Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Homily Divine Mercy Sunday 2008

Good Friday 1993...
Sharon McAllister left to attend Service of the Lord’s Passion.
Her two boys pleaded not to have to church, so she left them at home,
with strict instructions on how to behave responsibly while she was gone.

Of course, the moment she left, mischief reigned supreme!
The boys immediately got out their BB guns
and began to play a dangerous kind of hide-and-seek with them,
firing at each other as they hid behind different obstacles in the yard.

14-year-old Patrick was hiding behind a small boat that was lying in the field.
Just as he stood up and came round from behind it, his brother fired a shot
which hit Patrick directly in the eye.

In a state of shock and panic, the boys at least thought to run to a nearby house
and a neighbor lady rushed Patrick to the emergency room.
Her husband took his brother to church to find and inform their mother.

When Mom arrived at the hospital,
she was startled to see the doctors waiting for her.They told her that the BB had pierced through Patrick’s eye and torn his retina.
There was nothing they could do for him.

The hospital even called in a specialist, who provided only a bleak prognosis.
He would never see out of that eye again, and his overall vision would be impaired.
Patrick remained in the hospital through Easter Sunday,
and on Monday he went home with both eyes bandaged shut.
Each day Sharon changed Patrick’s bandages and checked his wounded eye.

When she took off the dressings and exposed his eyes to the light,
he described that it was like “sparklers going off in his eyes.”
He could not see and the shredded inside of his eye was causing him great suffering.
Even worse, the pain medication he was given caused nausea and vomiting.

Frustrated and with no hope except in God, Sharon decided
that her family needed to go to church and pray on Divine Mercy Sunday.
She had heard the lesson of Saint Faustina,
a polish nun to whom Jesus appeared several times beginning in Lent 1931.
Jesus told her that He would answer any prayer of those who pray devoutly on DMS.

Patrick was not supposed to move around much until his scars healed
but Sharon insisted that he go with her
for her only hope was in the Divine Mercy of Jesus.
So they went, and they prayed for Patrick to regain his sight.

On Monday, there was no change.
Then, on Tuesday, when Sharon opened Patrick’s bandages,
his response was much different than usual.
“Mom, I can see you,” he blurted out.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Like before!” he replied.

Sharon took Patrick to the eye specialist, who examined him
and was confounded and amazed that Patrick was able to see at all,
let alone see as well as before the .
Even if Patrick regained some sight after such an ,
the scar tissue in his eye should have left him with spotty vision.

When they went to their family doctor, he, too was amazed, and asked:
“Who performed this surgery?”
Sharon simply replied: “The One who made the eye!”

God not only worked a miracle for Patrick but also for his brother,
who was greatly troubled knowing that his carelessness had blinded his brother.
Not a day goes by that the whole family does not thank God
for His abundant mercy and love revealed in Jesus Christ.

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday,
as Pope John Paul the Great designated this Second Sunday of Easter.
Today we celebrate Easter in an abundant way as we give thanks for DM…
the great and beautiful Easter gift given to the Church by the Risen Christ.

The appearance of the Risen Christ among the Apostles is shocking.
He comes through locked doors and stands in the midst of His fearful friends.
His few words – “Peace be with you!” – dispel their anxiety.

Jesus shows to the Apostles the wounds which He suffered on the Cross…
wounds which remain in His glorified body as signs of His infinite love.

From those wounds…in His hands and feet…flowed His Precious …
an ocean of mercy waiting to bursting forth from His Sacred Heart
and cascade over the souls of all humanity.

In that same moment, Jesus transmits to the frightened and dumbfounded disciples
the sacramental grace to be ministers of His divine mercy.
He institutes the Sacrament of Penance,
and entrusts it to His chosen friends…the first priests of the Church.
“Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and who sins you retain are retained.”

It is through the Church’s ministers that Christ desires to bestow His merciful love.
We give thanks to God, for His mercy endures in the sacramental life of the Church.

The mercy won for us in the Sacrifice of the Cross…
is bestowed upon the Church by the glorified and Risen Christ…
so that waves of mercy might continue to be poured out
on countless fearful souls…through the ministry of the Church.

The appearance of the Risen Christ to Saint Faustina in 1931 was also shocking,
as He suddenly came and stood with her in her humble convent cell.
He appeared in dazzling white, with His right hand raised in blessing,
and with red and white rays emanating from that glorious wound in his side.
Jesus revealed to her that the white ray symbolizes the saving water of Baptism…
and the red symbolizes His precious poured out on the Cross.

The same Risen Jesus appeared to the Apostles…and to Faustina…
to reveal the same incredible gift of His unfathomable divine mercy!
Jesus also revealed to Faustina a prayer known as the Divine Mercy Chaplet,
and promised great favors to those who pray it in faith.
We will gather as a parish family this afternoon at 3:00 to pray this prayer.
In invite and encourage you to join us.

