about certain areas of their life. Godís authority has no place there. God respects that and he leaves. People choose to indulge themselves rather than deny themselves. They become the Master and they push Godís authority out of certain areas of their life. We must deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily. Not just on Sundays and not just in some areas of our life. God is Lord of all or not at all.
This attitude of indulgence and materialism has dominated our culture for over 40 years. We have seen it affect not only individuals but institutions and culture as well. Marriage is considered interchangeable to be discarded whenever one is forced to deny oneself. Indulge yourself with finding a new one that ďmeets your needsĒ. Marriage has become optional for some and living together outside of wedlock is common. Some will say ďWhy buy the cow when you get the milk for free.Ē Or they have a trial marriage and if it doesnít indulge their desires then they donít have to deny themselves. Just find someone that gives you more than what you want. Marriage has become about what you get not what you give. It is not a covenant with God for life but a partnership to be dissolved if more profitable ventures arise elsewhere.
You see it the size of our families. Large families are practically non-existent in this day and age and some choose to live without children. But Father it is too expensive. Yet our parents and grandparents raised families of 8 or more children during a depression. We would rather spend our money on other things rather than children. We indulge ourselves rather than having large families or letting God decide how large our family should be.
We see it in the voting booth. People choose to indulge themselves and vote for the things that benefit them even if it costs innocent children to be murdered. They choose their pleasure over the lives of innocent children.
We see it even among priests as some call for the lifting of the discipline of celibacy. They would rather indulge themselves than deny themselves and lay down their life for the Christ and the sake of the kingdom. This is a trap I almost succumbed to. If there was an option for a married clergy I would have entered the priesthood a lot earlier. I did not want to die to my desires to follow Godís call for my life. I wanted things on my terms and not on Godís. I didnít want to deny my desires to follow Godís will. Ultimately in this case, with Godís grace, I was able to choose his will over mine. I think a lot of credit though, goes to my Father.
My Father was loving but not indulgent. The spring I turned 14 he asked me if I wanted a car when I turned 16. I said yes. He told me ďThen you had better get a job this summer.Ē. At that time I thought my Dad was something aweful and not very loving. Many of my friends were being given cars, and credit cards for their gas etc. My Father made me work for mine and for that I am deeply grateful. Looking back I see it as one of the things that shaped who I am the most and in a positive way. My Father knew that I would appreciate things a lot more if I worked for them. He knew I would take better care of them. He also knew the dangers of indulging my every whim. He firmly but lovingly set boundaries for me in accordance with the Catholic Faith. He made me attend religious Ed and put God and academics above sports and extra curricular activities. He laid a foundation that has served me well in the spiritual life. He did what a Father is supposed to do.
There are two truths we need to keep in mind if we want to have a healthy spiritual life. If either one is missing our spiritual lives become deformed and perverted. We need to understand that God loves us but we also need to have a healthy fear of God. That is a gift of the Holy spirit and scripture tells us it is the beginning of wisdom. This is the one that is out of balance in our culture and with many Catholics today. Just look at the lines in the Church. The lines for communion, where we receive the body and blood of Christ, are long. The lines for confession: where we say we are sinners, where we plead for repentance, where we deny ourselves and humble ourselves are short or non-existent.
God does love us but that does not mean we can take him for granted. We have no right to heaven, happiness or existence. We were created. When we relate to God we donít relate to another creature. We relate to the creator. That demands reverence and respect. It demands obedience. It demands that we deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him. It demands that we lose our lives for his sake. Then and only then will we save it. When we give our life and our will to God, when we put him first, when we fear offending him above all else, then and only then will we save our life.
This weekend we celebrate our Fathers. I also want to call them clearly wage war against the devil. The Enemy is coming for your children. He wants them to have a materialistic and indulgent spirit. God has called you in the vocation of Fatherhood to shepherd them. When the wolf comes for your sheep you are to kill it or die trying. This demands self denial even to the point of laying down your life. To do this demands often times that you will be unpopular with your children and especially in this day and age when our culture is so terrible. Guard their lives. Guard their eyes. Know who their friends are and set boundaries if necessary. Set limits on them firm but lovingly. Raise them according to the ways of God and his Church as you promised you would do at their baptism. I canít promise that your children will ever thank you. I can promise you that when they look back with a sincere heart they will be thankful or the limits you set.

Homily coming

June 21, 2004

I will put up the homily from this weekend hopefully tomorrow. Today is the day off and I need to take advantage of it.

