Monday, July 27, 2009

Homily for John 6:1-15 Seventeenth Sunday

Today we start a break in our reading of the Gospel of St. Mark for a reading of the 6th chapter of St. John’s Gospel. For the next six weeks our Sunday Gospel will be taken from this remarkable Chapter. In fact, this chapter is the great teaching of St. John on the Holy Eucharist. In the other Gospels, the Eucharist is shown only at the Last Supper, but here in St. John, we have a fuller account of Christ’s Eucharistic teachings—the Bread of Life Discourse.
Today in John 6, Jesus multiples the loaves and the fishes for the five thousand gathered to listen to his teachings. This miracle was performed not just to feed hungry bellies, but to prepare his listeners for an even greater miracle-the giving of His own body and blood for our true food. Jesus wants to teach us, by first drawing our attention to what is most immediate to us-food. To fill and satisfy our hunger is a very real need, a need we all have; it is the most basic of all instincts. The people listening to Jesus were hungry and were perhaps being distracted from listening to Jesus teach them by their hunger pains. This reminds me that St. Francis once said, “you can’t preach the Gospel to empty stomachs.” For us humans, even at the earliest age, hunger is present; when we were an infant for example, as soon as we felt hunger pains, we began to cry and our mother fed us. Even as we are older, hunger pains can be no less traumatic. Those who experienced being held in concentration camps during World War II, said that as prisoners, they could ignore the cold or their aches and pains, but their constant hunger consumed them, and food occupied their every thought, even their dreams. When we are hungry, nothing else can take our mind off our hunger, only food can satisfy us. I bet even at this very moment many of us here are thinking about what we are going to eat after Mass. Jesus desired the hungry in the Gospel to experience their need and dependence, their hunger, so that they might then learn to depend on Him to satisfy, not only their hunger but all of their desires-Jesus is the only one who can fill our deepest needs and desires.
Jesus knows their natural hunger- again the most basic desire on a physical level, but He wants to show us that spiritual hunger is even more fundamental. Jesus desired for the people of His day to receive his teachings and so come to believe that He was a Divine Person--God. Yet, the people resisted and so stayed only on a physical level; they could only think of their bellies- they wanted Jesus to become king-as it were the chief baker for the country, one who would give them only earthly food & prosperity. But Jesus had another food in mind.
Jesus wanted to give them the only food that could satisfy that very deepest of all hunger, the hunger for love. Every Human heart longs for, is hungry for Love and only love can make it truly happy—nothing else will satisfy it. This food of Jesus, the only food that can really satisfy our hunger for love is the Eucharist- the gift of his very self, He who is the source of all love, human and divine. IN other words, Jesus is the food we are hungering for—the Eucharist is the food we are starving for—for the Eucharist is Love—for the Eucharist is God.
In our miracle, Jesus not only gave bread, but gave it in superabundance; there were twelve baskets of leftovers. With care, the apostles gathered them so none would go to waste. Their example of a deep respect for even a basic food, teaches us how much more there needs to be respect with regards to the Eucharist! This food, and only this food, can satisfy our every spiritual need. We know all too well our basic needs, but how much more should we be aware of our spiritual ones and so grow in our awareness of our complete dependence on Jesus in the Holy Eucharist in order to feed our deepest hunger, which is the hunger for His Love—Man is only happy when He is filled with this Love. As we continue to read this Gospel over the next few weeks, let us first acknowledge our hunger for Love, and for the Food in which any one who believes and eats, will never hunger again…If we turn to this Food which is Jesus, even our earthly needs will be met as well, along with our deeper spiritual ones.
Monday July 27, 2009
Complete LSN Interview with Antonio Cardinal CaƱizares Llovera

Formerly Archbishop of Toledo, Spain, Cardinal CaƱizares is the current Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, that has competence over the way in which Mass is celebrated throughout the world. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

ROME, Italy, July 27, 2009 ( - With the help of a translator, the Cardinal kindly consented to speak with on July 24th at the offices of the Congregation on the Via della Conciliazione in Rome, down the road from St. Peter's Basilica and the Apostolic Palace.

* * *

LSN: What is the connection between faithfulness to the norms of the liturgy and faithfulness to the Church's moral teachings?

Cardinal Canizares Llovera: There is no doubt about the connection.

To recognise what is the Eucharist is to recognise Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Son of God that became man. Christ is the most absolute 'yes' of God to man. He is the revelation of God and the revelation of the truth about man. Man cannot be separated from God; man was created in the image and likeness of God.

In creation, God manifests Himself as love in favour of man. In His Son, the true image of the Father, we have been created in the image of the Son. For that reason, all human beings have a greatness and a dignity that cannot be separated or violated.

