Homilies 2002

(by Fr. Phil Bloom)

Current Homilies

Saintly Seniors: "I have known men like that. They can light up a room when they enter it." (December 29, 2002)

The Word: "For a child trying to survive in a huge, confusing – and frightening – city, the doll signified someone reaching out and caring about her." (December 25, 2002)

Hail, Full of Grace!: "I love my dog, but I would not greet him, 'Hail, Samwise!' Yet the angel does greet Mary in that manner." (December 22, 2002)

To Heal the Brokenhearted: When I was a young man, someone told me, “Treat each person you meet as if he recently had his heart broken – and you will probably be right.” (December 15, 2002)

They Acknowledged Their Sins: "Recently I asked a medical professional if marijuana causes any long-term effects..." (December 8, 2002)

The Gatekeeper: "This week I have been reading a book which made me reflect on the role of the watchman or gatekeeper: An Exorcist Tells His Story by Fr. Gabriele Amorth." (December 1, 2002)

Judgment of the Gentiles: "As I speak, technicians are forming human embryos in petri dishes. They select some to implant and others to discard. Still others remain frozen for years or are used for medical experiments." (November 24, 2002)

The Great Escape: "In case you entertain similar fantasies, let me tell you about a man who actually did make the Great Escape." (November 17, 2002)

Is Salvation Guaranteed?: "Several years ago a minister over on the Olympic Peninsula murdered his wife...some members of the congregation had a curious reaction. They said that their minister had accepted Christ as his Savior and because of that, his salvation was assured, no matter what he did." (November 10, 2002)

Call No Man Father: "Christians have rightly honored their carnal and spiritual fathers. Yet Jesus says, 'call no man father.' What does he mean?" (November 3, 2002)

Loneliness and Lasting Communion: "I asked her about her dreams. She said what she was most looking forward to was retiring! For sure, she was not thinking about retirement as the elderly experience it..." (All Saints Day, November 1)

Why Didn't You Tell Me?: "You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors." (October 27, 2002)

The Trap of Idolatry: "it is so easy for us to stop short and become fixated on the form itself. Thus men will neglect their wives and families to spend hours at strip clubs or staring at images on a computer." (October 20, 2002)

Reverence During Mass: "This Sunday I bring to your attention some things we can do right now to make our celebration more reverential." (October 13, 2002)

The Betrayers: “The most notorious case was Fr. Paul Shanley who helped found the North American Man-Boy Love Association in 1979. He lectured in seminaries, once with a bishop in attendance, maintaining that 'homosexuality is a gift of God and should be celebrated' and that there was no sexual activity that caused psychic damage, 'not even incest or bestiality.'” (October 6, 2002)

Determinism and Freedom: "the choice is radical. A person not only can choose God, but reject him by committing mortal sin." (September 29, 2002)

Why Do You Stand Idle?: "A young man whose marriage I celebrated three years ago dropped dead last week. The doctors said a blood vessel in his brain ruptured." (September 22, 2002)

Not Entitled to Forgiveness: A letter in our daily newspaper described the forgiveness of sin as an “entitlement.” Normally I wouldn't pay attention to the theology contained in letters to the editor. However, a man employed full-time in formation of Catholic youth wrote this one. (September 15, 2002)

Why Did No One Stop Him? : "his resignation was swiftly accepted when it was revealed that he had paid $450,000 of archdiocesan funds to a blackmailer with whom he had an affair almost twenty years earlier..." (September 8, 2002)

A Satanic Temptation: "I have seen people with great fervor, including priests, gradually become empty. Setting aside the Liturgy of Hours, they read the daily paper, thinking it will tell them what is happening in the world." (September 1, 2002)

Jesus Establishes a Sacred Order: "Dr. Joyce Little states: 'If there is one theological insight more crucial than any other to the re-evangelization of this nation, it lies in recognizing the true meaning and significance of the word hierarchy...' Those words rankle people who want Jesus' Church to become a free-flowing, egalitarian institution. But it gets worse..." (August 25, 2002)

