Sunday, March 27, 2011

Face to Face Encounter

Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent, Year A
Exodus 17.3-7 Psalm 95 Romans 5.1-2, 5-8 John 4.5-42

Click here
to listen to or download an audio (mp3) file of this homily.

There is no technology or app that can take the place of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. He wants to meet us in person, face to face, to give us what we need to follow him.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sent Forth by God's Blessing

Homily for the Second Sunday of Lent
Genesis 12.1-4a Psalm 33 2 Timothy 1.8b-10 Matthew 17.1-9

Click here to listen to or download an audio (mp3) file of this homily.

Blessings ask God to be with us and guide us in whatever we are undertaking. So the blessing at the end of Mass is really not a signal that the Mass is over, but a blessing over all the people who will be taking the presence of Christ into the world, the people who have listened to God’s word, reflected on how God is calling them to live, have been strengthened by the community, and are now sent forth on a mission – a mission to live as disciples of Christ.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What do you do with silence?

Homily for the First Sunday of Lent, Year A
Genesis 2.7-9; 3.1-7 Psalm 51 Romans 5.12-19 Matthew 4.1-11

There’s a lot that can happen in the short moment of silence at the beginning of Mass. If we know what it’s about – if we’re ready for it – and if we’ve gotten in the habit of reflecting on our personal relationship with God and our relationships with other people – if we use that silence to remember God’s love and mercy for us, always, then we’ll be in good shape spiritually for the rest of the Mass.

Click here to listen to or download an audio (mp3) file of this homily.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Cross of Ashes

Homily for Ash Wednesday, Year A
Joel 2.12-18 Psalm 51 2 Corinthians 5.20-6.2 Matthew 6.1-6, 16-18

These 40 days of Lent are a time to remember that we are not God, but that we desperately need God's grace, and we need to transform our lives day by day to become the people God has called us to be. The simple cross of ashes placed on our foreheads tells us everything we need to know about who we are, who God is, and how we are called to live.

Click here to listen to or download an audio (mp3) file of this homily.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Preparing for the Roman Missal: Schema for Liturgical Catechesis

As of today, there are 264 days until the implementation of the English translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal!

Many of us who have been preparing for this implementation are hoping to be able to make it a time of general liturgical catechesis - helping people understand what the Mass is all about and why we do what we do. This can be done in homilies, in faith formation programs, in small group discussion, and in weekly meetings. For several months, I had been looking to see if anyone had taken the Sunday and Holy Day lectionary readings for this year and made connections from these readings to the liturgy and the Roman Missal. I never really found what I was looking for, so I decided to try to put something together myself.

At the bottom of this post you will find a link to what I have come up with so far - a Schema for Liturgical Catechesis. There is an introduction in the document itself that explains it in more detail, but the basic idea is that this Schema takes the lectionary readings for Sundays and Holy Days from the First Sunday of Lent through Christmas and makes suggestions for how to use these readings as a springboard for liturgical catechesis and formation for the implementation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. There are probably other connections that can be made that are not included here, but it is a start.

I plan to use this Schema especially for homilies, but there are many other possibilities. And while there is something in the Schema for every week from now through the end of December, it provides a lot of flexibility to pick and choose topics or dates that might be most beneficial for your community. I have also shared this Schema with LTP (Liturgy Training Publications), and it is posted on their website: Feel free to use it as you can and to pass it on to anyone else who might be able to use it. And let me know if you have anything to add.

Click here to view or download the Schema for Liturgical Catechesis.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Reflections on Bishop Coyne's Ordination

Yesterday, Wednesday, March 2, I joined with about 1,000 people to witness and join in the celebration of the ordination of Bishop Christopher Coyne, the newly-appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Held at St. John the Evangelist Church in downtown Indianapolis - the church where my parents were married almost 40 years ago - it was an inspiring and moving experience, the first time a bishop has been ordained in Indianapolis since 1933!

Perhaps more than anything, for me, the most meaningful aspect of the ordination was that it was a true gathering of the Church - 16 bishops, including one cardinal; about 160 priests; numerous deacons and deacon candidates; representatives of the Knights of Columbus, the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher, the Knights and Ladies of Malta, and other fraternal and charitable organizations; religious sisters and brothers from Indiana and as far away as Switzerland; lay men and women from every corner of our Archdiocese, the Archdiocese of Boston, and other places - all gathered together for the same purpose: to witness the 2,000 year-old tradition of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands to ordain a successor of the apostles, a new shepherd for the Church. In one place, at one time, the community of the Church was gathered together in prayer - representing so many more people praying from their homes or workplaces - thanking God for his presence among us and for giving us shepherds after his own heart.

In his homily at the ordination, Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, OSB, talked a lot about unity and the role of a bishop to bring about and preserve unity in God's flock. He reflected on the importance of bringing about unity in a divided world through faith and charity. There is so much that divides us - both within the Church and in the secular world - and it seems harder and harder to find any source of unity. To have the vision and leadership of shepherds whose primary task is to be humble servants of unity is a great gift. In his remarks at the end of the ordination liturgy, Bishop Coyne spoke of the importance of putting our house in order - building on the good things that are happening in the parishes and Catholic organizations - becoming truly welcoming places of prayer, formation, and service. Then, we can do the hard work of evangelizing - spreading the gospel throughout the world, especially to people for whom faith is not an important part of their lives. And through that work, we strive to bring all people together in the one family of God. This is the work God has put before us.

There was a great spirit and energy at yesterday's ordination - the Church that is the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is excited about our new auxiliary bishop, and we look forward to the gifts and blessings that will flow from his ministry among us. Bishop Coyne places great emphasis on preaching, liturgy, and teaching, and he has wide-ranging experience in communications - including blogging. We welcome him with open arms and pray for the continued guidance of the Holy Spirit as he begins his ministry as a bishop. And his episcopal motto is a good one for all of us to remember: "Trust in the Lord."

Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, OSB, prays the prayer of consecration during the ordination of Bishop Christopher Coyne.