Homilies

Holy Week: Our Time to Truly Believe

HOMILY

Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on April 12 and 13 on Passion Sunday Cycle A at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM, and 10:30AM Masses

Recently I was greeting people in the narthex one Friday night after Stations of the Cross when a woman approached me who seemed so very happy, much happier than the average Catholic who is relieved that Stations are over and the weekend can now begin. You could say she was almost joyful. She said that she had never been to Stations of the Cross before, but she had heard about them and wanted to experience them to see what they were all about. I thanked her for coming and asked her how she liked them. “Very nice,” she said. “The Passion of our Lord came alive for me and I was touched by how it was applied to my life.” Then she asked if she could keep the booklet that she still held in her hands. I thought the booklet would be a reminder of how she was touched and moved by the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord, so I let her keep it. Besides I am absolutely certain that in this situation Pope Francis would want her to have it.

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Quenching Our Unlimited Thirst with the Infinite God

HOMILY

Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on March 22 and 23 on the 3rd Sunday in Lent Cycle A at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM, and 10:30AM Masses

As we listen to this gospel today it may seem too long. We live in a world of instant messages and instant gratification; a world of sound bites and 140-character tweets. In fact if Pope Francis tweeted today’s gospel it would take him about 40 tweets to do so.  We’re just so busy and our lives have so much going on in them that we have little time or patience for things that take time. We may be thinking, “Just get to the point already.  It’s been a long day.  I have stuff to do.”

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St. Joseph, the Perfect Guide for Our Lenten Journey

HOMILY

Preached at St. Catherine of Sweden Parish on March 19, 2014 on the Feast of St. Joseph at the 7:00PM Mass

I should probably say to everyone here tonight, “Merry Christmas!” After the winter that we have had this year it certainly still seems appropriate. Today’s gospel reading also makes it seem like Christmas because it takes us back to the Nativity story of our Lord Jesus Christ. But it’s not Christmas, it’s Lent. We can tell because there is no joy and so many people are sad. During Lent many of us punish ourselves by giving up things that make us happy and that can certainly make us sad. I love lots of sugar, especially in my tea, and one year I gave it up for Lent and I was miserable. Lent seemed like it was forty weeks long that year! I couldn’t wait for Lent to be over. I’ll never do that again! Also during Lent we do serious religious things like participating in the Stations of the Cross or attending Mass on Wednesday nights, things we normally don’t do the rest of the year, when we could be at home relaxing watching Survivor, American Idol, or Duck Dynasty.

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Not Big Brother, But Almighty Father

HOMILY

Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on February 15 and 16 on the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A at the 4:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM, and 10:30AM Masses

If you have read George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984, you know that in the story he warns about the dangers of government and technology, or more accurately the dangers of government using technology.  It is considered one of the most depressing novels ever written.  I know firsthand because it was required reading in high school, way back in 1984.  But even if you have not read the novel, you most certainly heard about Big Brother, the all-knowing government entity in the story who monitors the private lives of its citizens with constant audio and video surveillance.  The idea of a Big Brother watching over us as described in the novel seemed far-fetched in 1984, but not today.  Technology has improved to the point that much of our lives are indeed monitored and tracked by cellphones, computers, satellites, and video cameras.  These things certainly make our lives easier, safer, and more productive, but all the information gathered can be used be used against us, just as it is used against the citizens in the novel 1984.  It can make us feel concerned about our privacy.

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Salt and Light in our Marriages

HOMILY

Preached at Transfiguration Parish on February 9 for the 100th Anniversary of Transfiguration Parish Celebration of World Marriage Day on the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A at the 10:00AM Mass

Good morning!  I am Deacon David Miller from Holy Sepulcher Parish on Route 8 south of Butler.  I was ordained in June of last year.  I would like to thank Father Jim for allowing me the opportunity to serve Mass with him today and for giving me one of my most truly pressure-filled moments: preaching about marriage to my wife Karen and my in-laws, Tom and Edith Jenkins.

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Our Personal Call to Discipleship

HOMILY

Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on January 25 and 26, 2013 for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A at the 4:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM, 10:30AM, and 5:30PM Masses

Hello!  Or I should probably say, “Hello?” because today’s gospel is about answering a call and that is how you used to answer a call.  You said “hello” in the form of a question because before cellphones and caller ID, you had no idea who was calling.  Answering the phone used to be a gamble.  It could be anyone: friends or relatives, telemarketers, Publishers Clearinghouse, Father John, the Pope, a prankster pretending to be the Pope.  How different that is from how it is for us today.

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The “Real Life” of the Holy Family

HOMILY

Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on December 28 and 29, 2013 for the Feast of the Holy Family in Ordinary Time Cycle A at the 4:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM and 10:30AM Masses

I hope that everyone had a blessed Christmas.  My Facebook friends had special Christmases as well.  I saw pictures of happy and smiling families, some even in matching outfits; delicious meals and refreshing drinks; homes that were all clean and festively decorated, with beautiful Christmas trees with lovely packages under them.  But Facebook is probably not an accurate portrayal of our family Christmas, because we post only the pictures we want others to see, not all the times when “real life” is happening, when things aren’t going according to our expectations.

