Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown, Conn. Where is God?


Watching the video images of the mothers and fathers along with their children’s teachers in Newtown, Conn. choked with grief and tears caused my heart to ask “Where is God in all of this?” Pictures of children and their parents in the Middle East also came into my mind. Pictures of bodies falling from the burning towers of the World Trade Center made their entrance into my mind’s eye along with humanity in agony in other parts of the world -- all made their way into my non-stop mental video as it played out images of suffering humanity in my mind.
Where is God in all of this? Again and again this question made its demands on me. I have no doubt that this question has come to you, too.
Then, inevitably, my mind’s eye turned to the crucifix. There, a human body writhed in pain on that instrument of torture, the Cross, there is God! He is not remote and distant – He is here, within us. There, on His Cross is God in all of humanity suffering with us and for us. There is all of humanity wrapped up in His Anointed One suffering in order to bring us with Him through death into eternal life. Is the crucifix an image of defeat? Or is the crucifix the image showing us that agony and death are not the final answer to human life, especially innocent human life under attack by evil itself?
That is the question. That is the ultimate question that leads us to the answer, to God’s answer to our questioning cry: “Oh God, where are You? Give me eyes to see.”
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual life shine upon them. Gather these little ones into your arms and love them, Father, with your everlasting love.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Freedom and Our Religious Heritage

This is by far the best summary I have yet read on our present effort to preserve not only our own religious freedom but on the religious freedom of all Americans as well.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trinity Sunday Homily

Trinity Sunday [B] 2012
Deuteronomy 4:32-34; 39-40; Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28:16-20

There are three paths to knowledge that we frequently walk… thinking using concepts, thinking using pictures or images, and thinking using our experiences. They are all routes to truth even though experience seems to be the most favored route these days. This is curious to me because learning through experience gives us some of life’s harshest lessons. We learn the hard way along that route. The other routes are not so harsh.

From its earliest days, the Catholic Church has relied on images -- pictures found in stained glass windows, statues of saints and holy people, icons, and glorious mosaics found in so many of our churches. Television, movies, and computer images have surrounded us during the last century. As never before in human history our children are learning via images.

So today I am going to share some thoughts with you about the Holy Trinity using mental images. It’s better that way. The history of images is rich because artists have a way of expressing what is otherwise inexpressible using the medium of paint, plaster, stone and other materials.

St. Patrick went to Ireland to bring the message of Jesus to the Celtic people living there, and we all know that when it came to teaching them about the Holy Trinity he used the three-leaf clover. How can three persons be one? He showed the people of his day the three-leaf clover and used that image to teach the revelation of Jesu that God is Three Persons in one Being.

It is of course impossible to picture God using any humanly created image. In fact attempting to do so is to fall into what is called idolatry… the worship of man made idols. But there is one way of imaging God that really does work, and God has wondrously given us that image. It is Jesus Christ, the Icon, the Image of God found in a human person who is both Jesus Christ and the Son of God at one and the same time.

 When God made us in the first place, in our origin, in our genesis, God created us in His own image and likeness. The Book of Genesis tells us: God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. Being human we are called by God to see our Godlikeness. That was, of course, before humans sinned. After we sinned that image was scarred and disfigured. We know that is true even in our day. Not very many of us live God-like lives, do we?

But God would not allow His plan and purpose to be frustrated. In the fullness of time He gave us His Only Son, born of a woman, One who lived to perfection what it means to be a human being.

All of this means that we find God and “see” God in our relationships with other persons. To be a person means to be a creature of God who can both know and love. Those are the two powers that constitute what it means to be a person. We can know others; we can love others. In doing so we can catch glimpses of God who knows and loves infinitely.
The reality of the Holy Trinity is, of course a mystery. But mysteries can be talked about. They can be described. Mysteries have clues that our minds can grasp. But a mystery remains a mystery unless and until we grasp it in its totality. When it comes to God we simply cannot comprehend the total reality of God.

Mysteries make up a good portion of our lives. Science has its mysteries, as does philosophy, as does psychology, as do other intellectual disciplines. They all have much in them to challenge our minds and our intellectual capacities. All of them contain unknowns within them that move us to seek out their answers.

As a matter of fact we human beings need mystery. We need to be aware of that which is mysterious in life. We need to see that many times mysteries are to be lived; they are not problems to be solved. Husbands and wives who are truly in love, unite themselves in the mystery of each other. Loving husbands and loving wives learn more about each other every year, but they also learn that there are hidden parts in their inner selves that only begin to be recognized after many years of deep love. Husbands delight in the mystery of “her,” and wives delight in the mystery of “him.” They have been ushered into the intimacy of the person whom they love even though it is impossible for each to describe the essence of her husband or the essence of his wife. When they treat each other as problems to be solved they get into a whole lot of trouble. The mystery of true love is something that you who are married know experientially, something that I can only experience in friendships.

And all of this is true in the relationships parents have with their children.

