Father Terry's Homilies

The Good News of Forgiveness

January 19, 2020

Robert Howard was hailed as the best track and field athlete in Rhode Island history. He still holds several state records he set when he was in high school. And later, as a member of the University of Arkansas team, he won the NCAA titles in the long jump and the triple jump. Twice Howard made the US Olympic team, representing the USA in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. In addition to this, Howard was a model student, graduating from the University of Arkansas with a 3.9 GPA-- in pre-med.

But in the summer of 2004, Robert made his longest and last jump – from the tenth floor window of his apartment to the pavement below. It was the night of the opening ceremonies for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. And it was also the closing night of a spectacular young life. What would drive such a successful, bright young man to end his life like that?

Baptism in the Beginning and in the End

January 12, 2020

A drunk stumbles upon a Baptismal service on a Sunday afternoon down by the river. He proceeds to walk down into the water and stands next to the Preacher.

The minister turns and notices the old drunk and says, “Mister, are you ready to find Jesus”? The drunk looks back and says, “Yes, Preacher, I sure am.”

The minister then dunks the fellow under the water and pulls him right back up. “Have you found Jesus?” the preacher asked. “No, I didn’t!” said the drunk.

The preacher then dunks him under for quite a bit longer, brings him up and says, “Now brother, have you found Jesus?”. “No I did not Reverend.”

The preacher in disgust holds the man under for at least 30 seconds this time, and brings him out of the water and says in a harsh tone, “My good man, have you found Jesus yet?” The old drunk wipes his eyes and asks the preacher, “Are you sure this is where he fell in?”

The Messiah Lives Among You

January 05, 2020

There once was a monastery that had come upon hard times. Once it was filled with young monks and its great chapel was filled with the sound of singing God’s praise, but now it was almost deserted, with a handful of elderly brothers shuffling through the cloister struggling to pray and work. On the edge of the monastery woods an old rabbi had built a little hut. He would go there from time to time to pray and to fast. Whenever the venerable and wise rabbi was there, the monks felt blessed by his presence.

One day the abbot of the monastery went to visit the rabbi to seek his counsel. The rabbi welcomed him warmly. First the two prayed together; then the rabbi made tea for his quest. As he set the cups on the table, the rabbi said to the abbot, “You and your brothers are serving God with heavy hearts. You have come to ask a teaching of me. Very well, I will give you a teaching – but you can only repeat it once. After that, no one must ever say it aloud again.”

Climb Higher to See Jesus

November 03, 2019

A story is told about a famous Austrian surgeon named Dr. Lorenz. He was walking one day in a midwestern town. Suddenly a violent thunderstorm came out of nowhere. So fierce was the storm that Dr. Lorenz ran to the nearest home and rang the doorbell. When a woman answered, he asked if he could come in. But the woman, who was already upset, said “Go somewhere else! There is enough trouble in this house already.” Then she slammed the door.

 

When the woman saw the newspaper the next day, she was stunned at what she saw. She saw a picture of Dr. Lorenz who had flown from Austria to treat a rich heiress who had the same type of rare disease that her own daughter had. Dr. Lorenz was the only physician in the world, at that time, who could perform the necessary surgery needed to help her daughter. He had come to her very door, but she had slammed the door shut in his face. Now he was gone.

 

In today’s gospel, Jesus is passing by when he noticed Zacchaeus up in a tree.

Say "Thank You"

October 13, 2019

Martin Rinkert was a minister in the town of Eilenburg Germany some 350 years ago. He was the son of a poor coppersmith, but managed to work his way through an education. Finally in 1617 he was offered the post of Archdeacon in his hometown parish. A year later the 33-year-war broke out, and his town was caught right in the middle. In 1637 the massive plague that swept across Europe broke out in his town, and people died at the rate of 50 a day. Martin had to bury most of them. In all, more than 8,000 people died, including Martin’s wife. His labors finally came to an end about 11 years later, just one year after the conclusion of the war. His ministry spanned 32 years, and all but the first and last were extremely difficult. It was tough, to say the least, for Martin Rinkert to be thankful, and yet in “Breaking Bread”, hymn # 212, we read what he wrote:

 

Now thank we all our God

With heart and hands and voices.

