Monthly Archives: September 2015

27th Sunday of the Year – The Beauty of Marriage and The Pain of Divorce

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Study:  Reflect on the strongest marriages you know.  What are the qualities and behaviors that you see in these couples?

Pray:  Who do you know is struggling with divorce?  Ask the Lord to give them guidance and strength.

Serve:  Are there couples you can support in their marriage?  Are there people wounded by divorce in your life?  How can you help them today?

27th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

In our current culture you would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t been touched by the reality of divorce in either family or friendship.  Divorce is part of the landscape of our lives, and we find ourselves confronted by a real challenge:

  • We want to promote marriage in a strong, healthy, and wholesome way
  • We acknowledge those who are wounded and struggling from divorce

The sacrament of Marriage proclaims a fundamental reality that has both earthly and heavenly dimensions.  On earth we recognize the union of a man and woman as part God’s plan which fosters intimacy, love, and the possibility of new life.  Sexual expression within marriage becomes a blessed event, whereby the two become one.

This sense of unity that is present in marriage echoes the complete unity we have with the Lord.  Jesus Christ is the bridge that joins us to the Father; God the Son took on our human form so that we could be reunited with the Father.  Sin no longer divides us.

Yet division is part of our human experience, and nowhere is this more evident than in the reality of divorce.  Life is messy, awkward, and challenging – and we all know that there are times when situations melt down and relationships unravel.  We regret it, we lament it, we wish it could have been different…and we recognize that there is real pain and loss – but we have to find a way to deal with it.

So how do we foster marriage and at the same time help those who experience divorce?  While there are several essential elements, I suggest a few key points:

  • We rededicate daily our Christian conviction to love one another
  • We vigilantly seek opportunities to practice forgiveness
  • We extend mercy toward others in their weakness and need
  • We stand for justice, and uphold our virtues and values
  • We help our children to learn from our examples – both successes and mistakes

But perhaps most importantly of all – we reach out to one another: walking with those who are single, supporting those who are married, and helping those who are divorced.  We need each other, and when we are united we are vastly stronger than when we are isolated.

Take time this week to consider the people in your life.  How can you help them follow Christ?  How can your life bless others in their vocation as they strive to live it?  How can you be a healing agent who strengthens marriage and helps those wounded by divorce?  We need each other, and we call upon the Lord for grace as we remember the words of the Psalm Response:

May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.


26th Sunday of the Year – Jealousy & Greed – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 26th Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

Jealousy and Greed (like most vices) can easily grow in our souls…unless we are constantly vigilant to starve them out and feed on God’s grace.  Joshua, John, and the community of James all needed to be reminded, and they will take these lessons to heart.  May we do the same.


26th Sunday of the Year – Jealousy & Greed

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Study:  Reflect on a situation where you have experienced either jealousy or greed.  How did you move past it?  (HAVE you moved past it?)

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to confront these vices and replace them with the Love, Joy, and Peace of Christ.

Serve:  Is there something that you can do to help break the cycle of greed or jealousy in your life today?  How can your life show others a better way to live?

26th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Whew!  While every week the Scripture readings give us plenty to ponder about, we are confronted this week with some particularly nasty (but common) elements that can surface in the human heart:

  • Jealousy – to be worried someone will take what we already have
  • Greed – an excessive desire to have more than what is appropriate, right or just

We know that Joshua and John are great figures in the history of our faith.  Joshua, as the successor of Moses, will lead the people as they claim their space in the Promised Land after their enslavement in Egypt.  He is God-fearing and righteous.  John is a close companion of the Lord, the brother of James, who has been personally called by Jesus to follow and be “a fisher of men.”

Empowered by God with particular graces, both are chosen for special work of leadership, yet they make the common (and altogether too human) mistake of getting their noses bent out of joint because great things are happening of which they are not a part.  Sound familiar?

Ever had a moment when you were upset because you were afraid that someone was moving in on your turf?  Taking over a work, task, ministry, or role that was yours?  While it’s true that there are times when people unfairly gobble up the work of others, it is also true that sometimes we are at fault because our expectations are too limited: we have assumed that the work, task, ministry, or role was ONLY ours to control.  We can cultivate assumptions that opportunities are strictly limited – that there is no room to share with others – and that we alone are allowed or expected to act.

Yet this is not how the Lord works!  Both Jesus and Moses welcome others to participate in the Good News – to prophesy, to drive out evil, to bring life and hope.  Simply put, there is room for others to help, for the obvious reason that the needs of the world are vast.  A question then arises: Do we share?  Do we welcome and encourage others to join us in God’s work?