Jesus Christ shows the face of God that loves man to the utter extremes. The biggest demonstration of this love of Jesus for Man is seen on the cross, dying for man. But this love could not be destroyed or chained by death. It has triumphed over death. The love of Jesus, Son of God, brought to an extreme on the cross, shows how all men are loved by God with a love from which nothing and no one can separate us. Each man has been saved or repurchased by the blood of Christ, which is the blood of God. This is how much every human being is worth, the blood of God.

For that reason, between the Eucharist and the defence of life there is a link that cannot be separated. To live the Eucharist, is to enter in communion with Jesus Christ and as a consequence with His love. This is a communion of life and makes us participate in the life which is Christ. Divine life, eternal life, but at the same time it makes us be givers or carriers of love and defenders of life.

If the Christians would live all that the Eucharist means, we would be defenders of life in every moment.

LSN: We were wondering since the issue is very serious in the US and growing more so in Britain and Canada if there is planned a definitive statement or teaching on the reception of Communion by politicians and public figures who reject the Church's teaching on life. The issue still hasn't been resolved since the US election in 2004.

Cardinal Canizares Llovera: I think that the strongest words are found in St. Paul: one who goes to the Eucharist and is not properly prepared, duly prepared, "he eats his own condemnation." This is the strongest thing that we can say and what is the most truthful statement.

When the Church states that to take part in or request an abortion, to take an active role in one way or the other, the person incurs automatically excommunication. This means that politicians should become aware and they should be helped to become aware of the gravity of their conduct. When they approve laws against life, in favour of abortion or euthanasia, priest and bishops should say this.

I don't know if there's going to be a document on the politicians who are in favour of abortion, but the politicians have to be conscious of the teachings of the Church that I have just pointed out.

LSN: There's a conflict in the US now. There are some bishops who are saying they will speak to, educate and address the issue with these people but they refuse to refuse. Others are saying, 'No, you may not receive Communion in my diocese". How is that conflict going to be resolved?

Cardinal Canizares Llovera: I cannot judge one group of bishops or the other group of bishops but I think that all of us know what has to be done, or should be done. In the presence of cases of public sinners ... at the same time we don't know what is happening in the consciences of those politicians. I understand the prudence with which we have to act. But I think also that it is our duty to clarify their consciences. To help the person to act in accordance with a right and true conscience. Bishops have a function to help the due formation of conscience. To form consciences in such a way that people should act in accordance with the truth.

The pope JPII in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae offers criteria that show how politicians should act with regards to the questions of life. Also the congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith published an instruction when Cardinal Ratzinger was the prefect on the way politicians should act on these questions of life. Also the most recent encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, when he was referring to abortion offers criteria in such a way that politicians should act in accordance with truth.

I believe that the Pauline principle, that gives the title to the most recent encyclical of Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, should be the principle that guides us to speak about this question. This principle, Caritas in Veritate [Love in Truth] should be the principle first for politicians when they come to Communion, and second it should be the rule for bishops when they decide to give or to withdraw Communion.

LSN: Is there a movement in the Vatican to return to the traditional manner of reception of Communion? (With the recipient kneeling and the host placed directly on the tongue.)

Cardinal Canizares Llovera: There is no resolution that forbids giving Communion in the mouth. In the same way, there is no norm that forbids Communion in the hand. Neither can be forbidden. Neither one nor the other. This means that Communion in the mouth has a long history and tradition that expresses in a profound way the sense of adoration, reverence in the presence of the body of Christ. Everything that is at stake in the real presence of Christ. If Communion in the mouth goes with the gesture of kneeling, it expresses in a stronger way, with stronger force, the real presence of Christ, the sense of adoration, the participation in the body of Christ that offers Himself for us.

If the papal liturgy is a sign, an indication for all the Church, we should promote Communion kneeling and in the mouth. But, this does not mean not permitting or forbidding Communion in the hand if it is done with due respect. With a previous gesture of adoration. This could be kneeling, or a genuflection or with a deep bow. And also in the moment of receiving Communion, the right hand should be placed under the left hand forming a cross expressing in this way the recognition of the real presence of the body of Christ offered for us. We should take care that no particle should be lost. And the body of Christ should be received in front of the priest.

We should recognise that frequently Communion in the hand many times is not received in this way.

It is very lamentable.

LSN: We know that over the years a great many people have seen and complained about abuses of the liturgy at Mass. What can the faithful do when they see these?

Cardinal Canizares Llovera: They should say to the priest immediately after Mass as a part of fraternal correction. If it is not possible, they should say to the bishop. If the bishop does not act, they should come here and report it to the Congregation.

There are two documents that are important. One by the Cong. for Divine Worship, Redemptionis Sacramentum, that talks about some of these abuses and talks about the rights of the faithful and how they should act.

The other is Sacramentum Caritatis, of Benedict XVI that also gives criteria on the way that the Eucharist is abused.