God's Favoritism: "Sometimes people who advocate women priests will use this argument: While it is true Christ chose only males as apostles, he also only chose Jews. Why not ordain only Jewish men?" (August 18, 2002)

Patroness of the Unborn: "One of my hopes is that we can get beyond the pro-choice vs. pro-life rhetoric." (Feast of Assumption, August 15)

Men of Faith: "Like seventeenth century Oaxaca, the U.S. culture has much good - but also parts which are bad, even demonic. Blessed Juan and Jacinto can help us, not only embrace the good, but also discern what is evil - and take a stand against it." (August 11, 2002)

All You Who Are Thirsty: "My point is not to analyze the current scandal surrounding Enron, WorldCom and Martha Stewart. I want to ask a deeper question. Why do we – like Midas – desire riches that we could never conceivably consume?" (August 4, 2002)

Either/Or: "We experience angst in a way no other animal does because, in our case, the stakes are incredibly high. The one thing we cannot do is to avoid making a decision. Kierkegaard explains why in his book Either/Or." (July 28, 2002)

The Fiery Furnace: "TV programs reassure viewers that Hell was a medieval invention. Others blame St. Paul - even though he had relatively little to say on the topic. However, the one who spoke frequently and vividly about eternal damnation was Our Lord himself." (July 21, 2002)

Relentless Mercy: "Filled with shame, denial and bitterness, Alessandro went to prison. However, the seed Maria planted gradually bore fruit." (July 14, 2002)

Come to Me You Who Are Burdened: "The soldier used this experience to lead other men in 'spiritual exercises.' Thus he formed what was, until quite recently, the greatest religious order in the Church..." (July 7, 2002)

Padre Pio’s Most Famous Penitent: "From his early years people had spread rumors of false mysticism, self-inflicted wounds and even sexual misconduct. In 1931 his superiors forbade him from saying public Mass or hearing confessions." (June 30, 2002)

Secret Acts Made Public: "Locally, the Seattle newspapers printed a priest's picture, along with prurient accounts of his failings some two decades ago. Dark secrets have been exposed to all, including small children. But is that really what Jesus had in mind?" (June 23, 2002)

How Our Bishops Failed: "Since the late 60’s, bishops have tolerated open dissent to Jesus’ teaching on human sexuality. That leniency reached such an extreme that two successive Cardinals did not correct a priest who openly advocated man-boy sex." (June 16, 2002)

To Forgive the Unforgivable: The sister grabbed the doctor by the shoulders and said, “I absolve you for what you've done. You must continue your work and not be crushed by guilt.” (June 9, 2002)

Broken Bread: If, like me, you sometimes get discouraged, I recommend a chapter from Everlasting Man, titled “The Five Deaths of the Faith.” (June 2, 2002)

An Excellent Question: "The devil desires suicide. Since the clergy scandals broke, two priests a have taken their own lives..." (May 26, 2002)

Healing of Memories: "Fr. Bob Spitzer, S.J. (president of Gonzaga University) tells about a powerful prayer to the Holy Spirit. It involves asking for healing of hurts and memories – not just for ones own self, but for those one has harmed." (May 19, 2002)

Finding the Way Home: But before I could formulate my thoughts, she said, “I miss my mother.” (May 12, 2002)

I Don't Love Her Any More: "'Father,' he said, 'I am thinking about leaving my wife.' The words devastated me, but I tried to keep calm." (May 5, 2002)

I Am The Way: Perhaps the greatest scandal in Boston was that a priest who had a doctrine similar to the Nicolaitans was allowed to continue teaching in the name of the Church." (April 28, 2002)

Can The Church Save Itself? "This has been a awful week for the Archdiocese of Seattle. For me personally it was horrible to see past transgressions of a dear friend splashed over the news." (April 21, 2002)

