Homilies 2000

(Fr. Phil Bloom, Pastor Holy Family, Seattle)

Current Homilies

More Important Than Family: "If we are going to save the family we must first recognize something worth more than even the family. The Catechism states it succinctly..." (December 31, 2000)

"I Am One of You Now": "I mention Father Damien at Christmastime because he did for those lepers what Jesus has done for us by his Incarnation and birth. He has taken on our condition to save us from despair." (Christmas, 2000)

Lost Ark Discovered: "Are the parallels coincidental? The Church Fathers did not think so. At the end of the Bible John tells his vision of a heavenly ark. (Rev. 11:19) In the following verse we discover who it is..." (December 24, 2000)

A Priest's Examination of Conscience: "Father, I want you to know I forgive you," she said to me. "Thanks," I said, "but what did I do?" (December 17, 2000)

"Take Off Your Robe of Misery": "There's a custom in Peru very similar to the one in today's Old Testament reading. When a loved one dies, they wear mourning clothes for a period of three years. Then, having celebrated a third anniversary Mass, they go to side chapel to take off their black clothes...." (December 10, 2000)

Keeping Focused: "I don't know what to make of 'Near Death Experiences.' This past year I read a book on recent studies - and it does sound a bit more convincing than the earlier Life After Life books." (December 3, 2000)

"They Are Ruining My Daughter's Self-Esteem": "One of my priest friends was approached by a parent who said, 'Father, I'm thinking about suing the parish school.' My friend gave a start, 'Why?' He asked. She said, 'They are ruining my daughter's self-esteem.'" (November 26, 2000)

The Final Recount: "I have used the electoral drama in Florida to help illustrate today's Gospel, but the comparison is risky. Not that those results will not have long term consequences, but they pale in relation to the decision you are making at this moment." (November 19, 2000)

The Two Coins: The boy said, "please do not leave me, seņorita, I will die." Luz stayed another hour, then reassured him the hospital staff would take care of him. When she returned the next morning, the fourteen year old boy had died. It was November 1, the Feast of All Saints. (November 12, 2000)

God & the Soul: Nothing More?: "I have a friend who owns a small business, a nice home and several pieces of prime real estate. He watchs the stock market to see how much money he earns or loses each day. All this makes him nervous so he eats hamburgers and french fries dipped in mayonaise. Now, my friend has enough sense of humor to see the irony. But he must take another step..." (November 5, 2000)

The Problem of Envy - And Jesus' Solution: "I had a terrible experience of envy when I was a young priest. One of my parishioners had everything which I felt would make me happy..." (October 22, 2000)

Homily for the 28th Sunday, Year B: "What Must I Do to Have Everlasting Life?"

The Holiness of Sex: "Many people consider this teaching unrealistic. How can we ask a healthy young person to wait until marriage?..." (October 8, 2000)

False Comfort: "Rather what terrifies modern man is what hell represents - arriving at a final, irrevocable decision. Making all religions the same takes away that uncomfortable prospect. If no such choice really matters, I can be saved by embracing any religion - or none." (October 1, 2000)

He Placed a Child in Their Midst: "The danger for us is to die and only then discover we have been following not Jesus, but Jean Jacques Rousseau. Let me give a common example..." (September 24, 2000)

"I Have Set My Face Like Flint": "Not long after Gandhi made his momentous decision, a man in much more hostile situation was also facing a crisis. His mother had died when he was nine, three years later his older brother and finally his father..." (September 17, 2000)

Meaning of Friendship with Jesus: "Jesus restored hearing and speech to underscore the sine qua non of the Christian life - prayer. A journalist once asked Pope John Paul what prayer is..." (September 10, 2000)

Facing Ones Own Sins: "...the Bourgeois Bohemians, called Bobos for short. They do not reject all ethical values - no human can do that. But they have a clever way of taking things once considered negative - like greed, unchastity, envy and arrogance..." (September 3, 2000)

Decide Today!: "One of the Jehovah Witnesses, in frustration, picked up his briefcase and pulled out a small bottle. He placed it on the table in front of Scott saying, 'It's poison. But the Bible says true disciples of Jesus will be able to drink deadly poison and live. If your faith is true, drink it.'" (August 27, 2000)

