From The Pastor's Desk
Holy Family Sunday 12-26-04
I would like to take this opportunity to implore God’s deepest and choicest blessings upon you in this Holy season and to wish upon you from my heart a Merry and Christ-filled Christmas!
I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to you my wonderful parishioners for all the cards, gifts, goodies, and kindnesses that you showered upon me this Christmas! I am always humbled by such gifts and can only promise to try and return the gift to you by attempting to be the best priest I can be for you and for the up-building your life in the Lord, whose birthday we celebrate!
Please note that Mary, Mother of God, is NOT A Holy Day of Obligation this year. However, Please Note That On Friday December 31st we will begin the day at 7:00 am with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament that will continue throughout the day ending up with Benediction and then Mass for the Feast of Mary, Mother of God at 7:00 pm at Sacred Heart in Ida Grove. We hope to pray in the New Year and continue this all-day adoration once a month to increase devotion to Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
4th Sunday of Advent 12-19-04
I am so grateful for the substantial number of people who turned out for the communal celebration of reconciliation (Form II) last Sunday. I also realize that some people are more comfortable with a private one on one confession known as “Form I.” We will be offering this opportunity for private confession at two specific times, keeping in mind that you may also make an appointment and come to the rectory. I will hear confessions this Saturday in Ida Grove after the 6:00 pm mass until they are finished and this Thursday in Holstein at 7:00 pm until they are finished.
3rd Sunday of Advent 12-12-04
I really enjoy Time-Life’s infomercials on their series of music that they put out. They usually focus on a particular decade and play snippets of songs that are memory sparking and heartwarming. One time I was caught up in the nostalgia of it all as they reviewed songs from the 60’s. They got me! I went to the phone and started to dial as I looked at my vast collection of music. I looked closer. Yep! I came to realize that I had already ordered that set two years earlier and had forgotten! I smiled and took out a disc and enjoyed it immensely. We often grasp after treasures only to realize that we are already very rich. We were loved into existence by God, Filled with the very life of the Holy Spirit, and are on our way to heaven. We are very rich and doing just great even in the midst of life’s difficulties.
2nd Sunday of Advent 12-5-04
Someone has once said, “God wants spiritual fruits not religious nuts!” We can talk about loving God and daily do all sorts of “religious things,” but if the fruits of the Holy Spirit are not present then your religion is in vain. Authentic practice of religion necessarily brings the fruits of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, and Self-control.
1st Sunday of Advent 11-28-04
How must we conduct ourselves as we await the coming of the Lord so as to be ready to greet him? Here are four concrete ways to “be ready."
1. Confess your sins and do everything in your power to turn away from sin or anyway that is against love. This means making an act of contrition every day and confession on a regular basis.
2. Be a person of deep, daily, committed prayer. We must nurture our relationship with the Lord and find many solitary moments to speak with our best friend who is the intimate companion of our soul.
3. Study your Faith. Get the new catechism or a good spiritual book that will deepen your knowledge and love of the Lord and his Church of which you are a member. To know is to love and to love is to want to know more. Many Catholics have only a pre-school knowledge of their faith and hence lack any depth.
4. Service! If you are not living a life of service, you are not really living the life!
a. Seven corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, tend the sick, visit those in prison, and bury the dead.
b. Seven spiritual works of mercy: to convert sinners, instruct the ignorant, counsel the wayward, comfort the sorrowing, bear adversities patiently, forgive offenses and pray for the living and the dead.
Do these things and you will be ready!
Our Lord Jesus Christ the King 11-21-04
Where is the Kingdom of God? Wherever Jesus is invited in to be King, wherever he is invited in as Lord. One of the surest ways to establish the kingdom of God in our hearts is through a reverent and purposeful reception of Jesus in Holy Communion. We often talk about going to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, but we rarely take it from the perspective that Jesus comes to receive us as well. It is a mutual offering of Jesus to us and us to Jesus. Every Eucharist makes present to us in space and time the complete offering of Jesus on the cross for us. It looks simply like bread, but truly it is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus given to us, given 100% and unconditionally for each one of us. What percentage of our self do we return to Jesus? We desire to give him our total self, yet we fall short. Do we give him 100% back thus making the union perfect? I don’t think so! Our entire life is one of deeper and more complete surrender to him in self-offering. Does Jesus accept us long before we can perfectly give ourselves to him? The answer is a resounding YES! PRAISE GOD!
