Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Homily 181 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: November 6th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Those Who Have Fallen Asleep

Paul uses the language of sleep to describe death. This makes death sound so temporary and indeed it is. The early Church had seen firsthand how Jesus could raise someone from the dead. They had experienced the resurrection of Jesus, a word literally meaning “to get up again.” It is not surprising then that the Christians refused the pagan practice of cremating the remains of those who had died. Instead they created large underground cemeteries such as the catacombs in Rome. There they placed the bodies of their loved ones awaiting that great day of awakening. This weekend’s homily explores the Church’s traditions regarding care of the body after death and explains what the Church really teaches about cremation.

Homily 180 – All Souls Day

Posted: November 2nd, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Prayer in Communion

Yesterday we honored the Church in Glory, the saints in heaven. Today we commemorate and pray for the Church Suffering, all those who have died and await the full glory of heaven in purgatory. There is a tendency today to “canonize” everyone who dies and talk as though it is certain that they are in heaven. Yet, the Scriptures tell us plainly that nothing imperfect can enter heaven. Certainly we know many of our deceased loved ones who we believe died in a state of grace. Yet, how many of us are completely free from all attachment to sin and are thus perfect when we die? Purgatory is the great gift of God’s mercy to allow us to get cleaned up before entering heaven.

On this day, we remember that it is a great spiritual work of mercy to pray for the dead. Let us remember our brothers and sisters who have died and can be greatly aided by our prayers, especially those forgotten souls who have no one to pray for them. May perpetual light shine upon them and may they rest in peace.

Homily 179 – Solemnity of All Saints

Posted: November 1st, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Heavenly Friends and Fans

To be a saint is to be in heaven. Today we celebrate all our brothers and sisters whom we know are in heaven. From there they behold God face to face forever. Thus they hold out for us the great example of where we are headed if we live heroic lives as they did. Yet, from this place of bliss they remain joined with us in the great Communion of Saints. Like the fans at a sporting event they cheer us on. They desire for us to share in their glory. May we be grateful this day and every day for the saints, our heavenly friends and our biggest fans.

Homily 178 – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: October 30th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Sharing Our Very Selves

St. Paul tells us in the second reading today that he is proud that he shared with his disciples, “not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well.” We all love teachers who put themselves into their teaching and give us more than just the words in the textbook. I think we love this quality in our priests as well. We love priests who understand us and with whom we have something in common. While we have beautiful examples of how the humanness of our priests helps us to know God better, their are also cases where the humanness of priests becomes a major stumbling block and even a scandal. It has always been this way since the beginning of the Church.

On this Priesthood Sunday we give thanks for our priests who are chosen from among us. We priests are called to image the perfect fatherhood of God, yet we often fall short, as all fathers do. Pray for your priests. Give thanks for the good you see, quickly overlook the bad, and remember that the two are always wrapped up together in the human condition. May God allow us as priests, broken though we are, to be living witnesses as we share not only the gospel of God, but our very selves.

Homily 177 – 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: October 23rd, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Affliction and Perfect Joy

St. Paul gives us what appears to be a paradox in the 2nd reading today. He praises the Thessalonians for accepting the Word “with affliction and joy in the Holy Spirit.” How can affliction and joy exist together? St. Francis of Assisi is a great model for solving this riddle. In his own unique way, St. Francis shows us how to radically live out the call of today’s Gospel to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. If we do that, we can have perfect joy no matter what affliction life throws at us.

Homily 176 – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: October 9th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Accepting the Invitation

In the new translation of the Mass which we will begin using this Advent, the words of consecration of the chalice will be changing. Instead of referring to the fact that Jesus shed his blood “for all” we will hear the priest refer to Jesus shedding his blood “for many.” While Jesus did indeed die for all, the new translation is not only faithful to the Latin, but also points out the sad fact that not all will accept Jesus’ offer of salvation. Like the people in the Gospel, many of us today make excuses as to why we have better things to do than accept God’s invitation.

