St. Peter and Jesus went golfing. They were on a 300 yard par 3 hole. The green was surrounded by water. Jesus took out an 8 iron to hit with. Peter said to Jesus, are you sure you’re going to be able to reach the green with that club? Jesus said he saw Jack Nicklaus use an 8 iron on that hole and reach the green so he could do it too. Jesus swung and splash, the ball drops in the middle of the water. So Jesus took out another ball to hit again. Peter said, don’t you think you should use a club that will give you more distance? Jesus said if Jack Nicklaus can reach the green with an 8 iron I can too. Jesus swung and splash, the ball lands in the water. So Jesus walks down the fairway, walks on top of the water and onto the green to putt. Now a foursome of golfers behind Jesus and Peter witnessed everything. One of them said to Peter, Who does he think he is, Jesus Christ? Peter said no, He thinks he’s Jack Nicklaus.READ MORE
I have come to preach at all the Masses this weekend because I want to invite the entire parish to be a part of something very important. But before I share what that is (isn’t anticipation wonderful), let me first use our readings today to help give reason for its importance. Let’s start with our Gospel and explain who this Canaanite woman is and the interaction with Jesus and the disciples to her. Unfortunately, I won’t have time, in this homily, go into depth about what Jesus says to her, but I will be able to make a few points.READ MORE
Today’s readings are about recognizing God’s presence and then hearing and obeying His voice in our lives. I will start out with our amazing 1st reading before applying it, with the Gospel, to our lives.
Our 1st reading is from 1st Kings about the great Prophet Elijah. The context of this 1st reading is important. Earlier in 1st Kings, in one of my favorite stories of the Old Testament, Elijah challenged all the prophets of the false-god Baal- they all prayed and danced to have Baal send fire to consume the sacrifice; but after a whole day of pleading before Baal, their prayers were not answered. And even though Elijah’s sacrifice was drenched in water, at once, the Lord God sent fire to consume it. Thus, God proved that He is the Lord and Elijah defeated and killed all the false-prophets. Naturally, the wicked Queen Jezebel was angry and she set out to kill Elijah, and so he fled from her.READ MORE
Because this Sunday is Aug 6, we are interrupting the Sundays of Ordinary Time to celebrate the Transfiguration of Jesus as witnessed by the inner circle of Disciples- Peter, James, and John.
Imagine yourself sitting down and talking to somebody who is an atheist or does not have any faith, perhaps he/she is a family member or a co-worker. And the person genuinely asks you who God is- how would you answer? Maybe you’d answer- well God is the all-powerful creator of the world, and there is one God but 3 persons. Understandably, they have a puzzled look on their face trying to understand what you just said. Not fully understanding, they go on and say all they know about Jesus Christ is that He was a good man who lived a long time ago who taught a good moral code- how to be a good person, but then they ask if there is more to Jesus than just that? What would you say? Would you do your best to explain that He is the Messiah, or the Savior? Let’s say you answer that Jesus is the only Son of God. What if they ask you how do you know these things that God is 3 in 1 or who Jesus really is? And you say- well the Bible says so. Hoping that will be enough of an answer to satisfy them so you can leave the conversation, but no- they really want to know. They ask- can you show me where in the bible you find these things? Of course you would have your bible right there with you, right… at least on your phone? So there you are, racking your brain, you know it is somewhere in the Gospels, but where and which Gospel does it talk about God being 3 in 1, or Jesus being the Son of God? You’re hoping and praying for a quick inspiration from God, then suddenly you remembered this homily on the Transfiguration- relieved- to say to yourself- whew, thank you Fr. Chad!READ MORE
If you were a member of the parish 3 years ago, I encouraged you to read the book Forming Intentional Disciples. One of the points that book made was that many Catholics are sacramentalized but not evangelized. What exactly does that mean? Well, what I want to do in today’s homily is to evangelize you, which simply means sharing the Good News of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You could also say that I am sharing the Kerygma (the Good News of God). I do so first to help you and I grow in living the Good News of knowing and following Jesus Christ as our Lord and God. But also because I am convinced that many of our loved ones who have fallen away from God or His Church have done so because they do not know why following God as a disciple is so relevant for our lives. What I am sharing is not new…. Or what I developed myself. Most likely you have heard these points throughout your journey in faith, but perhaps you haven’t heard them connected in a formula that can be used as talking points. The Good News or Kerygma can be remembered in 4 simple points:READ MORE
In our Gospel today we are given three parables that present pictures of the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us reflect on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. One way to think of the parable is as the mixture of good and evil growing together side by side in our world and even within the Church where we experience the growth of healthy, vigorous wheat alongside unhealthy, destructive weeds. And second we can see in ourselves both good and evil, wheat and weeds, present in our hearts, our thoughts and our actions. As we explore this further let us consider two questions: 1) How do I view the Catholic Church and its purpose? And (2) How am I doing at living out my Catholic faith? Am I a healthy wheat or possibly more of a weed in God’s Kingdom?READ MORE
The end of our Gospel is probably a familiar verse to us- “Come to me, all you who are labor and burdened, and I will give you rest”. Don’t we all want to experience that rest? Well, in order to learn how to find that rest, we need to understand the 1st part of the Gospel. The first part of our Gospel is a prayer of Jesus to God the Father, and the second part is Jesus’ invitation to each of us. So to experience that rest, we need to understand and appreciate the context of and Jesus’ prayer to the Father.READ MORE
Raise your hand if you consider yourself a Disciple- as one who follows Jesus? OK, now let us see if we will still say that after we reflect on our Gospel today- in which Jesus tells the 12 disciples what the cost is, what the conditions are to be His follower. As it was demanding for these first disciples, so it is for us.