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 11-14-04
Someone has once said, “Stop, Drop and Roll doesn’t work in hell!” Comical as it is, this saying does drive home the point that we need to take our relationship with the Lord very seriously. We were created by Love for Love. Those who choose hell are in a state of “living contradiction.” In other words, our entire being was loved into existence by God in order to live in a perfect union of love with God. Those who choose to reject this invitation to love, light and eternal relationship with God find themselves infinitely fragmented by the choice they made. No matter what difficulties and pains we must endure before we enter into heaven, we know that VICTORY is always the final word for those who trust in the Lord. We know that through perseverance in faith, hope and love that we secure our lives.
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 11-7-04
I want you to imagine that you are in heaven. You have left this world and now you are in God’s presence along with all the other Angels and Saints. How would you think? How would you act? How would you speak? We are sons and daughters of God. Therefore we must think, act and speak accordingly. Would we ever think a hateful thought in Heaven? Then why do we on earth? Would we ever slam somebody in Heaven? Then why do we on earth? We are in need of purification and growth in holiness! Whenever we think, act, or speak something that we would not think, act, or speak in heaven, we lower our dignity and we lessen our holiness. Let us practice the virtue (a virtue is a good habit. A vice is a bad habit.) of always thinking, acting, and speaking as children of Heaven.
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time 10-31-04
We don’t Change and grow in order to be loved. Rather, we are loved so that we will change and grow. Look at Zacchaeus!
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time 10-24-04
When we come before the Lord in prayer we do not have to cover over our faults and character defects before we present ourselves to him. When need to come honestly before him with all the crud, confusion, trials and struggles of our lives, just as we are. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane he did not say, “Gee Father, all is well. I can’t wait to die.” No, he said, “Father my heart is sorrowful to the point of death. Please take this away from me! But, not my will, yours be done.” Cast your cares on the Lord because he cares for you.
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time 10-17-04
The widow pestered the judge just enough times and he gave in lest she strike him! Jesus tells us that God, who is so much greater than this ill-motivated judge, will certainly hear those who call and speedily give them justice. We see this same sense in the earlier passage where Jesus tells us that we can expect the gift of the Holy Spirit from God our Father because even evil fathers give good things to their children. As Saint John of the Cross once said, “Prayer is the only power to which God Surrenders.” As long as Moses arms were raised they were winning the battle. He also needed the help of others to accomplish this. We pray privately and communally and trust God to decisively act on our behalf.
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time 10-10-04
LEPROSY! Rotting flesh and stench that would make a skunk smell tolerable! The leprosy of sin is infinitely more serious than bodily leprosy. If we only knew the seriousness of the leprosy of sin to which we so easily and readily expose ourselves. According to Saint John of the Cross, even the beautiful things of this earth are pure ugliness compared to the beauty of God. How much more ugly is the rotten nature of sin. As Father Francis Martin said to a group of 2000 priests, “If you look at your life and think that it is bad, consider this... It is WORSE than what you could ever think, BUT THE SOLUTION IS GREATER THAN YOU CAN EVER IMAGINE!” Whoever is forgiven much is filled with much gratitude and whoever has a thankful heart has a loving life. Next time you receive the sacrament of reconciliation, don’t forget to give heartfelt praise to the God who frees you and to show this love through charity to all.
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 10-3-04
What kind of Faith moves mountains? The faith that puts it’s full trust in God and one that realizes that apart from God we can do nothing...This kind of faith moves mountains. It does not mean waiting for all things to be worked out before we will proceed with plans. It does mean jumping into the dark murky whirlpool trusting that God will pull you out, and knowing that God alone is able.
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time 9-26-04
“The rich help the poor in this life and the poor help the rich in the next life.” This old saying puts it well. When we give to help those who are poor and needy we are fulfilling one of our greatest needs to be like Christ and thus secure our own eternity. Often when we give we believe that we are just helping those who receive from our hands. We do not realize that when we give it is because we need to give and that it is good for us. I have never known a generous person to be without, but I have seen tight people (who justify being stingy as “thrifty”) loose what little they think they had. As the scriptures tell us, To those who give, more will be given. To those who have not given, what little they think have will be taken away. We may work hard for what we’ve gotten and we can certainly enjoy the fruits of our labor without guilt. However, if we do not substantially and consistently share our blessings, they could be taken away. We are only stewards of God’s gifts!
