Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Trinity – Communion with God and One Another – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Holy Trinity Homily Podcast

This homily was given on May 30, 2015 at St. William Church in Foxboro, WI.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity – there is one God, revealed in three Persons – communicates that God comes to us in communion.  Indivisibly united, the Trinity teaches us that communion – being united together – is a key element to the practical experience of our lives.

Communion is crucial for all of us: family, friendship, co-workers, neighbors, classmates – even strangers – are all part of the fabric of our lives.  Indeed, we can evaluate ourselves in a very real way by taking measure of our communion with one another.

Where our communion is vibrant, we grow; where it is wounded, we heal; and where it is broken, we come to the altar to receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion to renew the communion of our hearts.  May this communion within the Trinity transform and unite us with almighty God and one another.


The Holy Trinity – The Mystery of Three in One

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Study:  Reflect on the strongest relationships in our lives.  What qualities and characteristics are present?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the guidance to see where we can build and renew our relationships.

Serve:  Are there people around us that we need to forgive or assist?  What steps can we take right now to start this process?

Holy Trinity Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

One God…Three Persons.

That’s the Trinity, and when you get right down to it, this central mystery of the Christian faith is just that – mystery.  I have heard and used many images as illustrations to aid in understanding the Trinity:

  • Shamrock – one leaf, three petals
  • Water – one substance, three states (solid, liquid, gas)
  • Numbers – one meaning, many languages (five, cinque, etc…)

These examples (and many like them) try to get at the notion of how something can be the same and different at the same time.  How unity and diversity can be present at the same time; how the individual and the communal are manifested simultaneously.

It’s a mystery.

And at the heart of the mystery we have a communion of Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – a revelation that God comes to us in communion and invites us to be communion with others.   We are not alone!  God (in communion) invites us into this communion to create communion with one another.

Where do we find communion in our lives?  Some obvious places:

  • Home & Family
  • Work
  • School
  • Neighborhood

You get the idea.  Wherever two or more are present, the opportunity for communion is possible.  The point: How strong is the communion we have have with God and one another?  How united are we in faith, hope, and love?

May we reflect on the current state of our relationships today and renew them, allowing the grace of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – to bless the communion we have with those around us.

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Trinity, Andrei Rublev; 1411-1427 (est.), Tempera, 142 cm x 114 cm, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.


Pentecost – Unifying Power – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Pentecost Homily Podcast

This homily was given at St. William Church in Foxboro, WI on May 23, 2015.

Like a gentle rain that nourishes and renews the earth, the Holy Spirit comes upon the world to bring life.  The power of the Holy Spirit showers graces into our hearts with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.  This happens in two profound ways:

  • As individuals we are uniquely blessed with our gifts and talents
  • As community we unite and support each other

A simple diagnostic tool:  where do I see unity in my life?  Where unity is present, we can build and grow stronger with the Spirit’s power.  Where it is absent, we have the opportunity to call upon the Spirit for healing and transformation.  Either way, come Holy Spirit!


The Feast of Pentecost – The Power to Unite

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Study:  Reflect on a time when you encountered a difficult experience.  Where did you find your strength?

Pray:  Ask for the Holy Spirit to help you, especially to unite with others in challenging situations.

Serve:  How can you help foster unity in your life?  What can you do to bring people together?

Pentecost Vigil Mass Readings

Pentecost Mass During the Day Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

It can be somewhat confusing to know what readings to follow – depending on the day and the options available a person can hear a number of different Scripture readings this weekend.  Stepping back for a moment, however, we can tease out some major themes that surface on this important feast of the Church:

  • Power – to face what comes before us with God’s strength
  • Unity – to join together beyond boundaries and divisions

In many respects this feast marks the birthday of the Church.  The disciples, having watched the Lord ascend to Heaven, are now “on their own” to carry out the Good News of Christ.  The point, of course, is that they are not alone!  Filled with the Holy Spirit their hearts are transformed and their lives forever changed.  They have become willing instruments empowered by the Spirit to speak and act for the glory of God.  They don’t look anything like their former selves – timid, fearful, and self-serving; they now fearlessly engage the world with the conviction that Jesus is Lord.

