Sunday, January 30, 2011

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A, 30 Jan 2011

Click here to download and listen to this homily (18 minutes) given by Fr Thomas Weise at St Catherine of Siena parish in Petersburg, Alaska. The Beatitudes that we hear today can be seen as a prelude to the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus, the new Mosses, lays out the Law of Love in Matthew Chapters 5-7.  Our homework this week is to read those chapters and put on the mind of Christ as reveled in the beatitudes.

Readings: Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12-13; Psalm 146; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 5:1-12a

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A, 23 Jan 2011

Click here to listen to this homily (24 minutes) given by Fr Thomas Weise at St Rose of Lima Parish in Wrangell, Alaska. Jesus, the Light in the darkness, calls four fishermen to "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." Against all good reason they do follow Him on the most amazing adventure.  Pope John Paul II witnessed to this evangelization of character and presence throughout his life.  He will be Beatified on 1 May 2011, that his life and ministry might witness to the universal call to holiness we all share.  Each of us are called by Jesus to invite people into relationship with Him. Be not afraid!

Readings: Isaiah 8:23-9:3; Psalm 27; 1Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; Matthew 4:12-23

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A, 16 Jan 2011

Click here to listen to this homily (17 minutes) given by Fr Thomas Weise at St Catherine of Siena parish in Petersburg, Alaska.  John the Baptist gives witness to just who Jesus is, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world."  We need to support each other in the faith that we might always give a strong and attractive witness to just who Jesus is.

Readings: Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; Psalm 40; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Early Refections of the Baptism of Jesus

A sermon by St Gregory Nazianzen (325-389)
The Baptism of Christ
Christ is bathed in light; let us also be bathed in light. Christ is baptised; let us also go down with him, and rise with him.
John is baptising when Jesus draws near. Perhaps he comes to sanctify his baptiser; certainly he comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters. He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake and in readiness for us; he who is spirit and flesh comes to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water.
The Baptist protests; Jesus insists. Then John says: I ought to be baptised by you. He is the lamp in the presence of the sun, the voice in the presence of the Word, the friend in the presence of the Bridegroom, the greatest of all born of woman in the presence of the firstborn of all creation, the one who leapt in his mother’s womb in the presence of him who was adored in the womb, the forerunner and future forerunner in the presence of him who has already come and is to come again. I ought to be baptised by you: we should also add, “and for you,” for John is to be baptised in blood, washed clean like Peter, not only by the washing of his feet.
Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with him. The heavens, like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open. The Spirit comes to him as to an equal, bearing witness to his Godhead. A voice bears witness to him from heaven, his place of origin. The Spirit descends in bodily form like the dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honour to the body that is one with God.
Today let us do honour to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness. Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom his every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven. You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received – though not in its fullness – a ray of its splendour, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

A sermon by St Maximus of Turin (380-465)
The mystery of the Lord's Baptism
The Gospel tells us that the Lord went to the Jordan River to be baptised and that he wished to consecrate himself in the river by signs from heaven.
Reason demands that this feast of the Lord’s baptism, which I think could be called the feast of his birthday, should follow soon after the Lord’s birthday, during the same season, even though many years intervened between the two events.
At Christmas he was born a man; today he is reborn sacramentally. Then he was born from the Virgin; today he is born in mystery. When he was born a man, his mother Mary held him close to her heart; when he is born in mystery, God the Father embraces him with his voice when he says: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: listen to him. The mother caresses the tender baby on her lap; the Father serves his Son by his loving testimony. The mother holds the child for the Magi to adore; the Father reveals that his Son is to be worshipped by all the nations.
That is why the Lord Jesus went to the river for baptism; that is why he wanted his holy body to be washed with Jordan’s water.
Someone might ask, “Why would a holy man desire baptism?” Listen to the answer: Christ is baptised, not to be made holy by the water, but to make the water holy, and by his cleansing to purify the waters which he touched. For the consecration of Christ involves a more significant consecration of the water.
For when the Saviour is washed, all water for our baptism is made clean, purified at its source for the dispensing of baptismal grace to the people of future ages. Christ is the first to be baptised, then, so that Christians will follow after him with confidence. 
I understand the mystery as this. The column of fire went before the sons of Israel through the Red Sea so they could follow on their brave journey; the column went first through the waters to prepare a path for those who followed. As the apostle Paul said, what was accomplished then was the mystery of baptism. Clearly it was baptism in a certain sense when the cloud was covering the people and bringing them through the water.
But Christ the Lord does all these things: in the column of fire he went through the sea before the sons of Israel; so now, in the column of his body, he goes through baptism before the Christian people. At the time of the Exodus the column provided light for the people who followed; now it gives light to the hearts of believers. Then it made a firm pathway through the waters; now it strengthens the footsteps of faith in the bath of baptism.

Baptism of the Lord, 9 Jan 2011

Click here to listen to this homily (11 minutes) given by Fr Thomas Weise at St Rose of Lima parish in Wrangell, Alaska.  Today Jesus is Baptized by John and begins his public ministry.  The heavens are opened and the Holy Spirit comes down upon Jesus at the Jordan.  The Father's voice is heard from Heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."  This all happened for each of us at our Baptisms. We are God's beloved Children.

Readings: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34-38; Matthew 3:13-17.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions?

I love making New Year's resolutions and then failing big, getting up and going for it again, and again.  That means I am trying to change and creating the opportunity through trial and error to grow into the amazing person God created me to be.  We are not called to be static like a wax museum figures.  No this human drama of renewal is spiritually charged.  Our heart connection to God who lives and moves and has being in us is what has generated the dream. This holy desire for wholeness that guides us is informed by the inflowing love of the Trinity within.  Our project each new year is to make this mode of fullness actual, to incarnate our Spirit of good intentions into the Flesh of action.  As we go about this, we become more and more who God desires us to be.  Our resolutions may be accompanied by oaths and penalties--anything to make the will stick it out.  This is a sobering process, so there is release in trivializing our resolutions.  But at the root is our identity as a Son or Daughter of God; and resolving to be anew in the coming year is really resolving to be faithful to who we are!

Happy New Decade!
Our best years are yet ahead of us!
Peace, Love and Joy,

Epiphany of the Lord, 2 Jan 2011

Click here to download and listen to this homily (20 minutes) given by Fr Thomas Weise at St Catherine of Siena parish in Petersburg, Alaska.  We celebrate today that Jesus did not come only for the Jews, nor only for Catholic Christians, but Jesus came to save everyone and all of creation.  Symbolized in todays feast in the Magi coming from the east to adore the new born king and offer their gifts.  Be Bold Radiant Christians in this new decade offering your gifts and talents to build God's Kingdom that others might find their way to Jesus Christ through your unique and intriguing witness.

Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother Of God, 1 Jan 2011

Click here to download and listen to this homily (6 minutes) given by Fr Thomas Weise at St Catherine of Siena parish in Petersburg, Alaska.  We celebrate today with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Model of the Church and Model Disciple.  In religious art she has at least four postures: Kneeling, Standing, Embracing, and Resting.  We too are called to: kneel in adoration of Jesus, stand at the ready to do God's Will, embrace Jesus in the neediness of the poor, and take a regular Sabbath rest in order to be recharged for ministry.  Happy New Decade!

Readings: Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 67; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21.