Even More to be Grateful For | #1012

Fr. Joel Homilies 1 Comment

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord • I’ve been filling the gratitude jar every week. A funny thing happened since New years: I’m finding more and more to be grateful for. God’s light is always shining, no matter how dark our situation may be. But when we focus on the dark parts we can’t see the light. If we start looking for God’s light, we find it grows brighter and brighter. We begin to see his loving care everywhere. Focus on God’s light. Be filled with God’s light. Carry His light everywhere you go.

(2 Feb 2020)

Going Deeper: Get a quart jar. Every Saturday write down one thing you are grateful for and put it in the jar.

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Light Up Your World with the Love of Jesus | #1011

Fr. Joel Homilies 1 Comment

Ordinary Time, 3rd Sunday (A) God’s love is a light shining in our darkness. Next week we will celebrate the Feast of the Presentation when Simeon and Anna welcome the Light. I helped a woman named Brenda enter the church. Clearly God’s light was shining on her, and then shinning within her. In a world full of darkness, we too must start shining with the Light of Christ.

(26 January 2020)

Thank you Vickie | Powered by Patrons

Bonus track by St. Anthony School Children and John Dessart (sorry I couldn’t help but sing along)

Going Deeper: Give thanks for those willing to stand up and shine a light in a dark part of American life.

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A Life Without Jesus is Pointless | #1010

Fr. Joel Homilies Leave a Comment

Ordinary Time, 2nd Sunday (A) I paid a visit Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. It tells the story of missionaries and martyrs at the dawn of European contact with what is now the United States. I was amazed by their willingness to die for Christ. That night I watched old Seinfeld episodes and wondered: Is your life a show about nothing, or a life lived with purpose?

You will not begin to truly live until you have found something, or someone, worth dying for. St. John the Baptist exists to point to Christ. St. Paul has realized that Jesus is the point of his life. He now spends his life pointing others to Christ. Your life will feel pointless if it isn’t pointing to Jesus.

Going Deeper: Read more about the Martyrs of La Florida Missions. What strikes you as you read their stories?

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Jesus baptism Holy Spirit

Soaking in the Love of God | #1009

Fr. Joel Homilies 1 Comment

Baptism of the Lord (A) The whole Jesus is present under the appearance of bread or wine. Intinction is an option for offering Communion under both species that is more sanitary than drinking from a common cup. We don’t ‘take’ Communion because Jesus gives himself to us. So we open our hands, or our mouth, to receive Him.

Why does Jesus get baptized, if he had no sin? He is baptized for us. He takes our sins into the river like he takes our sins to the cross. His dip in the water makes the waters clean so we can be cleaned by Baptism. Jesus wants to give us all the gifts he has received: life, peace, truth, and the Father’s love for him. We should be like sponges that soak in God’s love and then squish it out everywhere we go.

(12 Jan 2020)

Going Deeper: What did God give you at Christmas time? Write it down, meditate on it, and soak in God’s love for you.

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Return Home by Another Way | #1008

Fr. Joel Homilies 1 Comment

The Epiphany of the Lord (TEC Retreat Homily) There are some similarities between a TEC Retreat and the Three Wise Men: they left their home country, endured discomforts, found the Christ Child, and went home by a different way. They brought the things that had been the most important to them, and they laid those things at the feet of Jesus. A relationship with Him was their new most important thing.

Many of you have had a great experience away on retreat. Now you are afraid of what will happen when you return to your old life. How can you go back by another way? Take a look at these two images:

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Blessing of the Home and Household on Epiphany

Fr. Joel Being Catholic

The traditional date of Epiphany is January 6, but in the United States it is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. It is sometimes called “Little Christmas” and marks the arrival of the Wise Men (Magi) to the manger in Bethlehem. The custom of blessing homes while recalling the visit of the Magi is celebrated in most old-world countries. The family gathers. Candles are lit. It is most appropriate to gather around the Advent wreath in which the purple candles have been replaced with white. But other white, non-scented candles may be lit if the family does not have an Advent wreath.

The leader (usually the father or mother) begins by saying:

Peace be with this house and with all who live here.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!

