Father Terry's Homilies

What Happened?

May 24, 2020

What happened? That’s exactly what the stunned disciples asked themselves as the risen Lord ascended into heaven. What happened? The story is fairly straightforward.  Some 40 days after his resurrection and numerous appearances to his followers, the risen Lord left these men and women for good, with only a mission and a promise.

The mission was to take the good news of God’s unconditional love to the entire world. The promise included his presence with them until the end of the age, through the Holy Spirit.

So now there was work to be done taking the message to the whole world starting in Jerusalem, then all of Judea, Samaria, and beyond. What happened? The disciples heard the assignment, watched Jesus vanish from their sight, and kept looking into the heavens hoping he would come back. They looked so long an angel had to bring them back to earth, ordering them to return to the city.

I Will Not Leave You Orphaned

May 17, 2020

The last few months have been shocking for all people all over the world. The advent of the coronavirus, also known as covid-19, has caused unprecedented hardship. No one really knows what is coming next; no one really knows what to do. No one alive today has ever experienced anything like this.

 

Contrast all of that with our Gospel reading today: “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth. Then Jesus goes on, “I will not leave you orphans.”

 

This passage could not have come at a better time. While Jesus was on earth, if there was a disease he healed it. If there was possession, he freed them. If there was darkness he filled it with light. The disciples had him 24 hours a day in the flesh. But Jesus knew that eventually the believers would be numbered in the millions and he could not be physically present with everyone

Good Shepherd Sunday during the Coronavirus Pandemic

May 03, 2020

The Coronavirus has made this past Easter very unusual for all of us. But columnist Yvonne Abraham, writing in the Boston Globe on March 25, 2020, wonders if this Easter could be the beginning of a whole new way of living.

 

“What would the world be like if the things that have become so important to us during this pandemic, remained so? What would our lives be like if our values and priorities were frozen, right here. If we were always as kind to each other, and as worried about the world, as we are today?"

"We would do just about everything differently."

Faith and Doubt

April 19, 2020

On Oct. 26, 1964, the Minnesota Vikings were playing the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers had the ball on the Vikings 34 yard line, beginning their progress down the field. The ball was fumbled, and the Vikings defensive end, Jim Marshall, recovered the ball and ran for the goal line. He poured on all his speed, so that glancing over his shoulder he could tell if there was anyone near him. He dashed the 66 yards for a touchdown…or at least what he thought was a touchdown.

 

As it turns out, in all the confusion, Marshall picked up the ball and made his dramatic run…the wrong way! He ran 66 yards, not to a touchdown but for a safety, which means his Vikings didn’t get 6 points, but the 49ers got two. From that day on, many people referred to Jim Marshall as “Wrong way Jim”.

Easter 2020: Richer in Humanity and Hope

April 12, 2020

Happy Easter everyone!

 

Those words may be puzzling as the whole world is in the grip of the coronavirus. But the virus has closed Easter services but it has not closed Easter. Christ has risen from the dead and so will we!

 

This Easter we remember why Jesus came to earth in the first place, he came to save us and bring us eternal life. Have you ever noticed that the scriptures were written for the poor, the down-trodden, the brokenhearted, the sick, the lonely, and the sinners? It was written to give these people hope.

Palm Sunday

April 05, 2020

Because of the length of the passion reading today, I just wanted to offer a brief reflection.

 

Today is Palm Sunday, and thus the beginning of Holy Week, the most sacred week of the year for Christians. This year the week is also a week filled with great distress and anxiety because of the coronavirus scare. Many people all over the entire world are petrified about what the future holds for us all health wise and economic wise. What the future holds is a great big mystery.

 

Perhaps this tension will better prepare us for the true meaning of Holy Week than usual.

Coronavirus - Lent 2020

March 29, 2020

Every now and then an event happens that is so earth shaking that everybody remembers exactly where they were when it happened. For those of you who are old enough, the assassination of JFK on Nov. 22, 1963 was one of them. Another one was the terrorism attack on the Twin Towers in New York City on 9-11-2001. A third one might well be Lent of 2020. The coronavirus.

 

Just a few months ago we enjoyed the joyous feast of Christmas. Just a few weeks ago we came to this Church and heard the words, “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return” on Ash Wednesday. Little did we know how true these words would ring before Holy Week even begins and our churches are empty and Holy Week Services all but cancelled?

A Second Chance

March 15, 2020

Thomas Edison changed the world with the invention of the first light bulb. It took many experiments and an entire factory of people to develop a final product that would work satisfactorily.

 

A story is told that after completing some 12,000 experiments Edison and his team finally finished the first bulb. He handed the finished bulb to a young helper and asked him to carry it carefully upstairs to his lab. The young boy took the bulb and began to climb the stair cautiously, step by step. At the very last moment he slipped and dropped the bulb. It fell to the floor and shattered into a thousand pieces.

 

The entire factory went back to work immediately and labored for another 24 hours to complete another bulb. When they were finished, Edison took the bulb, turned around and handed it to the same young boy to carry upstairs.

 

Edison knew that more than a light bulb was at stake. In giving the young boy a second chance he restored the boy's confidence in himself and presented him with the opportunity for a new beginning.

The Rule of 3

March 08, 2020

Our homily today is sponsored by the number “3”.

 

I am sure many of you have seen the commercial that is currently out for the GMC SUV’s. It goes like this: “The rule of three states that things that come in 3’s are inherently more appealing than things that don’t. We couldn’t agree more.” Then it shows the Yukon, Acadia, and Terrain. Then it concludes: “3 SUV’s, one GMC.”

 

In the Bible the number plays an important role. Some famous numbers would be 3, 12, 24, 144,000, and let’s not forget 666. The number 3 plays a very significant role. The number 3 is mentioned all through the Bible.

 

Just to name a few: in the Old Testament there are three archangels mentioned by name: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. St. Matthew writes, “for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”. St. John writes, “For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are in agreement.

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.”

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