Fr. Tim’s Homily for Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time-B



Wisdom 1: 13-15; 2: 23-24

2 Corinthians 8: 7, 9, 13-15

Mark 5: 21-43


Today is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the calendar of the Church year, “ordinary” is used in two senses: 1) it is “the usual” time, “the ordinary time” of the year, outside the Advent-Christmas seasons and the Lent-Easter seasons; 2) it is marked not by cardinal numbers – like “thirteen,” but by ordinal numbers – like the “thirteenth” Sunday today.

The vestment color for Ordinary Time is green: a symbol of life and of hope.

“Trust in God” features in the Scripture readings today for this Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

We either live lives trusting in God or, as Thoreau puts it, “we live lives of quiet desperation.” Trust in God is the virtue we need to carry us through the stresses of daily living.

         Charles Colson was associated with Watergate, went to prison, had a conversion, and died in 2012. In his speaking ministry he told a story about a man who was a workaholic and was literally falling apart.

His wife accompanied him to see the doctor. The doctor told the man that he was physically exhausted and was critically ill. He prescribed six months away from work, resting at home.

The doctor then wanted to talk with the man’s wife, alone. He told her that she had an essential part to play in his recovery. She needed to see that he got all the rest he could, not argue with him, prepare all the foods that he enjoyed, wait on him as much as possible, and make life at home as peaceful and as pleasant as she could. If she didn’t, the doctor said that her husband would not have long to live.

On the way home, he asked his wife what the doctor had told her. She answered, “The doctor said you are going to die.”

         The Bible teaches us again and again that we often add to our own stresses in life by failing to trust in God and His promises.

The most powerful lines for me in today’s Gospel are when the people come to Jairus, the synagogue official, and tell him, “Your daughter has died. Why trouble the teacher any longer?” And then Jesus says to Jairus: “Do not be afraid. Just have faith.”

In spite of all the appearances, Jesus tells that father to trust in Him and not to be afraid. Then Jesus goes with Jairus to his house and raises his twelve-year-old daughter to life. And Jesus was aware of even the small details, telling her parents, who were astonished by the miracle, that they should give their daughter something to eat.

We all need that blessed assurance from Jesus. We know what it is like to be fearful and anxious, to feel helpless and overwhelmed. But Jesus is with us right now as we gather to pray, as we listen to His Word, as we prepare to receive Him in Holy Communion. And Jesus reassures us: “Do not be afraid. Just have faith.”

         There is a hymn that sums up this message. It is entitled “Abide with Me.” The words were written in 1847 by an Anglican clergyman, Henry F. Lyte, and the melody was composed by William Henry Monk. Lyte wrote this hymn text while he was suffering from tuberculosis and he died three weeks after he finished it. [If you would like to use this hymn text for your personal reflection later, it is #640 in the Breaking Bread Hymnal.]

Listen now to the text for verse one of “Abide with Me”:

         Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.

         The darkness deepens, Lord with me abide.

         When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

         Help of the helpless, O abide with me.


On this 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus reassures us: “Do not be afraid. Just have faith.”

And we can reply to Him: “Help of the helpless, O abide with me.”

Fr. Tim’s Homily for Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Nativity of John the Baptist

Religious Freedom Week



Isaiah 49: 1-6

Acts of the Apostles 13: 22-26

Luke 1: 57-66, 80


There are only three persons whose birthdays are celebrated on the Church calendar.  Do you know who they are?  I can almost hear the background music for “Jeopardy” playing right now, and your time is up!

The first, of course, is Jesus.  Last March 25th, we celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation – when the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and asked her to be the Mother of God’s Son.  And Jesus was conceived in her womb on that March 25th.  Nine months later, on December 25th, we celebrate the birthday of Jesus.

The second has to do with the holy day of obligation that we celebrate on December 8th:  the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mary was conceived without original sin in the womb of her mother St. Ann.  We celebrate this on December 8th.  Then we move forward nine months to September 8th when we celebrate the birthday of Mary.

The third one is John the Baptist.  We celebrate his birthday every year on June 24th, six months before Christmas.  He was a relative of Jesus, a cousin, and he was six months older than Jesus.

Now, the Church is telling us that John the Baptist is worthy of our notice because the only three birthdays that are celebrated on the Church calendar are those of Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist.  So he’s right up there.

John the Baptist was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, and the last of them.  He was completing the work that was begun by prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Daniel.  They announced to the world that the Messiah was coming and that we need to prepare the way.

John figures in today’s Gospel:  we hear about his birth to Zechariah and Elizabeth, and about his being named “John.”

We hear about him in today’s second reading from the Acts of the Apostles:  “John heralded the Savior’s coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.”

If we were to sum up the ministry of John the Baptist, it would be this one word:  repentance… repentance of our sins.

People today might want to take John the Baptist aside and say, “Listen, John, that message might have flown two thousand years ago, but it doesn’t fit with our age.  John, if you really want to be effective you should be affirming people, telling them how good they are.  The philosophy of our age is, ‘I’m ok, you’re ok, everybody and everything is ok!’  Haven’t you ever seen Oprah?  John, we really don’t need to repent because we don’t believe in sin anymore!”

Have you ever heard a message like that?  I think we all have!  Present that message to John the Baptist and you had better run for cover, because John says, “Repent!  If you want to turn to the Savior, you must turn away from your sins.  You can’t have it both ways!”

A wonderful way to do that is with the Sacrament of Penance – the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Confession.

If John the Baptist were to be among us today, I don’t think he’d be clothed in camel’s hair.  I think he’d be wearing a violet confessional stole around his neck.  I don’t think he would be washing us up in the River Jordan.  I think he would be hearing our confessions and giving us absolution to help us prepare for the coming of the Lord.

We have a great patron in John the Baptist.  He didn’t shrink from confronting soldiers or tax collectors or Pharisees on Jordan’s bank. Nor did he hesitate to tell King Herod the truth, even if this literally cost him his head.

In our era of compromise and waffling, of lying and blaming others, we need the rock-solid example of a person like John the Baptist.

We Catholics in America are presently observing “Religious Freedom Week.”  It opened on Friday, June 22nd, the feast of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher. And it will close on Friday, June 29th, the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.  They all were martyrs:  witnesses to Jesus by shedding their blood out of loyalty to Him.

Religious freedom is one of our country’s most precious possessions.  It gives us the liberty to serve others with God’s love in ministries like education, adoption and foster care, health care, and immigration and refugee services.

It is important for us to defend the religious freedom of individuals to act in accord with their faith, and the religious freedom of church institutions to act in accord with their teachings – for the two are so closely linked.  And we need them both now more than ever in our nation and in our world.

Saint John the Baptist preached the message of repentance.  We all need a John the Baptist in our lives, somebody who loves us enough to tell us the truth.  And we can all be a John the Baptist to others, never shying away from the truth, but always telling the truth with love.

Through the grace of God and with the prayers and example of John the Baptist, may we each do our part to ensure that our beloved America will always be “the land of the free and the home of the brave” for allher citizens – and for all who would like to be.  Amen.

Readings and Bulletin for Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Fathers Day



Reading for Sunday

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