Thursday, January 31, 2013

St John Bosco Teaches Us How to Shepherd Wolves to Become Lambs

Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?

Listen to my homily on the Feast of St John Bosco:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

St. John Bosco (Italian: Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco; 16 August 1815[3] – 31 January 1888[4][5]), known as Don Bosco, was an Italian Roman Catholic priest, educator and writer of the 19th century, who put into practice the convictions of his religion, dedicating his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth and employing teaching methods based on love rather than punishment, a method known as the Salesian Preventive System.[6] A follower of the spirituality and philosophy of Saint Francis de Sales, Bosco dedicated his works to him when he founded the Salesians of Don Bosco.[7]Together with Maria Domenica Mazzarello, he founded the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, a religious congregation of nuns dedicated to the care and education of poor girls. In 1876 Bosco founded a movement of laity, the Association of Salesian Cooperators, with the same educational mission to the poor.[8] In 1875 he published the Salesian Bulletin.[9][10] The Bulletin has remained in continuous publication, and is currently published in 50 different editions and 30 languages.[9]
Bosco established a network of organizations and centres to carry on his work. Following his beatification in 1929, he was canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Pius XI in 1934.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Church Needs to Lead Man in a Rediscovery of the Law of God, Written on Each Heart

Listen to my homily for the 3rd Sunday of the Church's Year:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

The Israelites came back from Babylon, only to find that they had forsaken the Law of God.  When they rediscovered the book of Deuteronomy, there was great mourning that it had been forgotten and great rejoicing that it had been found.  All the people committed to living it by saying, "AMEN!" and prostrating themselves on the ground before the Lord.

We need this rediscovery of the Law of God that is written on each human heart.  We need this terribly and we need it now.  The governments of our time are purporting to redefine the natural law, something they have no right doing, but unless we all stand up for what is right, they will succeed in manipulating human life in a direction that could be ultimately very destructive.

Since the family is the basic unit of society, the cell of society's body, if it attacked, the foundations upon which society stands will be shaken.  Marriage can only be a one-man, one-woman union.  Any attempt to redefine it will ultimately cause our downfall.

We are politically responsible to defend marriage and defend family life.  If we do not, we may not be ready to face the dire consequences.  Let us pray that we may be given the moral courage to stand up for what is good, right, true, and just, and that righteousness may prevail.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stretch Out Your Hands to What is Holy

This article appeared on Catholic Online

If you have trouble listening click here.

"Then the Priest, with hands extended, says the Collect prayer, at the end of which the people acclaim: Amen."
This is what the rubrics say about the priest at Mass, any time he prays the celebrant prayers like the opening collect, the preface, the closing collect, but most especially when he prays the Eucharistic prayer - he prays with hands extended.
He does so to call to mind the hands that Jesus extended on cross to brings us the gift of redemption.  This extending of hands is a sign of priestly prayer.
In the Gospel for today, when Jesus told the man with the withered hand, "Stretch out your hand," he was asking him more than just to follow his instructions for healing.  He was asking him before the educated and elite class of Jews, the Pharisees, who were commenting on the Sabbath.  The Sabbath for Jews was the day above all the other days of the week for a priestly prayer of the covenant.
Every time we celebrate Mass, the priest is extending his hands in the act of swearing a priestly covenant oath, or sacramentum, to invoke the covenant of God.  Jesus telling the man to stretch out his hand is in fact, telling him to live once again in the covenant of the Lord, to be reconciled to living as a member of the priestly people of Israel.
Today Jesus tells Catholics the same thing.
Many Catholics no longer attend Mass.  They are not living as the priestly, covenanted people that God has called them to be.  As a result, many live withered lives, with hands stretching out not to live the covenant of the Lord, but instead stretching out their hands to deeds of darkness.
We only need think of how many Catholics go along with the vile practices of our day of abortion, euthanasia, same-sex "marriages," and so on.  Why?
Where are the bishops and priests who ought to speak about these things, stretching out their episcopal and priestly hands to feed the people of God with the necessary courage and wisdom to live their faith as priestly people in a time when the world desperately needs their witness?  Jesus needs to heal his Church, all of it.  Don't get me wrong.  There are many who do speak out, but they are not the majority.  The Bishops and priests have a solemn duty to help the faithful stretch out their hands to what is good and holy.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in Paragraph #1785, "In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path,54 we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church."
Christ working through the Church is eager to help the faithful "stretch out their hands" to what is good, and to be "the light of the world and the salt of the earth" (Cf. Matthew 5:13-16).
May Our Lady intercede for the Church, that a priestly people may once again stretch out their hands to pray for the world, to oppose evil, to do good, and to be holy as God is holy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