Jesus begins by telling the 12 apostles several challenging statements to live by if they are to be “worthy of Him”- to be worthy of Jesus means to be one with Jesus in Heaven. For certainly, everyone who is or wants to be worthy of Heaven will be purified to meet these conditions, so now let us look at what Jesus says are the conditions to truly follow Him as his disciple.READ MORE
Who is the Holy Spirit? What is His role in a believer’s life? Would you be able to answer those questions? Sadly, when many people think about the Holy Spirit, all they think about are the symbols, like the dove or maybe the tongues of fire from our 1st reading. People might be familiar with the symbols, but unfortunately, so few people really know who the Holy Spirit really is or what His role is in their lives. Romans 8:14 says, “Those who are led by the Spirit are children of God”. So the first thing we know is that we are God’s children. However, many people don’t really know what it means to live a life led by the Spirit, then neither do they really know what it means to be a child of God. So today, I want to do what I can to help you to know who the Holy Spirit is, what His role is in our lives, and what it means to be led by the Spirit.READ MORE
Today we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, we celebrate that Jesus went back home to the Father. This must be a day of celebration for us, because it is through the Resurrected Jesus ascending from earth into heaven that we have the ability to go to Heaven ourselves. And though we should see our lives here on earth as just a temporary pilgrimage to our everlasting Heavenly homeland, today I want to focus on the experience of the Apostles and see how for them, the Ascension is a kind of preparation for Pentecost in which they will receive the Holy Spirit, which we’ll celebrate next Sunday.READ MORE
Last week we heard from John chapter 10 where Jesus revealed two titles. One, that He is the Good Shepherd who will seek and gather all the sheep, especially those that are lost; and second, Jesus said that He is the Gate- the only entry to salvation. Today we pick up a few chapters later, but we continue Jesus’ revelation of Himself and teaching to his disciples. If you look at John’s Gospel, beginning in chapter 13, we get an account of the Last Supper, and then in John chapters 14 through 17 we have what is sometimes called the farewell discourse. It’s Jesus's teachings to the apostles at the Last Supper, but not on the Eucharist per se, but rather on what their lives will be like and what they will be engaged in after he has died, risen and ascended into heaven. So let's peek into what's going on at the Last Supper and see what Jesus says to his disciples.READ MORE
The 4th Sunday of Easter every year has become known as Good Shepherd Sunday, as the Gospel each year is taken from a section of John chapter 10, where Jesus uses the image of sheep and shepherd to teach his disciples. So today, we start to transition in our Gospel from the Resurrection accounts to prepare for Pentecost and the start of the Catholic Church. So let us prepare ourselves too.
To help understand the image Jesus uses today of the sheep and shepherd, at night the shepherds would put their sheep in a corral with stone walls to help keep the sheep contained. And there is only 1 gate to enter in and out of it, and a gatekeeper who knew the shepherds would stay in front of the gate. Therefore, any strangers or thieves would have to go over the walls because they couldn’t go through the gate. He would let the shepherds in though, and the shepherd would call his sheep by name, and the sheep knew and would follow the shepherds voice. This is such a powerful and meaningful image. But the disciples didn’t understand the meaning of this figure of speech. Therefore, Jesus clarified that He himself “is the gate, and anyone who goes through Him will be saved and will find pasture in eternal life”. Therefore, not only is Jesus the Good Shepherd who leads his flock to the green pasture of salvation, but He is also the gate- the only way entrance way to eternal life. However, this is not just nice imagery Jesus is using to instruct his disciples, but it is actually a fulfillment of the Old Testament in which God foreshadows that He will be the Good Shepherd who will seek and save the lost sheep.READ MORE
In this famous Gospel, 2 disciples are walking away to a town called Emmaus, about 7 miles from Jerusalem. On the way they meet, they have a conversation with Jesus, and as they were listening to Jesus their hearts burn within them. Wouldn’t you like to have that same encounter? Good news is we can, and God desires us to. However, let’s be practical…walking 7 miles must have taken over 2 hours, sooo- we must be ready to invest our time also. I don’t mind- do you mind staying for 2 hours? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us have the same kind of encounter with Jesus in the time that we have.READ MORE
Welcome to the greatest love story ever told, this drama (and I use that word on purpose) between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is so full, and rich, and deep, let me jump right into it. I am sure you have heard this story many times in the past like I have, however, there is a book by Dr. Brant Pitre, a Catholic theologian who has a PhD in Jewish Studies, the same theologian who I’ve learned the Jewish roots of Christ’s death and resurrection that I am currently presenting to the parish over 3 more Monday evenings. Anyways, he wrote a book called “Jesus the Bridegroom- the Greatest Love Story Ever Told” that devotes a whole chapter to this story about the Samaritan Woman at the Well. Let me give you some of the profound insights so that we can have a much deeper understanding and appreciation about just what Jesus says and does. And I cannot make all the connections from the chapter in this 1 homily, so I encourage you to buy and read it for yourself.READ MORE