Quote for the Day

“The word of God is a light to the mind and fire to the will. It enables man to know God and to love Him.” — St. Lawrence of Brindisi, OFM Cap.

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Deacon Bob’s Homily for Thursday, 15th Week of Ordinary Time, 2014

You probably will not find a more comforting reading in all of Scripture. “My yoke is easy and my burden light.”

For years I could not understand this reading. I don’t think someone can until they are older. Not until they are in their 30s, 40s or 50s; not until life has beaten you up a couple of times; not until life has done its thing to you more than once.

When I was a child, and I would hear this Gospel passage, I couldn’t relate to it. The yoke of the Lord seemed burdensome enough to me, for it meant, as a child, that I had to tell the truth when I could have lied and gotten out of something, or I had to go out to the garden when Mom told me to or clean the barns when Dad told me to do so. When I was a teenager, I had to be chaste in a very unchaste world. That seemed rather burdensome to me at the time.

Only with maturity could I understand what Jesus is telling us today.

One has to undergo a conversion to understand, really. You know, the type of conversion Jesus talks a lot about. One has to experience the conversion that happens at baptism when we reject sin and Satan and say “yes” to God and his ways. When we embrace Jesus and the Church. Only then do we really experience what Jesus says is his light yoke and easy burden.

Think about it: What keeps you up at night worrying? It isn’t things of God; no, it will be something of the world, some worldly burden.

God’s ways are freeing; they are light compared to the burdens of the world. Everything God either asks of us or demands of us is asked or demanded only to free us from the burden of sin and the world. Only to give us the freedom of the sons and daughters of God.

May we pray in gratitude today for the yoke of the Lord, which is indeed light and freeing. May we pray too that more people will come to take on that yoke and put it on their shoulders and experience the mercy and support of our God.

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Deacon Bob’s Homily for the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A

Here is my homily for this weekend. May God  bless each of you!

 

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A

                                  Isaiah 55: 10-11; Romans 8: 18-23; Matthew 113: 1-23

July 12/13, 2014

Are you a planter of seeds or an up-rooter of weeds? Are you someone who cheerfully spreads God’s word of truth and love and presence, or are you someone who is always sullenly trying to yank and tug at the weeds of life, angry that they keep springing up? Do you live in faith and the sure knowledge that God’s word and his kingdom and his truth will flourish and win the day, or are you a pessimist who sees only the weeds of life and complains about them? When you look at yourself, what do you see?

 

Jesus tells us, “Plant the seed!” Plant it now. Plant it tomorrow. Plant it the day after. Plant the seed! Keep planting. Keep planting the seed even if the soil may not seem fertile. Keep planting. Don’t stop…. Keep planting.

 

The seed will bear fruit as God has promised. We heard it in the first reading, how the rain and snow will not return to heaven until it has fertilized and done its job. We heard it in the second reading when Paul essentially said, “Don’t fret about life’s sufferings because the glory that follows is so much greater.”

 

I suppose we can say to paraphrase a famous line from the movie, Field of Dreams, “If you plant it, they will come.”

 

You must plant the seed on all sorts of soil. You must spread God’s word even to hard hearts, hearts preoccupied by worldly worries, hearts that lack maturity or depth. Even if the soil, the hearer of the word, seems unreceptive or distracted, spread the word anyway, plant the seed. It will bear the fruit it is meant to bear.

 

What does this mean for us in our daily lives?

 

It means we must never lose faith; we must never lose hope. Even if you are overwhelmed by worries and problems, know that God is planting his seed in your life, on your soil. Let him penetrate your hearts.

 

It means even if a loved one, perhaps a son or a daughter, seems like hardened soil that rejects the seed, the word of truth, rejects their faith and yours, keep sowing the seed anyway, that word of truth. Never lose hope in speaking the truth. Never lose hope in your son or daughter.

 

It means even if at one time in your life you were excited about your faith, about God and about the Church, and for whatever reason you lost that enthusiasm, you lost that initial excitement, maybe even lost the faith because of a hurt, or a scandal, or the sinful behavior of so-called believers, don’t be afraid to listen again, to welcome again, to receive again the seed of God’s word that the Church teaches, plants, and scatters. Your enthusiasm, your faith will return. God promises it.

 

My friends, at every moment of every day, wherever you are at, Jesus is putting his hand in the seed sack and scattering it in front of you and behind you. Everywhere in this world of ours bishops, priests, and deacons are preaching the word, scattering the seed. All throughout the world, mothers and fathers, catechists and teachers, are instructing children in the ways of God. They too are sowing the seed.

 

So must I. So must you. As a deacon, I really have no choice, if I want to get to heaven. When a deacon is ordained, the bishop hands him the Book of the Gospels and tells him that now he must go out and proclaim that Gospel, preach the Word, to all peoples for a deacon is a herald of the Gospel. I cannot help but preach and teach, to plant the seed of faith. I will be judged on the last day by Jesus on how committed I have been in doing so. You too, in a different way, must plant the seeds of faith for you have been baptized and have received the Holy Spirit. It is your vocation to plant the seed by how you live and what you say.

 

Many will have hard hearts. Many will be distracted and preoccupied by other things. Some who show promise at first will disappoint you later. We have all experienced that haven’t we? But we, nonetheless, must speak the word of truth and love, God’s holy seed, to them too. Always in hope, always with love, always believing that God’s promise will be fulfilled that his seed will bear fruit.

St. Francis of Assisi said that we must always proclaim God’s word without ceasing for a second. He literally meant this. He also said that most of us will plant that seed not by words, but by example, by the way we live our lives.

 

We must speak the truth, not lies. We must live in justice, not selfishness. We must greet each other with a smile, not a frown. We must reverence the name of Jesus and God, and do not profane that name. We must live chastely in an unchaste world. We must make our faith visible by displaying a crucifix in our homes. We can carry a rosary with us and pray it. We can go to confession each month. We must be faithful to our husband or wife. We must respect our parents and grandparents. If we do these things, we are sowing the seed of truth, and life, and love in our world.
So I ask you again, as I did at the beginning: “Are you a planter of seeds, or do you just complain of the weeds?”

 

We must plant the good seed. God demands it.

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Quote for the Day

“In the intimacy of my soul I feel contented because it desires nothing but the will of God.” — St. Veronica Giuliani, OSC

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Homily for Thursday, 13th Week of Ordinary Time

Sorry for the late post. Here is my homily from yesterday morning’s Mass.

Jesus tells us today that we are to go out and proclaim that “The Kingdom of God is at hand!” Yes, the Kingdom of God…. who and what is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom is Jesus Christ, God become man who lives among us. The Kingdom of God is his mystical body, the Church, his presence working in the world today. The Kingdom of God is in your heart, in the heart of all who believe and have received the gift of the Holy Spirit in baptism. This is the Kingdom we are called to proclaim.

Every deacon, at his ordination, is handed the book of the Gospels by his bishop and told that he is now a herald of that Gospel, a herald of the Kingdom, and that he must go forth and preach that Kingdom to all, with a clear conscience in all charity and with spiritual discipline. No deacon forgets that moment. I, as a deacon, must preach this Gospel. I cannot help but do so, for I will be judged on the last day as to whether or not I have done so well. And you, in a different way, are called to proclaim that Kingdom because you have been baptized, call  yourselves Christian, and have been given the Holy Spirit.

My friends, let us not shirk from our responsibility to go out and proclaim the Kingdom of God to all men and women. Let us not be afraid to open our hearts to that Kingdom, to Jesus Christ who seeks to draw us to himself, to his Kingdom, where we may reign with him for all eternity!

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