Homilies

First Sunday of Lent – A – 2014

Gen 2:7-9;3:1-7;  psalm 51;  Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11

With so many possible paths in life it is sad to realize that one may get on the path that goes to nowhere, but this is not our choice.  As we begin Lent we know where we are going – to Easter – to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection – to the hope and promise of participating in the fullness of Christ’s life. Our scriptures today remind us to know where we are going and to know that it may take more effort than we expected to stay on course.  For there are many forces demanding that we shift our focus away from God.  When we listen to texts speaking of the desert, of disobedience, of being led, and of being confronted with temptation, our hearts know the texts are not an anonymous ’this could be somebody’s experience’. The texts are urging us to find in them a vehicle, a means, to reflect on our own experience.   Truly I am humbled to be in the company of Adam and Jesus who each experienced temptation.  And I know that my choices are a mix, at times choosing to disregard God’s voice, God’s teaching going right along with Adam and at other times like Jesus I rely on God’s Word to quiet the voice of the tempter and choose to rely on God’s voice of love.  Notice that all Jesus’ responses to Satan in the gospel are passages of scripture.

Read More »

Fifth Sunday – A – 2014

 Is 58:7-12  psalm   58    1 Cor 2:1-5     Mt 5”13-16

When Jesus says “you are salt … you are light … your good deeds must be seen…” is this conversational chatter to be easily dismissed, as we so often do with casual exchanges in daily living, or are we being engaged on a much more significant level and, therefore, is there a need to stop – really listen – and understand that God is giving us explicit direction?  The poetic language may be fun to analyze or muse over, but this is not a class in poetry.  These are not words / phrases to hurry past.  Make no mistake the moral flavor of our society has been compromised.  I might say, “Pass me the salt!” That there is need of God’s light to guide humanity’s endeavors is not a consideration to be met with ‘oh sure!’ and segue into a discussion of current events or sports or entertainment.  Jesus is telling us that our good deeds must be seen.  Faithful living is not a recreational activity to be sandwiched in between what really matters.  Living our faith really matters and seasons every aspect of our lives with God’s mercy, God’s tenderness, God’s encouragement, God’s wisdom to be recklessly shared!

Read More »

Fourth Sunday of Advent – A – 2013

Is 7:10-14  psalm  24   Rom 1:1-7  Mt 1:18-24

The fulfillment of the messianic promise includes quite a group of people whose lives are changed by God’s promise that a virgin will bear a son.  This fourth Sunday of Advent we stand as it were on the lintel of Christmas, but before we enter Christmas the Church asks us to reflect on Isaiah’s words to Ahaz that tell of this promised child, Paul’s beautiful words on our call to belong to Christ and Matthew’s account of Joseph revising his plans in accord with a message he receives from an angel in a dream.  In a culture that so highly values personal autonomy and self actualization, Joseph’s acquiescence to what God’s messenger asks of him may seem off – yet there is a lesson for all of us here about not simply giving lip service when we say I want to do God’s will.

Fairly early in my life I was introduced to the understanding that my plan may not be God’s plan.  As an adult I was drawn to the words spoken by Pope John Paul II in an interview when he told a reporter: “I live a freedom that is ordered to duty.”  It would seem to me that Isaiah is having a hard time convincing Ahaz to give in to God’s way.  It is clear to all of us that Joseph heard God asking him to change what he had planned and did!  Would that awakening to our call in faith could happen so directly.  For Paul is telling us not only that we are called to belong to Christ, but that we are called to be holy – not simply to seem to be holy.

Read More »

Brother Anthony-Maria’s First Vows – December 9, 2013

Homily delivered by Abbot Stan

Ezekiel 36:22-36

What a journey you have travelled over these last eleven years, my brother. You have allowed yourself to follow the lead of the Spirit, foolish as it may seem at times; difficult and crooked at other times. Yet you were convinced it was the Lord and you had the guts and the courage to listen to that inner voice, the voice that assured you: no matter what, it’s all going to be okay. Yes, you knew then that you had felt an agony like no other, an unending hunger and craving for something more, but you followed and sought this something more. You heard very clearly the voice of the Lord: “I will sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses…. A new heart I will give you and a new spirit I will place within you…. I the Lord have spoken and I will do it.”

Read More »

Father Jonas’ Profession of First Vows – December 3, 2013

Homily delivered by Abbot Stan

Father Gerard Jonas, you have meditated long and hard on the call of Abraham which Brother Joseph has just proclaimed. It formed the basis of your retreat before receiving the habit of a Cistercian monk two years ago. It played a significant part in your retreat in preparation for the vows you will pronounce in just a few minutes. So what I say cannot approach the depth of what this passage has come to mean to you. I can only hope to remind you how Abraham’s call is meant to take flesh in your own life. And to do that I will also use the image you shared with me: a three-ringed gyroscope.

Read More »

Twenty-Sixth Sunday — C — 2013

Homily delivered by Abbot Stan

Amos 6:1a + 4-7; I Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31

If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.

What a great story teller Jesus is. He doesn’t embellish. He doesn’t go on and on. He just presents facts in all their nakedness. Like a Hemingway novel, there are no superfluous words. Like our Church and our new Retreat Center, the lines are clean and crisp; elegance rules in simplicity. The texture is soft and inviting, drawing us in.

Read More »