Who wondrous things hath done

In whom this world rejoices.

The Prodigal Son...(and the Fourth Character in the Story)

September 22, 2019

The Prodigal Son. We have heard this parable many times. But what does the word “Prodigal" mean? The word means: “given to reckless spending, wasteful”.

 

We have heard the story many times. We know the characters: The Father, the prodigal son, and the older loyal son. As we hear the story many of us try to sympathize or even identify with one of three characters....Which one can you identify with and why? But wait, there is a fourth character in the story, one that always goes unnoticed. He is the one who is the most evil of all. He could be the devil himself....

 

Variety is the Spice of Life

August 25, 2019

“Variety is the Spice of Life”. Or so the old cliché goes. But think about it. What would life be like if we did not have Mexican and Italian food, black music, Jewish humor, Irish politics and poetry, Polish warmth and enthusiasm, and Hispanic mysticism?

 

Think about what life would be like if children and adults led completely segregated lives. Think about what life would be like if you were only permitted to associate with people your own age, race, or creed. Think about how dull the year would be without the changes of seasons. A homogenized world would be dull and bland. “Variety is the spice of life” is more than a cliché; it is profound wisdom.

 

But there are times when the spice can turn to poison...

 

Mass Shootings in Religious Places

March 17, 2019

About 2,000 years ago our Lord and God sent Jesus Christ into our world. Jesus was the son of God having been conceived by the Holy Spirit. One of the many teachings of Jesus was love and tolerance. At the time of Jesus Palestine was divided. You had the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Samaritans, the Christians. They really did not like each other.

 

But Jesus taught a different way, a better way, a way of love, forgiveness, and tolerance. Remember the Good Samaritan? Remember the Roman centurion’s slave? How about the cleansing of the leper? Remember Levi the tax collector? Speaking of tax collectors, how about Zacchaeus? The list could go on and on.

 

Jesus said: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Do to others as you would have them do to you”

(Luke 6, 27 ff)

Making Lent Meaningful

March 10, 2019

A story is told about a man named Paddy, which is short for Patrick. Paddy came from Ireland to Boston.  In a very short time, he began the practice of going to the local bar after work and ordering three beers.  But he wanted them served to him all at once.  After a few weeks the bartender asked Paddy why he insisted on all three beers being served at the same time.

 

Paddy explained that when he lived in Ireland, he and his two brothers always got together after work for a beer.  He wanted to keep the spirit of their getting together alive even though they still lived across the sea. So there he would sit at the bar, taking a drink from each beer, taking turns, one after the other until all three were gone.

Baptism of the Lord

January 13, 2019

There is a story that is told of a machinist who worked years ago at the original Ford Motor Company plant in Detroit, Michigan. Over a period of years he had “borrowed” from the factory various parts and tools which he hadn’t bothered to return.

 

In time, however, the “forgetful” machinist experienced a Christian conversion and was baptized. The man took his baptism very seriously and became a devout Catholic. Shortly after his baptism, the machinist arrived at work with his pickup truck loaded with all the parts and tools he had taken from the Ford Motor Company over the years. He went to his foreman and explained that he never really meant to steal them and asked to be forgiven.

Christ the King

November 25, 2018

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King, and so we end another church year. Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, and so we begin a new church year. Christ the King. I would bet Jesus would not have liked this feast; he never acted like a King. He never called himself a King, even when questioned by Pilate in the gospel today. He never treated others like subjects. I would bet Jesus would not have liked this feast; I would bet he would prefer the image of the Good Shepherd over the image of a King.

Loving God and our Neighbor

November 04, 2018

I am sure you are all aware that Catholicism is deeply rooted in Judaism. In fact in the very early church Catholicism was a sect of Judaism, and only became distinct after the Council of Jerusalem that took place around 45 AD. Thus we were all shocked and extremely saddened by the events of last Saturday in Pittsburgh, when 11 Jewish people were shot and killed while praying in the Tree of Life synagogue and many more were injured. We must continue to pray for them and their families.

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