Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dominica Secunda Adventus: For the more humbling God hath undergone for man's sake, the more worthy is He that man should worship Him.

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 11:2-10
In that time, when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
6th Homily on the Gospels.
The sight of so many signs and so many mighty works should have been a source of wonder, and not a stumbling-block. And yet the unfaithful Jer. xxxi. 5. found these very works a rock of offence, when they afterwards saw Him Who had worked so many miracles dying on the Cross. Hence Paul saith: "We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block and unto the Gentiles foolishness." 1 Cor. i. 23. It is indeed folly in the eyes of men to say that the Author of life died for men and thus men put as a stumbling-block to hinder them from coming to Jesus, the very thing that doth oblige them the most unto Him. For the more humbling God hath undergone for man's sake, the more worthy is He that man should worship Him.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Dominica Prima Adventus: "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars"

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 21:25-33
In that time, Jesus said to his disciples: And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great,
1st on the Gospels.
Our Lord and Saviour wisheth to find us ready at His second coming. Therefore He telleth us what will be the evils of the world as it groweth old, that He may wean our hearts from worldly affections. Here we read what great convulsions will go before the end, that, if we will not fear God in our prosperity, we may at least be scourged into fearing His judgment when it is at hand.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Dominica XXII post Pentecosten: "Cuius est imago haec?"


From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 22:15-21
At that time: The Pharisees went and took counsel how they might entangle Jesus in His talk. And so on.

Homily by St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.
Comm. on Matth. Can. 23
The Pharisees had oftentimes been put to confusion, and were not able to find any ground to accuse Him out of anything that He had hitherto said or done. His words and works are, of necessity, faultless, but still, from spite, they set themselves to seek in every direction for. some cause to accuse Him. He was calling all to turn away from the corruptions of the world, and the superstitious practices of devotion invented by men, and to fix their hopes upon the kingdom of heaven. They therefore arranged a question calculated to entrap Him into an offense against civil government, namely: "Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar or not?"

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Feast of Christ the King

From the Encylical Letters of Pope Pius XI

Litt. Encycl. Quas primas diei 11 Decembris 1925

Since this Holy Year therefore has provided more than one opportunity to enhance the glory of the kingdom of Christ, we deem it in keeping with our Apostolic office to accede to the desire of many of the Cardinals, Bishops, and faithful, made known to Us both individually and collectively, by closing this Holy Year with the insertion into the Sacred Liturgy of a special feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This matter is so dear to Our heart, Venerable Brethren, that I would wish to address to you a few words concerning it. It will be for you later to explain in a manner suited to the understanding of the faithful what We are about to say concerning the Kingship of Christ, so that the annual feast which We shall decree may be attended with much fruit and produce beneficial results in the future. It has long been a common custom to give to Christ the metaphorical title of "King," because of the high degree of perfection whereby he excels all creatures. So he is said to reign "in the hearts of men," both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind. He reigns, too, in the wills of men, for in him the human will was perfectly and entirely obedient to the Holy Will of God, and further by his grace and inspiration he so subjects our free-will as to incite us to the most noble endeavors. He is King of hearts, too, by reason of his "charity which exceedeth all knowledge." And his mercy and kindness which draw all men to him, for never has it been known, nor will it ever be, that man be loved so much and so universally as Jesus Christ. But if we ponder this matter more deeply, we cannot but see that the title and the power of King belongs to Christ as man in the strict and proper sense too. For it is only as man that he may be said to have received from the Father "power and glory and a kingdom," since the Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.

The foundation of this power and dignity of Our Lord is rightly indicated by Cyril of Alexandria. "Christ," he says, "has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature." His kingship is founded upon the ineffable hypostatic union. From this it follows not only that Christ is to be adored by angels and men, but that to him as man angels and men are subject, and must recognize his empire; by reason of the hypostatic union Christ has power over all creatures. But a thought that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this that Christ is our King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer. Would that they who forget what they have cost their Savior might recall the words: "You were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled." We are no longer our own property, for Christ has purchased us "with a great price"; our very bodies are the "members of Christ." Let Us explain briefly the nature and meaning of this lordship of Christ. It consists, We need scarcely say, in a threefold power which is essential to lordship. This is sufficiently clear from the scriptural testimony already adduced concerning the universal dominion of our Redeemer, and moreover it is a dogma of faith that Jesus Christ was given to man, not only as our Redeemer, but also as a law-giver, to whom obedience is due. Not only do the gospels tell us that he made laws, but they present him to us in the act of making them. Those who keep them show their love for their Divine Master, and he promises that they shall remain in his love. He claimed judicial power as received from his Father, when the Jews accused him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. "For neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son." In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men living, for this right is inseparable from that of judging. Executive power, too, belongs to Christ, for all must obey his commands; none may escape them, nor the sanctions he has imposed.

