Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Final Words From Our Pastor

One of the best ways to understand and fall in love with our Catholic faith is to listen to the words of our pastor.  And not just the pastor of our local Church, but the pastor of our one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, the successor of St. Peter, chief of the Apostles: Pope Benedict XVI.

Think about it.  Our Church isn't just St. Vincent de Paul or St. Charles Borromeo.  These are just particular gatherings of members of the Church.  In reality, the Church has over 1 billion visible members.  We can't all fit into one building.  So, we gather where we are.  But we do have one head, one shepherd, and one true, high Priest: Jesus Christ; who gives others a share in his ministerial priesthood.  And to one in particular, through the Holy Spirit, he elects as his Vicar: the Pope, the pastor of our Church.

So, our Church will soon have a new pastor, a new Pope, I would like to recommend reading the Pope's words from his weekly general audiences every Wednesday and his weekly Angelus message every Sunday.

Here is the text from Pope Benedict's greeting to the English speaking pilgrims at today's Wednesday general audience, his last:

Saint Peter's Square
Wednesday, 27 February

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I offer a warm and affectionate greeting to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors who have joined me for this, my last General Audience. Like Saint Paul, whose words we heard earlier, my heart is filled with thanksgiving to God who ever watches over his Church and her growth in faith and love, and I embrace all of you with joy and gratitude.

During this Year of Faith, we have been called to renew our joyful trust in the Lord’s presence in our lives and in the life of the Church. I am personally grateful for his unfailing love and guidance in the eight years since I accepted his call to serve as the Successor of Peter. I am also deeply grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of so many of you, not only here in Rome, but also throughout the world.

The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God’s will and a deep love of Christ’s Church. I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new Pope. In union with Mary and all the saints, let us entrust ourselves in faith and hope to God, who continues to watch over our lives and to guide the journey of the Church and our world along the paths of history.

I commend all of you, with great affection, to his loving care, asking him to strengthen you in the hope which opens our hearts to the fullness of life that he alone can give. To you and your families, I impart my blessing. Thank you!"

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Homily from the 2nd Sunday of Lent - Year C

Jesus' transfiguration reminds us of the continual conversion we must undergo to be made ready for the glory that is our destiny.

Click here to listen!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How a Pope is Elected

Click here to start the presentation.

Here is a fantastic and fun Flash presentation of how a Pope is elected. 

On Wednesday night, our high school teens enacted a Conclave and Caleb Cardinal Cruse was elected and took the name Pope Lando II.

On Monday night, our 7th and 8th grade students will enact a Conclave at Edge.  The gathering space will be turned into the Sistine Chapel and one of our students will be "elected Pope!"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Call of Duty

1st Sunday of Lent - Year C

Jesus faced temptation by Satan during his 40 days fast in the desert.  By saying "no" to temptation, his "yes" meant more.  Let's ask the Holy Spirit to lead us through the wilderness of temptation and say "no" to all that desensitizes us.

Here's the podcast of my homily.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What Are You Letting Go of This Lent?

Homily from the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year C

Lent is just days away.  Many of us will give something up for those forty days, a noble practice.  At the same time, we may want to use this Lent as an opportunity to let go of something for good that stands in the way of our relationship with Jesus.

Here is the audio from my homily this past Sunday.  I want to thank Frankie Strzelecki and Bob Nicola for making these audio clips possible.

Fr. Andrew's Homily Podcast - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What is Love?

Homily from the 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year C  

By a show of hands, as you heard today’s second reading, how many of you thought of, or were reminded of, a wedding?  That reading is easily, the most popular reading at weddings.
I’ve only been a priest for a couple years.  If I’ve done 50 weddings, that reading has been read at over 45 of them.

Appropriately so, right?  Because young couples on their wedding day are so intensely in love.  They love their spouse.  They love the fact that they’re beginning their life together as husband and wife.  They love that they’re in love!  There’s no greater feeling than love.

And newlywed couples want to get it right.  They want to keep that love going and keep it on fire.  So, in St. Paul’s words they hear a prescription of love.

They hear what love is: “love is patient, love is kind... it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”  And newlywed couples say, “Yeah, we wanna do that!”

And they hear what love is not: “It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude”  And the couples say, “Yeah, and we wanna avoid all that; all that bad stuff.”

So what is love?  It’s one of the most overused words in the English language.
We use it for everything.  “I love God... I love my mother... I love my baby’s laugh... I love coming home... I love my computer...  I love my car... I love the Super Bowl... I love bacon.”

How can “love” be an accurate word in all those instances?  I mean can we really use the same word to describe how we feel about both God and a material thing like bacon?  As tempted as I am to say “yes” right now, I won’t blaspheme.

The dictionary defines “love” in part as: “a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties... warm attachment, enthusiasm or devotion."  That definition stinks.  Those are just warm fuzzies.  Jesus says, “love your enemies” (Mt 5:44)  I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mean “have warm fuzzies for your enemies."  I’m sorry, but I don’t have, and I’m not going to have “strong affection” for my enemies.  I’m not going to have “strong affection” for terrorists.

Love isn’t affection.  Affection is one of the many forms love takes.  So is suffering.  So what is love?

St. Thomas Aquinas
I think there are two really, really good definitions of love.  The first is by St. Thomas Aquinas, who says, love is “to will the good of the other.”

That makes sense.  I love my family.  I want the good for them.  I love you.  I want the good for you.  And according to this definition, I can love my enemies.  I can want their good.  Sometimes, what is good for my enemies (such as terrorists) is that they go to jail so they can’t harm anyone.  

What is also good about Thomas’ definition is that it focuses on the other and not on the self.
And St. Paul defines love similarly.  “Love is patient, love is kind.”  Those are attitudes one has when one is concerned for the other.

The ego has no place in a heart full of love.  St. Paul says this too, right?  Look at all the things Paul says love is not: they all have to do with focusing on one's self.  Love is not jealous - not caring if someone is outshining me.  Love is not pompous or inflated - there’s no ego directing attention to one's self.  Love does not seek it’s own interests - it seeks the interests of the other.  Love does not brood over injury - the ego is very attentive to how one has been hurt

St. John
The other really, really good definition of love is a perfect definition of love.  It’s by St. John the Evangelist who says in his First Letter: “God is love.”  Make’s perfect sense when thinking about St. Thomas’ definition right?  For who wishes the good of the other, the good of us, more than God?

“Love is patient, love is kind” - who is more patient, who is more kind than God?  He is so incredibly patient and kind with us despite how we repeatedly sin.

Love “is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude.”  God is none of these things.  God has no ego.  He is infinitely concerned with us.

Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."  Well, that’s what God does for us.  Jesus bears and endures us.  He puts up with us in our sin.  He bears the cross and endures his passion and death

“Love never fails.”  God never fails.  God always wins.  No one is ever going to defeat God.  He even defeats death.

Sometime very soon, break open your Bible and read this passage again: 1 Cor 13.  While you read it, look upon the Crucifix and look upon the definition of love.  And as you do so, look upon your God who wills the good of the other, who wills your good.