My friend’s funeral was today. I hope you will pray for him and his family. It seemed to be quite a funeral.
Archive for November, 2004
Happy Thanksgiving to all. I hope your going to Mass to give thanks (Eucharist) in the most perfect way you can.
I am off to my masses.
Here is the link for the recorded homily.
Here is the text. There are a few typos I corrected on the fly.
Homily – Christ the King Sunday (Year C)
Today we celebrate Christ the King Sunday. Before I speak about our readings today I need to reemphasize one of the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith. That is, that the Sacred Scriptures are the Holy and Infallible word of God. They are not simply a collection of moral writings. They are not simply a historical account of the writings and saying of Jesus, the apostles and the early Church. Their teachings cannot be explained away as a product of another culture and time. They are God breathed and inspired. They are God speaking to us yesterday, today and forever. They come straight from God through his Apostles, but because they are inspired by the Holy Spirit there is no error in their transmission or recording. They are the infallible word of God. With that infallibility come authority. They speak with the authority of God because they are God’s words to us. You cannot be a Christian if you don’t believe this. Someone might call themselves a Christian but they are not. To be a Christian requires we believe in the inspiration, infallibility and authority of God’s word.
Believing in the inspiration, infallibility and authority of God’s word we turn to those words for us today. The second reading, in particular, gives us a very good catechesis or teaching on the nature, authority and kingship of Jesus Christ. Speaking of God the Father it tells us: “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” There are two kingdoms. One is the kingdom of darkness and one is the Kingdom of Christ his beloved Son. We belong to one of the two kingdoms. All of us, by virtue of original sin, were members of the Kingdom of darkness. Because Christ died for our sins and empowered the waters of Baptism, we can be freed from this Kingdom. We now have the possibility of living in the Kingdom of Christ if we choose. Not because of what we do, but because of what Christ did. But it is a Kingdom with a King and if we choose to reject the authority of that King then we choose to live in the Kingdom of Darkness.
God tells us more: “For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him.” Notice the word All. Often times in modern minds there is a reflexive action to change that word to some. But here all means all. Every single one. All things in Heaven, all the orders of angels: thrones, dominions, etc.; and all things on earth, whether we can see it or not were created through him and for him. Most people don’t forget the first one, that we were created to him. But Satan intends that we forget the second. We were created for him. You see that is the what caused Satan to rebel. He wanted to be for himself. He wanted to be created for his will, not the will of another. He wanted to be king and not the servant. But that doesn’t change reality. The reality is we, each and everyone of us, whether we accept it or not were created for someone. We were created for Christ. He is the King of the Kingdom of Light. We were created to be his subjects. If we refuse, then we choose another Kingdom, with another ruler. That is the kingdom of darkness.
To be in the Kingdom of light means we accept him as our ruler. Not just in some things. He rules over all. As Scripture says “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent.” There is that word All again. He is to be first in all things. He is to be first in all areas of our life. We can’t change that word to some areas of our life. God’s infallible, authoritative, holy word says he is first in all. If we refuse then we choose another ruler. Christ must be our first priority, in every area of our life, if he is to be our king and we wish to live in his kingdom. Not in some areas. In every area.
But having Christ as your king does not mean you will be what we think of as a slave. That our existence will be miserable. It means exactly the opposite. How do we know? God’s holy, authoritative word, free from all error, tells us so: For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.” With Christ comes fullness. Without him there is an emptiness in the core of our being. We weren’t created to suffer eternal hunger. We were created for the fullness of life. That we might have life and have it to the full as it says in John 10:10. Christ Kingdom is where we find that fullness. Submitting to him is to submit not to a hard rule but to submit to happiness. If God wants what is best for us and wants us to be perfectly happy then we have the same goal. The problem is when we work against God’s will. That is what brings us emptiness and pain. So much does Christ want our happiness and fulfillment that he was willing to die to give it to us. Not just any death but a brutal and horrific one. What parent wouldn’t give their life for their child. God gave his son for us. That is the kind of Kingdom he has established. Christ said he came not to be served but to serve. Accepting the Kingship of Christ in our life is to not to take the role of a demeaned servant. It is to become a son and daughter of a great king. That is what we were intended for. Christ will do, and has done, whatever was necessary to make that a possibility. But he wont’ inflict it upon us violently. He doesn’t expand his kingdom through violence, he does it through love. We do have free will. We can say no. But in the end we will be a member of a kingdom. Whether it is the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of light is up to us.
We make that choice by acknowledge Christ is our King like the Good thief in the Gospel. This isn’t an intellectual exercise. We don’t just agree. If we did that we would be like the other thief. He was arrogant. He demanded things before he would submit. If you are this then give me this. The good thief recognized his place. He was the first human to acknowledge Christ as King and to understand what he was king of. He chastises the other thief: “Have you no fear of God”. He recognized Christ as God and as King of the world to come. He submits himself mind, body and will. He recognizes he was created for Christ and gives himself completely to him. He asks to be remembered. Christ, so moved with love by the thief’s repentance and humility tells him today the promise would be fulfilled. Today he would be with him in paradise.