This kingdom is spiritual and is concerned with spiritual things. That this is so the above quotations from Scripture amply prove, and Christ by his own action confirms it. On many occasions, when the Jews and even the Apostles wrongly supposed that the Messiah would restore the liberties and the kingdom of Israel, he repelled and denied such a suggestion. When the populace thronged around him in admiration and would have acclaimed him King, he shrank from the honor and sought safety in flight. Before the Roman magistrate he declared that his kingdom was not of this world. The gospels present this kingdom as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and cannot actually enter except by faith and by baptism, which, though an external rite, signifies and produces an interior regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness. It demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross. Christ as our Redeemer purchased the Church at the price of his own blood; as priest he offered himself, and continues to offer himself as a victim for our sins. Is it not evident, then, that his kingly dignity partakes in a manner of both these offices? It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Therefore by Our Apostolic Authority We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October - the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to be renewed yearly.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

29th Sunday, A: "Render to God What is God's"

“Render to God What is God’s”

Christ is here to serve you
Wash your feet

Do you have to move around?

Talk?

Make noise?

No

Most important active participation for all of us at Mass is that which we cannot see

It happens in silence, interiorly
You have a rich interior life

This is who you are

But if you do not truly possess it you cannot give it

“We cannot give what we do not have”
What is God’s?
Your mind?
Your heart?
Your money?
Your time?

All of these and more: Christ’s total self-giving on the Cross here at Mass and at every Mass, is the key to understanding the love He asks of us.

God does not ask us to do anything He does not first do Himself: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole mind, heart, soul and strength”

The dictatorship of noise so present in our lives today hampers and make difficult this self-giving necessary for loving God and others. Frustrates loving.

Silence enables us to possess ourselves. To encounter God. To give ourselves to Him.

Two very short periods of silence are mandated in the Mass we celebrate tonight which was put together after Vatican II: after the homily and after Communion. We have done our best to implement these opportunities for recollection here at our parish. Some of you may not have encountered this in other parishes because it was not implemented carefully and consistently for many years.

But there is another way that silence was organically offered in the Mass before being discarded with Vatican II as an excuse. The canon of the Mass (also known as Eucharistic Prayer I) was intoned in a low voice so that the people could hear themselves pray along. They followed the text of the prayer in their missals as many of you have continued to do even though the Mass is now offered also in English. We will do that this evening, allowing God to enter more powerfully through the silence made possible this way, enabling us to enjoy more fully the sense of intimacy with God we always have in the Mass.

Though He is always present here, especially in the Eucharist, sometimes the noise crowds Him out.
We can begin here and now to defeat the tyranny of noise with the power of holy silence and even carry this force for prayer and holiness with us throughout the week.

The Lord Himself invites us to do this. He will be with us, especially in the silence. Give Him permission.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dominica XIX post Pentecosten: "The soul of the righteous is heaven"

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 22:1-14
At that time, Jesus spoke by parables unto the chief priests and Pharisees, and said: The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
38th on the Gospels.
I remember that I have often said that, in the Holy Gospel, the Church as she now is, is called the kingdom of heaven, for the kingdom of heaven is indeed the assembly of the righteous. The Lord hath said by the mouth of His Prophet: The heaven is My throne. Isa. lxvi. 1. Solomon saith: The throne of wisdom is the soul of the righteous. And Paul saith that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Cor. i. 24. From these passages we may clearly gather that if wisdom be God, and wisdom's throne be the soul of the righteous, and God's throne be the heaven, then the soul of the righteous is heaven. Hence also the Psalmist saith, speaking of holy preachers: The heavens declare the glory of God. xviii. 2.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Dominica XVIII post Pentecosten: Christ by things which were seen wrought things which were not seen.


Matt 9:1-8
At that time: Jesus entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city. And so on.