We should all fight to avoid abuses against the Eucharist. It is the holiest, greatest, most important [thing] in the Church and in life. We should respect the Eucharist and the rules and discipline of the Church that give the warranty of ecclesial communion that has its sources, its roots, its truth in the Eucharist, in the celebration of the Eucharist, in the rite that the Church has indicated.

LSN: Is the liturgical revolution over? Is the Church in general becoming more balanced about the liturgy?

We're still suffering it but also we are in a moment of great hope. The Pope Benedict XVI makes the renewal of the spirit of liturgy to rekindle in the conscience of all the true sense of the liturgy. Which should help to impose a great new unstoppable liturgical movement. Nevertheless, we have not yet applied in a truthful way the teachings of Vatican II read in continuity with the tradition of the Church. This is the commitment of this congregation continuing the [work of the] Holy Father that presides over us in faith and charity and over the whole Church.

We want a Church that should be present in the world, that is ready to transform the world and [lead] the renewal of mankind in accordance with God's will. This will not be possible without Sacrosanctum Concilium, without liturgy, adoration, without putting God in the centre of all, living of God's gift, and offering Him whatever we are in order to bring about His will.

In other words, there is no new humanity and there is no hope for man that is not grounded in God that would come from God and would return everything to God as His glory. The future of humanity is in the liturgy. When we read the last encyclical of the Holy Father, we can understand that the liturgy occupies a central role in the concerns of the Holy Father.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Corpus Christ...We must always give Jesus our best, especially with regards to the Liturgy

Homily for Corpus Christi 2009
On this day we celebrate the Great solemnity of Corpus Christi—by contemplating with great awe and with renewed amazement, the great and unfathomable mystery of the Holy Eucharist. Through out the centuries, Holy Mother Church and her faithful disciples have spared no extravagance, devoting their best resources, no matter the effort or cost, to expressing their wonder and adoration before the unsurpassable gift of the Eucharist. Beginning, as we heard in today’s readings, with the careful preparations of the first disciple to prepare with great dignity the “upper room” for the institution of this Most Holy Sacrament, the Church continues to carefully prepare for the celebration of this great mystery.
Today we hear how the disciples where struck with profound and utter amazement when Jesus took bread broke it and gave it to his disciples saying: “Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you” then he took the chalice of wine and said to them: “Take this all of you and drink from it: this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant, the mystery of faith, which will be given up for you and for the many, so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in commemoration of me. How can we fail to be amazed along with them each time we hear the priest put his voice at the disposal of the One who spoke these words in the upper room, Jesus Christ our Lord and God.
Our previous Holy Father, John Paul the Second, in his beautiful encyclical on the Holy Eucharist, called us to contemplate the great amazement and the great faith of those early disciples over the great gift of love--the Holy Eucharist. By doing so, John Paul wanted to reaffirm the Church’s constant and unchanging teaching on the Holy Eucharist, what and who It is. He, like so many popes wanted to lead us to a deeper faith, hope and love in Jesus, who is sacramentally, but nonetheless, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament--the Holy Eucharist. In his encyclical John Paul is calling for a renewed faith that Jesus is really, physically and personally present, Body, and Blood, Soul and Divinity through the miracle of transubstantiation. Through the great gift of the ordained Priesthood in which a man is configured to Christ, Christ can use, literally, this man’s body, his hands, his voice to change, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the very substance, that is what the thing is, of bread and wine into His, Jesus’ own Body, Blood, Soul And Divinity-the whole Christ, not just His spiritual presence but His whole being in the fullness of His humanity and divinity.
The Holy Eucharist is a gift, it is a reality, that is, it is real, it is true. To believe this is to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist because He Himself has said so, and He is God who cannot deceive or be deceived. Let us take Jesus at His Word, anything less is to mock Him.