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 9-19-04
Holiness does not begin by being sent to Uganda as a missionary as much as it means sharing a kind smile with your neighbor! Jesus calls us to be faithful in small matters so that he may in turn put us in charge of larger ones.
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time 9-12-04
If I know that you are calling me, I will sometimes answer, “Hemann’s saving service. Jesus is Lord. How may I help you?” Everyone gets a laugh out of it and then we go on. The truth is. That is the work of the church. To leave the 99 and go after the lost, to imitate the Generous Father and with great generosity welcome the lost and selfish, yet repentant son back home. All of us are called by our baptism to reach out to the lost and to lovingly share the good news of salvation in Christ.
Diocesan Spiritual Day of Renewal in Honor of Saint Francis: On Sunday September 29th people from around the diocese will be gathering for a special day. It will include a healing mass, a talk on how to listen to and discern the voice of the Lord, prayer over people and their needs, and some social time. Please plan to attend. It will start at 1:30 pm right in the Sacred Heart Church. The mass fulfills the Sunday obligation.
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 9-5-04
We will be returning from pilgrimage on September 9th. Please pray for our safe travel. We have been and will continue to pray for you at the Holy Places!
Please be generous in the Second collection for the people of Sudan. You may give next week as well. Just Write “Sudan” on an envelope and put it in the collection.
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 8-29-04
Saint Teresa of Avila states that, “Humility is Truth.” The problem we often have is that we are out of touch with the truth. We spend our entire lives trying to prove that we are God, in control, and that no one should tell us what to do. The truth is this: God is God and we are not! According to Isaiah, God lives in high and lofty places but he also dwells with the humble, those whose spirits are crushed. It is fine to have a good self-image. In fact, if you do have a poor self-image, please stop inflicting it upon us and get some help! However, our true identity and who we really are can only be found in the One who created us. We are God’s sons and daughters, made in his image and likeness, who are totally dependent upon him for everything. In God, we live and move and have our being. Please free your self of grasping and vain striving. God loves you. Believe it and be free!
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time 8-22-04
The nature of love is self-gift and self-sacrifice. Jesus himself did not get to heaven on a feather bed! At first the discipline of the Lord seems so hard, but later it brings forth such a great sense of peace, joy and well being. The narrow gate is narrow for a reason! It is the way of Divine Love! As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said so beautifully in “The Cost of Discipleship,” there is no such thing as cheap grace. Our salvation was purchased at a great price...the cost of the blood of Jesus. We, who are his disciples, are called to take up our cross and follow in his footsteps through the cross to Glory!
Assumption of Mary 8-15-04
The two-major Dogma’s of the Assumption of Mary and the Immaculate Conception are two realities that happen to every Christian but with a little different timing. At our baptism we are filled with the Grace of the Holy Spirit and at the end of the world our souls will be united to a glorified body. Mary stands out as the most highly favored among women, the one who is our great hope because she models the incredible destiny and call that belongs to each of us. When we see Mary full of grace and glowing with beauty, love and light in heaven, we can rest assured that she was one of us who said yes to God’s call. Just say YES!
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time 8-8-04
Are you ready to meet the Lord at anytime? Do you realize that he is present to you always? At every moment of your existence the Lord is present to you in perfect love. The question is whether we are present to him. We often talk about receiving Jesus at Holy Communion. We need to also realize that Holy Communion is a time when we give ourselves to him! That is how UNION WITH (communion) Jesus works. If in a marital relationship only one of the spouses is giving themselves to the other, there is no union unless it is reciprocal. Jesus calls us to be ready for his coming at all times. We do this by giving ourselves over to him.
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 8-1-04
The Psalmist says that “the humble man’s few possessions are worth more than all the piled up wealth of the haughty” What constitutes true wealth? True wealth consists of God living in you and you living in God, Union with God. With God, you have all, without God, you have nothing.
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time 7-25-04
“Prayer is the only power to which God Surrenders!”
Saint John of the Cross
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 7-18-04
What gives you peace at the core of your being? Things like financial security, popularity, and having much of what you want are all things that promise security. However, do they give you security at the center of your existence? It is not wrong to seek some peace and security in the above aforementioned realities, but these are just superficial and somewhat shallow means to what the Gospel would deem as security. Martha was anxious about many things. She figured if she got them all done it would afford her some peace. Mary chose the better part, to rest in the presence of her beloved Lord. This union with Christ is the true source of lasting and deep peace. Jesus Christ is the ROCK that doesn’t roll!
