1999 Homilies

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Bigger on the Inside: "In a children's story called the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis describes a peculiar building. It looks quite ordinary, but is unlike any other..." (December 25, 1999)

Mary's Vow of Virginity: "Paul makes a reference to that practice (which had Old Testament roots) in his first letter to the Corinthians (7:5). Joseph and Mary who were pious Jews may have been influenced by the Essene milieu. For that reason when the angel told Mary she would conceive and give birth to a son, she did not say, 'Oh, Joseph and I are going to have a child.'" (December 19, 1999)

Guadalupe and Jubilee 2000: "Some people have a strange experience of this when they visit the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. It happens as they look upon the tilma, the mantle of Juan Diego." (December 12, 1999)

Reflection on Lutheran - Catholic Declaration: "I suspect many Lutherans would be surprised by their church's traditional teaching: We are merely passive in receiving justification...the justified continue to be sinners; concupiscence is sin; God's law, beyond our power to observe, still accuses us of guilt and eternal life is never merited." (December 1, 1999)

The Last Curtain: "We like to think such talk belongs to groups like Jehovah Witnesses and Adventists. Sure, they were off base in their attempts to calculate the date of Jesus' return. Nevertheless, they have correctly focused on the central message of the New Testament - that human history is not meaningless striving, but a genuine drama." (November 28, 1999)

The Final Judgment: "The homilist might even conclude that our salvation depends on the good works we do for the poor (feeding the hungry, welcoming the foreigner, visiting the sick and imprisoned). Without discouraging those works of mercy (see Catechism #2447) we still must challenge the equation of salvation with deeds." (November 21, 1999)

Stewardship: "Fr. Gallagher told me about some funerals he had while I was in Peru. I was stunned to hear about the death of a young woman whose marriage I had celebrated just two year ago. Who can say when their own moment will come?" (November 14, 1999)

What Belongs to God: "I have heard people confess every sin against the ten commandments - perjury, stealing, drunkenness, adultery, even murder. But one sin I seldom if ever hear is the one against the first commandment. Yet it is probably our most common sin." (October 17, 1999)

Why Some Do Not Enter: "All the while we detect the aroma of an abundant banquet. I know you do because in an unguarded moment you revealed your painful secret. But you have to trust me - or rather to trust God..." (October 10, 1999)

Usurpers of the Vineyard: "This week the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) gave us a glimpse into the current effort to usurp the Jesus' vineyard, the Church. Frontline presented what was ostensibly a documentary about the twenty year papacy of Pope John Paul II. However..." (October 3, 1999)

Are God's Ways Unfair? "As he was slipping away, she placed a small crucifix in his hand. To the astonishment of the family he grasped it and lifted it to his lips." (September 26, 1999)

Are You In or Not?: "as Cardinal Newman put it bluntly, are you in the Church or not? That will be what matters in the end. The Book of Revelation, indeed the whole Bible, assures us that what will last is Jesus and his bride the Church. Everything else is illusion..." (September 19, 1999)

Excuse or Forgive?: "An outsider might view the incident as small. What are those two so steamed up about? But the insiders know the poison dart had been carefully stored and deliberately hurled at a precisely chosen moment. The former easygoing peace can never be restored." (September 12, 1999)

How to Correct Others: "Our bodies only have a few liters of blood. It is a matter of discerning for which noble cause we will shed our allotted portion. Most of the time we are called to simply forgive as God forgives us. But if prayer and reflection convinces you that something more than forgiveness is required, you must be prepared to go all the way." (September 5, 1999)

Mater Sí, Magistra No?: "He realized his faith needed to effect not only his role as husband and father, but his entire life. In his medical practice he had been prescribing the pill and other forms of contraception." (August 29, 1999)

"I Will Build My Church": "Both words mean a stone or rock. Not exactly a flattering nickname and perhaps even a bit ironic considering Simon Peter's outbursts and cowardice. Commenting on this verse Bishop Sheen speculates that Jesus chose Peter precisely because of his weakness." (August 22, 1999)

Patroness of the Unborn: "The anti-abortion position is sometimes exclusively identified with the Republic party. That overlooks the fact there are many Democrats who want legal protection for the unborn child. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act can be an occasion to reflect on what is the overriding moral issue of our time." (August 15, 1999)

The Small, Still Voice: "Every woman's head lifted up. They were attuned to that sound. In the midst of our noisy world we can become attuned to a sound that is softer, but even more powerful." (August 8, 1999)

What is Heaven? "the thought of heaven as a giant sharing session sounds to me more like the other place. An image of heaven that I personally love is from a children's story called the Chronicles of Narnia.