I can’t believe it really worked

June 19, 2004

I scratched the face of my watch pretty bad. I really like my watch, which I bought off ebay. It is a Casio Wave Ceptor Atomic watch. I start everything right on time almost all the time.

I went online to look for plastic films that cover it so the class wouldn’t be knicked. I couldn’t find that product. So I went to the Casio website to see if I could word just a replacement glass. They didn’t sell them.

In the course of my search I saw a site the recommended rubbing toothpaste on it. I thought there would be no way with the deep scratches there were there. Sure enought it worked and my watch (at least the glass) looks brand new. It even got out a scratch I had there for over a year.

Needless to say I am very pleased. If you have any scratches I would highly recommend it.

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 18, 2004

Greetings on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. As promised my mass intention today is going to be for all those who contributed to help me get the Monstrance used at Children’s adoration. It is beautiful and I am hoping to get some pictures that were taken last adoration so I can put them on the web.

If any of St. Margarets Fellowship is reading perhaps you guys can track those down and email them to me.

On a positive note I will still be the Chaplain to the Homeschoolers. The Bishop approved. Childrens adoration dates are set for next fall and we will be opening it up to other Children as well. We have close to 50-60 children on average now and I suspect by November I will be well over 100.

Now Jesus said “Feed my sheep”, he didnt’ say count them. But numbers are important in terms of figuring for space and carpet squares and what not.

If there are any really spiffy graphic designers out there who would like to design a poster for me that would be fantastic. I would like to do one with 8/12 x 11 and 11 x 17. I would probably do both in color. If you are interested please use the email at the right. I would like to work with someone on content.

It should be spectacular. Please pray for me and for priests and that we would surrender more and more to the Sacred Heart.

Also if you have children I would greatly appreciate it if you could have them say a prayer for me. The prayer of children is pretty powerful and I love to take advantage of it. I encourage you to do the same.

Details later. Maybe a homily.

Email address

June 17, 2004

I was looking for a slick way to put up the email address where you could click on a link and email me but I could avoid spam. The methods I tried failed.

So I have gone back to the old standard of spelling everything out. You can find the email address on the left.

30 hours

June 16, 2004

No that isn’t some special devotion but rather the time that I had a temporary companion.

My dream breed of dog is the BullMastiff. I love everything about them and would love to own one. Imagine my suprise when the opportunity came up.

I picked up a 5.5year old BullMastiff yesterday named Hooch. Hooch is a great dog. The problem is he has lived in a Kennel for the last 4 years. That means he isn’t very good at houses. As a matter of fact he really didn’t like the stairs at my place much. I am not sure he had ever seen them before. He wasn’t good at navigating them. My Rectory is 4 levels. A big place but 4 levels. He saw 2 of them and he was very shy about going up or down stairs. To live in this house involves constant stair climbing.

I struggled through 30 hours with him when I finally realized that I didn’t have the time or requisite experience to convert him from a Kennel Dog to a house dog. That and me needing to be gone a lot caused me to think it wasn’t the best for my ministry or for the dog.

Were I still living in Texas (mild winters where he can be left outside for long periods), or if I had only one parish, I think I could have done it.

As it stands I am a little sad, maybe a little more than little. I really wanted it to work out. Hooch is a magnificent dog, very smart, very loving and everything you would want in a BullMastiff. I think he is an excellent family dog. I don’t know if he could be an excellent single person dog in a house.

That being said I returned him to the family that graciously gave him to me. I was pretty embarrassed to admit my short comings in the matter, especiallys ince the family was so kind.

It might sound silly but I hope and yes I pray that Hooch will find a good home. Even after 30 hours I miss him a bit. It is a good thing I was able to be truthful with myself as soon as possible.

My friend the Vetrinarian says I should get a parrot. Big initial expnse but low upkeep and they live 80 years so chances are I wouldn’t have to grieve the loss of one like I would with a dog.

We shall see.

Now I need to get back to priestly duties.

Anniversary

June 14, 2004

One year a priest yesterday. Amazing how time flies. It has been an awesome year.

I also bought a new car on Saturday. I hated to do it but I didn’t think my little car was reliable enough for winters. I was going to try to buy one in late fall but they offered me a good deal that I don’t think I could duplicate later. I got 2000 more on trade in than anyone else offered. 3000 customoer loyalty bonus and they paid tax title and license. I now have an AWD Saturn Vue. I hope it works out. I don’t want to buy another car until I can get a hybrid.

Had a good week. More on that later. I need to catch up with some work around here.