And as they are strengthened by the Spirit one sign increasingly becomes apparent – the unity of believers as a self evident sign that God’s grace is at work.  Several approaches underscore this sense of unity:

  • Understanding one another beyond the challenge of language
  • Working together as a body does with its many parts
  • Becoming spiritually fruitful
  • Forgiveness with one another

Language, cooperation, fruitfulness, and forgiveness are all hallmarks of the Spirit’s presence in our lives.  All are crucial and take an enormous amount of effort – supported by the POWER of the Holy Spirit!

Is there a place in our lives today that would benefit from unity?  Are there relationships and situations that require healing and strength to grow?  Do we recognize circumstances (perhaps beyond our control) that cry out for the Lord’s intervention?  If so, then we can confidently turn to the Spirit for the grace we need to face what lies before us.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.  O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful , grant that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise, and ever rejoice in his consolation.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen!

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Pentecost, Eugenio Hansen, OFS; 25 April 2012, stained glass, 2590 x 4115 pixels, Pelotas Cathedral, Brazil.


Ascension of the Lord – Navigating Change – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Ascension of the Lord Homily Podcast

This homily was given on May 16, 2015 at St. William Church in Foxboro, WI.

Change and transition are part of human life as seen in graduations, new jobs, relationships, and situations.  Like the Apostles on this feast, we can face our changes by keeping in mind three basic concepts:

  • Observation – looking & listening to our new reality
  • Reflection – by ourselves, with others & God’s guidance
  • Application – putting our thoughts into action

As the Apostles embraced their transitions the Holy Spirit empowered them to change the world.  May we continue to open our hearts to the Spirit and face the changes that come before us.

 


The Feast of the Ascension

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Study:  Reflect on a moment of profound change in your life.  What lessons did you learn?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for guidance to proclaim the Good News in your current situation.

Serve:  Do you know someone who is experiencing great change right now?  How can you help them?

Feast of the Ascension Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

About this time of year students experience transition.  The academic year is coming to a close, classes are wrapping up, papers are written and exams taken.  It is a time where one can clearly see change: teachers and classmates conclude their studies and look to new opportunities and experiences in the summer.

For some it might be work; others might attend summer school; still others might experience a move to a new location.  Change takes many forms, but through it all some key points emerge:

  • New People
  • New Locations
  • Opportunity to apply learning to life

The Feast of the Ascension is one such moment of profound change in the early Church.  Rejoicing with one another over the Resurrection, the apostles were flying high – the Lord is risen!  In this moment of enthusiasm and hope, the Lord (truly in the role of Teacher) shares with them a new lesson – it’s time to change and grow.

Now they are the ones who must teach; they are the ones chosen to proclaim the Good News; through their efforts the Holy Spirit will empower them to heal and drive out demons.  Simply put, the Ascension of Jesus clears the way for the disciples to apply the Lord’s teaching in their own lives as they continue Christ’s mission in the world.

We are part of that mission.  We received our faith from those who came before us, and today we have an opportunity to proclaim the Good News to those in our lives.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Family – who often see us in unguarded moments
  • Friends – sustained and strengthened by our efforts
  • Coworkers – witness our character and conviction
  • Classmates – supported and encouraged in learning
  • Neighbors – perceive our actions and effort
  • Strangers – 1st impressions that point to Christ
  • Enemies – encounter justice and mercy with forgiveness

The Good News takes many forms, and in our moments of transition we are given new opportunities to act.  May the Ascension of our Lord inspire us to look for change in our own lives and seek ways where we can live joyful lives as disciples of Jesus Christ!

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Ascension, Francisco Camilo; 1651, oil on canvas, 81.5 x 53.94 inches, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelonia, Spain.


6th Sunday of Easter – Love is our Passport – Catholic Inspiration

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Fr. Andrew’s 6th Sunday of Easter Homily Podcast

Just as a passport is essential for travel on earth, so Christ’s commandment to love is essential for our travel to Heaven.  Consider these similarities:

  • Shows our Country of Origin
  • Serves as identification
  • Reveals our travel history
  • Necessary to come home

This homily was given at the Cathedral of Christ the King on May 10, 2015.