Oh how we should fall down in worship, how our hearts should be moved to great amazement, to great love, equal to that of those first believers over the reality of Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Just as the Holy Father, I want to enkindle in you and in myself the great amazement of those early disciples of our Lord, when they beheld the Eucharistic face of Jesus. I want to enkindle this love in the hearts of every person on the faith of the earth. How can we not want others to know that the God of Love is still on earth in a human body, with a human heart and soul? The greatest sin in the world is that God is not Loved, that God who is still with us in the Holy Eucharist is not loved. How much we should love a God who out of love for us, gives us the greatest gift possible, the gift of His very self as our heavenly food.
How can anyone, especially Catholics, not believe, adore, hope and love Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. How we should beg pardon for all those, including ourselves who do not believe, who do not adore, who do not hope and do not love Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. How we should try with our own love and reverence for the Holy Eucharist, to make up for the ingratitude of the hearts of men toward such a great gift; in fact, the greatest of all gifts.
I invite all of you to devoutly take part in this Solemn High Mass and in every Holy Mass where Christ comes to us in the Eucharist. I also invite you to take part in the Eucharistic procession, which will follow this Solemn Mass. This procession is a grace from the Lord, which brings great joy to those who take part in it. I hope that it grows into an even grander event in the years to come. Our processing with Jesus through our streets show the world our faith that the Holy Eucharist is Jesus, our Lord and God and that we want all, along with us to adore and love Him with us.
Again, we can never spare any extravagance when it comes to adoring our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. We must always, always give Jesus our best in all things. Again, this is why we have undertaken the many restoration projects we have undertaken here at St. Peter’s. They are truly small things; adorning the altar of our Lord and placing the statues forward for us to pray easier as well as the future restoration of the High Altar and Communion rail. These small things are gifts for us to grow in our love for the Eucharist.
With what piety, care and reverence we should receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. We must always be on our guard against any diminishment of love, awe and reference for such a great gift. In fact, John Paul in his encyclical warned all the faithful that along with the great lights of a renewing of amazement in the great gift of the Eucharist in our present time, there are also some dark clouds. He spoke of those places where Eucharistic adoration as been completely abandoned. He speaks of various parts of the Church were abuses have occurred, leading to confusion with regard to sound faith and Catholic doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament, places where the Holy Mass is stripped of its sacrificial meaning, and is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet or a feel good worship service. He also points out places where the necessity of the ministerial, ordained priesthood, grounded in apostolic succession, is at times obscured, where the priest’s role is seen as one of just leading the community in prayer and proclaiming the word, when in fact, there could be no Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, no Holy Eucharist, without the ordained priesthood. For it is the priest who, by the authority of his ordination, effects the consecration and makes present in reality, the Whole Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. John Paul reminds us that the Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation.
Let us not let our parish, in any way, ever be one of those places of darkness with regard to the Holy Eucharist. Let us ask the Blessed mother, the mother of the Eucharist to lead us to see the face of Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament with a living and true faith. Let us this day ask her to help us to renew our love and reverence for Jesus in the Eucharist as a way of making up for the ingratitude and indifference of so many souls, as well as for the sacrileges committed throughout the world against the Holy Eucharist. Let us ask her to make our Parish a Eucharistic parish, madly in love with Jesus truly present in the Eucharist. As on priest said, let us become Tabernacle huggers. The Holy Father has said that adoration of the Eucharist outside of Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church. And it is of inestimable value for the life our parish family. (turn mike on, turn toward the tabernacle).
Three Fatima Prayers:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time Father's Day