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Christ Our King and Priority

HOMILY

Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on November 23 and 24, 2013 for the Feast of Christ the King in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM and 10:30AM Masses

Today is a big day in the Church.  First, it is the feast of Christ the King, when the Church proclaims Jesus as the King of the Universe, with dominion and authority over all peoples and nations.  Second, the feast of Christ the King marks the last day of the Year of Faith that Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict, instituted so that we could grow in our faith and deepen our relationship with Christ.  Lastly, the feast of Christ the King marks the end of the current Church year as next week we will celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, the start of a new Church year, as we begin our preparations for the coming of the Lord.

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O God, Be Merciful to Me a Sinner

HOMILY

Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on October 26 and 27, 2013 for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM and 5:30PM Masses

I bought a pressure washer recently.  I wanted one so that I could clean my deck and siding.  It works great, but I haven’t really used it yet except to clean a bird bath and some garden gnomes, despite having it for a month or so.  Who knew there were some many makes and models to choose from: gas or electric; cold or hot water; residential, commercial, or industrial.  Luckily I found a website that compared the prices and the pluses and minuses of all the available features of hundreds of different pressure washers so that I could buy the right one. Continue reading

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Being a Christian Is Not All Unicorns and Rainbows

HOMILY

Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on August 17 and 18, 2013 for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM and 10:30AM Masses

Christ in Majesty at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC

Christ in Majesty at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC

When you visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. you cannot help but notice the mosaic behind the altar.  It is made up of about 3 million tiles, covers 3,600 square feet, and the top of it is 15 stories above you.  It is called Christ in Majesty and at one time it was the largest mosaic of Jesus in the world.  But the size is not what gets your attention, what gets your attention is that Jesus is portrayed differently than how we normally see him.  Christ sits on the Throne of Judgment draped in a red garment that exposes the bulging muscles in his arm and chest, a flaming halo surrounds his blond hair, and his blues eyes seem to pierce right through you, into your very soul, as he sternly gazes at you. Continue reading

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Together Building the Kingdom of God

HOMILY

Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on July 6 and 7, 2013 for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 6:00PM (Vigil), 8:00AM and 10:30AM Masses, my first Masses at Holy Sepulcher Parish

Holy Sepulcher Interior

Holy Sepulcher Parish sanctuary

Often when you get a deacon, you also get a deacon’s wife.  It’s kind of like one of those buy one get one free deals at the grocery store.  When you have a vocation to be a deacon, your calling comes through your wife and your marriage, but my vocation would not have even possible without my wife Karen.  She helped me study, edited my papers, coordinated my schedule, did whatever was needed to make sure I was ready…everything.  She is still helping me.  You get to hear the homily once, but she has heard it so many times this week she knows it better than I do. Continue reading

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Bearing Our Crosses One Step at a Time

HOMILY

Preached at St. Catherine of Sweden Parish on June 30, 2013 for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 11:00AM and 6:00PM Masses, my last Masses before my new assignment at Holy Sepulcher Parish

With my wife Karen after Mass at St. Catherine of Sweden

With my wife Karen after Mass at St. Catherine of Sweden

How many of you know who Nik Wallenda is?  Nik was the star of the most watched show on cable last week, the Discovery Channel special Skywire Live.  For those of you that did not see it, a quick synopsis:  Nik journeyed from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other on live TV, not by the traditional two days and twenty miles of down and back up, but by crossing the 1,500 feet gorge by walking a quarter mile across a two-and-a-half inch cable, without any safety equipment, no tether, no nets, nothing!  It was just him in a shirt, a pair of jeans (an odd choice if you ask me), some wire-walking shoes (his mother made), a very large pole for balance, and a camera on his head that recorded his footsteps on the wire and the river below.  I was so nervous I could not even sit down: my heart was pounding, I was sweating, and my legs were shaking.  But I must admit that I was completely fascinated by the show and Nik’s journey across the Grand Canyon.  Continue reading

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This is a Day that the Lord Has Made

HOMILY

Preached at St. Catherine of Sweden Parish on June 16, 2013 for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C at the 11:00AM Mass, the Celebration Mass of my ordination to the diaconate.

After the Celebration Mass at St. Catherine of Sweden in front of the Life of Jesus stained glass window.

After the Celebration Mass at St. Catherine of Sweden in front of the Life of Jesus stained glass window.

I recently went shopping for a new car, in small part because I wanted to get myself a special gift for ordination, but mostly because my old car was falling apart.  After all what parish wants to have a deacon whose car is going to break down all of the time, unless of course you can walk from your home to the parish.  I am not that close to Holy Sepulcher parish. Continue reading

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