Today’s Readings

I will heal their defection, says the LORD, I will love them freely (Hos 14:5);
All of us have defected: humanity is guilty, shamed, broken, lost, and without hope.
But the LORD loves you freely! In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
How can you love the LORD with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind, and with all your strength?

How can you love your neighbor (your spouse, your children, your enemy ) as yourself?  
The answer is simple: you cannot . . . 
St. John the Evangelist says we love because he first loved us (1 Jn 4:19).
The only hope you have of fulfilling the Great Commandment is to love God and neighbor with the love by which He first loved you!
Grace, according to para # 1997 of the Catechism, is the participation in the life of God. God is Love. Participate in that Love and you’ll be given the grace to love . . .


Today’s Readings

Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Jesus leaves you no middle ground: you are with Him or against Him;
you gather with Him or you scatter.

With Christ there is no Swiss Option – you cannot claim spiritual neutrality.
Jeremiah tells you:
Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.
If today you hear his voice, have faith, believe, harden not your hearts.

Today’s Gospel portrays Jesus cleansing the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is a sign of His mission to cleanse the whole world. The Jews challenge HIM:  What sign can You show us for doing this? Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple and in 3 days I’ll raise it up. He was referring, of course, to the temple of His Body!
(During this homily, please ocassionally look at our crucifix)

St. Paul was speaking of this in the 2nd Reading when he said:
                            •   but we proclaim Christ crucified   •   
Dear friends, this is The Message of Paul, the Apostles; the 2000 year old message of the Church; and God willing and by HIS grace, my message to you is this alone:
                                              •   Christ crucified   •

This is the central message of our Faith! That Author of Life should be beaten, broken, humiliated, shamed, despised, rejected by HIS own people and put to death! How can this be? This is the foolishness of GOD: That GOD made Him to be sin who did not know sin 2 Cor 5:21. St. Peter says it this way: He Himself bore our sins in His own body upon the cross 1 Pt 2:24
When the temple of Christ’s body was destroyed in the crucifixion, your rebellion, your sin, the evil you did to others and others did to you – all of it was destroyed with the destruction of Christ’s body: your sin, your guilt your shame, your humiliation, all was put to death in the Body of Christ. That’s the foolishness of God. That’s the weakness of God. That, once and for all, your sin and the sin of the world, might be forgiven!

When Israel rebelled in the desert, God sent serpents among them and all who were bitten died. Moses interceded for his people and GOD told him to raise up a wooden pole with a bronze serpent affixed to it, and, all who looked upon it were saved and healed. Tonight the Church holds up before you Christ crucified. That’s the only proclamation.  Jesus Himself said: Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Brothers and sisters, tonight ask GOD for the grace to believe in HIS foolishness, and in HIS weakness
~ so that you might have eternal life!

Today’s Readings

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
It’s not only rulers and great ones that make their authority felt:
•   it’s also the wealthy, the intelligent, the beautiful, the witty, the talented, the celebrity, the athlete, and on and on.

But it shall not be so among you.
Jesus gives us the antidote to this pagan behavior:

The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
Dear friends, (you) have the mind of Christ.
1 Cor 2:16
   •  Personally serve those who have felt the weight of the supposed superiority of others.
Encourage them:

Relate to them with the dignity and worth they possess in the eyes of the LORD!


God said to Abraham:
I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold (from Me) your own beloved son.

Abraham is an icon, a type or a figure of the Father
•    who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all,

Just as Abraham walked with Isaac to the place of sacrifice,
while Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice on his shoulder;
So, the Father, walked with Jesus, as He carried the wood of the Cross on his shoulder.

Dear friends, please listen:
Whatever cross or crosses you carried throughout your life,
Whatever the hardships, illnesses or tragedies you’ve endured,
Whatever your hopes and dreams that came crashing down on your head,
•    God the Father walked with you every step of the way, just as He did with Jesus!

And as you look upon the face and clothing of Jesus, shining with the glory of God,
Not only do you see Him Transfigured, you see your own future
•    Where God has crowned you with glory and honor, for

When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. Col 3:4

Today’s Readings

In the 2nd Reading, St. Paul makes a clarion call to a life of Conversion:
it’s, he says,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God

Contained within God’s Word is the grace to will what HE wills and the power to accomplish what HE wills. We are NOT spiritual athletes with supernatural strength. No one can do what God wills without God’s grace. For, we are broken, sinful and fickle! When you come forward to receive ashes you’ll hear,
Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return or Repent and believe the Gospel.

In the Gospel, there is grace to be invisible, to be God’s secret agent in your world. So, whether you are giving alms, praying or fasting it’s not you who are seen. Rather, through those mighty weapons, God is making HIS appeal through you, to your family and those you love, to your neighbor, to your fellow workers or students. That appeal is this:

Be reconciled to God!  

Today’s Readings

In the First Reading, the young King, Solomon, has the wisdom to ask the LORD for an understanding heart.
In the Gospel, Jesus, to whom the Lord God gave the throne of David his father (Luke 1:32) gives expression to this understanding heart when He says to His disciples:
Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while (Mark 6:31).
The coming Season of Lent can be that deserted place where we rest and listen while He teaches us many things!

On this feast . . .
Through the intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr,
may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.