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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Third Week of Lent

Click on title for last week's homily. Sunday, April 3rd: 8:00 St. Jude, Columbiana 10:30 St. Christine, Youngstown

Monday, March 21, 2011

Second Sunday of Lent 2011

Dear Friends,
Please enjoy this past Sunday's homily from Saint Stanislaus in Youngstown.

No decent quality audio file available of last week's homily.
Next week: 9 and 11 am at I.C. in Ravenna, Ohio.

God bless your Lenten journey!

Fr. Matthew

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Season of Lent

A blessed Ash Wendesday and Season of Lent to all!!!

First Sunday of Lent: March 13, 2011
Saint Jude, Columbiana 8:00 am
Saint Anthony, Youngstown 10:30

Monday, March 07, 2011

Jesus Our Brother

Lecture notes from Day of Reflection at Sacred Heart Parish in Rock Creek, Ohio.
Audio begins mid-sentence and is at times of poor quality but you may listen by clicking on post title...

Jesus our Brother

Story of Second Grade Christmas Play

Song: The Friendly Beasts

I sang the donkey verse

Jesus our brother, kind and good

Was humbly born in a stable rude

The friendly beasts around Him stood

Jesus our brother kind and good

I said the donkey all shaggy and brown

I carried His mother uphill and down

I carried her safely to Bethlehem town

I said the donkey all shaggy and brown

Indeed a simple, humble, crude stable and a manger, a feeding box for the animals, was the nursery of the newborn Savior and the not-so-triumphant welcome offered to Christ our King

This is humanity at its simplest and loneliest – parents away from home with no safe place to have their first-born son – a dirty stable with a family cowering in the cold darkness.

Humanity at its simplest is embraced by the infinitely loving Son of God.

The mystery of the Incarnation is the event which begins the saving plan of God in JC

It begins a trajectory of salvific activity that extends from the manger, through the Cross, and down through the centuries to the altars and homes of our own day.

The Incarnation is the gateway to all the other saving actions and mysteries of Jesus, the entry way into the human experience for the God-made-man.

The Incarnate Christ reveals both the infinite love of God and the perfection of humanity.

In the Incarnation…
John 1:14 – Word becomes Flesh

God becomes man and takes on the fullness of the human experience, except of course sin

Christmas Preface

“In Christ we see God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.”

Preface of OT

“…that you might see and love in us what you see and love in Christ”

Antiphon of Divine Office for MMG

O Marvelous Exchange –

Offertory Prayers – by the mystery of water and wine…

God sent His Son to take on flesh and enter our world so that He could save us from within.

Fathers… “The God who created us without our permission would not save us without our cooperation.”

He came to reveal God’s perfect love…humble and life-giving love

Philippians 2: Jesus did not deem equality with God…emptied…humbled…

He became one of us to know us intimately from within and to experience all we know in life – the shelter of the womb through an ignominious death. In so doing, He reveals what it looks like to be human.

The humanity of Jesus is filled with lessons, images and inspiration sufficient to fill a lifetime of reflection. We shall consider a few insights today.

The childhood of Jesus reveals the value of obedience…


In His earthly ministry…by explicit teaching and by sincere example…Jesus reveals the character of the life of the Church

Baptism – takes on sin…it clings to Him like water…so we can be cleansed…

Preaching – teaching what it means to be Christian



Calls the disciples and teaches what it means to be friends of the Lord – come

and see

Invitation…not oppressive demand…

Issues the call to conversion…meet…follow…rejoice!

This is precisely what the Church exists to do – to heal, to baptize, to call others to unity and conversion, to celebrate the Sacraments and to preach the word in order to bring about the salvation of souls and bring human persons in to deeper relationship with Jesus.

Come and see! See the incredible Christ!

Answer to your heart’s desire!

In addition to ecclesial ministry, Jesus shows us so much about the basic human experience and how we can realize it to the full and image the love of God in our lives.

1. Temptation – w/o sin

Paul – like us in all things but sin…

Original sin…concupiscence…we struggle and Jesus gives us the image of saying no to Satan, not testing God and relying on material comfort. We trust God and practice virtue.

2. Understands our weakness and struggles

Hebrews…we do not have a HP who

3. He is the model of compassion w/o hesitation

He connects with others and gives freely of His time

Woman at the well – John


In Job and in Christ we see the value of human presence, even touch…just being there…

4. Image of sacrificial love…Cross

5. Righteous anger is valid in it proper place as a response to injustice

Tables in Temple

Short of sin

6. Value of prayer…deserted places…if JC…how much more us poor sinners…

7. Jesus understands our human sadness…loss and pain

He wept at the death of His friend Lazarus

He consoled Martha and Mary, not so much with words as with His presence

I am the Resurrection and the life

Jesus knows what it means to lose one He loved

Why weep? He had to know He would save Him!

Humanity and divinity in tension…both kept intact!

Good to weep. Remain and allow others to remain in the reality of their appropriate emotions. Cannot explain it away

Bring them to Jesus’ presence…scripture, Eucharist, Adoration, prayer, loving embrace!

Grief is a long process, as we know, different for everyone

Do not need answers but love. Need Jesus!

Funerals must address the reality of death and emotions that go with it.