Homily by St. Peter Chrysologus, Archbishop of Ravenna.
Sermon 50.
This day's reading hath shown us an instance of how Christ, in those things which He did as Man, worked deep works of God, and by things which were seen wrought things which were not seen.The Evangelist saith Jesus "entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His Own city." Was not This He Who had once parted the waves hither and thither, and made the dry ground appear at the bottom of the sea, so that His people Israel passed dry-shod between masses of water standing still, as through an hollow glen in a mountain? Was not This He Who made the depths of the sea solid under the feet of Peter, so that the watery path offered a firm way for human footsteps?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dominica XVI post Pentecosten: "He who humbles himself will be exalted.”

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 14:1-11i

One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath, or not?” But they were silent. Then he took him and healed him, and let him go. And he said to them, “Which of you, having an ass[a] or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a sabbath day?” And they could not reply to this.

Humility and Hospitality

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come, and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
Bk. vii. on Luke xiv.
Now is healed this man sick of the dropsy, in whom too much watery matter had well-nigh drowned the functions of life, and quenched the fire of understanding. Anon, a lesson is given in lowly-mindedness, when it is forbidden to the guests at a marriage feast to go and sit down unasked in the highest room, albeit the Lord spake gently, that the teaching of courtesy might forestall a harsh rebuke, reason prevail by dint of persuasion, and the desires be bent to follow the instruction. And upon this, as next-door neighbour, cometh courtesy, which is so called by the Lord, when it is shown to the poor and weak, since to show it to them from whom we are to receive aught, is but a movement of self-interest.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dominica XV post Pentecosten: "that souls are called to life every day is the joy of our Mother the Church"



Reading 3
From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 7:11-16
At that time: Jesus went into a city called Nain and His disciples went with Him, and much people. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
44th Discourse on the Words of the Lord.
That her son was called again to life was the joy of that widowed mother; that souls of men are every day called to life is the joy of our Mother 
the Church. He was dead in body they have been dead in mind. His death was outward, and was outwardly bewailed; their inward. Death hath been neither mourned for nor seen. But He hath sought for them, Who hath seen that they are dead, and He only hath seen that they are dead, Who hath been able to make them alive. If He had not come to raise the dead, the Apostle had not said: "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Eph. v. 14.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady

From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 19:25-27
At that time: There stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, and His Mother's sister, Mary (the wife) of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. And so on.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
On Virgins, 7.
There stood by the Cross His Mother. Men had forsaken Him, but she stood there fearless. Behold how the Mother of Jesus could break through her shrinking modesty, but could not belie her heart. With the eyes of a mother's love she gazed upon the Wounds of her Son, those Wounds through Which she knew that redemption for all mankind was flowing. The Mother, who feared not the executioners, was able to endure the sight of their work. Her Son was hanging upon the Cross, and she braved His tormentors.

From the same 25th Epistle to the Church of Vercelli.
Mary, the Mother of the Lord, stood by the Cross of her Son. My only informant of this fact is the holy Evangelist John. Others have written that when the Lord suffered, the earth quaked, the heavens were veiled in darkness, the sun was hidden, and the thief received, after a good confession, the promise of Paradise. John hath taught us what the others have not taught us. Upon the Cross He called her Mother. It is reckoned (by John) a greater thing that in the moment of triumph over agony, He should have discharged the watchful duty of a Son to His Mother, than that He should have made gift of the kingdom of heaven. For if it be a sacred thing to have forgiven the thief, this so great kindness of the Son to the Mother is to be worshipped as the outcome of a tenderer and more touching love.

Behold, saith the Lord, thy son: Behold thy Mother! Christ bore witness from the Cross, and divided the offices of his tender love between his Mother and his disciple. Thus doth the Lord give us a testament, not only of his love for souls, but also of his natural affection. Moreover, the testimony which John doth give us concerning this same testament, is a worthy testimony to the original Testator himself. It is a good testament, not of earthly riches, but of eternal life, written not in ink, but in the Spirit of the living God, who speaketh of such testimony in the Psalms, saying: My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Dominica XIV post Pentecosten: "No man can serve two masters"

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 6:24-33
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: No man can serve two masters. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Bk. ii. on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, ch. xiv.

