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It’s unfathomable to me that it has been 25 years since Fr. Healy died. More than anyone else, he helped me to see that God loved me and that I was part of the Church. Perhaps more importantly, however, he helped me understand that as such, I had a responsibility to others, in my immediate neighborhood, country, and the world. He was a priest, a prophet, and a human with all our flaws, sins, and idiosyncrasies.
At the time of his death from AIDS, I remember that many were shocked, even angry, that he had the disease and that he’d chosen to hide it until just weeks before his death. I knew years earlier that Fr. Healy was HIV positive. I once took him to a new physician in the hopes of changing the course of his disease once protease inhibitors came into existence. He brought a plastic bag full of medication to the appointment but then explained to the doctor that he couldn’t keep up the regimen of pills because he was so busy with his ministry. That experience of Fr. Healy has always stayed with me. He was so busy taking care of others that his own health wasn’t a priority. If I had any anger at him at the time, it was likely lessened by understanding his focus.
It has always been sad to me that the cause of his death has overshadowed his ministry and perhaps his legacy. HIs words moved me to tears each week. A recent graduate from a Catholic college, where attending Mass was something that everyone did as a means of avoiding studying for the week ahead, I’d never been so moved as I was each week, listening to Fr. Healy’s homilies. I frequently cried. I got involved. I worked on behalf of others and knew, as Fr. Healy would say, “in the depth of my being” that I belonged in God’s Church.
My uncle, a priest at that time in the Washington Archdiocese, gave me some tapes of Fr. Healy’s homilies and explained the 3 liturgical cycles. Then, more tapes were found in the old rectory and somehow were passed on to me, perhaps by Fr. Tuz. Soon parishioners who had long ago moved on to other areas, found me and provided me with still more tapes of his homilies. I’ve been digitizing and posting them according to the liturgical calendar for more than a decade and yet I still have more tapes that haven’t been heard yet.
Who would have thought that these homilies, many of which were originally delivered, more than thirty years ago, would be not only inspiring, but so helpful to those that couldn’t attend Mass due to a pandemic? Albeit a bit biased, these homilies are timeless with important truths and messages still to be heard. They are also a glimpse into the past where a greater context of now historical events can be understood.
My hope is that somehow this collection can live on in an accessible archive. Now in late-middle age, I know that I cannot manage this indefinitely so I am putting this hope out there and remaining open to what might become available.
Today, as a means of remembering a great priest and prophet, I hope you’ll join me in taking just a few minutes to remind yourself that you are a child of God…and then do something simple or extraordinary for someone else, especially the poor or marginalized, because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
Frank Finamore, website creator
Originally delivered on January 12, 1992
Readings: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Acts 10:34-38; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
A Sacrament of initiation, Baptism, is more than a welcome to the Church. Baptism is an initiation into the family. In today’s homily, we are asked to acknowledge Baptism as a commissioning outward to share in the spirit of our family. Everyone is family, and as such, we are asked to hold a world vision based on Jesus, who taught us tenderness toward each other and justice for all. As a family, we must embrace all people, without exception, and especially immigrants, refugees, and strangers. All are welcome and all are one. Although we are baptized in water, we are also baptized in fire and spirit. May God set us on fire to make the spirit of family alive in our world.
Originally delivered on December 18, 1988
Readings: Micah 5:1-4; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45
Elizabeth greets Mary as “the mother of my Lord.” This Gospel reminds us that perhaps few of us are prophetic, like John the Baptist in last week’s reading, but many more are like Elizabeth. By accepting ourselves, as God has created us, we have the opportunity to bring God’s Grace to the world. Through the simplicity of our roles and actions, we can make a difference in the world. By choosing life rather than death, light rather than darkness, and by caring for others rather than being judgmental, God’s presence is felt by others through us.
Originally delivered on November 27, 1988
Readings: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28,34-36
Advent is a time of waiting for the birth of Jesus. What we do while waiting is worth examining. Do we seize the opportunity to improve our current condition and the quality of tomorrow? If we don’t take action to make tomorrow better, how will we ever explain this to ourselves and to God?
Readings: Jeremiah 31:7-9; Hebrews 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52
Originally delivered on October 23, 1988
Today, we are asked to consider what God is saying to us in this week’s readings. In this first reading we hear what will be given to the chosen people. Then, the gospel tells of a public healing of a blind man. We must struggle in our imperfection and wrestle with our conscience to try to bring about the kingdom of God in our midst. If we look at the present reality with the vision that God provides in the scriptures, then we will begin to agitate with our imperfect criticism to bring the world more in line with Jesus’s plan for the world. We may be walking in blindness, but we must remember that Jesus is always with us. What do we want Jesus to do for us? Do we want to see?
Readings: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48, John 4:7-10, John 15:9-17
Originally delivered on May 8, 1994
In today’s homily, we are reminded that we are called to love one another – sometimes easy and other times difficult. God is Love. When we live in love then we live in God and God in us. We are not to set a measure on what makes others lovable. We must love everyone, just as God loves each of us. We are therefore called to be more forgiving with others. Indeed, in today’s Gospel, we hear: “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”