Today’s Homily at Holy Trinity Parish October 2, 2016 the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, christian, ecclesiology, Eucharist, Faith, forgiveness, homily, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on October 2, 2016

Homily August 16, 2015 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, Christianity, Eucharist, Faith, inspirational, religion, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 13, 2015

20 sunThe last few weeks we have been listening to the Bread of life discourse in the Gospel of John. As we know, John was written after the other gospels and has some different characteristics than the 3 Synoptic gospels. John, for instance, spends several chapters on the last supper and Jesus’ washing of feet and various discourses, but he does not include the institution of the Eucharist. The discourse we have been listening to is placed at Passover, and thee bread of life discourse is John’s introduction and theology of Christ’s body and blood. It is his way of teaching and bringing about a better understanding of the Eucharist.20 sunda So far we have seen the body and blood as food and nourishment for the body and as spiritual food for our journey to eternal life,

Today, Jesus emphasizes that the body and blood he is giving is actually his very flesh and his very blood. This flesh and blood is really and actually his body and blood. As bread is made of grain crushed and mixed with water and then baked at high temperature, so has the wine been made of crushed grapes and fermented to make his blood Bread as we know is a staple and nutritious for every day life and in such a way is Christ’s body crushed and life giving to us now and for our daily life and for future life to come. Wine is true drink, but actually in a way more festive and joyful for the sharing of nutritious and happy times. Together we come together and share his body and blood and together achieve a unity of mind and heart and prepare ourselves to go out and face the world as loving Christians and bring ourselves to a table and place Body_of_Christ_by_ssejllenradprepared for us when we have reached the end of our time. Real food, real drink for us for now physically and spiritually , a way to face daily life. How can this be, how can it be his flesh and blood? It was asked in Christ’s time and obviously in John’s time. And even today it is asked. Faith tells us it is what Christ said it was and there has been throughout the centuries no greater gift to us. His body, his blood has been given and has been a constant from the very earliest church. It is true even to today, whoever eats his body and drinks his blood will have life and will never die.

Homily at Holy Trinity May 10th, 2015 6th Sunday of Easter

Posted in Called, christian, homily, religion, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on May 10, 2015

Homily June 22, 2014 Most Holy Body and Blood

Posted in christian, church events, Eucharist, inspirational, religion, scripture, Spirit by Fr Joe R on June 18, 2014

eucharist2Today we celebrate the Body and Blood of Christ. Throughout the celebration of Lent and the Easter cycle leading up to Pentecost, one thing we acknowledged but didn’t emphasize was the institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday. With Christ’s Death and Resurrection and Ascension and the sending of his Spirit to help us continue on his ministry, we forgot to recall and consider Christ’s words “ I’ll be with you until the end of time.” And so he is, for he has given us his special gift of his Eucharist, his very body and blood. Through this sacrament his physical presence remains always. It is in the form of food, food for a journey of faith.
In ancient times, sacrifice in their worship involved the killing of animals. It was their way of offering to God (or gods for those who believed in many) a share of their goods and good will to God. In their time and culture life in a living creature was centered in the blood for their perception was that blood was the most essential thing for life. So in their offering, they drained the blood of the animal on the altar and the animal was eaten and some of it was burned. eucharist5Thus we see here from Christ’s death the symbolism of the Eucharist of offering life and food. As the symbols of life and food, for blood he choose the form of wine and for food he chose the most common food of bread. These two were a common staple of ancient diets. But in choosing bread and wine, he did more by making them a special sign, a sacrament. At that last dinner with his disciples he gave them a food he had promised earlier in his ministry, his flesh and his blood. For us it is real food and real drink to help us on our journey through life.

Certainly, his Spirit is with us, and invigorates us, remains present and guides us individually and as a community but Christ himself remains truly present and real as food and drink to help as we struggle to walk through life with all its struggles and even the happy times too. We are not meant to stand in awe or fear of this food. While it is the body and blood of Christ, it is for us to help us and be with us day-to-day. Certainly, we respect and love and are grateful, yet this food is a sharing of Christ’s love and his never-ending presence in our lives. As human beings, we need to gather and eat and share our lives with those we love. So it is in the church, that we need to come together and share and eat and drink the special food Christ has given, His body and blood. Let us not forget that Chris himself chose the most common thing that all of us must do to bring himself eucharist 3ever closer and into our lives by giving us food and drink. While our celebrations through the centuries have come to look less like a dinner table and a family around it, lets not forget that it was at a dinner, a meal that he first gave us his body and blood on that evening before his death. This food is meant for all for all time and for as often as we can eat it, for who can ever satisfy the hunger that lies within us for our God?