"These words of our Lord, No man can serve two masters, are explained by the following: For either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. We ought carefully to weigh these words, for our Lord shows who the two masters are, saying: You cannot serve God and mammon. Mammon is a term which the Hebrews are said to use for riches. It is also a Carthaginian word, for the Punic word for gain is mammon. He that serves mammon that is, loves riches serves that evil one who has perversely chosen to be the lord of these earthly things, and is called by the Lord the prince of this world (John xiv. 30). Of these two masters man will either hate the one, and love the other that is, God or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. He that serves mammon sustains a hard and pernicious master; for, led captive by his lust, he is a slave of the devil, though he love him not. Is there any one who loves the devil? Yet there are those who sustain him."

Twenty-third Sunday, A: "Tell your brother his fault"

Twenty-third Sunday
Ezekiel 33, 7-9; Psalm 95; Romans 13, 8-10;
Matthew 18, 15-20
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We know many who have fallen away from Sunday Mass and others who have never attended. If they do not know Christ we are called to introduce them. We are also in a position at times to share the truth, to let them know the serious sin they commit by choosing to not attend Mass on the Lord's Day. When we become aware that a neighbor has departed from the way of salvation in Christ fraternal correction is the response of one who loves Christ and others.

We can invite others to life in Christ by sharing the gift that is ours in a life of obedience to God.

We do indeed "meet Christ in the liturgy". Learning this truth and living by it, every Catholic can learn to love the liturgy more and to participate in it more deeply, responding to the infinite graces that are present in each Mass. Many, unfortunately, are unaware that an encounter with Christ happens each time the liturgy is offered. Many allow themselves to become bored, are put off by the obligation to attend Mass, and many fall away. Yes, we must attend Mass each week in order to fulfill the commandment to keep the Lord's Day holy, but it is more perfect to do so out of love of God and the desire to praise Him. He is ever worthy of all praise and glory because of He is God. It is our great calling as creatures to find fulfillment and happiness in coming to know and love our Creator,and to worship Him.


The teaching of the Church about the presence of Christ in the Mass, or liturgy, comes from Christ's own teaching. Christ is present in the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, really, truly and substantially. The Eucharist is the great sign of the Church and the guarantee of Lord's abiding presence in the Church and in the sacrament.

Christ is also present through the authority of the Church to teach in matters of faith and morals in his name and, as it were, with his own voice. In today's Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses fifteen to twenty, we hear again that the Church has been given Christ's power to bind or loose, to forgive or not forgive sins. All of the Church's faithful enjoy Christ's presence, through the Holy Spirit, while assembled to praise and worship him and to pray in His name. The Catechism helps us in our understanding. Christ, glorified at the right of the Father in heaven, is now present among us in a number of ways, including in the earthly liturgy, or the Mass. "Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, 'the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,' but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised 'where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.' " (Mt. 18: 20) (CCC 1088)


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Dominica XIII post Pentecosten: "Go, show yourselves unto the priests."

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 17:11-19
It came to pass, as Jesus went to Jerusalem, that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And, as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo
Bk. ii. Gospel Questions, ch. 40.

"The ten lepers 'lifted up their voices and said: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.' And when He saw them, He said unto them 'Go, show yourselves unto the Priests'. And it came to pass that, as they went, they were cleansed." Question why did the Lord send them unto the Priests, that, as they went, they might be cleansed. Lepers were the only class among those upon whose bodies He worked mercy, whom we find that He sent unto the Priests. It is written in another place that He said to a leper whom He had cleansed: 'Go, and show thyself to the Priest, and offer for thy cleansing according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them' Luke v. 14, Lev. xiv. seq. We ask then, of what leprosy was a type, whereof they that were ridded were called, not 'healed,' but 'cleansed.' It is a disease which doth first appear in the skin, but destroyeth not immediately the strength, nor the use of feeling and the limbs.

"The lepers maybe taking mystically for those who, having no knowledge of the true faith, profess various erroneous doctrines. For they do not conceal their ignorance, but blazen it forth as the highest wisdom, making a vain show of it with boasting words. But since leprosy is a blemish in color, when true things appear clumsily mixed up with false in a single discourse or narration, as in the color of a single body, they represent a leprosy streaking in disfiguring as it were with true and false dyes the color of the human form. Now these lepers must be so put away from the church being as far removed as possible they may with the loud shouts call upon Christ.  But by either calling him teacher I think it is playing the implied the leprosy is truly the false doctrine which the good teacher may wash away.