Homily for Mark 4: 35-41
Twelfth Sunday
Today, after the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, we return to our celebration of ordinary time and we pick up our reading of the Gospel of St. Mark. In our Gospel today, we read the account of Jesus’ calming of the stormy sea. Jesus, at the bidding of the disciples wakes up and effortlessly rebukes the wind…Quiet! Be still! I am here; be not afraid. Jesus was there, Jesus is here, there is no need for any of us to be afraid. Jesus divine and human presence is enough to drive away the fear, as perfect love cast out all fear.
This Gospel is a good one as we celebrate Father’s day and give thanks for our fathers and all they have done for us. In our Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples, who are called to be spiritual fathers in Christ that they must have faith in Him, that He is God and as God has the power and authority to calm the raging seas, that is all that threatens them. They must hope in Him alone-hope in Him does not disappoint. They needed to trust in His great love for them and call upon in His name in firm and trusting faith and with great love.
All fathers must do the same as these first disciples, these first spiritual fathers. Father’s have a grave duty to protect their own Garden of Eden, which is their family. Every father is a type of Adam who is given charge by God to guard and till the garden, again that is, his family. In order to guard his family, fathers even have the God given right to physically protect their families if need be. If someone breaks into the home the Father has the right to protect his family even to the point of using deadly force; his intent is not to kill but to protect his family. This is why we have a right to bear arms. Fathers also have to till the members of his garden by providing for them what they need to survive and even flourish; so he works hard to earn a living. By the way the state for its part must provide what the father needs and also allow the father the right to own property, land and a home to care for his family.
But the father must above all guard and protect his family on a spiritual level. This is most important. To do this, the father must, must be a man of God. He must be a man of Christ in order to protect, guard and till his family in a spiritual way. For this reason it must be the Father who is the spiritual leader, the spiritual head of the family working with, not against the mother to lead the children to holiness and so too heaven.
One of the most destructive errors in our day, perpetrated directly from the devil himself, is the lie that it is not manly to be holy. The lie that Church is for women and children, that holiness is for woman and children, but not for men. What a absolute lie! The truth is, is that there is no way possible that any man can adequately protect his family without being a man of Christ. This means that a man must be an intimate friend of Christ.
Did you ever think about this? If Adam, the first human father, was giving the charge to guard the Garden of Eden, that is his family, how did satan get in the garden in the first place in order to tempt Eve, Adam’s wife. Adam had failed in his charge to protect his wife by allowing satan to enter into the sanctuary of his family. To make matters worse, in his failure, he failed to turn to the Lord for forgiveness and help from on high to kick satan out; Adam failed in faith, hope and love.
Many men today are making the same mistake as our first father, Adam. They are allowing satan to enter into their gardens by alcoholism, by pornography, by sterilization and contraception, and most importantly by failing to be the spiritual head of the family, a man of Christ; a man of holiness. They are failing to protect and defend their families from the assault and storms begin waged in our modern day against the family by the devil Himself through His one of his greatest weapons, the weapon of socialism and all its immoral traps and snares. In short, men are failing to turn to Christ in their failures by going frequently to confession, by calling upon the most High God for help by attending Mass and adoring Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. One of the most telling signs of the de-masculization of men in our age is the loss of Holiness of men. Men are losing manly virtues, especially the virtue of purity and chastity, as well as self-sacrifice. One saint compared men to a city protected by the wall of virtue; tear down the wall of virtue and the enemy conquers the city. It’s interesting that the communist in Russia realized this. They knew that to gain ultimate power and control over the people they had to destroy the family, especially the catholic family in order to gain control of the people. They used the lie that socialism was the answer to provide fathers what they needed to take of their families, by the state taking over the fathers role in providing for what the his family needed through social welfare. They corrupted the virtues of men by providing amble pornography and even free or very cheap booze. They took away their right to bear arms and so took away the father’s ability to defend and protect their family physically. Instead of strong moral virtuous men of Christ, they became lechers and drunkards; men without true religion and so men without virtue and so without Christ in their lives; men no longer able to protect their families spiritually from the storms being wage against them.
The answer for men to withstand the storm being waged in our day against them and against their families is to turn to Christ. To turn to Christ they need to first go to confession and confess before God and before man, their failure in their fatherhood and their failures in their manhood to be a man of Christ. It takes a true man to be humble enough to go to confession and kneel before another man who sits in the place of Christ Himself in order to confess his sins, especially with regard to fornication. Confession is not for sissies.
Then men in their repentance must call upon the Holy Name of Jesus and beg our Blessed Lord to make up for what is lacking in their own ability to protect, defend and provide for their families, on a material level, but more importantly on a spiritual level. This by the way is the reason for the Holy Name Society I have tried to restore here at St. Peter’s. Men devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus calling upon the name above all other names to help them be men.
Men must become again the spiritual head of the family by ensuring their family goes to Mass every single week come hell or high water; that their family together adores Jesus in the Holy Eucharist outside of Mass; that the entire family as a family attends confession; that family prays together, especially the Holy Rosary. But the man must lead by example; he must become a man of prayer; He can’t give the family what he Himself does not have. He must recognize the Father from whom all fatherhood gets its Name, God our Heavenly Father. And He must turn to this Father through Jesus His Son.
All us all, not only men and Fathers, we must have the faith of the Apostles after the resurrection of Jesus. WE must turn to Jesus in the storms of this life. He alone has the divine authority and power to calm the high seas assaulting us. He alone can guide us into safe refuge a midst the evil of our day. He is still with us, not only in His divinity but also in His humanity through the Holy Eucharist. Through the Holy Eucharist Jesus is still in our boat so to speak, with His Divine power and authority to calm any type of stormy sea. Jesus is not asleep in the Holy Eucharist; it is men’s’ hearts and minds, their faith that is sleeping. We, especially us men must wake up, we must never take the Eucharist for granted for someday we could lose it; us fathers need Jesus to protect our families (Messages in apparitions of Our Lady.
Let us men turn to Blessed Virgin Mary to help to draw closer to Jesus in the Eucharist and through Jesus from the Father from all good things come. (St. John Bosco’s vision here). Let us also have recourse to St. Joseph a true manly man, a man of Christ for his help. Jesus, Mary and Joseph help our men to be men of Christ and so strong holy fathers; especially help priests to be real men and so strong spiritual fathers. Help and protect all our families, especially our parish family, from the spiritual assaults being wage against them. Jesus Mary and Joseph save souls, especially the souls of our families.

