I want to introduce a new feature to the site. We now have Audio so that you can hear some of the homilies I preach, or parts of conferences that I give.
This is my first uploaded Audio file! After my Easter Mass at St. John Catholic Church, a few people asked for a copy of my Homily. So, I asked if this could be uploaded, and you know what Jesus says, “Ask and you shall receive!” So, the good people of the Grace Befor Meals Team uploaded the Easter Homily I preached at my parish’s “off site” Mass. Thanks Tim, Curtis and Riz!
A bit of explanation: Due to the Easter Mass crowds we had to plan on a second site for Mass. We are blessed to have a beautiful banquet hall called “the Portico of St. John.” At that site, we had a crowd of about 700 people, while simultaneously celebrating another mass in the church with about 1,200 people. Yes, it was quite a busy day. But, we managed to tape the homily, and so, here it is!
FYI: At one point, I made an “off the cuff” comment about being in the “dark.” It was not originally intended, but I said it because someone leaned on the lights and the whole church was dark for about 30 seconds. But, I kept on preaching!
God bless you who hear this, and pray for us that we continue to preach with Christ’s love, compassion, strength, and clarity!
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The Days of the Holy Triduum are now over and the celebration of Easter has begun. Remember, Easter is not simply the “end” of the Lenten Season, but a “beginning” to a New Life in Christ who is God.
For me, it was a very memorable Three Days, and I’m grateful to God for having had the opportunity to mysteriously and personally enter into the mysteries of the Season. Holy Thursday – Jesus’ false accusations delivered to him by the erred ways of public opinion; Good Friday – His painful pilgrimage up to Calvary feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders; Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday – anticipating the Light in the midst of the Darkness.
All of these events led to the Glorious day of Easter, when our battle cry could definitely be heard after 40 days of silence: Alleluia! I also rejoiced knowing that mom and dad would have a feast back home. A big ham with a reduced pineapple, cinnamon, clove, and brown sugar glaze; Broccoli sautéed in an oyster dressing; my brother’s teriyaki chicken; tender asparagus with a garlic breadcrumb topping; Festive spring salads; a Filipino noodle dish, called “pancit”; and a few other dishes – including desserts: a choice of cheesecakes! Yes, it was quite a Worthy Feast!
The Lenten Fast is over and our celebration begins. So, Buon Appetito as we feast on the Paschal Lamb of God who presents a meal that satisfies every craving! I’ll be in Bismarck, North Dakota for some presentations for High School Students, so I’ll be sure to let you all know how wonderfully on fire our young people are out there, even though I’m sure it will be really cold in those parts!
Click Here to hear the audio from Easter Sunday.
Tonight, Catholic priests around the world will remember a two fold mission of Jesus: The Liturgy of the Eucharist (The Last Supper) and the Gift of Service (Washing the Feet of His Disciples). It’s a powerful and dramatic liturgy to show the priesthood at its core.
At the end of the Liturgy, the lights will be darkened in the church as a candlelit procession will move from the Main Altar to an Altar of Repose – a special place where people can pray before the Blessed Sacrament. The Altar of Repose, according to the ritual and tradition, should be beautifully decorated to inspire fervor and prayer.
This area – the altar of repose, will also represent how Jesus will be all alone in the Garden of Gethsemane. There he will pray, like He’s never prayed before. He will ask for deliverance, protection, strength, and even to have this cup of suffering pass Him. But, he will conclude that prayer saying “But not my will be done, but Your will be done!”
We can all learn from this humble prayer. We too, in His name, will face all types of struggles, challenges, and crosses. Our only hope is to pray – like you’ve never prayed before – with Jesus, and all alone. For that reason, Churches will be open late tonight, giving you an opportunity to pray with Jesus in this Garden.
Jesus asks His disciples, “could you not wait with me one hour?” That line in the Gospel has inspired so many people to come to churches, not just this evening, but weekly, and in some cases daily, to pray what is called a “Holy Hour.” An Hour of Prayer, consecrated to, by and for the Lord. It’s our way of spending time with the One we Love, especially as He is present in the Eucharist.
Maybe we can all make a “Holy Thursday Resolution” – to pray a Holy Hour sometime in our week, outside of Mass, as a way to remember and “be with Jesus” in the memory of the most difficult time in His Life. I guarantee that prayers will remind us that He is with us, especially in the most difficult time of our life.
We enter into this blessed time of the year with great desire. May you feast on the richness of the church’s liturgical work and be satisfied in our deepest hunger for peace, faith, hope and love.
Blessings and Peace!
Yesterday evening (2 April 2007 – the 2nd year anniversary of John Paul II’s Death), the Archbishop of Baltimore, Cardinal William Keeler, gathered with over 250 priests, deacons and consecrated religious women & men, and a packed Cathedral to lead us through the Liturgy called the Chrism Mass. It’s a splendid affair, with the highlights being the Eucharist (of course) but also the Sacred Oils which were blessed and consecrated for the use of Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and Healing.
The prayers of this Mass reminds us that Chrism and Christ share the same root word – Anointing and the Anointed One. One thought I had through the whole liturgy is how our Faith uses very “ordinary” things – such as bread, wine and oil – all ordinary cooking materials, but transforms them (in the case of the Eucharist through transubstantiation) making them Extraordinary. In fact, that’s the point of the oils. The oils are used at Baptism to turn us into Children of God. They are used in Confirmation to turn us into Soldiers for Christ. They are used in the Anointing of the Sick to turn a sick person into a deeper image of the suffering Christ, and also to bring them healing through the Divine Doctor Himself. At a Priesthood Ordination, the oils “sacramentally change” an ordinary man into a Priest.
It was also a special day because I had a chance to spend time with our great and enthusiastic Vocation Director (Fr. Jerry Francik) and about 8 young men who wanted to learn more about the priesthood. We spent the day visiting seminaries, meeting seminarians, praying, seeing some religious sites, and eating… of course.
It was not a “Christmas Mass,” but being there with these impressive and inspiring young men and concelebrating the Archdiocesan Chrism Mass was a wonderful GIFT to me! I know, that was a rather corny play on words, but it is TRUE!
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