"Now we find that of those upon whom our Lord bestowed bodily mercies, not one did He send to the priests, save the lepers, for the Jewish priesthood was a figure of that priesthood which is in the Church. All vices our Lord corrects and heals by His own power working inwardly in the conscience, but the teaching of infusion by means of the Sacrament, or of catechizing by word of mouth, was assigned to the Church.

"And as they went they were cleansed; just as the Gentiles to whom Peter came, having not yet received the sacrament of baptism, whereby we come spiritually to the priests, are declared cleansed by the infusion of the Holy Spirit. Whoever then follows true and sound doctrine in the fellowship of the Church,  proclaiming himself to be free from the confusion of lies, as it were a leprosy, yet still  ungrateful to his Cleanser does not prostrate himself with pious humility of thanksgiving, is like to those of whom the Apostle says, 'that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, nor were thankful.'"


Sunday 22A: "Get behind me, Satan!"

Christ faced many temptations along the road to Calvary and the fulfillment of the Father's perfect will. Among these, the encounter with Satan in the desert. And not only there, also in those who align themselves with Satan by denying Christ's role as Savior from sin. Avoiding the pain and suffering of the passion and death would be just such a denial of His true mission as Redeemer. Hence Christ's words which seem to identify Peter with the Devil.
"Jesus' temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. (Mt 16:21-23) This is why Christ vanquished the tempter for us: 'For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.' " (Heb 4:15) By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert." (CCC 540)
Authentic faith enables us to desire above all to see ourselves honestly, in the way that God sees us, to repent of our sins and then to live according to our need for God. "Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Total dedication to Christ and to His Gospel is rewarded with the total gift of God's love and embrace in the heavenly kingdom. Heaven begins with Christian commitment here and now, without delay or excuses. -Fr. Cusick 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dominica XII post Pentecosten: "Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see"

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 10:23-37
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them. And so on.

Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest at Jarrow.
Bk. iii. ch. 43 on Luke x.
Blessed were the eyes not of Scribes and Pharisees, which saw but the Body of the Lord, but those eyes, eyes blessed indeed, which were able to see those things whereof it is written "Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." Blessed are the eyes of those little ones unto whom it seemeth good in the eyes of the Son to reveal Himself and the Father also. Abraham rejoiced to see the day of Christ and he saw it, and was glad. John viii. 56. Isaiah, and Micah, and many among the Prophets, saw the glory of the Lord, wherefore also they be called Seers, but all they beheld it and hailed it afar off, seeing but as through a glass, darkly. 1 Cor. xiii. 12.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dominica X post Pentecosten: "Thank God I am not like other men"

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 18:9-14
At that time: Jesus spoke this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the Temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo
Serm 36 of the Word of the Lord
The Pharisee might at least have said: "I am not as many men are." But what meaneth "other men"? All other men except himself. "I," said he, "am righteous; others are sinners." "I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers," and then he took occasion, from the neighborhood of the publican, to plume himself "or even," quoth he, "as this publican." "I am alone," he thought, "that publican" is one of the others. Mine own righteousness maketh the gulf between me and the wicked, such as he is.

Sunday 19A: "Why did you doubt?"


"Lord, save me!"

Peter, frightened by the wind and the waves, cries out desperately for help in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-two to thirty-three. Christ had granted Peter the power to walk on the water, but giving in to his fear, the apostle had begun to sink. "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Peter found himself overwhelmed by the natural elements which threatened him as a storm. There is however something far worse: the threat of losing God forever.

There is a mystery here, that our faith is a gift from God for salvation, but at the same time, our faith is a cooperation with God; we freely choose to believe. And we can also choose to doubt and fall into fear as did Peter. The tempest which provoked his cry for help is a symbol of the life storms that threaten our perseverance in faith.

There is a grace by which we weather life's storms. Fortitude is the virtue of which Peter stood in need at his moment of temptation.

“Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. ‘The Lord is my strength and my song.’ ‘In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ “ (CCC 1808)

It is through grace by faith that we receive the gift of fortitude.  Peter confesses faith in Christ's divinity, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water". Moments later that faith gives way to fear, and Peter is threatened with destruction by the forces of nature. Do we need power to "walk on water" in order to be happy? What are the things that we fear, that drive the power of faith, and the power of God, out of our lives? Is sin among them? Do we disregard the corrosive power of falsehood, the destructive force of unchastity? What we cannot do without is a reverent spirit of worship, the power to confidently acclaim Jesus as Lord, and then to call upon Him for what we need to live as the praise of His glory.

