My brothers and sisters, in the chapter before our first reading from Deuteronomy, Moses gave the people of God, including you and I, the 10 commandments written on 2 tablets- the first tablet of 3 focusing on love of God, and the other inscribing the next 7 focusing on love of neighbor. And in our 1st reading today, Moses instructs the Israelites, all the people of God, to “keep throughout the days of your lives all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you, and thus have long life. Be careful to observe them, that you may grow and prosper according to the promise of God”. The 10 commandments are, then, a blueprint for our lives given to us by our Creator. They are a written decree or covenant made with God, and if we keep the commandments all the days of our lives, then we will have a long life. Which alludes also, the opposite, if we don’t keep the commandments, then we will bring a spiritual death upon us. This spiritual death occurs by our committing a mortal sin and not keeping a commandment. But if we are careful in observing all the commandments then we will have a long life, we will grow and prosper. Thus, our happiness is wrapped up with us keeping the commandments.READ MORE
Have you ever been amongst hundreds of people, but yet felt all alone? Everyone around you is preoccupied with something else, doing their own thing. And you are out of the loop. People all around, but no one pays attention to you, and pass you by without a second glance or thought. Have you ever felt such loneliness and darkness for so long that you don’t know anything else? You tried to find any glimpse of happiness, but nothing worked, and so the best you can do is to just go through the motions. All you can do is put on a happy face on the outside, but inward you are lonely, broken, and in such darkness for so long that you’re on the verge of despair. Have you ever felt that way to one degree or another?READ MORE
Let me first acknowledge how this is a difficult homily to write, not because the teachings of the Church on Marriage and Divorce is not clear, but because there is so much that I can, or that needs to be said. But also, it is difficult to speak to hundreds of people who all have different perspectives. Some of you, thanks be to God, have been married many years and are thriving. Some of you are married, but are just getting by. Some are divorced, while others are truly struggling, and may even be on the brink of divorce. Some of you are not married, and might be somewhat scared or unsure if you want to get married. Some of you may be pondering a vocation to the single, priestly, or religious life. Regardless if you are single, married, divorced, widowed, or never married, even though this homily will focus on marriage, I will try and something that can benefit wherever you are.READ MORE
My brothers and sisters, Jesus in our Gospel speaks of a place called Gehenna, which is Greek for Hell. In today’s day and time, Hell is not a topic that anyone wants to think about or even believe that it exists. And we certainly don’t want to think that anyone might be sent there for all eternity. However, Gehenna is based on a real place. The root of it- ‘Ge’ means land, and ‘henna’ comes from Hinnom- so Gehenna literally means the Land of Hinnom. The land of Hinnom is a real place, East and Southeast of Jerusalem. Jeremiah chapter 7 talks describes the Land of Hinnom as the place in which there were horrific sacrifices and occult activities, the worship of pagan deities, and even human sacrifice. It was the place where the pagan people actually offered their own sons and daughters as holocausts to the wretched god, Molech. Can you imagine such a place- a place of occult worship filled with unquenchable fires from the holocausts of their own children? Gehenna or Hell truly is a demonic place. If you are appalled that such a place exists, you should be. If you think that I am trying to scare Hell out of you, you are right!READ MORE
My brothers and sisters, in last week’s Gospel we heard Jesus’ first prediction that He would be handed over to the authorities, suffer greatly, die, and will rise from the dead on the third day. In my homily last week, I answered why Jesus suffered, as well as why we are called to suffer and pick up our Crosses and follow Him. I talked about the tremendous value there is in uniting our suffering to Christ’s, and how doing so helps us to see from God’s perspective and allows God’s will to be done through it. This week we hear Jesus’ 2nd prediction telling his disciples what He would go through to save us. What I want to do in my homily this week is kind of a sequel to my homily from last week. Several people told me that they found my homily last week on the purpose and value of suffering beneficial, so I encourage you to read it. You can find it on our website under homilies. This week we are called to learn from how Jesus suffered, and learn how to unite our suffering to His.READ MORE
Why do we suffer? Where does suffering come from? Why do bad things happen to good people? These questions are some that every person asks, and which I want to try to answer today.
First of all, we need to remember that originally, suffering was not in the plan of God, but is the result of the Fall, a result of the sin of Adam and Eve. For example, because of the fall one of the consequences is that there is pain in childbirth- sorry Ladies, but thank you, you can blame Adam and Eve for that! But originally, there was not suffering in the world, and all suffering is a result of sin.READ MORE
My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus does a couple things that are little peculiar in our Gospel today, but the reason is of the utmost importance not only for this man, but for us too. So, let us begin our reflection.
Our Gospel begins by saying, “Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis”. What is peculiar about the areas of Tyre and Sidon, and also of the Decapolis is that they were predominantly Greek cities where Gentiles lived, places most Jews never wanted to go. Therefore, can you imagine what would be in the mind of the disciples accompanying Jesus into these unclean Gentile regions, unsure of what Jesus was doing or why. I assume they were feeling both apprehensive and uncomfortable. Already by this point, they saw Jesus cast out a demon and perform several miracles, but the healing of this man in today’s Gospel was especially telling. For by this healing the disciples learn that Jesus is not just an ordinary prophet but might just truly be the Messiah they’ve been waiting for. But He was not only going to save the Jewish people, but wanted to save every person, even Gentiles.READ MORE