Every Sunday we are invited to the marriage banquet prepared by God. How do we respond? Do we tell God that we have “better things” to do? If we do come to Mass faithfully each week, how is our attitude? Are we really participating and putting ourselves fully into it so as to “get something out of it?” Perhaps the meditation in today’s homily concerning our beloved Kansas City Chiefs football team will help.

Homily 175 – St. Francis of Assisi

Posted: October 4th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The One Thing

I was conducting a parish retreat last weekend and so didn’t have a Sunday homily. As a bonus then, here is the homily I have at Bishop Miege High School for the homecoming Mass on the Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi. May we be like Mary in the Gospel and know how to find the one thing that is most important among the many. When we find that it is God that we need, may we be like St. Francis in leaving everything to follow God, placing nothing before him, not even sports.

Homily 174 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 25th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Holy Role Reversal

Our readings today speak of several reversals of roles. None is greater than the one spoken of in the 2nd reading. Paul tells us plainly that God become man. The creator became part of his creation. To really understand the enormity of this event, we have to hold on to two very important truths about Jesus. Namely, Jesus was 100% God and at the same time he was 100% man. Jesus is God, consubstantial with the Father. Yet he also took on our flesh, became incarnate, and is one us.

Because of Jesus’ self-emptying and his death for us, we ourselves are in for quite a role reversal. God became man so that we might become like God. Jesus did not stay dead and neither will we. We are meant to be lifted up and live with God forever in heaven where “Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

Homily 173 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 18th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Thankful Workers in the Vineyard

The landowner in today’s Gospel has such compassion that he goes in search of workers for his vineyard time and time again. Even though he probably has no need for more workers, he knows how much the people need the work. God has no need of us, yet we have great need of God. He has called each of us into his vineyard, some early in life, some later. Our response should never be to compare ourselves to others and become jealous. No matter when we were called, our response to God must always be the same…gratitude.

Homily 172 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 11th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Never Forget

On this 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country, the phrase often featured on signs and memorials reads simply, “Never Forget.” Yet, what is it that we are not supposed to forget? In the days and weeks following the attacks there were many feelings of anger and hatred and a desire for revenge. Our scripture readings today encourage us not to try remember these feelings of hurt and anger, but rather to have a heart of forgiveness. While certainly we resolve that we will never forget those who died, there are some other things that we as a nation would do well to “Never Forget.”

Before 9/11 many in our country didn’t think very much about God. Things seemed to be going well and our country and our lives seemed strong and invincible. Many proudly claimed that we didn’t even need God any more. On 9/11 and the weeks following, the country prayed. We went to church. We knew how much we needed God and how only trust in him who brings good out of evil could make any sense of such sad events.

Before 9/11 many of us took our families for granted. It seemed that our lives would go on forever and that we had plenty of time to make needed changes later. On 9/11, the people in the planes that had the chance to make one last phone call or scribble a few hurried words before the planes impacted almost universally had the same wish. They weren’t worried about money or their sports teams. They simply wanted to tell their family that they loved them. Many family members left behind wished the same.

Before 9/11 it seemed that America was divided and so many people were only selfishly focused on what was in their own best interest. Other people didn’t matter so long as I got what I wanted. On 9/11 we saw average Americans become heroes. As the twin towers were falling we know that they were filled with fighters and police racing to get into those towers to help people. In the following weeks thousands of young men and women volunteered to protect our country by joining the military. 9/11 brought the country together around the common desire to help others.

There are many things to remember about 9/11. Most people alive then can remember where they were. On this anniversary, let us resolve not try to remember the past anger and hatred. Rather, I pray that we might once again be reminded of how we learned what was really important on that day. May we never forget how much we need God. May we never forget how special our family and friends are. May we never forget the great pride and sense of community we found when each of us cared about others more than ourselves. These are truly worthy things. These are things that I hope we will “Never Forget.”