Tag Archives: confession

The Cross – The Christian Sign

(c)2016 St. Mary's, Kalamazoo

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Run Time: 11 minutes.     Reading 2: Gal 6:14-18.

I don’t know that we think about that so often: That all of the Sacraments, one way or another, draw from the font of grace that is opened at the cross. Baptism that gives new life, born in the waters that flowed forth from His wounded side with His Precious blood. To the sacrament of Confession, where the sins are forgiven and washed away by the power of His cross. Most especially to this Holy Eucharist. Which we ought to remember is that same offering, made to God the Father, in the name of our Lord. It is the same offering of His cross, made present here and now that happened once for all, upon that hill of Calvary. That’s why we’ve begun again to turn together towards the Lord, to show more clearly and more fully, this offering that is made by priestly hands in the name of Christ the high priest. The offering of His cross for the forgiveness of your sins and mine – and the offering of His Body and Blood, pierced for love of us. That is our boast. Not just our acceptance. Not just, ‘well I guess that’s part of the deal.’ It is the boast, that each marriage, each career, each life lived in Christ is in imitation of His cross, and it is in the cross that that life takes meaning and has hope. It is our boast in the cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ. That death and sin have been conquered. That my own ego and will have been conquered. It’s selfish “me” has been crucified, and Christ now lives in me. This is our boast. That the powers of this world have no dominion anymore. And that the power of Christ and the life given through Him is now my inheritance.

How Do We Best Follow Christ?

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Run Time: 12:28. Gospel: Jn 14:23-29.

They [the apostles] used these things [Roman trade routes and Greek culture] to spread the Gospel, but not without some struggles (and it is a good lesson that not every voice in the church is of the Church – and this shouldn’t rattle us too much. There is always discernment). Of how do we best follow Christ? How do we best persevere in fidelity to what was given to us, to the Gospel that wasn’t my making or yours, but the gift of Jesus Christ to His Church. How do we best live that life of discipleship in imitation of Him? … So as to live fully in His grace?

Witnesses to God’s Mercy

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Run Time: 14:10. Gospel: Jn 20:19-31.

This girl Rita, who would become Mary Angelica, found the love of Christ. And when she found it, well there was no way she was going to let it go. In some of the testimonies they talked about her response to God’s call. I think once God first nudged the rest of the time was her chasing Him down. That there was a passion and love in her heart. That she was no reluctant bride being dragged to the altar. She was eager to live as a bride of Christ. And did so as a contemplative Poor Clair. And then at an age when most people are getting ready for … pondering retirement (she was right about 60 when she started the Eternal Word Television Network, an effort to make Christ known by whatever means possible: Little books, and talks on TV, and a television station, and then radio, and the internet). And now throughout the world as a witness again to God’s mercy.
…And what these two have in common, two things in particular. St. John Paul II and Mother Angelica. The first was their witness to redemptive suffering. Both of them suffered greatly…
This is the first thing, the second is so closely related to it and not a surprise for those who, as St. Paul says, ‘in their bodies made up for what was lacking in Christ’s.’ They were witnesses to that gift that Jesus had entrusted to the Church when He said to the Apostles, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them.’ For both of them had a part in the revival of that treasured gift to the Church in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Both of them tirelessly preached the value of confession and the importance of that sacramental forgiveness, which God gives through the Church. They stood both by their own example and by their preaching as witnesses to the mercy of God – not as an idea, not just a concept, but as an encounter as an engagement and a lived reality.

First Holy Communion

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Run Time: 11:19. Gospel: Mk 16:15-20.

What we do, as Catholics when we receive Communion, is the most intimate relationship that we can have with Jesus this side of heaven. When we eat His body and drink His blood, we become like that which we eat – we become more like Christ. And we are nourished in our souls to live courageously the message of the Gospel. So what you do today is a reminder to us.

… we also celebrate today the transferred feast of the Ascension. It seems to me that we don’t think enough about this mystery. It is one of the essential mysteries of our faith, but if you don’t recite the rosary regularly the idea of the Ascension hardly ever comes to mind. But it is a crucial part of Christ’s message and mission. It is the culminating moment – the finale, if you will – the moment in which His victory is enshrined in heaven forever. Jesus ascended into heaven as the living and true sacrifice, that which is made present here under the appearance of bread and wine. He presents to God our Father, our humanity – our very flesh – that living sacrifice, our eternal high priest, that continues to be our bridge of communion between God and humanity until the end of time.

Plan for Christian Life

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Run Time: 12:00. Gospel: Jn 15:9-17.

…this plan of love – loving God, and loving neighbor – is simple and straightforward, summed up in this single, final, definitive command. And it is our mission. If Christ’s plan is for us to love others, to share with others that love which we have first experienced. To give of ourselves for the benefit of others – just as He did for us – then we need to ask ourselves a question: what is the very best thing I can do for my neighbor?

What Quality Makes A Saint?

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Run Time: 10:43.  Gospel: Mt 5:1-12A.

…holiness is a mature friendship with Jesus Christ – nothing else.  Friendship so deep and strong that it allows us to experience the joy of eternal life here and now – while we are still fighting the battles of our earthly life.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

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Run Time: 6:33.  Gospel: Mt 9:1-8

…that the power of God in the confessional, through the hands of the priest, the minister of the sacrament, is so generous and so freely given to anyone who comes who is sorry for offending God and neighbor.  Perhaps we could ask ourselves, then in our own lives: … in what ways do we manifest in our lives outwardly, our faith in the fact that we have been forgiven of our sins?

State of the Parish

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Run Time: 20:32.

This weekend … I am sharing the annual statistics report – both for our spiritual wellbeing and for our financial wellbeing.

The Polish dinner mentioned is the 2nd Annual Polish Feast on August 24 beginning at 1pm.  If you are interest in joining us, tickets are $35 each, $40 at the door.  Please follow the link for further information.

As we look at all of these things, I can’t help but be grateful for what we have been able to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time – in two years and several weeks we have begun to turn things around.  While things are looking better … the good news is that we are able for the first time in quite a while to be able to pay our bills, that things are beginning to look up for us, that we have just cause to be proud of our work, that we have just cause to be grateful for our work, and we have reason to rejoice that God has been so generous to us…

We Are All Doubters

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Run Time: 12:29.  Gospel: Jn 20:19-31.

The Entrance Antiphon (Introit) Father mentioned (“Quasi modo”) reads:
“As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. (Psalm) Rejoice to God our Helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob.  Glory be…”

We are all doubters, aren’t we?  All of us, at times resist God’s action in our lives.  We get mad at him.  We don’t trust him.  We rebel against him and yes, we sin.  But it is precisely in those moments and in those corners of our lives that we try to keep hidden, where our Lord wants to show his infinite mercy and boundless love to us.  In many ways it is like allowing Thomas to touch the wounds.  He wants us to experience, to touch, to come down to our own level so that we can experience him and reaffirm our faith.