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time 7-11-04
God calls us to love him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Put simply, we are to love the Lord with the totality of our being, 100 percent. But remember, God loved us with the totality of his being by sending Jesus to die for us. The only way we will come into perfect loving union with him is if we can give him total love. This love then demonstrates itself in a very concrete way by how we love our neighbor.
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time 7-4-04
“Do not rejoice so much that evil spirits must obey you as much as that your names are inscribed in Heaven.” What is it in this life that makes you the happiest? There are many things and situations that we can rejoice in and celebrate, but the Lord tells us that above all, we should be happy that our names are inscribed in heaven. From our baptism on we have a wonderful destiny. God actually created us for Heaven. Sometimes when someone gets the right job, or comes into a lot of money, we hear the phrase, “Now I’m set for life!” Have you been baptized? Are you forgiven and right with God? Only then can you fully say, “I am set for life!”
On this 4th of July weekend when we celebrate our independence, let us remember well that we are 100 percent dependent upon God in whom we live and move and have our being!
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time 6-27-04
When the Lord calls us to follow him, he desires a radical and complete following. There are many “legitimate” reasons and things that we may have to get in order. In today’s gospel one man wanted to bury his dead father and another wanted to say goodbye to his family before following Christ. These things seem fair enough! I seriously don’t think the Lord had problems with those reasons. What I think he had problems with was an attitude that there is always something more important than proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Doing the will of God should be our first priority. No excuses. Just do It!
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time 6-20-04
Sometimes we can be so greatly mistaken that if we follow Jesus we will be free of struggle. Just the opposite is true! What does happen is that in the midst of our struggle we find deep and abiding joy and peace. Jesus tells us that if we wish to follow him we must take up our cross daily and follow him. Whenever we choose to follow Christ we choose both death and resurrection. When we die to self, we truly begin to live because to live IS Christ, hence dying is so much gain. I would like to especially thank all the Fathers out there who have many times died to yourself for your families.
Happy Fathers Day!
Trinity Sunday 6-6-04
The Father has a total and perfect love for the Son. The Son has a total and perfect love for the Father. The Love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit. Our call and destiny in life is to get caught up in the whirlpool of love that we call The Blessed Trinity. Now we see only analogously. In Heaven we shall see fully. To tell a man, blind from birth, what the color red is, we may put his hand on something hot. He has an idea of what red is through the sense of touch, but he really doesn’t know exactly what red looks like. Through creation, prayer, and human love we know God by analogy. One day we will see him face to face. Then we will have no questions to ask. On this earth we do not reach God so much through our understanding, as we do by FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE.
Pentecost Sunday 5-30-04
I will never forget the first time I received a sweepstakes announcement that I am the lucky winner of 1 million dollars. I could not believe my eyes! I Won! I ran right to my mother to show her and announce the great news. In a few years after receiving my driver’s license I could buy a brand new car. The new drum-set I always wanted would be mine! College would be taken care of! My future looked great. My mom just looked at me and said “O Davie, they sure took you for a ride!” However, because of our baptism, we are spiritual millionaires! This time the only ride we are being taken on is from Glory to Glory! How great it is that we have dwelling within us the very life of God in the person of the Holy Spirit! From that one gift of the Holy Spirit flows every other gift that we need for this life and finally for Everlasting Life! Happy Pentecost!
Ascension Sunday 5-23-04
Jesus tells us to WAIT until we are clothed with power from on high, the Gift of the Holy Spirit. We need to watch and pray and let God’s Spirit move in our lives when and how he pleases. If you put a log on a hot bed of coals it just sits there for quite a while. Then at the right moment a wind blows and the log bursts into bright and beautiful flames. We need to come daily to rest and pray in the hot coals of God’s burning love. Then at the right time, you will be set on fire with his love. This time before Pentecost is a time of watching and waiting in prayer, begging God for the awesome gift of the Holy Spirit.
6th Sunday of Easter 5-16-04
To: Parishioners and friends from the Diocese
From: Father David Hemann and the Spiritual Renewal Pastoral Team (S.R.P.T)
Re: Pentecost Celebration
As a Resurrection People, we are also empowered by the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help build up the Body of Christ. Please consider coming to a celebration of Pentecost to be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ida Grove, Iowa on Sunday May 30th.