James hits us over the head with greed – an inappropriate hunger for more (often wealth) that shows no regard for the needs and rights of others.  Greed (one of the 7 Deadly Sins) is one of those ugly vices that we always despise in others and often overlook in ourselves.  And while an insatiable desire for money is an easy target, remember that greed can also appear in little ways:

  • a little more food
  • a little more praise
  • a little more attention
  • a little more respect

When greed takes over we can lose our sense of balance and perspective.  People can get lost as we place a higher value on the thing we greedily seek.  The sad thing is, we might get what we desire, but we can lose that which is most important: the opportunity to love and be loved by the people in our lives.

We know jealousy and greed first hand: these are real vices that can fester in our souls.  The question today…how will we respond to their presence?  Jesus invites us in to the Gospel today to pluck them out!  They have no place in Heaven, and here on earth they are obstacles that keep us from the Lord and one another.


25th Sunday of the Year – Tested in Troubled Times – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 25th Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

All of us face moments of difficult, trial, and temptation.  In these moments we are tested, and as we face our challenges we discover meaning and purpose for our lives as we call upon the help of heaven and earth for the help we need.


25th Sunday of the Year – Troubled Times

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Study:  Recall a time when you were overwhelmed by difficulty.  What got you through it?

Pray:  Call upon the Lord for the courage and strength to face your challenges.

Serve:  Is there someone you know who is struggling?  How can you offer your support?

25th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Don’t you wish life would always be easy?  Wouldn’t it be great if challenges and obstacles disappeared with a simple thought?  What’s more, how about if evil, darkness, fear, and violence would vanish from the face of the earth?

I know: I will now wake up from my pleasant dream.  Since the dawn of creation evil and sin have been part of our world, and for this very reason Jesus Christ died and rose.  The death and resurrection of the Lord confronts the darkness  and shines with the light of faith.

As Christians we can thus recognize two fundamental principles:

  • Evil and sin are part of the fabric of life
  • Jesus Christ offers us salvation through his victory on the Cross

Simply put, this means that we have hope in the face of difficulty.  God continues to give grace and strength, empowering us to face our fears and engage life with the faith to continue in the presence of adversity.  We know that life is hard; we know that with the Lord’s help we can carry on.

Where do you find darkness and evil in your life right now?  Where do the difficulties and obstacles present themselves?  Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge these pitfalls and recognize how they tempt and distract us.

For the minute we understand our struggles, we are equipped with the knowledge to petition the Lord for the help we need.  What’s more, as we understand the struggles of those around us, we can reach out with love of Christ to support one another with sincerity and genuine assistance.

May we honestly confront the challenges of life, trusting in the Lord for the grace we need.


24th Sunday of the Year – Walk the Walk, Together! – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 24th Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

Where do we find the strength to keep going when life tries to knock us off course?

  • We lean on others
  • We lean on the Lord

Yes!  We can walk the walk…with a little help from on earth and in Heaven.


24th Sunday of the Year – Can we Walk the Walk?

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Study:  Recall a time when you had to carry out a difficult task.  Where did you find your strength?  How did others respond to your actions?

Pray:  Consider the challenges before you right now and ask the Lord for the wisdom and courage you need.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life who is walking a difficult path?  How can you help them?

24th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

My dad often used the saying:

“He can talk the talk, but can he walk the walk?”

It was a favorite line of his when he heard a lot of words but didn’t see much action.  Fact is, most of the time our words signal our behavior; our actions prove it.

The Letter of James puts this notion of action into the context of faith: we demonstrate our faith by the works of daily life.  Talking about our love for the Lord is good, but showing it consistently is crucial.  Let’s face it – as disciples we are at our best when we are living examples of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Of course, sometimes living our faith is difficult, challenging, and painful.  There are times when we are tested to keep going in the right direction, to stay true to our values and purpose, and to hang in there when we might be tempted to stop.  Not only are we living witnesses, but the proof of our faith is often revealed in our actions when times are toughest.

Both Isaiah and Jesus testify that some paths will demand everything we have, even our lives.  In these moments we trust completely in God for the wisdom, courage, and power we need.

As we walk the walk of faith we remember that we do not do it alone: the Lord continues to put people in our lives and strengthens us through Sacraments, Scripture, Prayer, and Fellowship.  What’s more, there are times when we are called upon to support others on their walk – giving strength to those who struggle.

Whether we are leaning on another or lending a helping hand to someone in need…may we walk the walk, with Jesus Christ by our side.