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.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Homily Divine Mercy Sunday

Homily Divine Mercy Sunday 2013


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.


Jesus said to Faustina…

“I have opened my Heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let all souls draw life from it. Let them approach this sea of mercy with great trust. Sinners will attain justification, and the just will be confirmed in good. Whoever places his trust in My mercy will be filled with My divine peace at the hour of death.” (1520)


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 accident.

Even if Patrick regained some sight after such an accident,

          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,

          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 Blood…

          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 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 blood 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!



The prayers for this Second Sunday of Easter,

          especially the Collect, which speaks of the Father’s mercy,

          the fountain of water and the blood of redemption,

                   dovetail so beautifully with the themes of 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 McCallister family, we all have needs – not the same as theirs –

          but we all have prayers and concerns which we need to lift up to Jesus

          as we beg His mercy upon us and our world.


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.

Believe in the mercy of Christ which endures forever…

that you may have life in Him!        

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! Alleluia!

Our renovation of the sanctuary at Our Lady of Victory turned out gloriously!  Our Lord is again in a place of due honor and prominence in the church.  Praise to Jesus Christ!  See picture below...

Homily of Easter - basic skeleton with ad libitum additions given from the pulpit...

Homily Easter 2013


My favorite saint is Saint John Vianney…the patron saint of priests.


My Confirmation patron…

2011 trip to Ars…


In the rectory I keep a lovely icon of St. John Vianney.

He is depicted in the icon holding a scroll that bears words for which he is famous.


“The eyes of the world see no further than this life…

          but the eyes of the Christian see deep into eternity.”


This morning, the glorious paschal mystery we celebrate

          compels us to see with the eyes of faith

                    and to look beyond what we can perceive by our human senses

and our fallen human nature.

God has become man and has died on the deathbed of the Cross.

A man has been raised from the darkness of death.


This is no mere human reality…

          but instead is a great mystery that transcends time and space…

          breaks the chains of this world’s limitations

          and extends deep into eternity.




Faith in the Resurrection…and indeed the whole Christian life

          requires that we perceive and understand everything

                   in a much deeper and more profound way

                             than the limitations of this world’s chains will allow. 

We are called to see deep into eternity!


We believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…

a mystery…a reality…that is not seen by the world in its limitedness.

We believe in many such mysteries.


This Holy Mass we celebrate is not just what we are doing…

          nor is it merely what can be seen and thus grasped and even manipulated.

Instead we are entering into the Liturgy of the church

and the ceaseless worship of the angels

                   in the eternal banquet of the Lamb of God…

where heaven is wedded to earth.


When we celebrate the Eucharist…the eyes of the world see only bread and wine

          but the eyes of the authentic Christian see deep into eternity

                   and behold the living and abiding presence of the eternal Son of God,

                             the Risen Jesus Christ!


When we hear the Pope and the bishops speak on matter of faith and morals…

          we are not merely hearing the voices of men chattering.

We are hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit…
          who speaks through the Magisterium of the Church.

And we must listen…or we shall answer for having ignored the voice of God!

When we meet another human being…

          we ought not see merely a body to be objectified

          or one from whom we can gain something or whom we can control.


The Christian sees a complete person…created in God’s image

and possessing a great dignity that demands respect and love.


The Christian looks at another person…and sees a soul!


The human person is thus to be respected and valued,

          not fabricated or discarded.


The world sees only this life’s fleeting pleasures…

          what to consume or to wear.

The authentic Christian sees that there is a spiritual dimension to the human person

          and recognizes that life is not complete

                   without a constant relationship with the living God.


That relationship…in its fullness…

includes daily prayer, weekly Mass, and regular confession.

Without these, the eternal, spiritual part within us withers…

          and life becomes increasingly frustrating and overwhelming

                   because we have not allowed God to love and nourish our hearts.


The eyes of the world see the universe as an accident

          but the eyes of the Christian see the detailed and loving plan of the Father.


The Christian life opens our hearts to deeply spiritual and incredibly joyful realities

          and allows us to truly live as people of hope…

                    who know there is more to life than what we perceive at first glance.


Saint Paul says: seek what is above,

live for the things that are above, not the things of earth.


The hope of the Resurrection takes us beyond the easily comprehendible

          to the mysterious and sublime

reminding us that there are deeper realities worth living for.


What we can sense is not all there is.                      

Thus the Christian does not live only to be satisfied by earthly happiness.

From this day on, open your hearts and minds to see what is deeper,

          what has been given by God above,

          what is beckoning you to live for eternity.


The life of the Church has so much to offer to us all…

          peace in relationship with Christ

          joy in loving others in their complete and intricate beauty

          freedom in embracing the truth.