For that is the reason Christ came into the world. So that all things might be reconciled to him. The only thing he can’t reconcile is the person who refuses it. We accept Christ as our king or we establish ourselves as the king of our lives. To accept Christ is to accept the fullness for which we were created. It is to allow him to rule our lives; every area of our lives. Our minds, bodies, and wills. If we choose to have a single part of ourselves or our lives not under the authority of Christ then he allows us to have what we ask for. We abandon the kingdom of light and choose the kingdom of darkness. I don’t think most of us want that, yet many people today are like the bad thief. They have no fear of God. They do not fear offending him because they have been told they can’t. They do not fear being parted from him because they do not think it is possible. Hell for them doesn’t exist. They have no fear of God. We need to have the fear of the Lord. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It is the beginning of Wisdom. It keeps us humble. It allows us to submit to the Kingship of Christ. It leads us to salvation like it did the good thief.
Accepting Christ rule isn’t to accept the position of servant. It is to accept divine sonship. It is to accept the friendship of Christ. He says in John 15: I no longer call you servants, I call you friends. Then Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend. Christ did so for us. The question is are we willing to lay down our lives for him. Are we willing to give ourselves to him unconditionally, in humility like the good thief. Christ is the King. The question is do we belong to his kingdom and put him first and let him rule every area of our lives? That is to accept membership in the Kingdom of Christ. If we try to change the word all to some. We put him first some of the time, we let him rule some area of our lives then we go against scripture. God’s holy, authoritative and infallible word says all. That leads to the kingdom darkness. Darkness or light; Some or all; Christ as king or us as king. We get what we ask for. The choice is yours. Choose well.
I just returned home and found out a friend of mine was killed in Fallujah. He was an instrument of God for me in my faith life. I hope you will pray for him, his wife and his infant son. His name is Capt. Sean Sims. You can read about him a bit here.
If I don’t lose my shirt on bandwidth I will be putting up my homilies on the internet in mp3 fashion. I just got a new recorder at Sam’s and I think I got this figured out. Let me know if you can get it. Click on the link.
And for those of you less high tech here is the text version:
Homily – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Liturgical Year of the Church runs from the first Sunday of Advent until Christ the King Sunday. We will celebrate Christ the King Sunday next week and thus close out our year. As we draw closer to the end of the year the readings in the Lectionary cycle focus our attention on the Last things: Death, Judgment, the resurrection of the body, heaven, hell and purgatory.
Our readings today remind us of the temporary or passing nature of this planet. Even though we can see and touch wonders of the universe, from the Grand Canyon to rocks from mars, we are reminded that despite their great age they are passing away. Christ says in the first reading today “All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” No matter its age, grandeur, greatness or smallness: the things of this material world are passing away.
That also includes our mortal bodies. The first reading is clear about this. It speaks of the day of judgment coming, blazing like an oven, when the proud and evil doers will be stubble. It also speaks of the resurrection to life for those who fear the Lord. This day is coming for each of us. Each of us will die. Our mortal bodies will pass away. We will face our judgment before the throne of Christ, we will be judged on the state of our souls and we will receive recompense according to what we did in the flesh whether for good or for evil.
Notice that the scripture says we will receive recompense according to what we did, not what we thought or what we believed. It isn’t simply enough to believe in Christ. He must transform our lives. It isn’t enough to call ourselves Christian. We must be Christians. And we must not let the things of this world distract us from our vocation to be holy. But that is what many of us do.
Imagine you have two lots with two houses before you. You can choose in which one you want to live and that will be where you live the rest of your life. One lot has a huge and luxurious mansion, the other a fairly average house that needs some hard work and elbow grease. You can have your choice. Whichever one you choose will belong to you. The last thing you need to know before you make your choice is that the Mansion will be torn down tomorrow but the smaller house should last for another 50 years. Which would you choose? Most people might prefer the mansion but they would choose the house because they would rather have something that will last rather than something they would only have a fleeting pleasure in. When they have to make a choice that will affect the rest of their lives it seems fairly easy.
Yet many of us are not as wise when it comes to our spiritual lives. We are attracted to the glamour of sin and the immediate pleasure it can give us. We rarely think about the long term consequences of our choices because we are to caught up in the pleasure of the moment. We choose for immediate gratification. We convince ourselves that the Mansion of sin won’t be torn down. There won’t be negative consequences to our actions. That we won’t be judged for our actions. Christ loves us and we go to heaven.
Over and over you will hear me tell you it doesn’t work that way. Christ does love us but he also loves those who are in hell. What determines whether or not we get into heaven is if we love Christ. If you truly love someone you don’t constantly do things that hurt that person or offend them. Sin hurt Christ on the Cross and it offends his divine majesty. We cannot continue to live in Sin and expect to go to heaven. We must be saved form our sins. Our lives must be transformed by Christ. We must be willing to leave our sinful ways behind. If we don’t, then we will be stubble, set on fire, with neither root nor branch. Because apart from Christ we can do nothing. To be attached to the tree of life we must be free from the poison of sin. We must abide in Christ. As it says in today’s scripture: it is by our perseverance that we will secure our lives.
