Fr. Mike’s Favorite Topics

Fr. Mike’s Page

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting.  I hope you will enjoy the variety of topics to enhance your spiritual life.  You can either read them below or down-load them to your computer and read at your leisure.  I have also added my Sunday Homily for those interested.

CURRENT TOPICS: Prodigal Sons series: “Twelve: On To Heliopolis, Egypt” (1 May) and Eucharist series: “Theology of the Trinity” (16 May).

ENJOY!


My Recent Homilies


6th Sunday Easter / John 14:23-29

 Jesus told his disciples at the Last Supper, in John’s Gospel, chapter 14 that we read from today, that he was leaving them to prepare a place for them, but he would not leave them alone as orphans.  When Andrew and the unknown disciple asked him at their first meeting “Where do you live?” in the First Chapter of John, he had not given them a direct answer.  He had said, “Come and see,” and they had spent with him not only that day, but also the period of his whole ministry.

Now he could reveal to them his real dwelling place.  It was first of all with the Father, who together made their home within all who loved Jesus and kept his word.  So, we learn that the love of the disciple is not just for the fellow-disciple but also for the person of Jesus.  This love is expressed by a willing listening to the entire revelation of God which Jesus has brought with him from heaven.  The problem of the enemies of Jesus in the gospel was that they refused to listen to him; and so, could not provide a place for the divine indwelling.

Another way in which Jesus would continue his presence with the disciple would be through the Holy Spirit, usually called the “Paraclete” in the Last Supper discourse.  Here the Paraclete’s role as teacher is emphasized.  Only after the physical departure of Jesus would the disciples understand the teaching of Jesus fully.  One way they would do this would be by remembering.  They would then grasp the significance of what he had said and done during his life.  Accompanying the gift of the Holy Spirit were other gifts of salvation such as the Peace, which he gave them formally on Easter morning.

The Father and Jesus would make their home within all who loved Jesus and kept his word.  This love for Jesus is expressed by a willing listening to the entire revelation of God.  Through the Holy Spirit we would remember what Jesus said and did during his life and be given the gift of Peace.  It is through the readings at liturgy that we remember what Christ has taught us and which has been passed on to us through the centuries.  This remembering, or the more technical term, anamnesis, is repeated throughout the Eucharist, especially at the consecration of the bread and wine, “Do this in memory of me.”

It is this anamnesis or remembering that brings Christ into our midst at the liturgy, whether through gathering in his name, reading the Word of God, or bringing Jesus into our midst through his Body and Blood.  Notice the pattern, it is mainly a remembering of the good things that Christ left us: his Word, his Last Supper, his Prayer to the Father that he taught us, his Peace that the world cannot give, and Himself.  It doesn’t get any better and almost like heaven, or at least like the time he was on earth.

Unfortunately, we are not in heaven and we sometimes get bored at the Eucharist simply because we are humans.  That is why I mention the above so that we continue to remember why we are here.  Today’s Gospel reminds us that we are not yet in heaven, but close.  “The Father and I will dwell within you!”

Wow!  Can you feel it, Jesus and God dwelling within?  Well, not exactly, but there are times when we do get a touch of heaven when the liturgy is done well, especially the music.  For me, there are times when at mostly weddings, funerals, and special celebrations that I feel the closeness of God.  They are celebrations of life.  And just as at Family Reunions, we share our memories with each other, especially those who are not with us or have died.  At the Eucharist we believe that Christ really is with us, even thought we do not feel it most of the time.  His presence is not celebrated as a memorial but as a real presence: in the people gathered, in the Word, and in the Sacrament!

And these family celebrations do bring us together, especially when we greet each other after not having seen each other for long periods of time, when we share a meal, say our good-byes, and part with our own kiss of peace.  It is not coincidence that Christ chose just such human-kind of being together for his own intimate presence among us for the Eucharistic Liturgy.

At the end of today’s gospel, Jesus reminds us that he will come back for us and prepare a place for us in the next life.  That is something we cannot do for each other in this life.  We can’t even promise to see each other in the next life unless it is through Jesus Christ.  That is why such songs that do remind us of Christ’s return are so important for us that only singing them make them powerful.

(Gather # 681, “We Remember”)

We remember how you loved us

to your death,

and still we celebrate,

for you are with us here;

and we believe that we will see you

when you come

in your glory Lord.

We remember,

We celebrate,

We believe!

 

6th Sunday Easter 2022

5th Sunday of Easter 2022

4th Sunday Easter 2022

3rd Sunday Easter 2022

2nd Sunday Easter 2022

THE EUCHARIST


THEOLOGY OF THE EUCHARIST

Part I: Theology of the Trinity

The self-communication of the Father outside the inner-Trinitarian life always includes the communication of the Word and the Spirit.  Liturgical celebrations are a medium of participation of the faithful in the Economic Trinity, a medium of Trinitarian self-communication.  Liturgy is above all the work of the Trinity in its execution and content.  What the community does is made possible because of the gift of the life of faith, a life lived in communion with the Father, through the Son in the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, all three Divine Persons have an active role in the execution of the Liturgy of the Church.  Correspondingly, the efficacy of the Liturgy is also, at its depth, a participation in the Trinitarian life.

Part II: Modes of Christ Presence

Liturgical Assembly:  The Liturgy affords the opportunity for an intensification of Christ’s presence in virtue of the assembly’s expression of its common faith and love.  The basis of this presence of Christ is fourfold: Gathering in His Name, the Community endowed with Grace, Baptismal Character that qualifies the members to participate in the priestly worship of Christ, and the Animating presence of the Holy Spirit.