12: 30- Leaders Meet to share the about what is going on in the diocese and look at possibilities for future gatherings.
1:30- Pentecost Liturgy: Presider and homilist will be Father John McGuirk
2:30- Father David will share with the group on how to be a more effective and pastoraly sensitive instrument for the Lord in the use of the Spiritual gifts.
3:00- Prayer teams will pray with participants for individual needs and increase in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
4:00- We will have a “Birthday” party celebrating the Birth of the Church on Pentecost. Please feel free to bring some goodies to share. Drinks will be provided.
5:00- Internationally know recording artist David Vogel will present an hour concert. David has recently topped the national Christian charts with a few of his songs. He will not disappoint!
5th Sunday of Easter 5-9-04
When we think of Christ “Glorified,” we often see him Glowing with Resurrection beauty and light. Very seldom do we think of him on the cross. Yet, at that moment of pure sacrificial love, the greatest love that could be shown on earth, God’s glory shines so brightly, yes, through the crucified Christ. When we love with the heart of Christ, we too, demonstrate the true “Glory” of God. Of this love the new heavens and new earth will shine!
4th Sunday of Easter 5-2-04
“If I can’t follow Christ Perfectly, I won’t follow him at all!” At first this kind of a statement sounds almost noble. Don’t be deceived. If all of us had that mentality, none of us would show up to the celebration of the Eucharist, no one would follow him. Sometimes, we are like the lamb that gets so caught up in the grass he is munching that he munches his way out of the fold to some deserted valley far away from the fold. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who goes out looking for the lost lamb. He puts it on his shoulders and he carries it back to safety. Are you lost today? The Risen Lord is in our midst ready to save you and bring you back to the fold. May you one day be counted among those who have withstood the trial. May you be clothed with the white robe of Resurrection Victory!
3rd Sunday of Easter 4-25-04
Greek has four different words for LOVE. When we read the Gospel of this weekend in English we don’t really hear it as deeply as it is expressed in the Greek. Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him and Peter replies “Yes” three times. But this is how it reads in the Greek:
Jesus- Peter, do you love (agape) me with a love that would die for me?
Peter- Yes, I love (philos) you with the love of a friend.
Jesus- Do you love (agape) me with a love that would die for me?
Peter- I love (philos) you as a friend.
Jesus- Do you love (philos) me with the love of friendship?
Peter- Yes, I love (philos) you as a friend.
Jesus- There will come a day when you will have to die for me (agape)
The Lord Jesus invites all of his followers to a complete and perfect love, a love that is built to last forever, the substance of heaven itself. If there is a choice of pleasing God or men, there is no choice.
Peter did in fact prove his love (agape) for God as he was crucified upside down on the Vatican hill. He is now buried directly under the Dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica but he resides in Heaven.
Mercy Sunday 4-18-04
Poor “Doubting Thomas” gets such a bad rap! First of all, one only needs to read the other resurrection narratives to see that almost all the Apostles doubted at first. Last week, Peter and John didn’t quite get it until they looked in the empty tomb. Even to that point, they did not yet understand what to rise from the dead meant. (I am sure if the body were stolen, the thieves would have neatly folded up the cloths. Right!) When Mary of Magdala and the others told the Apostles that Jesus was risen from the dead they thought their story seemed like nonsense. Let’s face it, for a man to be brutalized and crucified, then to be alive, is hard to believe. However, the Apostles had such a powerful experience of the Risen Lord that they could do nothing less than proclaim to the world that Jesus Christ is God, the Savior of the world. They put their money where their mouth was when they willing died torturous deaths in witness to the resurrection. The gospel accounts are only a summary of the good news. Jesus did and said much more than what had been recorded in the narratives. John tells us that he wrote what he did in order that we may come to believe that Jesus is truly God and that through faith in him, we may have everlasting life. I Thank God for the skepticism Of Thomas and the others. They were not ready to accept just anything. They did not contrive stories. All we know is that they died for what they believed, and this is proof enough for me.
