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Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent, December 11, 2022, Year A (Gaudete Sunday)

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) “Are you the one who is to come, or do we look for another?” As you live out life as a Christian, trying to make the life of Jesus a reality in your own life, many are going to be observing you. In key moments, some people are going to be looking to you for help, hope maybe you’ll be their salvation, their way out. Very indirectly, perhaps very quietly, or perhaps quite directly, they might ask you: ARE YOU THE ONE WHO CAN HELP ME… WHO CAN BRING ME SALVATION IN THIS MESS… OR DO I LOOK FOR ANOTHER? You are a Christian. You openly and publicly bear the name of Christ… and you do it for all to see. You identify yourself as a Catholic. You attend Mass… receive the Sacraments. As a result people are going to look at you… to examine your actions… to look into your life. And they will ask you questions about why you are a Catholic. You have been baptized. You have been confirmed. As we heard John the Baptist de

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent, December 4, 2022, Year A

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) Here we are with Christmas just two and a half weeks away. The shops and malls are loaded with goodies. Christmas songs fill the air. Parties are being arranged and delicacies prepared. Thoughts of home, of family, and of a lovely time fill our hopes and imaginations. With all of these lovely sentiments in our hearts and minds we come to church today and hear about a weird guy living in the desert, wearing scratchy and horribly smelling clothes made of camel’s hair, eating locusts, calling people a bunch of snakes while telling them that fire and brimstone will come down on them, all the while threatening them with axes that will cut them down. The gospel picture ends with John the Baptist threatening the Sadducees and Pharisees with hell. Aren’t you glad you came to church today just before Christmas to hear all of that? Well, John the Baptist reminds us that it’s likely we all need to pay attention to a

Homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2022, Year A

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) In today’s first reading we hear the prophet Isaiah calling us to climb to the top of the mountain and look for the Lord’s advent, the Lord’s coming into our lives. At the end of today’s first reading when we hear Isaiah cry out, “ O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord! ” We need to understand that Isaiah isn’t simply talking about nature’s daylight nighttime’s darkness, he is talking about what we see with our minds and hearts. He’s calling us to rise above our daily worries, concerns and anxieties in order to take a look over the whole of our lives with all of their peaks and valleys. As Christians we do that in the vision of Christ, the Light of the World, God’s gift to us. The problem you and I face comes not from the fact that we are unconcerned or apathetic or lazy. The problem you and I have is that we’re far too concerned about so many other things. Often these are legitimate

Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20, 2022, Year C

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Fr. René J. Butler, M.S. La Salette Missionaries of North America Hartford, Connecticut ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) I once met a woman who was descended from the first man executed in the American colonies. It was a curious fact, but it did not reflect negatively on herself. There are people, however, who live with inherited guilt. The descendants of famous Nazis such as Himmler, Goering and others have distanced themselves as much as possible from their cruel history. Descendants of Hitler’s nephews have changed their name and live a secluded life. There is also guilt by association, as expressed by sayings about “birds of a feather” or “you are the company you keep.” Even the British royal family, in 1917, because of strong anti-German sentiment during World War I, changed its name from the German “Saxe-Coburg and Gotha” to “The House of Windsor.” And yet, Matthew in the very first chapter of his Gospel seems to go out of his way to remind us that Jesus’ ancestry in

Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 13, 2022, Year C

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) Who is your judge? I mean in the ultimate sense who do you look to as the judge of the true worth of your actions and your worth as a person? Some of us turn to our parents and judge our actions and our lives on their approval alone. Some of us look to peers – it is peer group judgment that is the ultimate criterion that determines our actions in life. Still others look to no one but themselves to judge the relative goodness, or lack thereof, in their choices and deeds. One of the distinguishing marks of a Christian is the fact that he or she looks forward to the judgment of God. The Christian is aware of the constant in-breaking of God into his or her life. A true Christian sees this not as a threat or in negative terms but rather sees it as a summons, a calling, or as an invitation from God for us to grow. To believe in and assert that Christ will come again is to believe in and assert that we are in the

Homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 6, 2022, Year C

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) Two weekends ago we heard about a power and control group called the Pharisees, and last weekend we heard about Zacchaeus, the tax collector representing oppressive and controlling governmental officials. Today we hear about another power and control group called the Sadducees. The Sadducees’ chief concern was about money, power, and control, not about religion as such. Politics and profit were their big concern. Life after death didn’t matter much to them because they really didn’t believe in the immortality of the soul and the soul’s resurrection into everlasting life. There are lots of Sadducees around today. They are the pushers of pills, pot and all that’s marketed under the Pleasure Principle. They set the standards of what’s “cool” and what’s “uncool” using the media to control us. They want to be in control of fashions and fads, setting the pace, the standard, the norm of what’s “in” and what’s n

Homily for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 30, 2022, Year C

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) The basic message of today’s gospel account is that Jesus went into Zacchaeus’ house and Zacchaeus ended up going into God’s house. The message in all three of today’s scripture readings is all about receiving God’s life-changing love, about receiving and accepting the presence, power, and love of God, which is why He has invited us here today into His house. Let’s take a deeper look into what I am talking about. Last week we heard Jesus telling us of the tax collector sitting in the back of the Temple and the self-congratulating Pharisee sitting up in the front. You remember them, I’m sure. The Pharisee was in the front of the Temple justifying himself and claiming to be better than the tax collector who was huddled in the back of the Temple asking only for God’s mercy. Today we have another tax collector, a chief tax collector named Zacchaeus, whom Jesus encountered in real life. Note that today’s G