Presiding Minister:  In the midst of the Liturgical assembly the Presiding Minister represents the invisible and principal minister, Christ, in his humanity.  The more noble the office that is exercised by the minister, the more profoundly the minister is sign of Christ.  The dignity is measured by the extent to which the office relates to Christ, who is the great sacrament.

Proclamation of Scripture:  When the written Word of God is proclaimed, Christ is operationally present.  This means that the proclamation of the Word of God is sacramental.  Authentic preaching, or fruitful reflection on the Word of God, ordinarily takes place with the divine assistance.  Therefore, Christ is also operationally present in it.

Prayer:  As witnessed by Matthew 18:20, all forms of common prayer are a special mode of Christ’s operative presence.  The prayer of the Church and Liturgical Prayer, represents an intensification of Christ’s presence.

Sacraments:  The constitutive elements of the sacraments were instituted by Christ, and are an offer of the grace of Christ.  In the administration of these sacraments Christ is operationally present, acting by means of his minister.  This active, dynamic presence of Christ in the sacraments is distinguished from his substantial presence in the Eucharistic Species.

Sacramentals:  These differ from sacraments on two counts.  They are of Ecclesiastical institution, and their efficacy pertains to the order of actual graces.  The value of the Sacramentals comes from the impenitration of the Church and is dependent on the merits of the Church.  However, they can be described as acts of Christ.  Christ united to the Church in the Spirit gives to the Church the authority to institute Sacramentals.

The Unity of the Head and members is represented especially in the Liturgical Assembly constituted by the Presiding Minister and the Community of Believers.  The personal encounter of the minister and community, in which the encounter of Christ and his members takes place, is achieved in various ways.  There is the common prayer of the Church, the preaching of the Word of God, the celebration of the Sacraments.  The Eucharist is the highest possible instance of the Personal Presence of Christ, for it includes his Substantial and Actual Presence under the form of the permanent sacrament of his Body and Blood.

 

Short History of Eucharist 2022 shorter

THE PRODIGAL SONS: The Story Continues – Part 13 – The Last Oasis

“I am looking forward to our last oasis,” Michael told his brother when they stopped for a short while before proceeding on.

“I am looking forward to Mark’s wonderful sharing on this Jesus of Nazareth,” Abe responded excitedly.  It had been a long time since he had felt this way, almost the young-again feeling of excitement.

“How much we have changed brother,” Michael said shortly.  “This journey has changed us both more than I had expected.”

“What were you expecting,” Abe asked a little inquisitively.

“Well,” Michael said, pausing, while he collected his thoughts.  “My main reason was to go on a journey with you while we still could, health-wise and be more honest with each other.”

“Yes, we are getting older,” Abe said.  “I have always wanted to travel like you did when we were young, only you beat me to it.”

“I couldn’t stay around much longer,” Michael confessed.  “I just needed to get away from it all with the same old routine, and to get out and see the world.”

“I must confess,” Abe said seriously, “I hated you and yet I envied you.  It must have taken a lot of courage to just leave and enter the great unknown.”

“Not really,” Michael admitted.  “Even though I had planned to get away for some time, but there was no way to plan for the unknown.  I did feal guilty about leaving you behind with all the work.”

“I must admit, that the worst part of it all,” Abe confessed, “was how wonderfully our father treated you when you returned.  I was furious!”

Michael thought a while then said, “I was prepared to be a servant and live with the servants, and somehow make it up to you.”

“I never would have believed you…at that time,” Abe confessed.  “Sorry!  I was really upset.”

“What changed your mind?” Michael asked.

“I remember the good times we had together,” Abe said, “and decided I didn’t want to lose those.” Abe responded almost crying now.  “I missed you and I was pissed off at you at the same time.”

“I knew there was nothing I could say or do,” Michael said, “to change your mind.  I could only wait and hope and try to live a better life.”

“The other thing that helped me change my mind and attitude,” Abe admitted, “was that I didn’t treat our father any better.  I was ashamed of myself.  He would have been better off without me.”

“Now you’re not being fair to yourself,” Michael started to defend him.  “You had always worked harder for him and better than any servant we had.”

“That was the problem,” Abe said.  “I felt I was just a servant, not realizing how much our father really loved us both.”  Abe was crying now.  “How I miss him, now that he is gone and will never see his grandchildren.”

“I believe he is watching us now,” Michael said.  “That is why I believe this man from Nazareth has a lot to do with where we are now, together, and at peace.”

“I truly began to change when I realized how much you had also loved me, especially through my sons,” Abe said proudly.  “You have always loved them and treated them like they were your sons!”

“To be honest, I didn’t want to make the same mistake with them as happened with us.”

“They are wonderful sons,” Abe said proudly.  “They have the best fathers in the world.”

“Back to this man from Nazareth,” Michael pushed, “what do you think Abe?”

“It seems our whole trip has been nothing but about this Jesus ben Joseph,” Abe said, “even if indirectly through others.”

“That is what I find interesting,” Michael said excitedly.  “Here we are, introduced to this man from Nazareth through others, and it has been a blessing ever since.”

“And…” Abe also was getting excited, “…I think our sons and daughters-in-law may know more about this Jesus of Nazareth.”

“Did you say our sons?” Michael looked at him with a smile.

 

PRODIGAL SONS Thirteen

PRODIGAL SONS Twelve

The Prodigal Sons Eleven

The Prodigal Sons Ten

The Prodigal Sons Nine

The Prodigal Sons Eight

The Prodigal Sons Seven