Easter Sunday 4-11-04
We firmly believe, profess, and proclaim that JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD! ALLELUIA! It was not just the idea or philosophy, not just the teaching or following of Jesus that rose. We believe that the PERSON of Jesus is risen and alive! In the awesome movie, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, we sit through a little over two hours of the agony, passion, suffering and death of Christ. In the final seconds of the movie, we see the Risen Christ. In that moment, all is put in perspective. From infinite despair we are taken to everlasting beauty, grace, and hope. We who die in Christ will now be raised with him. His resurrection assures and secures OUR resurrection! Alleluia! The story is told of the late, great scripture scholar Raymond Brown. He put out a beautiful two-volume work entitled, THE DEATH OF THE MESSIAH. Someone once asked him why he didn’t do such a work on the resurrection. His response was “I don’t want to write about the resurrection, I want to experience it. May you live until you die and then live forever in resurrection glory!
Palm Sunday 4-4-04
We recall the passion and brutal crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Anyone who saw Mel Gibson’s movie THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, cannot help but be deeply moved. One of the things that we fail to realize is that Christ freely chose to do this for you and for me. If you saw all the sin, perversion and darkness of the world about to be laid on your shoulders, if you saw the incredible torture before you as Jesus did in the Garden, would you freely do this?
The word is Hosanna. Hosanna means “Save Us!” or “Grant salvation.” When the people cried Hosanna little did they realize what Jesus would have to endure to actually answer their prayer.
5th Sunday of Lent 3-28-04
O the shame and self-loathing that often accompany an act such as adultery! It is a devastating sin that brings with it all sorts of pains and problems. Any marriage counselor could go on for ages. Yet, what do we see today? A woman caught in the very act of adultery! She was getting ready to get stoned to death when Jesus turns the tide. He bends down to write in the sand before the accusers. He may have written the names of the women they were with during the last week, who really knows. This much is sure; When the Son of God, The Word made flesh, the great I AM says, “Does no one condemn you? Neither do I condemn you. Go now and avoid this sin,” it is enough to transform a life of guilt and shame into one of freedom and peace. People keep forgetting that it is to sinners that Christ came. This is how God shows his love: that while we were still sinners, God sent his son to die for us. If the world says, “I condemn you.” and God says, “I forgive you.” Who are you going to believe? Are you going to wallow in the shame that another person dumps on you, a person who is possibly just as guilty in another way, or are you going to have faith enough to accept the mercy and love of God? Your enemy on earth does not have the final say. CNN or Fox News doesn’t hold the key to everlasting life. ONLY GOD. Let the one without sin be the first to cast a stone.
4th Sunday of Lent 3-21-04
When we hear of the “Prodigal” son we often think that it means the “lost” son. In reality, the word means extravagant, indulgent, or generous. The only way the son was prodigal was with himself. The parable could rightly be called “The Prodigal Father” since the Father ran out to his lost son with a robe, an expensive ring that initiated him back into the family, and most of all with a heart full of generous and forgiving love. It seems to be true that American society allows everything but forgives nothing while God does not allow any uncharitable act, yet forgives everything. Our God is completely prodigal with us!
3rd Sunday of Lent 3-14-04
While tragedy and the painful experiences of this life are indeed difficult for us to endure, the deepest and most tragic thing that can ever happen is for even one soul to be lost forever in hell. God’s top priority for every human being he created is Plain and simple; that we all find eternal life in his son Jesus.
O Lord, I am because You are I AM!
2nd Sunday of Lent 3-7-04
Not a day should go by that we don’t put our life in the perspective of eternity. Here we do not have a lasting city, rather we seek a home that is yet to come. In truth every human on earth has deep homesickness that longs for utter and complete fulfillment in heaven. Jesus takes Peter, James and John up to the mountain to give them a glimpse of what God has in store for them and for all who follow him. One of the greatest consolations in this life is to know that someday this life will come to an end and give way to the transfigured life of heaven! The Mt Tabor experience gives us courage to embrace our cross.
1st Sunday of Lent 2-29-04
Remember Man that you are dust and to dust you shall return.
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2-22-04
Is their even ONE person upon whom you wish evil? If so, are you willing to have this evil come upon you? The measure with which you measure will be measured back to you. Blessed are the merciful, for mercy shall be theirs.
Sacredheartradio.net will be airing a brand new show called “ALIVE WITH THE GOSPEL” with yours truly as the first show and 4 other dear priest friends of mine contributing. We will go on a rotational basis. It will be a recap and discussion on the Sunday readings with music interspersed. This starts Sunday at 7:30 central time. You can also listen To the ALIVE WITH BAPTISM series at this sight.