For all of our efforts to find individuality and uniqueness as distinct persons, we still have an overwhelming need to belong. Belonging is stamped on nature. Belonging is found in everything that exists. Even atoms have protons, neutrons and electrons that seek to belong to each other. It is in their belonging that they cause the atom to be what it is. It is because of the bonding of living cells that we have bodies.

It’s hell not to belong. It’s heaven to belong. It’s hell to live with nobody to love us other than our own isolated selves. It’s heaven when we love and are loved by others. God made us to belong. The inner nature of God, in whose image and likeness we are made, is Persons who, however distinct they are, totally belong to each other.

We humans are made to belong in a special kind of belonging. We belong as free persons who choose to live in inter-dependency. While there is a belonging that enslaves (possessive belonging) there is also a belonging that gives us freedom, the freedom to be who we are as persons.

Sin isolates us. The first thing we lose when we sin is the sense of joy - the joy of knowing that we are living doing what is decent, right and good. Sin tears apart the fabric of our being, that network in which we belong in love and goodness to others. Sin attacks living in inter-dependency; sin destroys our relationships in which we belong to others in genuine love.

The concept of the Holy Trinity is a mystery, but not a total mystery. Mysteries, after all, are made up of clues. In a mystery story we pursue and piece together clues in order to see the whole picture. So it is with the Holy Trinity. We have lots of clues about the Holy Trinity. And when we pursue them and then piece them together we get a good glimpse into what kind of a God God is.

God is all about love. When we live in love we live in God, and God lives in us. Living in love, however, does not mean we must be the same. There’s a great deal of confusion about this in today’s surrounding culture. Some advocate that so-called “civil unions” should be the same as marriages. Boys and girls are urged to dress in the same ways. The “androgynous look” is favored in Hollywood. If we hold to values that differ from others we are often told that we are mean-spirited hate-mongers who are intolerant and prejudiced.

Persons, however, cannot be the same as other persons. The Father is a distinct Person; the Son is a distinct Person; and the Holy Spirit is a distinct Person. Distinct though they are, however, they exist in One Being of infinite love; they exist in one unbreakable bond, in one infinite union of being together. We can distinguish between them but we cannot separate them.

While all of that remains a mystery to us, it is not so mysterious that we cannot live with each other in a reality of life that reflects and shares in the reality of God’s life. To live a God-like life we must forgive rather than condemn. We must build-up and affirm rather than tear down. We must see the best, not the worst. We must be self-sacrificial and not self-centered.  We must be giving rather than grasping. We must offer hope, not in despair. We must heal rather than wound.

All of this is best affirmed and nurtured in what we know of as a family. There is nothing in life that more closely reflects the reality of the Holy Trinity than genuine family life. For it is in a family that we not only belong but also where we discover, nurture, and affirm our own unique and individual personalities. It is a family that makes us individuals, and it is we as individuals who make our family. It is the “family” of the Holy Trinity that constitutes God. It is in living the reality of being truly a family that we have a glimpse into the life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
May God bless you (+) the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

For other homilies visit:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Catholics Are Rising Up To Meet the Test of Fire

Catholics are going to confront the Obama administration and fight fire with fire. Take a look at this and you'll see what I mean!!

Friday, May 4, 2012


 A Statement on Religious Liberty
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

 The opening paragraph of one of the finest documents issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declares:

We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory, and should instead be complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding and our Constitution, which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths the right to contribute to our common life together.

Subsequently in that documents the bishops propose that we observe a “Fortnight For Freedom:”

We suggest that the fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, be dedicated to this "fortnight for freedom"—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

For more information and to read the full document I urge you to visit:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Our First and Most Cherished Liberty

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops just released this document, one that is well worth reading. I did not realize that the on-coming encroachment has been so broad. “Mommy Gov’t” is very secular and she wants to make sure all of her children are secular too.
It seems that the so-called “Wall of Separation” faces in just one direction.
Let us enjoy our freedom while we still have it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Free Exercise Thereof…

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” Over Easter weekend the controversy between the Obama administration and the Church flared up once again. It seems to me that the focus is properly centering on the issue of who defines the meaning of “the free exercise of religion”?

What is the scope of the exercise of our religious faith? Is it confined to our places of worship, meaning that we are free to worship in our church buildings without governmental oversight and interference, or does it include schools wherein we teach, our charitable institutions and our hospitals? Furthermore, who decides the content of our faith response to God? Government officials or church leaders?

As Catholics we believe that Jesus Christ is worshipped not only in our churches were we pray but also in how we care for others in our surrounding world. Our faith tells us that we are sent, sent by the One who was sent, sent with the prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  What we teach in our schools, colleges, and universities expresses our faith. How we care for others in our hospitals and social service agencies likes expresses our faith. This is central to the issue Catholics and members of other faith communities have with administration officials in Washington, D.C.

Hopefully the Justices of our Supreme Court will focus on that issue when they make their eventual decision.