Bearing witness to the Lord, confessing our Faith before others, enables us to practice and to grow in the virtue of fortitude.

“The faithful should bear witness to the Lord's name by confessing the faith without giving way to fear. Preaching and catechizing should be permeated with adoration and respect for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (CCC 2145)

When the disciples witnessed the power of Christ over the wind and waves, they fell down and worshipped Him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."  They acclaimed Him in faith and thus they saw with true vision through the supernatural power of God working in them.

"Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as 'Lord'. This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing. At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, 'Lord' expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus. In the encounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: 'My Lord and my God!' It thus takes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: 'It is the Lord!' " (CCC 448)

Let us ask for the virtue of fortitude in worship and witness that our faith may grow and others may come to the Lord as well.  Above all, it is Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist that calls for our adoration.  We can, for example, better witness before the world by our more attentive genuflection as we enter or depart a church or chapel where the Lord is present; by an interior spirit of adoration as we process forward during the Communion of the Mass; by pausing to make a profound bow before receiving our Eucharistic Lord in Communion; by carefully resting one hand upon the other to receive the Lord and then reverently placing the Host on our tongue.
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, we adore thee!

-Fr. Cusick @MCITLFrAphorism
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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dominica VII post Pentecosten: "Beware of false prophets"

V. Grant, Lord, a blessing.
Benediction. May the Gospel's glorious word Cleansing to our souls afford. Amen. 

Reading 3
From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 7:15-21
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. And so on.

Homily by St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.
Comment. on Matth. ch. vi.
The Lord here warneth us that we must rate the worth of soft words and seeming meekness, by the fruits which they that manifest such things bring forth in their works, and that we should look, in order to see what a man is, not at his professions, but at his deeds. For there are many in whom sheep's clothing is but a mask to hide wolfish ravening. But "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." Thus, the Lord teacheth us, is it with men also evil men bring not forth good fruits, and hereby are we to know them. Lip-service alone winneth not the kingdom of heaven, nor is every one that saith unto Christ: "Lord, Lord," an heir thereof.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sermon for Dominica V post Pentecosten: "unless your righteousness exceeds that of of the scribes and Pharisees"

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 5:20-24
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: Unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Bk. i. on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, ch. 9.
Thou shalt not kill, is of the righteousness of the Pharisees; Thou shalt not be angry with thy brother without a cause, is of the righteousness of them which shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. The least therefore is: “Thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall break this commandment, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” v. 19.But whosoever shall do it, and not kill, he is not therefore great, and meet for the kingdom of heaven; albeit, he hath risen a step; but he will have gotten farther, if he be not angry with his brother without a cause, which, if he do, he will be the farther off from manslaughter. Wherefore, He Which teacheth us that we are not to be angry without a cause, destroyeth not the law, Thou shalt not kill, but rather fulfilleth and increaseth it, making us not only to be free of the sin of outward killing, but also clean of anger within.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sermon for Dominica IV post Pentecosten


From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 5:1-11
At that time: As the people pressed upon Jesus, to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesareth. And so on.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
Bk. iv. on Luke v.
When the Lord wrought so many works of healing, neither time nor place could restrain the people from seeking health. Evening came, and they still followed Him He went down to the lake, and they still pressed upon Him and therefore He entered into Peter's ship. This is that ship, which spiritually up to this very hour, according to the expression of Matthew, is buffeted by tempests, but still, according to Luke, is filled with fishes, this signifying, that, for a while, to labour is present to the Church, but, hereafter, it shall be to rejoice. The fishes are they which swim in the troublous waters of human life. In this ship also spiritually doth Christ, for His disciples, still sleep, and still command; for He sleepeth for the lukewarm, and watcheth for the perfect.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

THIRTEENTH Sunday
2 Kings 4, 8-11.14-16; Psalm 89; Romans 6, 3-4.8-11;
Matthew 10: 37-42

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Every vocation is discipleship. All men and women are called to “follow after” Christ the Lord. Married or single, ordained or lay, every human person finds ultimate fulfillment in answering Jesus’ call to “take up the cross” which brings life out of death and to “lose life” that it may be found in all its fullness.