Like the Apostles, the doors to our hearts are often locked because of fear,
or stubbornness.
Like Thomas, our need for outward signs…proof…upfront
prevents us from embracing the opportunities for grace God presents to us.
Perhaps this devotion to Divine Mercy is new and uncertain for you.
Be not afraid!

Today, the Risen Christ stands in our midst in this Holy Eucharist…
and beckons us to partake of the saving and redemptive tide of His mercy.
Today the Risen Christ wishes us peace, and promises us love.
Today the Risen Christ calls us to put aside our fear and doubt,
and place our trust in His mercy.

Dear friends, be not unbelieving in divine mercy…
but believe…and cry out with Saint Thomas: “My Lord and my God!”
Cry out with Saint Faustina: “Jesus, I trust in You!”

Come pray with us this afternoon.
Perhaps the merciful God who has made you has a miracle in mind for your life.

Believe in the mercy of Christ which endures forever…
that you may have life in Him!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Homily Good Friday 2008

This afternoon we gather at the foot of the Cross…on the top of Calvary’s hill…
to gaze upon the glory of the moment of our salvation.

The sorrow of Mary and of Jesus’ beloved friend Saint John envelops us
as we behold the savior of the world in unimaginable agony.
Yet, we know that, had Christ not loved us even unto …
we would not have even the promise of eternal life
and would remain mired in the sins which Christ has taken upon Himself.

We consider the wounds of Christ…the deep and painful scars of His Passion.

With a piece of reed, the soldiers beat him on the head, bruising him.

A crown of sharp thorns is forced onto his head, so that his scalp bleeds.

The weapon of choice for scourging is a series of leather straps
with pieces of bone and metal fastened to the ends.
He is scourged so many times, and so violently, that his skin is literally torn off.

As He is nailed to the Cross, nine inch nails pierce
not the palms of His hands but His wrists
striking nerve endings and sending waves of pain throughout his body.

Finally, once Jesus is , a soldier pierces His side with a lance,
causing and water to burst forth from His Sacred Heart.
Even more than this, He walks the road to Calvary knowing that
the ones He loves the most…
the ones in whom He confided…
the ones to whom He entrusted His mission and Gospel…
have deserted, betrayed, and denied Him.
He walks the long and painful road to Calvary in utter loneliness.

As we consider the horror of all this, and the severity of Jesus’ suffering
we are struck with a profound mystery…indeed the most profound of all.

It is precisely in the wounds of Jesus that we are given life!

His and agony bring us healing.His brokenness makes us whole.
His poured out washes us clean.
His emptiness restores what is lost and missing within us because of sin.
His tramples our and brings us life.

Jesus endured and even embraced these wounds…
not for Himself and not merely for the sake of a “community of believers”
but for the salvation of individual sinners…for you and me personally
as each one passed before the mind of the infinite Son of God.

There was a moent on the road to Calvary when Jesus through of YOU...and love YOU!

He embraced His Cross…despite its shame…
so that we…in our woundedness…might embrace our “crosses”
and in uniting our sufferings to His…might find the path to eternal life.

The mystery of the Cross is not that it removes suffering from human life…
or that because we are disciples of Christ life is suddenly easy…
but that Christ, the Son of God, knows our human suffering well
and walks beside us every step of our own roads to our own “Calvary.”

When we are sick and in pain…
When we are beaten and scourged my life’s many burdens…
When we are betrayed by those we love, denied by those who ought to help us…
and deserted by the ones who are supposed to be our friends….
When suffering becomes unbearable and injustice incomprehensible…
Christ walks the lonely road with us.

What is more…from that gaping wound in His side…flowed and water…
the fountain of sacramental life in the Church…
without which our human existence would remain barren and dark.

Without Christ there is no life.
Without His Cross there is no mercy…
Without His wounds there is no divine life through the Sacraments…
Without His Sacrifice there is no Eucharist…and thus no Church!

Thus, we are not ashamed of the Cross…nor of the immense agony it represents.
We do not shrink from proclaiming or celebrating the Crucifixion.
We ought not fear to display the Crucifix prominently in our homes.

We do not ignore the scandal of the Cross for in it is the source of life!

We love and embrace the Cross…today we come forward to bend the knee
and to kiss the relic of the True Cross of Jesus
that we are so privileged to have here in our Church.

As we continue to ponder the Lord’s Paschal Mystery…
there is one striking phrase that resounds with rich and powerful meaning.

It is a phrase that is at once the words of Jesus at the Last Supper
and surely His mantra on the road to Calvary…
and at the same time the convenient phrase of so many modern evils.
“This is my Body!”

Jesus speaks these words as He institutes the Eucharist and the Priesthood
on the evening before His betrayal.

