If you were a part of the parish a few year ago, I encouraged you to read Forming Intentional Disciples- which I again encourage you to read or re-read. That book helps to describe who an intentional disciple is, and thus what the Church and this parish is all about. So, it is time for a status check. How many of you would say you have grown into an intentional disciple of Jesus Christ? Nowadays, I think the word ‘disciple’ has come to mean anyone who goes to Church on a somewhat regular basis and tries to be a good and virtuous person. The Scriptures, however, reveal a more elevated description of a disciple. Remember that Jesus called Peter, James, John and all the disciples, to leave everything behind and follow Him. Obviously, today, not everyone is called, to abandon everything they know, to leave their father and mother to follow and serve Christ unreservedly, though some still are. However, all of us, to a certain extent, are called to live not for ourselves but to serve God and others. This is abandoning our will and seeking the will of God, and to be willing to do God’s will, no matter the cost, is discipleship.READ MORE
Last week we heard Jesus give Simon the new name, “Rock” and identify Peter as a leader because of his faith and true confession in his belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus told Peter that He will build His Church upon him, and that His Church will not be destroyed but will last forever. In the Scripture passage we will see Jesus Christ establish a Church that will not be destroyed but will last for all eternity- Doesn’t this sound good? - how would you like to be a part of that Church?READ MORE
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