God's Covenant Faithfulness Outweighs our Unfaithfulness

Listen to my homily for Tuesday of the 2nd Week of the Year:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

New Wine into Old Wineskins? No! Accept the Grace of Today and Don’t think of Yesterday or Tomorrow

Listen to my homily for Monday the 2nd Week of the Year:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Mary's Powerful Intercession Gives Glory to God and Brings Us Closer to Jesus

Listen to my homily for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

God Helps You Get a Hold of Yourself and Be at Peace

Listen to my homily for Friday, January 18th, 2013, given at St Anselm's Secondary School in Canterbury, UK.

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jesus is Revealed as our Peace amidst Trials

This article appeared on Catholic Online.

On the way out the door of the House for Priests and International Seminary of John Paul II here in the village of St John Marie Vianney, there is a sign up sheet for those who are going to the "Manifestation in Paris," the demonstration at the nations capital to protest the government's passing of same-sex "marriage" legislation that will take place this Sunday, January 13, 2013.

The sign up sheet is full.

Most likely, even if good people stand up against the error of attempting to redefine the one-man, one-woman, covenanted union of marriage, those in power will proceed down this dark and twisted path.

It is terrifying. It is something that can rock your world.

To know that those in power have shifted from being amoral, that is, not having any morals, to aggressively and systematically attacking the divine institution of marriage that is inscribed on the human heart and felt as one of the demands of human love - this is something which is like a turbulent storm in human history.

What will happen next? Are they going to dust off the guillotine, and start beheading faithful and priests who oppose this? It may not be too terribly unlikely.

Like the disciples in the Gospel for today, in which the boat was rocked by the stormy sea, we wait for The Lord to show up.

"If you're out there God, show me! Can you just give me some sign that you're real, that you're listening to me?"

Who hasn't, at some point amidst the trials and sufferings of this life, spoken these words to God asking for some kind of Epiphany, or revelation, of the Lord's presence and power?

This week after the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord in the Church's year is a kind of revelation week, in which we contemplate the manifestations of God to us. Last week we were still basking in the glow of the newborn infant and this week it as if we are asking like the popular Christmas song, "What child is this?" Who is this little baby, before even the kings of the earth fall prostrate?

Every day in the mass readings there is a gift that shows who this Infant God is.

Today we discover him as our peace amidst trial. In the Gospel for today he comes walking toward us atop the stormy seas, defying nature and we hear his voice first reach out to us and calm us down and then quiet the storm.

Does his presence in our lives not defy our stormy human nature, giving us peace through trials that ought naturally obstruct calm? Yet not as the world gives does Emmanuel give peace.

He IS love itself, as first reading says. Can love himself stop loving us? It is not possible for him to cease loving us because he is pure love. The discovery of this kind of love that is not based on human nature, whether stormy or calm, but founded in the eternal and rock solid Being of almighty God, is what gives a Catholic true moral courage.

Divine love is the only real basis for this courage. It is what casts out all fear and gives a person the resolve to stand up for moral truth, "though an army encamp against me, I will not fear even the terror of death, for The Lord God is my rampart and shield"!

More and more, the Catholic faithful need this encounter with divine love. Where does it happen? In the Most Holy Eucharist, divine Love himself touches us - as if he grabs our hand, lets us feel his rock solid hand on our shoulder, or simply stands us with us through trial. We need his Eucharistic encouragement intensely and frequently.

Why then stay away from he who casts out all fear. Run to the Eucharistic Jesus! Permit him to strengthen and calm you.

May Our Lady, Queen of peace, whose lap was a gentle throne for the divine Infant who is our peace, obtain from him true and serene courage.