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Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent, March 3, 2024, Year B

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) Why was this church building built? If everyone who is here wrote down their answer and I read them all back to you, you might be surprised at some of the answers. The answer that is obvious to me might not be so obvious to some of you. Well, why then was this building built? My answer is that it was built to be a temple. It was not built just to be a meeting place, or an auditorium, or a theater where we go to experience a drama. A temple is a building that is purpose-built. Our church building here has one chief purpose, namely to immerse us in the drama of our relationship with God. Note that I said “our” relationship with God, not “my relationship with God.” While we may come here for private prayer, the main reason is because this where we as God’s family play out our roles in the great drama of God coming to us and our going back to God our Father. A temple is certainly a building dedicated t

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday), March 10, 2024, Year B

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) “A body in motion tends to stay in motion, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest.” I’m sure many of you have heard that phrase used in an often-repeated TV commercial that has been airing recently. The phrase has caught my attention especially when I have been a couch potato watching more TV than I should. It’s the “staying at rest” that I am talking about because I am so often afflicted with laziness and lethargy. I resist getting in motion. Well, you may ask, what do those words and that thought have to do with the readings from today’s scripture passages that we just heard? Today is Laetare Sunday. Joy is its theme, joy because we are halfway through Lent and thus very close to the joy of Easter when our Elect will be baptized, confirmed and receive Holy Communion and our Candidates will be received into our Communion of Faith and likewise receive Holy Communion. There is joy, too, because

Homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent, February 18, 2024, Year B

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) You and I have prayed The Lord’s Prayer countless numbers of times. In it we always ask God to “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Some translations of that famous prayer have it “and subject us not into the trial.” Just what is it that we are praying for? Well obviously there are various levels of temptation — some powerful and severe, others not so powerful and not so grave (not weighted with much gravity). Some temptations are of the flesh. Some temptations are of the spirit. Some involve passion… others involve cold calculation. Whatever a temptation’s quality or type may be, at whatever level, it is always a time of testing. Our resolve, our spiritual muscle, is being tested. And if our character is spiritually weak and flabby, without any muscle power at all, we will be a pushover for the devil. Jesus also had His times of trail. The first we know about was during His ti

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent, February 25, 2024, Year B

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) If you read letters to the editor in newspapers, you will realize that many people have lost confidence in a loving God. Nowhere is this more forcefully indicated than in the debate over abortion and assisted suicide. Some have gone so far as to assert the Catholic Church wants people to suffer, that it’s a death dealing rather than a life-giving institution, and that it extols human pain and suffering. In the world of art this attitude is reflected in works of self-proclaimed “art” that, in just one instance, portray the crucifix, Christ nailed to the cross, immersed in a jar of human urine. Certainly all those who support partial birth abortion and “mercy killing”, along with others who advocate the position that we can terminate the lives of they declare to have a “miserable quality life”, vociferously oppose traditional Judeo-Christian teachings which hold that God and God alone gives life… tha

Ash Wednesday | 2024

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February 14, 2024  "Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return." On Ash Wednesday, Catholics receive ashes in the shape of a cross traced on the forehead. The rite evokes Saint Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians: "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15: 21 - 22) Adam’s sin condemned man to sin and death. But the instrument of our salvation, the cross, reminds us that in Christ, man is redeemed, and the gates of heaven are opened. The original injunction conferring ashes: "Remember, O man, that dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return," contrasts with the words of the Nicene Creed concerning the Incarnation: "For us men and for our salvation, he [Jesus] came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary and became man." In becoming man, Christ assumed our iniquities: offering

Homily for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 11, 2024, Year B

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) The gospel account we’ve just heard is part of St. Mark’s introduction of Jesus. It has to do with Jesus’ identity, as have the gospel accounts over the past few Sundays. From the Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord through the Sunday before Ash Wednesday St. Mark is presenting us with the question: “Who is this Jesus?” Mark’s answer? “The One who has come to bring outcasts back in.” He has come for the outcasts, the outsiders, the lepers, the sinners, and those we disdain. The great irony is that Jesus, the One who came for outcasts, Himself had to get out of town. Note that in several of these gospel accounts we’ve heard, St. Mark reports: “Jesus could no longer go openly into any town but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived.” That’s true even today in our surrounding culture. It is not politically correct, we are told, to talk about Jesus in public. He has to be kept from where

Homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 4, 2024, Year B

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Fr. Charles Irvin Diocese of Lansing ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) My life is nothing but drudgery; I am filled with sadness, tired of dealing with the mess other people have made of this world. Life is an unbearable burden. Will it ever end? Is there a God out there who cares what happens to us, or are we helpless pawns on some cosmic chessboard, only accidentally born? If God is so good, why does He allow us to experience pain, loss, terrible depression, and various disasters? Answering the question “why?” gets us into a long philosophical and theological discussion. Suffice it here to say that God has chosen to put us into an incomplete world, living in our own personal incomplete lives. But by His grace we have the enormous dignity to be His co-operators, to work with Him while investing our own love and determination into the task of bringing ourselves and our world into completion and wholeness. This is a great gift – an act of faith that God has made in us