Monthly Archives: August 2015

22nd Sunday of the Year – The Battle is Within – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

In football, trick plays are sometimes used to fake out an opponent with misdirection – focusing on something unimportant while the play is happening somewhere else.  Life works the same way: it is easy to spend our time and resources on trivial matters and miss out on critical issues.

The Lord points this out in the Gospel today, inviting us to concentrate on the battle within our hearts.  Here are three things to consider:

  • Using an Examination of Conscience
  • Going to Confession
  • Daily Prayer and Sunday Mass

Through regular use we strengthen our hearts and focus our lives on important things, asking the Lord for the help and guidance we need to conquer our daily battles.


22nd Sunday of the Year – The Battle is Within

Medieval Battle

Study:  Reflect on a time when you struggled with something in the privacy of your heart.  What helped you?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace and healing you need to fight the challenges within you.

Serve:  Perhaps you know someone who is facing a difficult time alone.  How might you reach out?

22nd Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Listen to the Lord’s words to the people in this Sunday’s Gospel:

He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.

“From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”  Mark 7: 14-15,21-23

We see the effects of sin on the outside in the words and actions that are evident through observation and experience.  Yet the Lord reminds us that the origin of our sin begins within the human heart, and it is there that the battle rages.

We can cloak our lives, guarding our speech and hiding our actions, yet eventually the pattern of our soul emerges through our interactions with one another.  Only God clearly sees our hearts, and it is to the Lord that we turn to:

  • Recognize the role of sin in our hearts
  • Call upon God for the grace we need to be made whole
  • Live our lives in freedom from sin, guided by the Holy Spirit
  • Renew our strength through Sacraments, Scripture, Fellowship, and Prayer

Because our hearts are hidden from view, it is crucial that we take time for reflection and prayer to review the state of our souls.  Some powerful tools to help us:

  1. A good Examination of Conscience
  2. A visit to the Confessional
  3. Frequent attendance at Mass and reception of Holy Communion
  4. Personal Prayer
  5. Someone to whom we are accountable for our thoughts, words, and actions

May we pause to look honestly at our hearts, and call upon Jesus Christ for the grace we need to fight the battle within!


21st Sunday of the Year – Facing Difficulties with Wisdom & Courage – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 21st Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

Life is difficult.  In the midst of our struggle to make good choices and carry out challenging tasks, we call upon God for the help we need.  As we encounter Jesus Christ in Holy Communion to be strengthened for the burdens of life, we pray for Wisdom to choose wisely and Courage to carry it out.


21st Sunday of the Year – Hard Sayings, Tough Decisions

tough decisions

Study:  Recall a time when you were confronted with a tough decision.  Who or what helped you to face your situation?

Pray:  Are you facing a difficult time?  Ask the Lord for wisdom and courage.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life who is struggling with a challenge?  How can you help them?

21st Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

The crowds had listened to Jesus.  They had seen the healings and witnessed the miracle of the fishes and loaves.  They had been nourished body and soul by the Lord’s presence, and after hearing the “Bread of Life” discourse they began to doubt and walk away…

“This saying is hard, who can accept it?”  – John 6:60

There are moments in life when we are called to confront a difficult situation.  We are challenged to understand and carry out a task that may be unpleasant or unwelcome.  We have a choice: we can walk away and  allow events to run on their own, or we can engage the situation knowing that every step will be hard.  What do we do?

Joshua expresses the nature of a tough decision in his words to the Israelites in the first reading:

“If it does not please you to serve the Lord, then decide today whom you will serve.”  – Joshua 24:15

Let’s face it.  There are times in life when we struggle to make and carry out the right choice.  Perhaps we don’t know what to do; perhaps we know but we struggle to do it.  Sometimes it can seem like the weight of the world rests on our shoulders as we muddle through hard sayings and tough decisions.

What are you confronting today?  What challenges are set before you?  May we ask God for two key gifts: Wisdom and Courage.  We ask for wisdom to know what to do, and we pray for courage to carry it out!


20th Sunday of the Year – Come to the Feast – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 20th Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

Family dinners – be they big or small – touch our hearts in a number of ways:

  • Nourish our bodies with wholesome, plentiful food
  • Unite us together, setting aside our differences for a moment of peace
  • Empower our lives, for service in the world

The same is true when we come to the Lord’s table at every Mass.  We are nourished with Christ’s Body & Blood.  We are united as the People of God – as brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends.  We are empowered to go forth, touching the hearts of those we meet with the grace and peace of Jesus Christ.

May our reception of Holy Communion feed our souls, foster unity, and empower us to live our lives for the Lord!


