Monthly Archives: July 2015

18th Sunday of the Year – Bread from Heaven

HarringtonWed_335

Study:  Reflect on a time at Mass that profoundly spoke to your heart.  What stood out?

Pray:  Prepare your heart for your next Holy Communion.  What do you need to bring to Jesus Christ?

Serve:  Is there someone who you can encourage to return to Mass?  Can you help them draw near to the table of the Lord?

18th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Jesus said to them,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”   John 6:35

We know that our bodies need food to sustain life; what we discover today is that our souls need spiritual food to sustain eternal life.  Where do we find this bread from Heaven?  Jesus Christ!

Have you ever experienced that feeling when you are exhausted?  Out of gas?  Wrung out?  It is often a sign that we require rest and nourishment; we come to the table to be fed.

The same is true with our souls.  There are times when we are intellectually drained, feeling lost and confused, doubting ourselves and uncertain about our next decision.  We can feel crushed, worn out by the demands of life and overwhelmed by the challenges that confront us.

What we require is a different type of nourishment – we look to a Person who loves us, understands us, and provides us with the grace and strength, the peace and perspective, to be renewed for the next step on our journey.  Christ feeds us with his Body & Blood, so that we might become more fully his disciples; we come to the altar to be fed.

What are you hungry for today?  What challenges do you face?  May we draw near to the Lord in Holy Communion and allow his love to transform our lives – for this world and for the world to come.


17th Sunday of the Year – Gratitude & Petition at the Lord’s Table – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 17th Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

Our daily need for nourishment reminds us of our basic dependence on wholesome food.  What’s more, we recognize that we depend upon the Lord for spiritual grace as well.  As we ponder the multiplication miracle in today’s Gospel, I suggest that we draw near to the Lord with Gratitude and Petition – responding in love to the one who knows our needs and longs to provide the sustenance we require.


17th Sunday of the Year – Hungry? Come and Eat!

Loaves and Fish

Study:  Recall a time when you experienced real hunger.  What was it like?

Pray:  What are you hungry for in your spiritual life?  Ask the Lord to feed your soul.

Serve:  Consider helping out a food pantry or location that serves meals to those in need.  How can you help alleviate hunger around the world?

17th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

The word hunger means many things to different groups of people:

  • You have the “munchies” and want to graze on snack foods
  • You hanker for something…but you are not sure what it is
  • Your stomach is growling and you want to eat
  • Your blood sugar is dropping and you know you need to eat
  • You have missed a couple of meals and you are ravenous
  • You have not eaten in days…and you understand starvation

At it’s most basic level, hunger means that we recognize our need for food to keep our bodies going.  While most of us have no awareness of famine, we all have the daily experience of the need to eat.  Food is necessary for life, and the quality of the food we eat enhances (or detracts) from the quality of our lives.

The same concept applies to our spiritual lives as well.  We certainly need a level of physical health to sustain our spiritual lives, but we also require spiritual sustenance to strengthen our souls and renew our hearts.

Jesus knew this.  The people coming to him were hungry – body and soul – and his teaching, feeding, and Eucharist sustained them.  What’s more, every time we come to the altar we participate in the banquet of his grace.  We continue to receive – Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity – the spiritual food we need to flourish.

Practically, when we come to the table may we pray with grateful hearts for the blessing of nutritious food; when we come to the altar may we pray with grateful hearts for the blessing of Christ.  In both cases, the hand of the Lord feeds us, he answers all our needs.

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The Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes, Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti);  ca 1545-1550, oil on canvas, 61 x 160 1/2 inches,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


16th Sunday of the Year – A Shepherd Who Cares for the Sheep – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 16th Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

There are moments in life when we need a little help.  We encounter situations and circumstances that are more than we can handle.  As Jesus looked upon the crowds in the Gospel today he saw their needs and took pity on them.  His response reminds us of two important considerations today:

  • What needs do we have today?  What are we asking for from the Lord?
  • Who needs help in our lives today?  How can we offer help to another?