"The Jews Quarreled Among Themselves": "It sounds like a reference to an entire group of people, yet it cannot be. To make a comparison: Suppose I run into a delegate from the Republican Convention. I ask him, 'Tell me, what really went on behind the scenes in Philadelphia?'" (August 20, 2000)

How To Receive Jesus: "In our culture the food we take in our hands is fast food or snack food. It has less importance to us. We can transfer that mentality to the host--and it would be disastrous for our faith." (For August 13, 2000. Note: from Aug. 7-13 I will be on the Envoy Magazine cruise to Alaska. This is my previous homily for Nineteenth Ordinary Sunday, Year B, slightly updated.)

What Lies Beneath: "A television program called Survivor has achieved wild popularity by taking that angle. It supposedly gives an intimate look at human beings as the money grubbing double crossers we really are." (August 6, 2000)

"But I Wasn't Fed": "At the same time I cannot help wonder if some of those present were like people today, maybe expecting a little bit more. After all Isaiah had prophecied a messianic banquet, 'a feast of the finest foods, choice wine and the best meats.' (Is. 25:6)" (July 30, 2000)

Leisure: A Misunderstood Activity: "A famous Seattle entrepreneur made a statement which illustrates the total work mentality and how it underuts the life of faith..." (July 23, 2000)

About the "Right to Choose": "The party is over and she heads for her car, keys in hand. If I am a true friend, I cannot say, 'Oh, I respect her right to choose.' Choose what? To permanently injure herself? To kill another human being? Some friend if I let her do that." (July 16, 2000)

Separation of Church and State?: "We can have the hottest economy, but if people stand by while nine month old unborn babies are killed, the value of our nation will be zero. If, as a society, we don't extend protection to a viable pre-born child, who will we protect?" (July 9, 2000)

Appreciating the Ordinary: "I hope you don't think I'm an old shoe, but I would like to argue that even tho ordinary does mean usual, common, even unexceptional; it can sometimes be the best. I remember the most wonderful meal I ever had." (July 2, 2000)

Combatting Impatience: "The crisis of the Catholic Church during the past thirty years has largely been a crisis of reverence for the Eucharist. On today's Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ, perhaps we can do something to restore proper reverence." (June 26, 2000)

The Bottom Line: "Thus tiny particles and their movements become the 'bottom line' of all reality. To overcome such reductionism we must first acknowledge a distinction between the scientific method and the philosophy of naturalism (a.k.a. materialism or atheism)..." (Trinity Sunday, June 18, 2000)

The Spirit & The Flesh: "Without the Spirit our good intentions usually come to naught. A friend of mine frequently talks about how he is going to start losing weight..." (Pentecost Sunday, June 11, 2000)

Beyond the Secular Paradigm: "In his book Wonderful Life Stephen Jay Gould tells the story of great scientists blinded by an outdated paradigm..." (Ascension Sunday, June 4, 2000)

The Cost of Friendship with Jesus: "Jesus is a friend in whom we can place our complete trust. St. Polycarp (69-155) gave an example of such confidence." (May 28, 2000)

Fatima Prophecies & the Vine Dresser: "Pope John Paul II once again surprised the world. During his pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal, last Saturday (May 13) Cardinal Sodano read a text on the mysterious Third Secret." (May 21, 2000)

Jesus' Job Description: "The ad stated: Wanted: A priest who will love us and allow us to love him. Now, those people knew how to write a good job description..."(May 14, 2000)

"Touch Me and See": "A military chaplain during the Vietnam war described this anomaly: At a service for pilots before they went on bombing raids, the minister spoke against fornication. He warned the men about the spiritual, emotional, even physical dangers of casual sex. Some weeks later..." (May 7, 2000)

A Requisite for Believing: "If because of me - or some parishioner - you feel a distance from Christ and his Church, I ask your forgiveness. We need you at Holy Family. If you have gone away, we want you back. Some of you come with doubts and questions about your faith." (April 30, 2000)