So today as we share and celebrate and proclaim “All are welcome”, we are doing what Christ did by calling all to come and share at his table. His requirement was that a person listen and believe. As believers we are all one, one in him, hopefully listening and hearing him present in our lives in the Eucharist and in the Spirit. Christ said he would be with us always and he is, enlightening and moving us forward. As we move forward on this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, and remember his presence, let us not forget the Words of God at Jesus’ baptism, “listen to Him”

Homily December 15, 2013 Third Sunday of Advent

Posted in christian, Christianity, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion by Fr Joe R on December 10, 2013

Back in June of this year, there was an interesting story and video on the Today show. A three-year old deaf boy named Jason Clamp had a device implanted in his brain stem and was able to hear his Father’s voice for the first time. It was a marvelous thing to see and reminds me of today’s Gospel. Jesus was enabling the blind to see and the deaf to hear, the lame to walk and even the dead to rise. What Jesus did was certainly not explainable by his contemporaries, and the results of seeing and hearing and walking and other medical miracles are rare even today. Certainly even with scientific breakthroughs and the advanced learning of today, we have not matched the doings of Jesus. He cited these signs and wonders to answer the query from John wanting to know if he is the “ONE” who is to come. john in prisonEven in prison, John was indirectly teaching his disciples by sending them to Jesus. Seriously, John had to know that one way or another he was finished. He gave no slack to anyone who came to hear him, and he even condemned Herod the king for marrying his brother’s wife. Even today that would forebode trouble. Yet even as he awaited judgment, John still inquired of Jesus. Perhaps, he was expecting Jesus to be more combative, to be more of an organizer of the people to lead Israel back to the time and glory of King David. Regardless, the disciples went and encountered Jesus and some did eventually follow him. Also we see the uniqueness of John as Jesus points out none greater had ever been born. John stands as the last of the prophets and the messenger presenting the messiah.

So, you might ask how does this relate to Christmas and Advent? As the gospel unfolds, Jesus is in his thirties and we are preparing for a celebration of his birth. I think the point of the liturgy today is patience and preparation. Advent means coming and the time of preparation take patience to prepare and be ready. As the story of John is the preparation for Jesus to appear, so advent is the time for us to prepare and be ready for Jesus to come again as he did on that first Christmas. Our faith and baptism has formed us and made us Christians but certainly we are not yet complete or perfect. foodAdvent is he time to work on this more intently than we usually do. It is a time for us to turn our thoughts and works to the poor and slighted of our own time just as Jesus did. While we can not perform the wonders and miracles that Jesus did, we can start to look after our Sisters and Brothers and see that they can in one way or another be comforted and find rest and peace in their lives. It seems we all become more sensitive to the needy at Christmas but now is a good time to find a more permanent way to help these people. Didn’t we just hear Jesus say that the least of these could be the greater? It is not so important as to what we give, but that we love and act on it by giving out of love.

Be there, be ready to give not only gift and things, but be ready to give time and self and to listen and interact especially with those who are alone and without family. This I think is the call and preparation John the Baptist calls for in Advent.

Homily September 1, 2013 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on August 29, 2013

As we look around us, we see all kinds of stores and shops and places to eat. If you think about it, we spend a lot of time and money and space in our concern about feeding and sustaining ourselves. All through history this has been evident, and it is a reality among every species. As human beings we have taken eating a meal to a very important act of living. So much we do is centered around eating whether it be an important decision-making meeting, or the interlude between business sessions, or a dinner or banquet for some stated occasion. Even in the family home,there are formularies followed by each family much in line with the schedules of the particular family. In fact, when all are present, a certain ritual develops in each household. Part of ritual or form would be the seating of all the participants. From the gospel, we see that this was certainly a concern in Jesus’ time. Meals and dining were a statement, a way of life, a way of asserting status. Everyone was invited for a reason, a benefit for the giver of the dinner in some way. Reciprocation was always a part of these reasons. The host would certainly be expressing his status in the community and his familiarity with the others he invited.
While Jesus accepted the invitation as he often did in his lifetime, we see today the little twist he puts on the occasion and offers his own prescription for remedy of the faults of the system. He points out that many rush for the prime seating, only to find that more distinguished guests are there than them. He points out that if we had the proper humility, we wouldn’t presume we were owed the places of honor and should simply be seated. It shouldn’t be a false humility, but the realization that in reality the places of honor are passing and not important in light of the fact that in reality we are all the same except for perhaps that moment. He even goes so far as to say that the poor, the hungry, the deprived, the lame and others without food should be invited. Repayment or reciprocation should not be our motive. The coming together and sharing will be rewarded in the time of resurrection.

One final thought of the reading of the banquet in today’s reading. When we come to Mass, I think sometimes we forget that originally Jesus was the host at a final meal. We forget that the disciples were gathered around eating and drinking when Jesus introduced a whole new meaning to eating and drinking. Anew food and drink, His own Body and Blood. At this table there is only one host and all share equally in the food and drink. This table excludes no one and should be inviting all to partake. We must realize that we can exalt ourselves by extending this invitation.