Goodbye Homily at St, Peter's

Homily for Mark 5: 21-43 Thirteen Sunday 2009
Today in our reading of St. Mark Jesus is shown busy in his apostolic mission, going from place to place teaching and healing. In the account, Jesus is asked by a synagogue official to heal his daughter and on the way He heals a long ill woman. Jesus is one who seems to be overwhelmed by the crowds and the sheer amount of people coming to Him. One can image in this one episode that if every day Jesus had days like this, it must have been rather extraordinary.
In the midst of the crush of the crowds and the multiplicity of requests Jesus finds people with faith. St. Mark desires to teach us and point out the faith of people in order to help us grow in our own faith. Let us look closely at the two accounts of the healings.
In the first story, the humble synagogue official is the one who approaches Jesus in a humble way. Generally speaking, the leaders and elders of the people were the ones who did not accept Jesus or His teaching. So, Jairus is unique in his faith in Jesus. Perhaps Jairus was so desperate because of the illness of his daughter that he came to the point where it was easier to believe, to have faith. Its interesting how we can all of a sudden have time for Jesus in our busy lives; how we can have time to pray and attend holy Mass when we are desperate for help from God. Often times in desperate situations people come to faith or to stronger faith, as the old adage that there are no atheists in fox wholes comes true; this is exactly why God allows crosses, whether they be crosses of suffering, loss or even injustice, in our lives, because too often when things go well our faith becomes weak. It’s not that God Wills these things, because God doesn’t will the death of those He loves and who love Him; we can’t say God Wills injustice or evil, but He does permit them as part of His permissive will; he does however still expect us to stand up to injustice and evil and do what ever we can do to over come them with the help of God’s grace, after that it is up to Him. God even permits the death of those He loves in order to bring a greater good out of it.
So the seemingly desperate Jairus comes to Jesus. Most of the leaders were proud men whom themselves had others approach them with their problems. They were the so-called powerful ones. But here, Jairus humbles himself and in a bold move asks Jesus to come and lay His hands on her and she will be well. Jairus is both humble and bold; a true man because He was a man of faith.
The other story within the story is the poor ill woman. She had been ill for 12 years and was desperate as well. She had reached the end of her money and her health was failing. She came to faith perhaps because of her situation, yet her gesture to reach out and touch Jesus, even to touch only the hem of His garment, was a bold move of faith. It was not proper to do such a thing- women did not approach men and touch them. She reached out in faith and touched Jesus; a true woman because she was a woman of faith.
Both Jairus and the ill woman were humble and bold. The bold gestures they did provoked a strong response from the crowds- “How dare they;! Who do they think they are?!” The crowd around the house of Jairus ridiculed both Jesus and Jairus. The crowd around the poor woman made her so fearful that she trembled. They both were desperate and looking to Jesus for healing, but they were willing to risk being mocked for their acts of faith in Jesus. Jesus, on His part, grants their requests.
For us, we too should adopt these two desperate but faith filled persons, adopt their attitude and stance of faith. We must be humble in our prayer, and acknowledge Jesus as our sovereign Lord; are we desperate enough? The truth is, whether we realize it or not, we are all in desperate need of God’s Divine Mercy. And so we, if we are to receive Jesus’ healing, we must recognize the truth of our situation; and that is we all, each one of us no exceptions, we are all poor sinners in desperate and equal need of Divine Mercy. After this act of humility, we must be bold. We must risk a lot to gain the pearl of great price, which is our relationship with Jesus through faith in His true presence in the Eucharist. Jesus will reward us with His mercy and love. It does not mean that Jesus will answer our requests the way we want Him to; we must be humble to ask for His will be done. Jesus will never turn away from those who humbly ask Him in faith for healing, especially those who find themselves in the darkness of anguish and sorrow.
Today, let us do this; let us turn to Jesus in faith. As we approach Jesus in the Eucharist, may we be both humble and bold, drawing our hearts ever closer to the heart of Jesus.
May our comfort in this time of anguish as our parish family experiences trial and separation, be the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. As your pastor and Father, I myself turn now in this time of great personal anguish to the Eucharist Heart of Jesus; who alone knows the depth and the darkness of my sorrow. And you too must also turn to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus in this and all of lives difficulties, trials and sorrows, as well as in it’s joys and triumphs.
We as a parish family have been through so much together. I want you to know that I am so proud of this family. We have stuck together; we have grown in knowledge and in love, and so in grown in the faith of the true Church of Jesus Christ, the Roman Catholic Church. But most importantly we have grown in our faith, hope and love of Jesus Christ, the only way to the faith and the only consolation in this life or the next. But we must not stop here, we must grow in our love, and so in our knowledge of Jesus and His Church, we must grow in love for the Holy Mass, all for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, all through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, all in Union with St. Joseph all for the love and the salvation of souls.
I thank all of you for your love and faithful support of this parish family. Please do not let my leaving be the reason for your departure as well…after all, if there is one thing I have tried more deeply to teach you all…is that is all about the Eucharist and our proper worship and adoration of the Eucharist Heart of Jesus at Mass and outside of Mass. I thank you as well for you love and support of me, your spiritual father in Christ. Again, I ask for your forgiveness in any ways that I have failed you as your spiritual father.
Of all men, I have been most blessed to have you as my parish family. I will forever consider you as such. I am not replacing one family with another, that would be inhuman, I am merely expanding my family. Know as well, that I will forever keep you and your family in my prayers, and even more, remember each of you at the Sacred Altar each time I offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Please remember me and to pray for me; I still need your prayers to remain faithful to the task at hand.
My mother has taught me never to say goodbye. And so I leave you, my parish family of St. Peter’s by not saying goodbye, but instead by saying, see you later. May our Dear Lord bless you and keep you and yours; may our heavenly mother protect you in her mantle; and may Joseph protect your families. All good things must come to an end, except for heaven, and the love that we have shared together. By the grace and love of God, given to us through our adoration of the Holy Eucharist, the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and dispensed to us through the Mediatrix of all grace, the Blessed Virgin Mary, may we remain always in God’s love, united to Him and to one another and so attain the gift of Final Perseverance in order to be in heaven forever. There to be never to be separated again, but to be one with the Father from whom all fatherhood has it source, our Heavenly Father who loves us all so much. God bless you all.