Not a canonization but an acknowledgement of loss and grace

– for deceased and loved ones


All Souls’ Day!


Jesus understands us! Never forget that…when no one else does…

His Sacred Heart beats and was pierced for love of you…

Jesus shows us humanity at its best.

We are made in the image and likeness of God. Genesis

God is love. I John. God is a relationship of persons in love.

Made for love and relationship

The sympathetic heart, compassion, prayerfulness, virtue, and sacrificial love of Jesus form a living image of humanity in its perfection. What He shows us is possible for us with His saving grace.

As we prepare to enter into Lent…we consider how we might draw from the example of the living Christ some resolutions for virtuous living.

How might I embrace a more complete experience of the Church Jesus revealed – more sacraments, more study of the Church teaching?

How might I respond more fully to the call to conversion and become a closer friend of the Lord?

How might I be more appreciative of what Jesus has done for me and revealed to me?

How might I learn to imitate the love of Jesus?

How might I learn to be more understanding of others in pain?

How might I deepen my prayer life?

Thus the humanity of Jesus becomes more than the vehicle for the well-known mysteries of faith – Christmas and Easter stories. Ordinary Time becomes more than an intervening time when we hear a series of easily-forgotten stories of healings and teachings and not the seemingly “important” ones. It is anything but ordinary.

The humanity of Jesus is our life, too.

Who He is, is who we are meant to be!

Jesus, our brother, leads on the journey into God and into a complete experience of ourselves – our identity and mission as h. p. and children of God.

After three years of ministry and human experiences, Jesus, as recorded by Luke, turns His face toward Jerusalem and sets His heart on the destiny for which He was sent: the Paschal Mystery – His sorrow and our salvation!

In the PM…in His divinity He is God who saves us…because of His humanity He is able to embrace our worst experiences – our sins and the suffering and guilt they cause – and put them to death.

The garden of Gethsemane is the scene of transition from earthly ministry to Passion…

The wood of the Manger is the wood of the Cross - Fathers

See-saw…fulcrum…walk up until it shifts and you come running down…all has been building up since the stable and now suffering and glory rush onto the human scene

Jesus grapples and accepts God’s will

Jesus Christ Superstar - most poignant portrayal of emotions in the Passion account

Take this cup away from me…

Emptiness and agony…sweat as blood…

Jesus accepts the will of the Father and is obedient to His plan for our salvation

Phillipians – Jesus emptied Himself…humbled Himself…obedience leads to glory

Does not grasp at divinity as Adam grasped at fruit…accepts God’s will!

Paradox of the Cross – power in weakness, glory in suffering, triumph in death

Gives us a glimpse into a proper understanding of freedom

Not license as modern world

Chase Bank

Burger King

Not freedom w/o law or responsibility

Freedom in obedience

We accept our free will in responsibility

We pursue the best…the truth

We are free but we exercise our freedom within the truth our identity as human persons and the loving plan of God for our lives.

This we call…in the Christian moral tradition…freedom for excellence

Also helps understand relationship to law…

Today Church law perceived as negative, oppressive…

In fact, canon law, liturgical law, moral law and the Ten C are the guideposts for holy living and salvation.

People think the Church is always saying “no” and laying down rules.

Pope Benedict says that the Church is not about saying “no” but about saying “yes” to Christ

Just like marrying a spouse, when we say yes to Christ, we say no to counterfeit versions of love and evils that threaten to hurt us.

Paul – Galatians: use your freedom in loving service

We accept our freedom not for ourselves but in responsibility, in truth, and in obedience to God’s will

Why did God make us?

To know Him, love Him, serve Him, so we can be happy with Him in heaven!

Offertory prayer: …may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled Himself to share in our humanity…

Man’s telos…his end…is union w/ God and a sharing in His life

All we do and are is directed toward Heaven!

The primary gift of love is a gift of self.

JPII: man is most fully himself when he makes a sincere gift of himself…

JFK: 50 years since inaugural address…

“Ask not…”

Are we living for ourselves, or in order to make a sincere gift of ourselves?

Jesus reveals the infinite love of God and the perfection of humanity.

Jesus our Brother shows us what it looks like to be a real human person, loving and self-giving, journeying forward toward the goal of union with the Father.


Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Reflect on the mystery of the incarnation and what Jesus has done for you, how you can more fully image the love of God in our world, and how we can together imitate the humanity of Christ.

Look to Jesus Christ, who leads us back to the Father and leads us into the realization of who we truly are.

Praise God for His love, revealed in Jesus Christ!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Changes...preparing for Lent...

Dear Friends in Christ,

Explore the blog and enjoy the changes. If I've sent you to the site after a conversation or if you have stumbled upon it, please comment or e-mail and let me know what you think. If you've been reading for years, let me know your thoughts, too.

My notes and possibly the audio from my talk today at Sacred Heart in Rock Creek will be uploaded soon.

As we enter into Lent, may we all deepen our love for Christ by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Please check back for Lenten homilies and reflections, material on the New Roman Missal, exciting ventures, and the usual fare.

Remember the concert with Tia Ciferno on April 3rd at Saint Michael, Canfield. Proceeds benefir the Family Fest. E-mail me for tickets and information.

Follow the links below for great stuff!

God bless you!

Fr. Matthew