Christ not only helped others, but he empowered the Apostles to do the same.  May we acknowledge our need for the Lord and respond to the needs of those who God sets before us.


16th Sunday of the Year – A Shepherd who cares for his Sheep

 

Herd of sheep on beautiful mountain meadow

Study:  When in your life have you been in great need and looked to another for help?  When have you been able to help another in great need?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the gift of discernment – to know when to seek help and when to offer it.

Serve:  Name one practical thing you can do to help someone today.  Then do it.

16th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

“His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:34)

Have you ever been lost?  Confused?  Drifting, uncertain of the next step in the path of life?  Most of us have been in those dark and difficult places where we feel beaten down by the challenges of life.  Simply put, there are times in life when things get tough and we need to draw on the strength and wisdom of another.

The crowds found this in Jesus.  His words inspired them; his miracles cured them.  As word spread in the surrounding area, more and more people came to hear the Lord and find new life in his presence.  What’s more, he saw their need and responded with pity and love – he longed to guide them and give them hope.

In our need we can, like the crowds, draw near to Christ for our strength.  His mercy has the power to renew and transform our hearts; his grace comes when we allow him room to make a place in our souls.

Furthermore, there are times in our lives when the Lord will empower us to guide and guard others.  Jeremiah foretold that God would appoint shepherds to care for people – God heard their cry when they were led astray and brought them new leaders to gather them together.

Perhaps this week we might see someone in need, someone who the Lord has placed on our path to help.  Perhaps we have others to lead by our word and example, inspiring them to draw to the Great Shepherd who cares for us all.


15th Sunday of the Year – Chosen & Empowered by God – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 15th Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

Both Amos and the Apostles are chosen by God and empowered to do amazing things.  The tasks set before them are difficult and challenging – obstacles that will test them.  The Letter to Ephesians reminds us, however, that God chooses us as well!  Here are three points to help us face the struggles of life:

  • Attitude
  • Effort
  • Stay close to Jesus Christ

May the words of the Scriptures and the examples of the saints inspire us to engage the obstacles of life with God’s grace!


15th Sunday of the Year – Chosen and Empowered by God

walking stick

Study:  Recall a time in life when you had to completely trust another.  How did you react to being dependent?

Pray:  Where do you see the need for strength in your life today?   Call upon God for the help to face your struggles.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life you can help empower?  Is there a way that you can assist another to face new challenges?

15th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

One of the themes that surface in the Scriptures this week focuses on the notion that God chooses us and gives us what we need.  Take a look:

  • 1st Reading: Amos was formerly a shepherd who cared for sycamore trees, until God called him
  • 2nd Reading: Ephesians reminds us that we are chosen by God, who has blessed us in Jesus Christ
  • Gospel: Jesus sends his disciples to preach and heal, trusting in God’s providence along the way

What does this mean for us today?

First, our lives are guided by God.  We find our origin and focus in the one who chooses and calls us to the gift of life.  We find ourselves in situations that contain blessings and burdens, at times touched by grace, at other times driven to our knees as we are overwhelmed by trial.  Yet through it all we recognize that God is the origin and source of our lives.

Second, we find our strength in God.  Amos found power and conviction to preach a difficult message – because he knew that the Lord would give him what he needed.  The book of Ephesians reminds us that glory and redemption, wisdom and insight, come from the one who triumphed through the Cross.  Jesus sends his disciples on mission – trusting entirely upon providence – so that their ministry is not sustained by their own power but dependent upon God alone.

We live our lives with the conviction that we stay close to the Lord.  As we draw near to Jesus Christ, we continue to recognize our need for the Lord to remain the center and focus of all that we say and do.  Apart from God our lives lose direction; united with the Almighty we discover purpose and meaning.

What’s more, as we rely on Christ we draw new strength!  We understand that everything we have comes from God, and through this awareness we are able to receive the power we need to face situations we would have otherwise considered impossible.

God called the prophets and disciples to do extraordinary things…and gave them the strength to carry them out.  As we face our challenges this day, may we respond to the one who calls us to do the task before us – trusting that the Lord will also give us what we need.