Central Issue

(April 18, 2019)

Bottom line: Tonight we draw inspiration from Benedict's prayerful reflection. Yes, the sixties and seventies evidenced a terrible collapse for our society and our church, but the problem is our tepid response - especially to the great gift of the Eucharist.

On Monday we watched in horror as a fire devastated the Notre Dame Cathedral. To me this fire represents how sin - especially the abuse of children - ruins the beauty of God's Church. At the same time we see the determination to rebuild.

The homily will be mainly in English but I begin with a summary in Spanish. Esta noche sacamos inspiracion de la refleccion del papa jubilado, Benedicto Dieciseis, sobre la crisis de abuso sexual de menores por sacerdotes. A pesar de lo que dicen los medios de comunicacion, no echa la culpa a los anyos sesenta. Es cierto que los decadas entre 1960 a 1980 ven un colapso de nuestra sociedad y nuestra iglesia. Sin embargo, el problema es nuestra respuesta tibia - especialmente al gran don de la Eucaristia. Veremos el ejemplo del Padre Jean-Marc Fournier que salvó la Eucaristia de la Catedral de Notre Dame. Dare tres maneras en que podemos renovar nuestra reverencia y gratitud por Jesus Sacramentado.

On Palm Sunday I mentioned the essay by Benedict XVI. The pope emeritus gives his reflections on "the crisis experienced throughout the world after the shocking revelations of clerical abuse perpetrated against minors." Before becoming pope in 2005, Benedict served as theology professor, cardinal archbishop of Munich and later as head of the congregation that dealt with abuse cases. His reflections come from a depth of experience. They deserve careful reading, more than headlines which announce that he "blames the sixties" or "blames homosexuals" or "is criticizing Pope Francis."

On the last point, far from criticizing his sucessor, Bendict contacted Pope Francis before publishing his essary. If Pope Francis had objected, Benedict surely would have remained silent. In his final paragraph Benedict praises Pope Francis concluding, "Thank you, Holy Father!"

Benedict does mention homosexual cliques in the 70's but hardly lays blame at their feet. Nor does he blame the sixties. Like many people he observes that in the 20 years from 1960 to 1980 "previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely." The problem is that Catholic leaders, rather than standing up to this devastation, simply went along. As we used to say, "go with the flow." I say this to my own shame as well. More about that tomorrow when we focus on how our sins caused Jesus' suffering and death.

Tonight I want to focus on what Benedict identifies as "a central issue" - lack of reverence for the Eucharist. Benedict tells how after the Second Vatican Council (1963-1965) he hoped for "a new reverence for Christ's death and resurrection". Instead we fell into "a way of dealing with Him (Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament) that destroys the greatness of the mystery".

We have to admit reverence for the Eucharist has declined in the last fifty years - but not everywhere. On Monday Fr. Jean-Marc Fornier, together with some valiant laypeople, entered the burning Notre Dame Cathedral. Their goal: to rescue the precious relics, even at the cost of their lives. But what was the top priority? Yes, the Blessed Sacrament! When you think about it, the Blessed Sacrament has greater worth than the entire Cathedral, move value than all the cathedrals and buildings in the world.

We see the boundless worth of the Eucharist in tonight's second reading. St. Paul tells us, "I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you...that Jesus took bread and after giving thanks, said, 'This is my Body'". Could Jesus give a greater gift?

To increase reverence for this gift, here are a three things a person can do: 1) When the priest elevates the Host and the chalice, say in your heart, "My Lord and my God". Señor mio y Dios mio. 2) As the person ahead of you receives Communion, bow your head, then come forward with focus on Our Lord. Do the same with Jesus' Precious Blood. 3) Worship Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. At the end of Mass I will place the ciborium of Hosts on the altar. After incensing our Savior, I will cover the ciborium with the humoral veil for a procession inside the church. Those who are able, please kneel. The Blessed Sacrament, Jesus himself will remain on the chapel altar until midnight. Stay for some time of adoration or return at 10 or 11. This night above all we want to show reverence and gratitude.

You who are here tonight are my core parishioners. You can model reverence and gratitude. We do have a lot to be grateful for as we will see tomorrow when we focus on the depth of Jesus love and self sacrifice for us.

Tonight we draw inspiration from Benedict's prayerful reflection. Yes, the sixties and seventies evidenced a terrible collapse for our society and our church, but the problem is our tepid response - especially to the great gift of the Eucharist. We can, however, renew our reverence. In the our processional hymn we sing these words: "Canta, lengua jubilosa el misterio del altar". "Sing, my tongue, the Savior's glory of his flesh the mystery sing." Amen.


Audio Homilies for Holy Thursday:

Homilies for Triduum 2019:

Holy Thursday
Good Friday
Easter Sunday

From Archives (Holy Thursday Homilies):

2018: A Girl Gives her Life Jesus (bilingual)
2017: Testimony from Bishop-Elect Mueggenborg (bilingual)
2016: Martyrs of Mercy - Sacrament of Mercy (bilingual)
2015: Two Eucharistic Saints (bilingual)
2014: Discern the Body (bilingual)
2013: Peter's Lesson of Humility (bilingual)
2012: Blood Shed For Us (bilingual)
2011: The Love of Loves (bilingual)
2010: Foot Washing & Celibacy
2009: Join the Nearest Household
2008: Grandma, Can I Wash Your Feet?
2007: The Passover Lamb Must Be Eaten
2006: A New Friend at the Banquet
2005: Our True Companion
2004: A Girl's Heroic Holy Hour
2003: Do This!
2002: Humiliation of Priesthood
2001: Super-Abundance of Mercy
2000: Washing of Feet & Eucharist
1999: Family Struggles & Strengths

Homilias en Castellano Para Jueves Santo:

2010: Lavatorio de Pies y el Celibato
2009: Que Se Junte Con Los Vecinos
2008: Abuelita, Puedo Lavarte Los Pies?
2007: Hay Que Comer el Cordero Pascual
2006: Un Nuevo Amigo al Banquete
2005: Nuestro Verdadero Companero
2004: La Hora Santa Heroica de una Nina
2003: Hagan Esto!
2002: Super-Abundancia de Misericordia

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Letter from Former Catholic: Syllabus of Accusations against Popes & Some Responses

Holy See Addresses Scandals Caused by Priests

How Seattle Has Addressed Issue Statement by Archbishop Brunett


Stem Cell Research: Teaching of Bible & Catholic Church

my bulletin column

Parish Picture Album - April 2011

40 Days for Life (Everett, WA)

Q&A about Planned Parenthood

Another sting by Live Action: Planned Parenthood CEO’s False Mammogram Claim Exposed

Reasons Young People Leave Their Faith - Presentation for Monroe Christian Pastor. (For pdf format click here)

Background for presentation on "Reasons Young People Leave Their Faith": High School Course – World Civilization - Section on origins of Christianity. (For pdf format click here)

Parish Picture Album

Laetare Sunday: the old & the new (March 2012)

Al Kresta at Rally for Religious Freedom: "We want this to be an enduring victory for American religious liberty...The way we ensure this does not become a political tempest in a teapot: Psalm 51 'Create in me a clean heart, O God..."

Please take time to read what our bishops are saying about Religious Liberty & Conscience Protection

The Archdiocese of Seattle also has helpful resources regarding the defense of marriage and family

Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish

Parish Picture Album

(view slide show of Men's Conference Volunteers)

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru

(new, professional website)

photos of Diego
(teenager with eye disease helped by Mary Bloom Center)