20th Sunday of the Year – Come to the Feast

thanksgiving rehearsal dinner

Study:  What are some of the things that make a dinner special for you?  What makes it a feast?

Pray:  Offer a prayer for those who go hungry this day – either because they lack food or the companionship to share it.

Serve:  Is there someone you know with whom you could share a meal?  How might you make your meal a feast with others?

20th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Growing up in a large Italian-American family, big dinners were a common occurrence.  The usual suspects like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving were typical; but family gatherings (with all the adults talking and the kids talking louder) provided numerous opportunities for people to gather and make the simple task of taking nourishment a beautiful experience for body, mind, heart, and soul.

Tables were set, special foods chosen, delicacies prepared in advance…all these steps to make the dinner something special, something extraordinary.

They were feasts.

Indeed, whenever we take the time and effort to make dining an experience, we create opportunities that touch us on multiple levels.  Good food is augmented by delightful conversation, enlivened with beauty, and woven together with human hopes and dreams.  A feast is not just an abundance of food; it is a rich expression of God’s goodness working through others to nourish our lives in profound ways.

All of the readings point to different ways the Lord sustains our lives:

  • Wisdom sets a rich table, calling us to abandon foolishness to follow her
  • We “taste and see the goodness of the Lord” in the psalm response
  • Ephesians invites us to be filled with the Spirit, living upright lives
  • Jesus commands us to eat his flesh and drink his blood, that we might have eternal life

Every Mass provides us with the opportunity to draw near the altar and be renewed through our reception of Holy Communion.  Christ sets the table for us, inviting us to turn away from destructive and harmful forces, so that we might receive the grace we need to continue on the journey of life.

Come to the Feast!


19th Sunday of the Year – Dependence on God – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

19th Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

Every breath we take is sustained by the will of God.  Our dependence upon the Almighty can help us in two key ways:

  1. Recognize our challenges, and ask the Lord for the help we need.
  2. Count our blessings, turning to Christ with grateful hearts.

In our need we draw strength from the Bread of Life – who gives us what we need to face each day!


19th Sunday of the Year – Dependence upon God

MannaSlides01

Study:  What are some of your regular chores?  Which ones do you find boring, dreary, dull, or difficult?

Pray:  Take a moment to count your blessings.  Consider the many ways you have been blessed by God.

Serve:  How can you help someone with a difficult chore?  How can you assist another with a challenging task?

19th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Every summer my sister and I had a standard routine during school vacation.  We would get up, have some breakfast, and face the dreaded work list.  Our mother was the master of list making – with her perfect penmanship, she would write out the chores that needed to be done before Amy and I could go down to the beach for some fun.  We would groan and complain,”This is SO HARD!” while mom just smiled and reminded us that we all have work to do to keep the house running.

One time when I was feeling particularly oppressed, I had the gall to ask, “What did you do?” and I discovered that my folks:

  • Paid all the bills
  • Kept up on all the maintenance of the house
  • Provided for all our food and clothing
  • Handled mysterious things like “insurance” and “taxes”

In other words, I quickly discovered that my life – even with my terrible chores – depended completely on them.

Both Elijah and the crowds in the Gospel discover a similar lesson today.  Elijah was grumbling and the people were murmuring, but God fed them (both physically and spiritually) with food for this life and the next.

The point is simple: our lives are completely and entirely dependent upon God.  While it is true and important to note that we all have work to do, it is crucial to remember that we have this work because God allows it.  Our lives are supported every moment by the grace of the Almighty; the Lord sustains our lives so that we might offer them in our work…the “chores” that we get to do.  What’s more, God nourishes us so that we can do these chores with strength, courage, and wisdom.

For several weeks now we have heard how God feeds us with heavenly bread; perhaps today we might take a moment in gratitude to thank the Lord for what we have received, so that we can do today’s work with an open mind and a willing heart.  May our chores remind us that they are part of life – a gift which we have received from God.


18th Sunday of the Year – The Bread of Life – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 18th Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

Have you ever “wanted” something – thinking that if you only had this one thing you would be…happy, fulfilled, and free of care?  There are many good (and some not so good) things that we can want, but none of them will completely satisfy us.  We are left restless, longing for something at the center of our our hearts.  We know that nothing in this world will satisfy us for a simple reason:

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life.”

The Lord knows us, loves us, died and rose for us, and longs for us to be united in his Sacred Heart.  Christ comes to us – sharing his Body and Blood – that we might never hunger and thirst again.   When we draw near to the altar, may our “Amen” resound with a desire to unite our hearts to Jesus Christ – the one who knows our wants, but responds to our needs.