This morning, the Risen Christ beckons us…one by one…

calling us to see with the eyes of faith…

to seek higher realities…

          and to gaze...this day and always…deep into eternity.


Good Friday Homily

Homily Good Friday 2013


As we journey through the uncertainty and brokenness of our human experience

          all of us at one time or another encounter the pain of loneliness:

          the loneliness that follows the death of a loved one

          the loneliness of separation from those we depend on

          the loneliness of abandonment, of insult, of betrayal

          the loneliness of feeling unheard and unappreciated

          even the loneliness of feeling our prayers are unanswered by God.


Today we come to Calvary: a place of total loneliness and emptiness.


It is God’s will that the story of Jesus should come to this,

          as Saint Paul writes to the Philippians:

          Jesus emptied Himself in becoming man

and further humbled Himself in obediently accepting death on the Cross.


While everything is taken from Jesus,

it is Jesus Himself who freely lays it all down

for the salvation of the world and to liberate us from slavery to sin.


The self-abasement of Christ is integral to God’s plan,

          for He wills His Son to undergo the depraved darkness caused by our sins.


In His Passion, Jesus experiences in internal tempest of emotions  

as foreboding as the storm that rolls in upon His last breath.


On Thursday night, at the Last Supper,

          Jesus’ heartfelt sharing of Himself in the Eucharist

          and stooping to lovingly wash the feet of His disciples

          is met with blank stares, questioning, objections,

as if they never understood Him at all.


In the Garden, the three closest collaborators fall asleep

when Jesus asks them to pray with Him.


Judas has sold the Son of God for thirty pieces of silver.


Outside the High Priest’s house, in the courtyard,

          Peter denies even knowing Jesus, despite his unique role as the first pope.


The Apostles scatter in fear and hide behind locked doors.


The crowds who welcomed Jesus with Hosannas on Sunday

          now turn on Him and demand of Pilate His death by crucifixion.


He is rejected by His own people, even though He has always been a faithful Jew.


No doubt He must have wondered if His name would be remembered

          ten minutes after He has died. 


On the Cross only Mary and John care to remain with Him.


There is no relief from the unspeakable pain and brutality of Jesus’ execution.

Flesh pierced and torn apart, blood spurting, bruises and lacerations,

          bloody wounds filling up with dirt as He falls again and again,

          the crushing weight of the Cross,

          the cruelty of the guards and the crowds.


Gasping for breath, His nerves pulsating with fierce pain,

He cries out in agony even wondering if even His Father has abandoned Him.


He breathes His last on the deathbed of the Cross.


After He is buried, Jesus descends into the netherworld,

          lower than the lowest sinner,

to offer to those who died before the advent of the Messiah

the opportunity of salvation.


There, He experiences further loneliness, the emptiness of the damned.


There is no darkness which Christ will not embrace for the salvation of humanity.


Jesus is alone.  No one cares.  No one appreciates what He has done for us.


Abandoned, betrayed, rejected, hurt and reeling from injuries:

          Jesus takes it all, every pain humanity can incur,

all at once, in His own Body.


This is the loneliness we sometimes feel: abandoned, empty, hurt, rejected.


All the work we do and all the endeavors we undertake

seem defeated and meaningless if we do them alone,

          if no one walks with us in our life’s journey.


No matter what we do, it’s not good enough.  Jesus knew that feeling.


In our darkest emotional experiences, we are one with Christ

          and close enough to Him to feel the salve of  His love.


The story does not end in loneliness or in death or in darkness.


Even in the last moments of Jesus’ earthly life, there are glimmers of light.


From the pulpit of the Cross, Jesus preaches forgiveness for those who hurt us

          and leave us lonely and abandoned. 


Forgive them, Father.


The Centurion acknowledges He is the Son of God.


Psalm 22 begins with the question of abandonment

but ends in hope for God’s people.


We are one with the lonely Christ.  He suffered what we suffer.


In our darkest moment, we are understood and appreciated, if by no one else,

          by Jesus our Savior and Friend.


We have the assurance that ultimately we are not alone. 

Jesus promised to be with us in all our trials and sorrows.

This is the greatest consolation: to be understood and loved by Jesus.


God also sends us rare cherished friends, friends who do not abandon us,

          friends who reveal the love of God and remind us we are loved.


In our loneliness, we further have hope in the promised glory of heaven,

          made available to us by the suffering and rising of Jesus. 


There is a splendid future in store

in which we shall rejoice in the company of the saints forever,

amid all our friends in faith.


This is the moment of the great sacrifice of Christ,

          the moment of the outpouring of God’s mercy for the healing of our souls.


Embraced by His divine love, we journey through live without fear of abandonment

          for Christ is forever by our side.