Originally delivered on March 10, 1991
Readings: Chronicles 36:14-17, 19-23; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21
In today’s readings, we are reminded that God speaks to us in surprising ways and we must always be open to God’s speaking, especially when He speaks in strange or surprising ways. In the first reading, we learn that the chosen people and the priests turned their backs on God. In response, God got very angry and punishes them, until Cyrus, the King of the Persians and a pagan, persuades God’s people to repent. In the second reading, Paul tells us that when we do good deeds, it is God working through us achieving good in the human context. Finally, in the Gospel, we are challenged by John to remember that we need Jesus to be lifted up and saved. Fr. Healy asks us to wonder if perhaps these readings today tell us that God often speaks through unlikely or unwelcome channels or people, and if so, whether or not we are really listening.
Originally delivered on February 28, 1988
Readings: Genesis 22:12, 9, 10-13, 15-18; Romans 8:31-34; Mark 9:2-10
In today’s Gospel, we see a glimpse of God’s glory. Like the three apostles with Jesus, we’re already believers and yet sometimes we need to be restored by God in order that we might continue carrying out the Good News. But today we are also reminded that in various challenges that face us, we can find glimpses of God there in our midst, especially as we reach out and help or console one another.
Originally delivered on February 21, 1988
Readings: Genesis 9:8-15; Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15
In the first reading we are reminded of the story of Noah’s ark to be saved at the time of the flood. And yet, despite this flood, we hear that God saved one family and the animals because of His love for His people. In return, we are to give glory to God for all that we have from God. We are responsible for God’s creation, including our sisters and brothers, the environment, and animals.
Originally delivered on February 14, 1988
Readings: Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46; Corinthians 10:31-11:1; Mark 1:40-45
In the first reading, we hear that the “unclean” should be set apart. But in the Gospel, we hear that Jesus touches the leper, and in doing so, serves as an example that we are to reach out to our sisters and brothers in need. We are reminded that in each era, there are those that people marginalize, such as Jews, those living with HIV/AIDS, physically challenged, and our elders. When we marginalize or overlook others, we are refusing to meet God because each person is a unique manifestation of God. We are challenged to look for God in the faces of those that we’d otherwise reject.
Originally delivered on February 7, 1988
Readings: Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39
In today’s liturgy, we are challenged to look at the quality of our prayers to see why, how, and when we pray. Perhaps more of our prayers are for ourselves rather than as Jesus taught us to pray. Do we only call out to God only when we need Him? Today, in the first reading, we are reminded of Job, who pitied himself. But in the Gospel, we hear of Jesus’ healing of the sick and hurting although His real purpose was to tell the people of the Good News of God’s infinite love and His love for us as His children. Everyday, we should try to purify our prayer from that of a petition to one of thanks for His love.
Originally delivered on January 23, 1994
Readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
This week we hear the story of Jonah as an illustration of God’s way of communicating with us and His love and mercy. Fr. Healy encourages us all to learn from the story of Jonah and be compassionate and understanding of our sisters and brothers, especially those that think and act differently than we do. We should not judge others believing that we have the real truth. God did not call us to be each other’s judge. We are called to be a prophetic people living out the love of God to our sisters and brothers, regardless of their beliefs even about controversial issues, such as abortion, birth control, homosexuality, and the ordination of women priests. Finally, we are reminded that Jesus was never judgmental, but poured out His love for all.
Originally delivered on January 3, 1988
Readings: Isaiah 60: 1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12
As we close our liturgical celebration of the Christmas season today, we are reminded to take what we have learned, and like the magi, spread the message to all people. How have we been welcoming to all with God’s love? How, at times, do we keep his message all to ourselves? We are encouraged to reach out to other people with whom we have not yet shared God’s message. As we heard in Matthew’s Gospel, we should “go home by a different route” spreading the news of God’s love. The message is for all – rich and poor, healthy and sick, US born and foreign. Do we ever keep God’s message just to ourselves so that it can benefit our own interests? When this homily was originally delivered in 1988, inequality among people was a crisis on the US political scene. The Kerner Commission brought some answers, but the simple answer – the inability to not share what was given to us all, was an answer seen by many as the cause behind the unrest. Do we ever “lock out” people we want part of our lives, people with whom we need to share our good news? How many of us feel marginalized? As Fr. Healy so eloquently points out, it is good news that Jesus came, but it is just as important that we recognize it as good news to be shared. The real good news from Jesus comes down to love, compassion and identifying with the oppressed. We must be open to embrace all God’s people.
Originally delivered on December 28, 1987
Readings: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3:12-21; Luke 2:22-40 or 2:22, 39-40
As we live in the spirit of Christmas just three days ago, today we are reminded how to foster that spirit in our families, both our physical families, and the universal family of God throughout world. We are called to charity and love for all. This charity can begin at home, but cannot stop at the threshold. If it does, it is false charity. It must extend to the second dimension of family, the family of God. As we are reminded by Saint Paul in the second reading, put on love to all people. No Christlike family can exist if the love stops at the threshold. This universal family is spread across race, language, culture and country. Our call is to share the virtues of kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness with all. It is our responsibility if were are to be part of the family of God.
Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5; Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Matthew 1:1-125
The good news for humans is celebrated today in the birth of Jesus as a fragile baby. We had all been waiting long, and it was becoming an obsessive topic of conversation: “When will He come?” Today we celebrate the birth, not coming as a king or great ruler, but as a child, his destiny clothed in our humanity. For all people, the promise has been kept. He has entered into our world as a human. We are reminded that “you can’t have it both ways” — the promise of a free people making decisions for themselves and God as a leader providing everything. But in Jesus, we are shown the way. Along with the freedom we are afforded, we pay the price that Jesus paid. We walk in search of God with all the pain and suffering that we must sometime endure to reach Him. But it’s pain and suffering Jesus endured with us, and through it, we are granted salvation. Today we celebrate the arrival of Jesus on earth. May our future be filled with us learning more about His message to us to achieve our salvation with God.