Homily Fourteen Sunday in Ordinary Time July 5th, 2009. Intro at St. Patrick's

In our Holy Gospel today Jesus goes home. Even after all the miracles that he had performed, they still didn’t know him. They thought they knew him but they didn’t really know him. Jesus, who they thought was only the son of an ordinary carpenter was really the Son of the Living God, God incarnate, God become man.
How hard it was for the townsfolk of Jesus to see past what they saw of him during the time He lived in Nazareth. Jesus’ return home was a called to faith to all of those who thought they had Him all figured out. Jesus called them to look deeper in faith, in order to discover that He was in fact their Lord and God. How much of a struggle of faith it was for them to accept this new part of Jesus that they hadn’t known. Jesus for his part was amazed at their lack of faith.
In their struggle if they would have only fell at that feet of Jesus in adoration and ask Him, their Lord and God, to increase their faith, He would have unhesitatingly done so. He would have shed through the darkness of their disbelief with the light of His divine grace and love, the light of His truth. Jesus always, always answers the cry of those who are in the darkness, that is, those who are poor in spirit; let us be always poor in spirit.
Faith in Jesus for us can be just has difficult as well. In our spiritual life, God allows many, difficulties, struggles, and separations, even the separation of a father from his children, His family. He allows even spiritual darkness in which it seems God has all but abandoned us. All of these crosses, these mini deaths, are allowed so that God can bring us to a stronger faith in him and as a result into a deeper love and so a deeper union with Him. In our weakness we are made strong.
We too like the townsfolk of Jesus can think that we have Jesus all figured out, so God allows our faith to be tested, even severely in this life. How difficult it can be to have faith in Jesus, to trust Him when He allows these tests; how difficult it can be to trust in Him in all He allows to happen to us. All is allowed to deepen our faith in Him, along with deepening our hope and trust in Him.
When we look at our life of faith and our parish life we discover that our faith life is not separable from our parish life. God doesn’t just test us individually; He tests us as a parish family as well. So when events happen in our parish, they have a dramatic impact in our life of faith… they can even shake our faith; they can be a great struggle--so integrate is our parish family life and our individual spiritual lives. One is totally dependent on the other. And so, in this time of transition from one pastor to the next how difficult it can be us. To have known a pastor for many years and now have to start to get to know a new one, how difficult it must be for you. It is a test of faith for sure!
We regards to Fr. Peck, and his departure from St. Patrick’s, I can only image how you must feel. For my part, I know that I have some big shoes to fill. I ask for your prayers daily. I want you to know that I have the utmost respect for Fr. Peck. I consider him not only my friend but my brother in Christ. When I was told I was coming here we spoke and discussed his vision for the parish. I share that vision with him because it is the vision of the Church herself. Fr. Peck told me that he was in the process of implementing some changes in the parish, especially in the liturgy; and so in our discussions together we determined that it would be best to do the changes now instead of later. So today, we’ve made some of the changes which Fr Peck has had in the planning stages for a long time. Again, I can assure you that they are all in line with the mind and the teachings of Holy Mother the Church.
I can also assure you I am not here with the attitude that I need to fix this parish or any of you. No I am here with the attitude of a father who with his spiritual children wants to grow in holiness and so in the knowledge and love of God and so grow in our love for one another in order that we enter more deeply into the Family of the Most Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit along with all of the angels and saints.
Now to try and help you lessen your anxiety about who I am. Please allow me to tell you something about myself. My name again is Fr. Steven Lange; I do however go by my last name only, not by my first. So I would ask that you please call me Fr. Lange.
I am originally from Southwest Wisconsin. I come from a family of four children, three boys and one girl. I am the second youngest. I am what is known has a second career vocation, which means that I have been out in the world working. In my background I have done everything from working on a farm, to working in a grocery store as an assistant manager, to working as a supervisor in a furniture factory, to selling advertising and finally before going into the seminary, the most exciting job of selling mattresses. And for about ten years, I was also a E.M.t. on a volunteer rescue squad. I attended Major seminary in Milwaukee at Sacred Heart School of Theology. I was ordained in 2002. Before my most previous assignment as Pastor at St. Peter’s in Spring Grove, I was assigned as a parochial vicar at St. Thomas the Apostle in Crystal Lake, an assignment in which I also taught religion to juniors at Marian Central High School.
