Advent 1 Sunday A - Homilies and Stories

Introductory stories and prayers:

Christ May Be Closer Than You Know

EXPECTATION - Illustrations

Stephen Hawking is an astrophysicist at Cambridge University and perhaps the most intelligent man on earth. He has advanced the general theory of relativity farther than any person since Albert Einstein. Unfortunately, Hawking is afflicted with ALS Syndrome (Lou Gehrig's disease). It will eventually take his life. He has been confined to a wheelchair for years, where he can do little more than sit and think. Hawking has lost the ability even to speak, and now he communicates by means of a computer that is operated from the tiniest movement of his fingertips.
Quoting from an Omni magazine article: He is too weak to write, feed himself, comb his hair, fix his classes--all this must be done for him. Yet this most dependent of all men has escaped invalid status. His personality shines through the messy details of his existence.
Hawking said that before he became ill, he had very little interest in life. He called it a "pointless existence" resulting from sheer boredom. He drank too much and did very little work. Then he learned he had ALS Syndrome and was not expected to live more than two years. The ultimate effect of that diagnosis, beyond its initial shock, was extremely positive. He claimed to have been happier after he was afflicted than before. How can that be understood? Hawking provided the answer.
"When one's expectations are reduced to zero," he said, "one really appreciates everything that one does have." Stated another way: contentment in life is determined in part by what a person anticipates from it. To a man like Hawking who thought he would soon die quickly, everything takes on meaning--a sunrise or a walk in a park or the laughter of children. Suddenly, each small pleasure becomes precious. By contrast, those who believe life owes them a free ride are often discontent with its finest gifts. 
James Dobson, New Man, October, 1994, p. 36.

Advent - First Week

Creighton University's Online Ministries
First Sunday of Advent
Daily Advent Prayer

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”
 Entrance Antiphon:
To you, my God, I lift my soul,
I trust in you; let me never come to shame.
Do not let my enemies laugh at me.
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever .
Daily Meditation:
Let's begin this week with a deeply felt prayer.
Even if we don't know exactly what we need or long for,
today, let's try to express our desire for God's help and assistance.
The readings invite us to be prepared and to be hopeful.
This week I could ask for the grace to grow in anticipation
of what the Lord is offering me and to ready my heart
to receive it gratefully.
What renewal, what end of 'hostilities' is our Lord offering me?
They shall beat their swords into plowshare
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
Isaiah 2
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Psalm 122

Christ the King - 34 Sunday C

Thomas O’Loughlin
Introduction to the Celebration 

Way back in January we began the year by celebrating the Baptism of Jesus when a voice was heard calling him ‘the beloved Son’. During the year we have greeted Jesus under all the views of him we find in the gospels. Now today, at the end of the year, we greet him with the all-embracing title: Jesus Christ, Universal King.

The Christ is the one who will gather us all together at the end of time, the one who will judge the living and the dead, and then present his kingdom to the Father. In our pilgrimage of faith that kingdom of justice, truth, and peace is to be our beacon, and Christ our guide. But before we join Christ in his banquet, we must ask pardon for the times when we followed other paths and other ways, when we listened to false prophets of greed and materialism, and for when we have failed to work for the coming of the kingdom. 

33 Sunday C - Fighting Back or Falling Back - Homilies

Introductory Story:

The world’s “canned laughter”

The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) tells a parable of a theater where a variety show is proceeding.  There are musical acts, dancers, magicians, comedians, acrobats – one amazing act after another. Each act receives thunderous applause from the audience.
Suddenly the manager comes forward. Speaking calmly, not wanting to panic the patrons, he says, “Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that the theater is on fire. Please get up and move in an orderly fashion to the exits. There is plenty of time for you all to leave safely, but please do so at once.”
The audience think this is the most amusing act of the evening, and again cheer wildly, thinking the manager is a comedian! He again implores them to leave the burning building, but he is again applauded vigorously.
Even when smoke and flames appear at the back of the stage, the audience thinks it is part of the act done for special effect. The manager soon realizes he can do no more, so he runs off the stage and out of the building. The audience, meanwhile, whistles and cheers and claps in appreciation of the manager’s “performance.”
“And so,” concluded Kierkegaard, “will our age, I sometimes think, go down in fiery destruction to the applause of a crowded house of cheering spectators.”
And so it is today.  Those who attempt to warn others of the impending doom to come are laughed at as part of “the show.”  The prophet has become a comedian, like someone out of a Monty Python skit.  The cynical world laughs at the message, believing it is all a joke.
Yet the world indeed is on fire; the whole theater is destined to be turned to ash – and one day soon. Despite the witnesses God has faithfully called — including the message of His Son – the canned laughter of the world, the mindless cheering, and the idiotic applause will continue, right up to the end of the age….
As it was in the days of Noah…. until the flood came and swept them all away….

Easter: RESURRECTION - Illustrations

As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest. There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.
Gary Thomas, Christian Times, October 3, 1994, p. 26.

32 Sun C- Resurrection of our Bodies

At the very end,  watch Video Reflection by Fr Bill Grimm, mm
Starting Point: 

Missing the Point! 

One New Year's Day, in the Tournament of Roses parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas. The amusing thing was the float represented an oil company. With its vast oil resources, its truck was out of gas (C. Neil Strait, Minister's Manuel, 1994, 315). 

They had the entire resources of heaven at their disposals. They were entrusted with the oracles of God; however, in Luke chapter 20 the parade of Chief Priest, Elders and Sadducees come to a sudden halt when they cut themselves off from the resources of God who was now in Christ. 

Brett Blair
Thomas O’Loughlin,
Introduction to the Celebration

We gather here on Sundays because this is the ‘day of the resurrection’. We call ourselves the people of the resurrection and of new life. We proclaim the mystery of faith: ‘Christ has died, Christ is risen.’ But we often do not stop and think about what we mean by ‘resurrection’ and ‘rising from the dead’. These questions will echo through our celebration today.