Homily for May 31, 2009

Father Tom’s Homily
Pentecost Sunday
May 31, 2009

The typical image of Pentecost in religious art shows the disciples gathered in quiet prayer with the look of great peace on their faces. Over the heads of each one there is a tongue of fire. Such a scene of piety and tranquility.
The story told by Luke in our first reading presents a different kind of scene.

Homily for May 24, 2009

Father Tom’s Homily
Ascension Sunday
May 24, 2009

For generations after the Ascension, the Christian community of Jerusalem used the upper room in the southwestern corner of the old walled city as their “parish church.”
They also held in special reverence three caves in the area around Jerusalem. These caves held the memory of the birth, death/resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.

There was the cave at Bethlehem, about six miles south of the old city where Jesus was born.

Homily for May 17, 2009

Father Tom’s Homily
6th Sunday of Easter
May 17, 2009

In today’s discussion of the torture technique called waterboarding, we are hearing about the Inquisition that took place in the mid-1200s.
The Inquisition was an authorized effort to root out false beliefs that became popular at that time. When persuasion failed, some church authorities introduced the use of certain torture tactics such as waterboarding to extort confessions of heresy.
A monument in Rome offers a commentary against this institutionalized cruelty.

Homily for May 10, 2009

Father Tom’s Homily
5th Sunday of Easter (Mother’s Day)
May 10, 2009

It was a common practice in the era of slavery in this country to sell the children of slaves away from their parents. The slaves were considered to be the property of the owners. Selling the children like a commodity was an important source of profit.
This was the source of an old spiritual sung by the black slaves titled, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” It was the mournful cry of the child who grieved the loss of his/her mother.

Homily for April 26, 2009

Father Tom’s Homily
3rd Sunday of Easter
April 26, 2009

In our gospel reading today, we listen to Jesus telling us that he is really human. That he is not a spirit (the gospel reading says “ghost”). Jesus, the Son of God, is not a spirit who has the appearance of a human. He is really a human like any one of us.
He says, “Look at my hands and feet. Touch me and see for yourselves. A ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”
And then, Jesus asks for something to eat. “They gave him a piece of baked fish and he ate it.”

Homily for April 19, 2009

Father Tom’s Homily
2nd Sunday of Easter
April 19, 2009

It would be difficult for us to imagine the painful grief and spiritual darkness of the disciples and friends of Jesus at his death. Besides the terrible shock of his death, there was also the ugly shame of crucifixion.
They were buried with Jesus in their awful sadness.

The apostle Thomas went off by himself to deal with his broken heart. No one could find him. He was absent from the Upper Room when Jesus appeared to his disciples on that First Easter Night.

Homily for Easter, 2009

Easter Day
April 11, 2009

Our faith is built on one central belief. It is the belief that Jesus Christ, after his death on the cross, has risen from the dead. That is why our celebration of Easter is so important.

Yesterday there was a marathon (a run of over 26 miles) through the streets of Champaign-Urbana. If some persons had not known about it, they would have wondered why all those people were running through the city streets.

Homily for Good Friday, 2009

Good Friday
The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
April 10, 2009

Jesus’ final words on the cross before he died were, “It is finished.” He is the Son of God whose life purpose is to accompany his human family. He was a poor man who shared all the struggles that are part of poverty. He worked hard with his hands as a carpenter to help support his mother and his extended family. He knew what it is like to live under the oppression of empire. Jesus died as a condemned criminal. He had finished a most difficult journey. “It is finished.”

Homily for Holy Thursday, 2009

Holy Thursday
The Memorial of the Last Supper
April 9, 2009

We are fed by the gospel and the Lord’s supper.
We are fed on the promise of God’s mercy and a poor man’s body and blood given to forgive the world that crucifies the poor.

They beat him bloody, nailed him naked to a cross and plunged a spear into his heart. It is his nailed hands and the flow of his blood that undoes the iniquity of the cult of violence and greed that has required victims since Cain murdered his brother.

Homily for March 29, 2009

Father Tom’s Homily
5th Sunday of Lent
March 29, 2009

“And Jesus wept.” This is one of the shortest sentences in the bible, yet it teaches us more about God than volumes of theology ever could.
Those two words, “Jesus wept” tell us what we had never suspected about the God whom we call the almighty and eternal Creator of the universe. We’d never known about the tears of God.
“Jesus wept.”

What are we to do with a God who cries? What are the meaning of his tears?

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