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2-15-04
The opposite of a blessing is a curse. Our entire life we seek blessings and goodness and we strive might and main to avoid any kind of a curse. The source of all blessings is God. The way to receive God’s blessing is to turn toward him in faith and in trust. The reason the poor, the hungry, the weeping, and those who are hated are called “blessed” by Jesus is simply because they are brought to a humble trust in God. Their pain often drives them into the arms of God. It is this calling out to God from our desperation, neediness and pain that we open our hearts to the grace and blessings of God. Saint Paul also tells us this when he declares, “For when I am weak, it then that I am strong.” God’s power reaches perfection in our weakness. Jeremiah proclaims that we are cursed if we trust in flesh. How many times do we look to another to “make us happy?” Happiness (Blessedness) is a gift from God that comes from deep within the human soul, really part of our God-given nature. We find our deepest joy in God and then we share that joy with our loved ones. Certain things that others do can bring us some satisfaction, but if that happiness does not dwell within us, nothing from without will do the trick! Jeremiah states clearly that the one who trusts in the Lord is the one who is happy indeed. There is nothing wrong with being rich in itself. However, if my earthly wealth causes me to not trust in the Lord and leads me to the illusion that I am self-sufficient and do not need God, then it is most dangerous.
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2-8-04
The Lord does not ask us if we are “worthy” but rather, ARE YOU READY! This week we see three of the biggest and most significant biblical figures confessing clearly and humbly that they are not worthy to serve the Lord. See how wonderfully God worked through them! Isaiah was unclean, Paul persecuted the church, and Peter was a sinful man. What makes you unworthy? Bring it to the Lord and humbly confess your area of sin or fault and see that God can and does work through a humble and obedient soul who is truly contrite. There is a wonderful message of good news that needs to be proclaimed from the mountain tops; Jesus Christ the Lord is truly Risen from the dead and gives eternal hope to the entire human race! If you were stranded in a snow bank with only your cell phone, a phone that has only basic service, would you say, “I can not call for help or save the rest of my family in the car because I don’t have voice mail or call waiting?” The Lord called impetuous Peter to be a fisher of men long before he was perfect. “Take your eyes off yourself and put them on me for I am the Lord who calls you.” We are all the Lord has. Let us use the basic equipment the Lord has given us to build his Kingdom!
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2-1-04
What do you hope for? Do you hope the Patriots win the super bowl? How about winning the lottery? These are a few “hopes” but with a small “h”. The infused theological virtue of HOPE is the ultimate expectation that everything we long for and dream to be will one day be fulfilled as we see God face to face and become glowing saints in heaven. So, hope deals with “what” we long for. Faith is the infused theological virtue that has a dimension of trust insures that what we long for will in fact happen. Faith is “how” what we long for in hope comes to be. Love is “why” all of this happens. Ultimately what we hope for is Love (God) and this Love is brought about by faith. Saint John the Evangelist was asked before he died why he wrote so much on love. His answer was, “Because that’s all there is, Love.”
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 1-25-04
Is the Spirit of God upon you? YES! It is false humility to say that God’s spirit could not possibly work through you. If you have been Baptized and anointed in Confirmation you have the same empowerment and mission as Jesus. You share in his mission. He states clearly today in Luke that the Spirit of God is upon him to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and to let the oppressed go free. When was the last time, for example, that you brought glad tidings to someone who was needy? Jesus gives us the best news in the world, a message of hope, peace, and love. We each proclaim him in our own unique way with our own gifts to help build up the Body of Christ to Whom we are joined. Reach out in love to those who are in need and God will do the rest.
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 1-18-04
Let Jesus come into the ordinariness of your life and turn it into the finest wine. Where there is a need, there is his love and grace (charis) to transform, expand and divinize. As we are now in ordinary time let us remember that holiness does not consist so much in doing extraordinary things as it as it does in doing ordinary things with extraordinary faithfulness.
Baptism of the Lord 1-11-04
What if Mary had an abortion?
Epiphany of the Lord 1-4-04
We can be so worried about catching sickness from others. Do we ever stop and thank God for those who give us health? Those who love us, teach us, give kindness to us, and are present to us in times of trouble and sadness are those who give us health. We are to be little “epiphanies” or “manifestations of the Lord to one another. As we let the love of Christ shine through us, we manifest God’s love to a world so desperately in need of a light in darkness. May we give health and salvation to each other by the way we let God live and breathe through us.