Advent is drawing near. It is a penitential season in which we are to reflect on the coming of Christ and his place in our lives. Our liturgical year 2004 is ending never to be seen again. One day, possibly soon, our lives on will pass from this world and the only thing we will have left to us is our souls and they will determine what happens to us for all eternity. We all will die. At that moment our eternal destiny is sealed. The moment our soul separates from our body we will know our eternal destination. We will either go to heaven because we chose to love Christ, be on our way to heaven via purgatory because we loved him imperfectly, or we will choose to love ourselves for all eternity and we will go to hell. The good news is that until we do die, our choice is not fixed. We can choose to change. The choice is yours. Choose well.
Here is a picture of Landon, one of my homeschoolers. He comes to children’s adoration.
When I saw him at the Cathedral in his cassock I went up to talk to him. He was the boat bearer. I asked him if he thought he could do that for Children’s Adoration. He replied “I don’t see why not.” Mature beyond his years and looking spiff in that cassock.
We just had solemn vespers at the Cathedral. It was awesome. Tomorrow one of our priest will be ordained an ArchBishop in our Cathedral. He will be the new Nuncio to Trinidad and Tobago. It is quite an honor. He is only one of two Americans to serve as a nuncio. The other is here as well. He is the Nuncio to the Domenican Republic and Puerto Rico. It was a very impressive ceremony.
We are getting closer to the pics of Children’s adoration. I am trying to line up a story in our Bishop’s bulletin which will have the side effect of producing some nice pics. I also am going to try to get some that were snapped at one of them. I will see if I can get them soon.
Molly is the dog I am taking care of for a seminarian while he is in the seminary. Because it is easier to just say my dog than explain that I will refer to her in the future as my dog. I just don’t want ownership to be confused or misrepresented.
That being said, my dog really cracks me up a lot. I have had a lot of dogs and she is a tough one to figure out. She has some odd mannerisms. She absolutely loves being in the car. I don’t know if she just hates being left behind or loves the car… When I take her out in the mornging to do her business… she runs straight for the garage door. When she see’s I am not leaving then she goes about her natural functions.
I have been keeping her in the car a lot while I am doing my business at the parishes. She likes it in there more than in her kennel inside. I am going to have problems when it is really cold but she will just have to stay in the kennel.
Her most recent thing though is that she has decided that when I am not in the car she prefers to sit in the drivers seat. She has the whole back of the vehicle with the seats down but she wants to be in the driver seat. It is a funny sight. Even when she decides to lay down she will curl up in the drivers seat rather than go back on the nice blanket I bought for her in the back.
She also love’s pig knuckle bones. I am going to have to see if I can buy them in bulk at Sam’s.
Anyway she is a lot of work to take care of but enjoyable. She hate’s being in her kennel alone outside so she doesn’t spend much time out there. That seems to be $350 wasted. If I could build a dog run/fence with a dog door on the house I would but the structure of the house doesn’t lend it to that.
We will have to see what the future holds but it is fun so far. I will try to remember to take some pictures and post them so you can see them.
There is a lot of whining going on about the elections.
On a more positive note I had very good Finance and Pastoral council meetings in my parish in Selby, Sd. I am excited about the future.
How’s that for a statement about a republican? I don’t vote republican, although I have been accused of it. I vote pro-life.
As you might have seen this joker is the presumed head of the Senate Judiciary committee. He hasn’t been elected yet. He is giving the President Ultimatum’s about his potential nominee’s to the Supreme Court. He told the President not to send up any that are too pro-life or who would overturn Roe V. Wade. We need to work to stop this guy from getting on that committee. I also called Sen. Santorum who is his fellow Senator.
I just called my Senator elect – John Thune and congratulated them. Then I told them that the reason Thune was elected was not because he was a republican but because he was pro-life. I firmly believe that. Daschle brings home the bacon but he doesn’t represent South Dakota Values on Gay Marriage or Abortion. Thune stands on the Catholic side of the issues even though he isn’t a Catholic, and Dashcle supposedly is.
Anyway I told them about this article. Cited it on the AP and told the very gracious phone lady that I would appreciate it if he would vote to send someone pro-life to that committee. Maybe the other senatory for PA.
Well I am writing to suggest you do the same if you are in South Dakota. John Thune’s office number is: ph 605-221-1010. If you want to call him from out of state then your welcome to but I would suggest you call your own republican senators. If one of my homeschoolers is reading this, it would be great if we could pick this up on the email list.
I also echo the suggestion I read quoted from NRO that we call Bill Frist (Senate Majority Leader) and express our concern as well. His number is 202 224 3344. This guy isn’t 100% pro life either so it might have the added effect of helping him to reconsider his own positions.