Time Stood Still : "I know a guy who works with one goal in mind - to earn enough for a trip to Las Vegas. When he enters the casino, he becomes so immersed in the games that he loses track of time." (April 14, 2002)

Divine Mercy: Fr. John Corapi tells a remarkable story about divine mercy...his inner emptiness led him to a cocaine addiction. On account of it he lost his job, home - and wound up a destitute wandering the streets of Los Angeles..." (April 7, 2002)

The Weakest Link: "Acknowledging his utter weakness, he became a true rock. More than any other man, Peter knew the joy of forgiveness." (Easter Sunday, March 31, 2002)

Testimony of Bishop Dolli: "The NIF (National Islamic Front) falsely accused Bishop Dolli’s brother of belonging to a Christian rebel group. Tying a rope around his neck, they dragged him three miles behind a military jeep till his skin was worn off. Then they poured gasoline over him and burned him alive." (Good Friday, March 29, 2002)

Humiliation of Priesthood: "At the same time my priest group reflected on this tragedy, we also acknowledged that each of us has our own personal demons, struggles and failures – like every human being. For that reason I am going to make a personal request of you this Holy Thursday." (Holy Thursday, March 28, 2002)

Human Guilt & Divine Mercy: "today’s readings are a theological DNA test which indicates that you and I have Jesus’ blood on our hands." (Palm Sunday, March 24, 2002)

He Was Buried: "Instead of cremating the bodies entrusted to them, the Tri-State Crematory simply stashed them away and gave mourners ordinary ashes. As of March 10, 339 bodies have been recovered." (March 17, 2002)

Men Who Went Blind: "You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and I hate you!" (Saruman to Frodo, Lord of the Rings) (March 10, 2002)

What She Desired: "When she said that, I felt a stab in my own heart. Some longings are too painful to express in words." (March 3, 2002)

The Boston Scandal: A Lenten Reflection: "I have felt gloomy these past weeks, watching a new scandal of priestly pederasty explode. It was discouraging not just because it happened in such a prominent archdiocese as Boston..." (February 24, 2002)

First Signs of Spring: "After tripping our first parents, the devil had no difficulty with the rest of us. Like the Enron scandal indicates, he can pick out people who are on top of the world and bring them down in an instant." (February 17, 2002)

Dealing With Guilt: "Dr. Peter Singer also illustrates false guilt...Far from eradicating remorse, his philosophy is a formula for unappeasable guilt. " (Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2002)

When Salt Loses Its Taste: Once a shopkeeper told me, “I am not a Catholic, but I want you to know much it means to me to see you walking down the street.” I wish everyone were that easy to please..." (February 10, 2002)

How to Achieve Happiness: "this is what he says will make us happy: bankruptcy, loss of loved ones, abstinence from savory food and sex, political defeat, invasion of boundaries, misunderstandings, false accusations – and, above all, to become the laughingstock of former friends." (February 3, 2002)

Heresies Must Arise: "The trouble with factions is not that they sometimes provoke intellectual conflict. It would be helpful if we could have honest debates like the recent one between Fr. Richard Neuhuaus and Yale professor Peter Singer." (January 27, 2002)

I Accept The Blame: "They say that if they entered the church, the roof would cave in. Well, Holy Family Church has stood here for almost fifty years and folks more miserable than you have walked through these doors." (January 20, 2002)

The Grace of Baptism: "It is true the New Testament does not mention the baptism of infants, but neither does it mention children being raised in believing households, reaching the age of reason and then being baptized." (January 13, 2002)

Astrology and the Christ Child: "Today’s Gospel gives an opportunity to address an important topic: the relation of Christianity and the 'occult.'" (January 6, 2002)

No Justice Without Forgiveness: "While we should always look for mitigating circumstances (he was tired, distracted, physically upset, etc.) true forgiveness can only happens between human beings who acknowledge free and deliberate choices." (January 1, 2002)


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