As the joyful moment of Jesus’ communion with His friends and brothers
transitions into the day of His Passion…
as the road to Calvary seems without end, and the suffering without relent
He continued both to say and to show by His infinite love:
“This is my body…given up for you!”

In our world that same phrase is misused and twisted
by those who represent exactly the opposite of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Proponents of various kinds of manipulation of the body
abusers of and alcohol
and in particular advocates of the of unborn human life
all say…in one way or another…
“this is my body…I can do with it what I want!”

In stark contrast…Jesus says…by His words and by His wounds…
“This is my body…given up for you!”

The compelling challenge of Christian discipleship is to sacrifice as Jesus did…
to accept in complete humility the trials and unexpected crosses of daily life
with patience, selflessness, and love.
Bitterness because life is hard and doesn’t go our way as we planned it…
and anger with God and the Church
because the demands of the Christian life do not meet our standards
are unacceptable attitudes in the face of the Crucified Jesus…
who never once complained as He embraced His Passion.

Today begins the Nine-Day prayer called the Divine Mercy Novena,
which runs through Divine Mercy Sunday…the Sunday after Easter…
which our parish will celebrate with a holy hour.

The chaplet and novena of Divine Mercy
were was revealed by the Lord to a Polish nun
named Sr. Faustina Kowalska, during Lent in 1931.

Jesus appeared to her with rays emanating form the wound in His side…
red for His saving and white for the waters of Baptism.

This same wound we contemplate today…the source of our life and salvation!
It is good for our souls to pray this prayer,
asking God’s mercy for ourselves and for the whole world.
Brochures are available in the gathering space.
Please pray this special prayer with me in this holy season.

The wounds of Jesus endured on this “Good” Friday are the source of our life.
In our woundedness we turn to Christ…
clinging to Him who shares our burdens
and draws us into the life of divine mercy and grace through the sacraments.
We in turn commit ourselves to giving our whole lives that others may have life…
by the living presence of the passionate Christ living in us.

O Lord Jesus Crucified, have mercy on us!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Homily Palm Sunday 2008

In his book, The Passion of the Lamb, Father Thomas Acklin, writes…

“The passion and the suffering of Christ go beyond any physical
and occur most deeply in the wounds of vulnerable love
being blindly scorned and abused.”

“…while God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent…he is [also] infinite, self-emptying Love.”
“He is omni-vulnerable!”

"To the degree that our passion has been lived in the passion of Jesus Christ,
in a life of loving and self-emptying…
will we be one with the Son eternally
and will behold eternally the glory of the Father
in His infinite outpouring of himself.”

The powerful lesson of the drama of Passion of Jesus Christ we have just heard
is that the complete self-emptying love which is at its core
is in fact the blueprint of our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Every time we shirk an opportunity to sacrifice of ourselves for the good of another,
Every time we insist on one-upping someone so we appear on top of the heap,
Every time we clamor for first place, popularity, or the center of attention,
Every time we insist in putting our personal stamp on the Church’s treasures
instead of handing on the pure faith and the complete Tradition,
Every time we put personal feelings above moral absolutes and eternal realities,
we turn our backs on the Passion of Christ
and we fail in our baptismal commitment to Him.

The center of “sin” is “I”!

The Gospel of Saint John…quoting the Prophet Isaiah…declares…
“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.”

Pope John Paul II repeatedly encouraged us to seek the face of Christ.

The mere sight of the d and pierced body of Christ on the Cross…
and of His anguished face…
compels us to live a life of sacrifice in Him and after His example.

Today we join the crowds of the Hebrew people in proclaiming Jesus our Messiah
and in welcoming Him triumphant in our midst.

In 5 days we shall join His ers in nailing Him to a Cross.

When we gather for the Sacred Liturgy our love for Christ is strong.
In every Mass we sing “Hosanna!”
The challenge is to be people of integrity who keep that love alive and vibrant…
who behold always the anguished face of Christ…
on the cross…and in our suffering brothers and sisters.

May we triumphantly welcome Jesus into our hearts always
and embrace the Passion of Christ as the inspiration of every moment of life.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Homily Fifth Sunday of Lent 9 Year A March 2008

N.B.: Below is the basic skeleton of the homily, which I wrote out, while at Mass I in fact gave some parts ad libitum. You can glean from the following the basic idea.

Every human person knows the sadness of and separation.

The joy of Christianity is found in knowing that the power of God’s love
conquers even …restores life…and carries the promise of immortality.

Many stories found in the Holy Scripture
contain the key to a deeper and often less easily discernable spiritual meaning.
The story of Lazarus is no exception.

As the Fathers of the Church describe…
in the four days of Lazarus’ imprisonment in the tomb…
in which his body surely underwent corruption and decay,
we can see signified four stages of spiritual decay and .

