Homily for December 4, 2005

Father Tom’s Homily
2nd Sunday of Advent – Healing
December 4, 2005

The gospels make it clear that healing was a principal ministry of Jesus. He healed those who came to him with afflictions of body, mind and spirit.
He touched those who thought they had been cursed by God with sickness and deformity.

He became friends with those he healed, with the paralyzed children and women who had been abused or tossed aside by divorce. He forgave those who were so caught up in evil that they had given up hope of God’s mercy.
To all of them, Jesus’ healing ministry brought the self-esteem and dignity that is due to a child of God.

Homily for November 27, 2005

Father Tom’s Homily
1st Sunday of Advent
November 27, 2005

In our Catholic tradition, November is the month of remembering those who have gone before us in death. We began the month with the Feast of All Saints to remember those who have gone home to God.
All Souls Day, November 2, it a day of remembering all who have died, and through the mercy of God, are on their way home to God. We join our prayers with theirs asking that they complete that journey as soon as possible.

Among the saints that we remember are the many martyrs that have shed their blood for the faith. The martyrs join with Christ who shed his blood as a sign of his complete solidarity with all suffering humanity. The martyrs are a reminder of Christ’s suffering for us.

Homily for November 20, 2005

Father Tom's Homily
Christ the King
November 20, 2005

This gospel lesson compares the final judgment to a shepherd separating sheep from goats. In Jesus' words the shepherd distinguishes the sheep not by the curl in their woolly coats, but by their merciful actions.
The sheep are people who have fed the hungry, given drink to people who are thirsty, sheltered the stranger, clothed the naked and visited the sick and imprisoned.

Three times the parable of the sheep and goats repeats the six actions which God requires of the just. In this way he is an effective teacher who drums these simple, basic expectations into our heads.

Homily for November 13, 2005

Father Tom's Homily
33rd Sunday
November 13, 2005

Jesus' parables are not just cute catechism stories. They are stories that jarred his audiences. His parables are meant to awaken us, sometimes by shocking us, to the meaning of the kingdom of God.
Today's parable uses exaggeration to instruct us about the gifts that God entrusts to our care. Jesus' audience of peasant farmers, fishermen, laborers, and their wives and families could only dream about the kind of wealth that today's parable speaks of.

The talent mentioned in this parable was an enormous amount of money for most of the people in Jesus' time. One talent was equal to 6,000 denarii. One denarius was a day's wages for the ordinary worker.

Homily for November 6, 2005

Father Tom's Homily
32nd Sunday
November 6, 2005

There is a modern heresy that claims to be biblically based. It proposes as God's truth a scenario called "The Rapture."
The Rapture teaches that Christ will return at the end of time to rescue born-again Christians off the earth to avoid a period of tribulation. After seven years, Christ will return with his chosen ones to rule the earth for 1,000 years.

The Rapture has become an extremely popular interpretation of the book of Revelation, and a jumping off point for the best selling Left Behind series of books (LaHaye & Jenkins).

Homily for October 30, 2005

Father Tom's Homily
31st Sunday
October 30, 2005

A poet offers us this thought on a beautiful autumn day.
"Each leaf, its life now spent,
dances down to rest on the bosom
of Mother Earth, and looks up
in amazement at the stars."
We are blest to have a poet's sense of wonder at the world we live in.

About 20 years ago, Father Pedro Arrupe, the head of the Jesuit order, was visiting one of the poor slums in a city in Latin America.
He celebrated the Eucharist with the people in a makeshift chapel. He remembered that it was a marvelous liturgy as the dirt-floor chapel was filled with joyful singing. This experience of worshipping with the poor made a deep impression Father Arrupe who had celebrated Mass in many beautiful cathedrals and basilicas on his world travels.

Homily for October 23, 2005

Father Tom's Homily
30th Sunday
October 23, 2005

Today's gospel takes us back to the same scene of the gospels of the past two Sundays.
Jesus is teaching in the large courtyard of the Temple complex. It is filled with pilgrims who have come to Jerusalem for the high holyday of Passover.
Jesus' adversaries have surrounded him like a pack of wolves circling for the kill. But Jesus outduels them one by one in answer to their hostile attacks.

First it was an angry exchange with the chief priests and the elders. Two weeks ago we heard Jesus' parable (the wedding feast) in response to their attack.

Homily for October 16, 2005

Father Tom's Homily
29th Sunday
October 16, 2005

According to Matthew's gospel, when Jesus entered Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) a few days before he was to die, he went directly to the temple where he created quite a scene. (chap 21)

Since this was Passover time, the buyers and sellers were doing great business changing money.
Many different types of money were brought by the pilgrims who came from many nations in that Mediterranean region. Since each pious Jew was obliged to pay the temple tax at Passover time, it was necessary to change money into the coinage of the temple. One type of money that was certainly not acceptable for temple use was Roman coins.

Homily for September 25, 2005

Father Tom's Homily
26th Sunday
September 25, 2005

The tabloids love to tell of people in high positions who,
because of bankruptcy or crime or some scandal, fall to the bottom of
the social ladder.
We can read of some billionaire CEOs who are sent to prison because
of they have been caught squandering the company finances.
A former Illinois governor has been accused and is now being tried
for breaking the law. It is possible that he may end up in prison.

History tells us about highly acclaimed military leaders, once
defeated in battle, being led captive in chains through jeering

Homily for September 18, 2005

Father Tom's Homily
25th Sunday
September 18, 2005

Today's gospel parable presents the mystery of God's mercy.
This is the key to our hope - that somehow God's mercy will be given
to us.
Indeed it is given, says the parable, beyond all our expectations.
Jesus aimed this parable at the righteous ones who felt that
God owed them alone mercy because of their lifelong fidelity to the
details of the law and their daily rituals and prayers. (the
pharisees and scribes) In the parable they are the ones who had
worked the whole day in the vineyard.
They looked down on all others who, they thought, were unworthy of

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