Of all the vocations it is the ordained priesthood which is most closely configured to the Lord, making men “other Christs”. The grace of the priesthood by which men give the Lord’s Body and Blood to His people and forgive their sins in Confession make the priest particular and close co-workers with Him in God’s plan of salvation. Through the charism of celibacy priesthood is a “higher calling” because it most closely anticipates in this world the life of heaven where there is “no marrying nor giving in marriage”. What higher joy could there be for a Catholic husband and wife to support the call of a son of theirs to the priesthood? And yet, with all the Catholics that say they love the Mass and love the Eucharist, there yet remain few who see with clarity that their love for the Lord must also extend to practical support for priestly vocations, beginning in their own families and with their own children.

Our Holy Father Benedict recently said, in regard to the diminished numbers of priestly vocations today: “Today’s parents have other plans for their sons and daughters. The primary consideration, therefore, is: Are there any believers, and only after that - will they produce priests?” Pope John Paul II before him addressed the blessing of large families, and the fact that if a husband and wife have more than one child they are more likely to welcome a vocation to the priesthood or religious life if our Lord should so call one of their children. It is a wonderful thing to see one's family continue to the next generation, and one of the greatest joys of earthly life. The supernatural life, however, is what every child must have to reach the fullness of life forever in God, and the priesthood, and all religious vocations, exist to serve this need for all of mankind.

Spiritual fatherhood and motherhood, the vocation of priests, sisters and brothers, is not an optional part of Christ's plan, but a constitutive part of the Church. "For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel." (1 Cor. 4:15) St. Paul thus proudly asserts his ministerial priesthood of bringing the faithful to birth in Christ.

In the rampant practical materialism of our time, the priority of the spiritual is easily overlooked. Mothers and fathers who learn to love their children with the love of God will give the spiritual life of their children the emphasis it deserves. “Whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” To love Christ more than son or daughter is to love the will of Christ for one’s child more than one’s own plans for that child. "He who seeks only himself brings himself to ruin, whereas he who brings himself to naught for me discovers who he is."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2232, teaches: "Family ties are important but not absolute. Just as the child grows to maturity and human and spiritual autonomy, so his unique vocation which comes from God asserts itself more clearly and forcefully. Parents should respect this call and encourage their children to follow it. They must be convinced that the first vocation of the Christian is to follow Jesus: 'He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.'"

Parents who "bear their share of the hardship which the Gospel entails," and put their own desires and needs second to the will of God, such that they encourage their sons and daughters to be open to the higher calling of the priesthood and religious life, come first in the reign of God. What else is necessary or more wonderful?

-Fr. Cusick
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

"The Living Father sent Me": Celebrating Eucharist and Fathers' Day

"Honor thy Father”

God Himself commands the love and respect we show for our earthly fathers on Father’s Day. On this day we focus in a more intense way on the gratitude and reverence we owe to the men who, committed to marriage and family life, helped to give us life and to raise us. We are thankful in particular for the roles our fathers play in raising us in the Faith and teaching us love for our Heavenly Father by their own witness. May God always bless them as they so richly deserve.

Our celebration of Mass is the perfect way to mark Father’s Day: Jesus’ perfect prayer is offered to His Father and ours accomplished by perfect obedience, through His suffering and death, to the perfect will of the Father. We truly participate in His prayer through the grace of our baptism as we  pray the Mass.

"The Living Father sent Me"

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we receive the Son sent by the Father in Word and Sacrament. At Corpus Christi we focus more intensely on Christ's real and true presence in the Eucharist, unique among the sacraments and thus called "the Most Blessed Sacrament".

Praised be to God.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Ad cæli Reginam": Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XII on the Queenship of Mary

From Ad cæli Reginam, diei 11 Octobris 1954

"From the documents of ancient Christianity, from the prayers of the liturgy, from the innate religious sense of the Christian people, from works of art, from all sides we gather witnesses which assert that the Virgin Mother of God excelleth in queenly dignity. And we have set forth the reasons which sacred theology deduces from the treasury of divine faith to confirm the same truth.

All these witnesses form a sort of chorus, proclaiming far and wide the supreme queenly honour granted to the Mother of God and man, who is above all created things and exalted over the choirs of Angels to reign in heaven.

Thus it is that after mature and thoughtful consideration we have been persuaded that great benefits would flow to the Church if, like a light that illumines more brightly when placed in its stand, this solidly proved truth were to shine out more clearly to all, and so, by Our Apostolic Authority, we decree and institute the feast of Mary, Queen, which is to be celebrated every year on the thirty-first day of May throughout the world."