Born Again!: "St. Paul had in mind a certain way of baptizing. I saw that when I was a student in Rome. They had just excavated a second century church. At the entrance was something like a small swimming pool..." (Easter Vigil; April 22, 2000)

Vicarious Suffering: "He felt a horrible pain in his legs which lasted several minutes. At the same time he saw a look of relief, peace come over Joy's face. This exchange was made possible not only by faith, but more important because of Lewis' deep love for his wife." (Good Friday; April 21, 2000)

Washing of Feet & Eucharist: "My own efforts are so puny, so half-hearted, so mixed with pride. For that reason they often backfire and I am left hurt, "Why don't they appreciate all I do for them?" Tonite we have the opportunity to put things in their right perspective." (Holy Thursday, April 20, 2000)

Why This Waste?: "Such extravagance fits what we ourselves experience. We know love moves people to do things which outsiders consider crazy, even scandalous." (Palm Sunday, April 16, 2000)

"We Would Like to See Jesus": Sometimes people approach me like the anonymous Greeks in today's Gospel. Their prayer life has become dry - or they are just not sure how to pray. They want to see Jesus...I do have a suggestion based on my own experience..." (April 9, 2000)

The Memory of God: "C.S. Lewis described how hearing about a certain character in Norse mythology filled him with a longing he could not explain. It is possible to put such an experience aside and to 'get on with things.'" (April 2, 2000)

What Will Last?: "The implosion of Kingdome with its 443 tons of steel is an apt image of our world. Those things we consider most durable will one day be reduced to rubble and dust. The same happens in our individual lives..." (March 26, 2000)

A Million Dollars for Your TV: "Would you, for a million dollars, give up your television? Those asked immediately said, 'yes,' but then he explained it meant never watching TV again. Well, that sounded more serious..."

The Rabbit's Foot: "Perhaps the girl saw she had a broken heart. At any rate, the child wanted to show her something. When the woman saw what was in her hand, she stared in amazement..." (March 12, 2000)

Jesus is the Question: "Some churches have a huge billboard which proclaims, JESUS IS THE ANSWER! I have no quarrel with that sentiment. However, it is more in line with the New Testament to say, 'Jesus is the Question.' We see the enigma of Jesus in today's Gospel." (March 5, 2000)

The Bridegroom: "Jesus referred to himself as the bridegroom. This self-identification has stunning implications. In the first place it answers the scribes' question in last Sunday's gospel." (February 27, 2000)

Your Sins are Forgiven - Go Home: "He had fallen into some terrible addictions. We tried different interventions but nothing worked. All we could do was take that person to the Lord in prayer." (February 20, 2000)

Funeral Homily for My Mom: "For most of us, our idea of heaven is to see our parents and other loved ones again. But there is only one way back to them." (February 1, 2000)

Why Don't Priests Get Married?: "In spite of my twenty-eight years as a priest, I do not put myself forward as a model of celibacy. Yet the ideal is true and can be realized. I know priests who have given themselves to it wholeheartedly. I would like to mention one...." (January 23, 2000)

The Last Sunrise: "Think about what you would do if this morning's sunrise was the last one. The sadness you feel would suddenly become very relative; same with rejoicing. The person dearest to you - say your wife - you would see in a whole new light. And your possessions, well..." (January 23, 2000)

The Hardest Saying in the Bible: "The perversion manifests itself in our use of the possessive pronoun. The child learns to say MY toy in a way he can hit the other child who touches it. These are MY tennis shoes..." (January 16, 2000)

Limits of Solidarity: "As we read in Mark 1:5, before John baptized each person, they confessed their sins*. It doesn't say whether the penitent did that out loud or softly to John. I assume most would prefer saying their faults quietly. Like Ambassador Alan Keyes this week..." (January 9, 2000)

False Promises of Old Millennium: "But today we have come to consider angst as a disease. When we feel sad, depressed, angry, guilty, hopeless, we can go to the doctor for treatment. Now, medication is not bad in itself, but it can block an obvious question: Is there a good reason behind the sadness, guilt, fear, anger? Maybe those feelings are telling me something important." (January 1-2, 2000)

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