The Terrible Reality of Hell "Even tho he had heard about hell he thought it could only happen to some famous evil person like Hitler or Lenin. After all, he reasoned, 'I haven't done anything so bad. I haven't hurt anybody.'" (July 18, 1999)

Abundance vs. Scarcity Mentality "If God can put billions of galaxies in the heavens and bring forth a million different species on this planet, can he not work a miracle of fecundity in your heart and mine?" (July 11, 1999)

Where are the Catholic Politicians? (July 4, 1999)

Father's Day Homily: "we give our children everything except the one thing they really want." (June 20, 1999)

Notes for Homilists: (June 6 & 13, 1999) In the Hand or on the Tongue? "it is not enough to simply tell people, 'that's the way they did it in the early church,' or 'that's how the apostles received at the Last Supper.' They had some things going for them that we do not..."

Trinity Sunday: "Each moment of our existence on earth we are either reaching out to God or drawing away from him. That is the kind of creatures we are. It is like a sponge: either filling up or slowly drying out." (May 30, 1999)

Pentecost Sunday: "The inescapable fact is that we have turned our faces away from God. We have a kind of shame inside ourselves that makes us reluctant to approach God." (May 23, 1999)

Ascension Sunday Homily: "We are like passengers on the Titanic: concerned about comfort, status, grabbing what pleasure we can, so easily persuaded we are unsinkable. Ascension Sunday is a kind of wake up call." (May 16, 1999)

"If You Love Me..." (Mother's Day Homily, May 9, 1999)

Where Are the Shepherds?: What happened in that Denver suburb on Tuesday raises the question, "Where are the shepherds?" Our society had given those boys so much--comfort, spending money, entertainment, technology--but where were the shepherds they needed? (April 25, 1999)

Spirituality Not Religion: "Recently a guy informed me he does not go to church on Sunday because he 'believes in spirituality not religion'. My response was to remind him there are spirits and there are spirits." (April 18, 1999)

Neither Gullible Nor Rigid "I mention these failed predictions not to say we should ignore what experts tell us. On the contrary let's attend seriously to them, but we also need to have a bit of the Doubting Thomas inside us." (April 11, 1999)

Easter Sunday: "If they are correct, it was the central event of human history--and in every human life. It was a singular event, but we have every reason to believe them..." (April 4, 1999)

Good Friday "But even more remarkable that Jesus would love each one of us so deeply that he would take our sins upon his own shoulders. The question I would like to ask this evening is: In what does Jesus' love consist? (April 2, 1999)

Holy Thursday "Because Holy Thursday is such an intimate Mass, I would like to share some personal thoughts about fatherhood." (April 1, 1999)

His Blood Be Upon Us "I am going to mention a word some of us have a hard time talking about. It is that three-letter word beginning with "S." It's not the one many of you are thinking." (March 28, 1999)

About Confession and Cremation "The Seal of Confession often gives people confidence to tell a priest what they have told no one else, perhaps some hidden secret--like abortion, homosexual behavior or child abuse." (March 21, 1999)

Fatal Blindness "It is one thing not to see the difference between man and other animals. It is much more fatal to not see the difference between Jesus and all other men." (March 14, 1999)

The One You Want "All of us have this deep, incredible longing. It is not for pleasure or comfort or tranquillity. We would gladly sacrifice any of those things and more if we could only have that for which our heart yearns." (March 7, 1999)

God or gods of culture? "Like Ur the gods of our culture also demand child sacrifice. I am not thinking immediately about abortion even tho it is the most dramatic example." (February 28, 1999)

Original Sin & Temptation "Most of us have had so little experience resisting temptation we seem blind to how it works. Regarding last year's White House crisis..." (February 21, 1999)

Ash Wednesday 1999 "we work and try to solve problems (like health or car breakdowns) in order to have more time to spend on our diversions--reading, vacations, friends, meals, sports, games, TV, etc. None of those things are bad in themselves, but they keep us from seeing what we really long for."

Adultery, Perjury & Judgment "people have tried to say that Jesus warns against lust because it can lead to adultery. But in reality it is just the opposite." (February 14, 1999)

A Sure Thing "I wanted to say to them, "I have something better you can invest your money in. It's not a one in five million chance. This is a sure thing." (February 7, 1999)

Catholic Schools and Culture of Death "children there, boys and girls, will actually prostitute themselves to get money to buy the right kind of clothes. The poison of our consumer society, what the pope calls the 'culture of death,' has spread thru the whole world." (January 31, 1999)

Padre Pro's Testimony "When he rose, he kissed the crucifix, then stretched out his hands, faced the firing squad* and shouted, "Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long live Christ the King). I tell you about Padre Pro because he illustrates certain aspects of Jesus' life.." (January 10, 1999)

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