During these days of the Christmas season,
we keep this feast of Epiphany,
celebrating the manifestation of Christ to the Magi.
Today Christ is manifest to us!
Today this home is a holy place.

Let us pray:

Father, we give you special thanks on this festival of the Epiphany,
for leading the Magi from afar to the home of Christ,

who has given light and hope to all peoples.
By the power of the guiding spirit,
may his presence be renewed in our home.
Make it a place of human wholeness and divine holiness:
a place of joy and laughter,
a place of forgiveness and peace,
a place of prayer, service and discipleship.

The leader takes the blessed chalk and marks the lintel (the doorframe above the door) of the main exit door of the house as follows:

20 + C + M + B + 20

(the last two digits are the current year. The CMB stands for the names of the three wise men and also “Christ Bless this Home” in Latin)

The prayer below is said during the marking by another family member, such as the mother or a child:

Loving God, as we mark this lintel,
send the angel of mercy to guard our home
and repel all powers of darkness.
Fill those of us living here with a love for each other
and warm us with the fullness of your presence and love.

After the lintel has been marked, the leader finishes by saying:

Lord our God, you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star.
Bless now this household with health,
goodness of heart, gentleness,
and the keeping of your law of love.
May all who dwell here or visit this dwelling with their presence,
find the joy and thoughtfulness of Mary, the God-bearer,
and thus praise and thank you eternally together with Jesus,
the light of the nations,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit and the Church,
now and for ever.

All respond: Amen.

All join hands and pray together the “Our Father.”

The leader then invites all to share a sign of peace:
Let us offer each other a sign of peace.

Other doors may be marked by family members, especially children marking the doors of their own bedrooms. If possible, the family may continue the celebration by sharing a special meal together.

Source: This blessing service was adapted from the one that St. Josaphat Basilica in Milwaukee gives out each year at this time.

A Jar Full of Christmas Joy | #1007

Fr. Joel Homilies

The Octave of Christmas & the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God • We continue to soak in the Christmas mystery. Wouldn’t it be great if every one of our homes was a little Bethelehem, a little Nazareth? Mary had the most deep and the most intimate relationship with God that we could possibly imagine. She wants us to have a deep, personal, and intimate relationship with Jesus too. Follow her example and ponder God’s good gifts in your heart.

(1 Jan 2020)

Going Deeper: Decorate a quart jar. Once a week write down one blessing that you are grateful for. At the the end of the year, empty the jar and reflect on your blessings from the whole year.

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Want More Peace in Your Family? Do This One Thing | #1006

Fr. Joel Homilies, The Loving Life

Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (A) All that wonderful family togetherness at Christmas may have proven that ours is not the Holy Family. So today we return to Bethlehem. On Christmas we focused on the Christ Child. Now we “zoom out” to learn from Mary and Joseph too.

If you want more peace and love in your family, then love, honor, and obey your parents. Your husband. And Almighty God. St. Joseph was probably the least qualified to lead the Holy Family. The secret to his success was his willingness to listen to God and obey him. Mary obeyed Joseph because Joseph obeyed God. And Jesus obeyed them both. We can only be a team when we have a sense of mission and purpose outside our ourselves. Let us dedicate our family to serving God in the coming year.

(29 Dec 2019)

Going Deeper: How can I be more obedient to God, my husband, and/or my parents? Plan to bless your home together as a family on January 6th.

This Year Elves Put Up My Christmas Tree | #1005

Fr. Joel Homilies

Christmas Day • Are you afraid of the dark? Most grownups no longer need a night-light. But we hide from the darkness of our past and our fears. Jesus comes to be your friend, a friend who is the Light. He is the answer to the yearnings of your heart. He loves you and wants a relationship with you. What do you have to do? Just leave the door unlocked. Jesus will enter your heart and Christmas will fill your soul.

(25 Dec 2019)

Going Deeper: Every time we take Communion, we are responding to an Altar Call. Jesus wants to give himself to you. Come forward only if you are willing to open your heart to Jesus, and make a gift of yourself to him. Those who aren’t Catholic or aren’t able to take sacramental communion can come forward with their arms crossed for a blessing. Say AMEN and really mean it. And if you find yourself in church but are not prepared to give yourself to Jesus, then remain in the pew. We respect your journey.