Palm/Passion Sunday

Posted on Apr 16, 2019 in Church News, Homilies

04-14-2019 It was some time ago that I spent time with a dying man. He was heavily drugged to kill the pain but when he was lucid he told me stories about his life. He was the only and oldest son of six children. He had moved away from home, all the way across the country, while his sisters were quite young. And even though he came home for weddings and anniversaries, and a week each summer, he never really knew his sisters, they were strangers to each other. When he had gotten ill this last time his sisters had been called and told he was dying. They all came to him, and since he had no...

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Third Sunday of Lent

Posted on Mar 26, 2019 in Church News, Homilies

24 March 2019 Some of you will remember that on Ash Wednesday as we imposed ashes we first asked you a question: “Will you turn from sin and be faithful to the Gospel? We’ve been using that question ever since I came to St. Joe’s. I was introduced to that question by the pastor of my first assignment, John Heagle. On Ash Wednesday that first year we asked that question. An eighth grade boy came forward, I asked the question and got nothing but a blank stare. I asked again. The same stare. Then he got out of line but stood nearby as others came forward. He listened intently and then finally...

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Eighth Sunday of the Year

Posted on Mar 6, 2019 in Church News, Homilies

3 March 2019 One Easter when I was in the seminary, I went to my good friend Mike’s house for dinner. His parents had just been divorced after 27 years of marriage. While his father would not be there his maternal grandmother would. When I first walked into the house I spotted her instantly, she commanded the room. I knew enough about Polish manners to go over instantly to her to show her respect. She nodded, but said nothing and then waved me away with her cane.  I walked away and began speaking with others in the room. All the while I felt her watching me. Eventually, I sat down and...

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Seventh Sunday of the Year

Posted on Feb 27, 2019 in Church News, Homilies

24 February 2019 There are days I just feel like giving up. I suppose we all have days like that. There are days I look at the church and think, “2,000 years and we are still as petty, as mean, as incredibly self-centered, as we were when Jesus was here. Nothing has changed. We have not become the people Jesus called us to be–love your enemies, Do good to those who hate you. That seems such an impossibility. I thought about that a lot as I read through this gospel. Then I stumbled across this,  A now somewhat famous prayer text left beside the body of a dead child at Ravensbruck–a...

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Sixth Sunday of the Year

Posted on Feb 19, 2019 in Church News, Homilies

17 February 2019 As a transitional deacon I was assigned, for six months, to St. James Parish in Wausau. While I was there, I used to visit this elderly couple who were, I thought very poor. I’d take First Friday communion to them and always  remember always feeling sorry for them.  They lived in a ramshackle a three room affair–bedroom, combination kitchen/living room and bathroom. They were pleasant enough people though, easy to be with, and faith-filled especially as the man was dying of cancer. Frankly, I was quite touched by the two of them. Eventually, the man died. The day after his...

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Fifth Sunday of the Year

Posted on Feb 12, 2019 in Church News, Homilies

  10 February 2019 It was a gift, maybe payment for using the boat from which he preached. Jesus had seen a large school of fish not far from where they were moored– not at all uncommon in the sea of Galilee. And so he tells Peter–who had not caught anything all night,  the best time for fishing during that season to lower the nets. We read this story and think, oh, what great faith Peter must have had in Jesus –to do that since he knew they wouldn’t catch anything. But there is another way to read this story. While Jesus had been preaching, Luke tells us, he had...

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Fourth Sunday of the Year

Posted on Feb 5, 2019 in Church News, Homilies

3 February 2019 Jesus, it seems, was not a home town favorite.The people who watched him grow up, the people who knew him best–today decide, not only do they not want to hear any more of his preaching, they just want to get rid of him completely. Several years ago I was talking with one of our student leaders. When I hired him he warned me, “I’m not very churchy,” so I was surprised when he said: “You know I’ve been thinking, and I’d like to think if I was alive and lived in Nazareth, I would have liked Jesus and followed him.” Then he went on and said, “I know you always say that most of us...

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Third Sunday of the Year

Posted on Jan 31, 2019 in Church News, Homilies

About two years after I was ordained I was sitting alone in St. Patrick’s Church in Eau Claire. I was off to one side in the dark. Suddenly the side door from our school playground opened. Two little heads poked in and took a quick look around. It was noon recess. They didn’t see me and marched right in.  I recognized them as two of our second graders. They began to speak, argue really. They had decided to play church and what better place to do it then in the real thing. They argued about who was going to be the priest. Finally, they settled on a compromise. The little boy said to the...

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