In the history of human persons…
the first stage of separation from God was the “original sin”
when man in his selfishness rejected the gift and plan of God
in order to take for himself what was not good for him.

Violation of the natural law is the second of the human race…
exemplified by the of Abel by his brother Cain.

The third stage in the spiritual of mankind is violation of the Law of Moses.

Finally, the fourth is despising the Gospel of grace revealed in Jesus Christ.
It is significant that the disciples of Jesus tell him that Lazarus
has been four days.
Before modern medical expertise and current embalming practices…
it was not out of the question for unconscious people to be buried alive.
So, elders from the town would go out to the cemetery to check on the
for three days after the and burial.
After three days was believed to be certain, so nothing more was done.

For Lazarus, it has been four days, and so is absolute
and the natural decay which accompanies is well underway.
There is seemingly no turning back, and no hope.

Only the saving, supernatural power of the Son of God…
the one who will soon trample by His own sacrificial on the Cross
and so restore life to those in the graves
can overcome the apparent gruesome finality of Lazarus’ condition.

In a similar way, it seemed as if the whole world had decayed and was surely .

Man and woman had rejected the life God had planned for them.
Men turned against one another and took life.
God’s chosen people had rejected the teaching of His chosen prophet Moses.
The people of Jesus’ own time despise His message of truth and love
and are plotting to crucify the Lord of Glory.

It would seem that all is lost…that the world had gone past the point of no return…
abandoning the Almighty God
and rending asunder the ties that once bound the chosen people to their Lord.

It is only the victory of Christ's Cross that is able to reach across the abyss
and heal the wounds which sin have cut deeply in the fabric of humanity,
causing it to decay and be overcome with the stench of evil.

Praise be to Jesus Christ for the marvelous and unsurpassable victory
He has won for us on the Altar of the Cross!

How often do we really ponder the uniquely blessed situation we enjoy…
loved by God…redeemed by His Son…and filled with His Holy Spirit?
Imagine our lives without the presence of Jesus!
Imagine the depraved situation of all humanity without His saving sacrifice!

The victory of Jesus Christ on the Cross was a sacrifice offered once and for all…
and yet the battle continues to be fought in the hearts of all men and women
as humanity struggles to embrace the love Christ offers to us.

Because of the stain of original sin…
the tendency to sin remains in all people…
as we know well about ourselves in our own weaknesses and foibles.

Because of the residue of original sin, the other stages of spiritual
continue to be manifest in our world today.

The natural law…that law of life written forever on the hearts of all people…
that is violated and mocked
in the culture of
and in the so-called “gay rights” and “gay marriage” agenda.
These particular ideas have even begun to be featured in stories
in elementary school reading books.

The 10 commandments…the law revealed by God to Moses…
are not only violated but to be displayed in public.

The Gospel of truth and love revealed in the person of Jesus Christ
is constantly ridiculed and rejected.
The Church of Jesus Christ is dismissed as out-of-touch and medieval.
It has become acceptable today for someone to “be catholic” or “be the church”
and yet believe nothing she says, and do nothing she requires.

Yet, how lost we all would be without the moral compass
provided by the living Tradition of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

All of this seems very dark and saddening.
In fact it is…when any one of us has a taste of the splendor of life in Jesus Christ
and at the same time contemplates the condition of those in the world
who have rejected Him.

Jesus is both truly God and truly man.
We see in His life…and in particular in today’s Gospel…
a mingling of both the human Jesus and the divine Son of God.

As a man, He really weeps at the of His beloved friend Lazarus.
All the while, as the Son of God, He has come to raise him up to life again.

When at first He hears of Lazarus’s …surely the man Jesus is heartbroken.
The Son of God, however, waits two days before going to Bethany.

The delay…the finality of Lazarus’ and four-day rest in the tomb…
will mean an even more profound impact on the disciples
and an even greater awakening to faith
when at last Jesus raises Him from the .

The Son of God could have prevented Lazarus from ever dying…
or at least raised him sooner and with less pain for his loved ones.

How often we experience the frustration of Martha…
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
How often we say…
“Lord, if you had been here!”
“Lord, where were you…Where are you?”

Jesus could have and can do anything.
Yet, Jesus desires to work in and through weak human persons…
in order to bring about the glorious resurrection of the human soul.
As Martha and the other friends brought Jesus to the grave of Lazarus
so must we bring Christ to the decaying and dying situations of life.

It is in us and through us that Christ desires to restore
respect for the natural law
and love of His Word revealed through SS and the Tradition of the Church.

We are the members of the Body of Christ.
We have the ability and the obligation
to live according to the teaching of the Church.
We can make a difference in the decaying situations in the world around us.

We need only to watch the news to know that trouble is brewing in our world.
Christ desires to bestow new and more abundant life to all people…
and He has chosen to do it through His Church.

Open your hearts and be His instruments of grace!