I would love to be able to tell you that I have always been strong in my faith, but unfortunately I haven’t. I was a lot like the people in Jesus’ home town. For many years I let the cares of life, keep me away from the one thing that really matters, faith in and intimate friendship with Jesus Christ. While I was born and raised Catholic, I never took my faith seriously--always one more thing to buy, always more money to be made. I never had enough. Christ though, in his Divine Mercy allowed my world to shaken to its core.
You see, one thing that sets me apart from many priests, and many Catholics for that matter is that I have received all seven sacraments. That’s right, I have been married before. I was married for four years to a wonderful girl, named Kathy. In this marriage I faced some of the worst fear and anxiety that can possibly happen to anyone, when my young wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 23. However, it was through this horrible event, this cross, that both she and I found our faith and as a result began more and more to turn to Christ and to His Church.
Nine months after her initial diagnoses Kathy died. But she died a very holy death with the Sacraments of the Church and wearing the brown Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom my wife loved. Sometime after she died, I discovered through a priest that she and I had met and who gave her the Sacrament of the anointing, that she had offered to Jesus through Mary, her life for my salvation and that of her family. This priest believed that in the offering of her sufferings and her life she may even have obtained my vocation to the priesthood. In fact, the priest that gave the homily at my first Mass, said that Kathy had to obtained a vocation to the priesthood for me, because she knew no other woman could have put up with me.
In the end, even though my world fell down around me with the lost of my wife, I discovered that Christ had never abandoned us. He was there, as He always is, in the darkness; and, He answered everyone of my prayers for Kathy, even the one to help her beat cancer, which she did, not physically of course, but spiritually. I learned that God is always with us giving us hope and that incredible peace that only he can give, that our greatest crosses can in the end, if we love God, turn into our greatest blessings. And so for my part, after the death of my wife, I determined to follow Jesus and His Catholic Church with all my heart, mind and strength. It is in our weakness we become strong.
I can tell you that while I am fiercely orthodox, I am also very understanding of human weakness. I do not compromise with the truth and with the Church’s teachings, but I do try with all my effort to present the truth and the teachings of the truth with love. I believe with all my being that the truth matters; for without it, not only can we not make it to heaven, we also cannot ever be truly happy in this life either.
One of my greatest loves is for the sacred liturgy of the Church, for by it we can, if we follow the norms of the Church, give proper and due reverence worship and adoration to God. I am currently enrolled in a Masters program in Sacred Liturgy at the Liturgical institute at Mundelein seminary and hope to go on for a Doctorate. The Sacred Liturgy is undergoing a tremendous renewal and I want to be able to help you and others both understand those changes, the reasons for them and to implement them with an openness and excitement. By the way, if you want to understand the bible it is really all about the proper worship of God through the Sacred Liturgy that He established. All of the problems in the bible came about when the creature tried to worship the Creator in the way the creature wanted instead of in the way God demanded due to His Divine Nature.
My primary concern in my life is to please Christ, the great High Priest, and to help you all, all of you get to heaven. Everything I do I try to do with this goal in mind especially with regards to the Sacred Liturgy and the Holy Mass. One of the great errors of our days is that many believe that everyone makes it to heaven. Nothing could be farther from the truth. And so when I stand before Jesus as your pastor He will ask me what I did to help you get to heaven, and I for my part want to be able to tell Him that I told my people the truth even though it wasn’t always easy to do so, and that I gave my people an example of the truth by the witness of my life. I want to be able to tell Him that I was a good spiritual father to you, and that I told you, not necessarily what you always wanted to hear, but what you needed to hear in order to get to heaven.
I want you to know how so very pleased and happy to be with all of you. I look forward to getting to know you and your families. I hope I can become a part of each of your families. Together then let us turn to the Lord and arise to meet him by growing in holiness which means growing in love for Him and union with Him. Let us pray that this parish family will grow in its unity and in its love; that it will become more deeply a family of families helping one another get to heaven.
Let us together ask our Blessed Mother to help us grown in our faith in her divine Son in order to see him through the eyes of faith in the Holy Eucharist and fall before His feet crying out, My Lord and my God, I believe now please help my unbelief. Let us ask Our Heavenly Mother to help us to please God and to be an instrument for the salvation of souls by offering our lives in adoration and thanksgiving at this Holy Mass which makes truly present through the power of the Holy Spirit and the gift of the Sacred priesthood, the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus made out of love for us. .

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Welcome to my new blog.  This blog is designed to share my spiritual ruminations with all my spiritual family.