Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Homily 188 – Mary Mother of God

Posted: January 1st, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

What Child is This?

We might think of Mary’s title “Mother of God” as saying something about Mary. Some even think that the title is too exalted for a mere creature, even the greatest of creatures such as Mary. Yet this title is important not so much for what it say about Mary, but rather what it says about the baby the Mary gave birth to in Bethlehem. Mary’s title answers the famous question in the Christmas carol, “What Child is This?”

Mary’s child is God. If we refuse to admit that Mary is “Mother of God” then we end up saying that Jesus was not God when he was born. The truth is that Mary gave birth to Jesus and Jesus is God. The title “Mother of God” is therefore not so much about Mary, but rather reminds us that this child born of the Virgin Mary is truly God in the flesh. This is what we celebrate at Christmas and this is why we honor Mary today.

Homily 187 – Christmas

Posted: December 24th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

What Christmas is All About

In the classic Peanuts show “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Charlie Brown famously asks, “Can anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?” His friend Linus then proceeds to give perhaps the most famous reading of St. Luke’s Gospel account of the birth of Jesus. St. John has his own version of the story, what one might call the “advanced” version of the Christmas story. John tells us, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” He also says beautifully that “The light shown in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The truth is that there remains much darkness in all of our lives. It is precisely to this situation that Jesus came and continues to come. God did not abandon the world 2000 years ago and he has not left us alone either. God has been and always will be with us. In times of darkness, the light shines all the brighter. In whatever situation we find ourselves this Christmas, God comes to us just as he did in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. This light brings us great hope, and that’s what Christmas is really all about.

Homily 186 – 4th Sunday of Advent

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

The King Shall Come

The opening scene of today’s gospel is filled with names of people and places that readily evoke the expectation of Christmas: Gabriel, Nazareth, Joseph, Mary… Yet, the name that would most stick out to a Jew at the time of Jesus would have been that of David. God had promised that a king of the line of David would rule over his people forever. Exile and destruction had left many questioning if God had forgotten his promise. The family tree of David seemed to be annihilated, that is until the angel Gabriel brings good news to the a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph of the House of David.

Homily 185 – 3rd Sunday of Advent

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

Top Tips for Confession

Has it been a while since you’ve been to confession? Maybe you’re worried or just reluctant to go because you feel you don’t know how to go confession. This weekend’s homily provides some practical tips and an explanation of the basics of making a good confession.

Homily 184 – 2nd Sunday of Advent

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

Under Construction

Advent is a time filled with many treasured symbols: the Advent wreath, the Christmas tree, favorite foods and songs. In today’s homily I introduce my favorite Advent symbol: the orange construction cone. At first it may seem like an unlikely symbol for such a peaceful season, but if you look at the readings today, they’re all about road construction. Isaiah says plainly that our job this Advent is to build a highway for God.

How’s you’re road to God looking these days? Have you patched so many potholes that it looks more like a mine field? This Advent God invites us to put a big “under construction” sign out. We’ve got to do the hard work of repairing our road/lives through some spiritual resurfacing. No one likes construction while it’s going on, but there’s nothing nicer than a brand new road. The Sacrament of Penance is our chance to resurface our road and start over.

Finally, the season of Advent is one that can easily get out of control is we’re not careful. If we follow the wisdom of society we will wind up being very busy and arrive at Christmas exhausted and glad it’s over. To avoid this we need to slow down. Picture that construction worker on the side of the road with his big orange “SLOW” sign. Consider it a sign from God this Advent. Slow down, take time for prayer and quiet, and think of the beautiful new road God has planned just as soon as you get through this construction zone.

Homily 183 – 1st Sunday of Advent

Posted: November 27th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Resolve to Run Forth

Jesus tells us over and over in the Gospel today to “watch.” This is our attitude for the season of Advent. Just as the new translation of the Mass is causing us to have to watch carefully the words we use and pay attention, so we are meant to pay closer attention to our spiritual lives this Advent. This watchfulness of Advent is not a passive sitting back. Rather, the collect of today’s Mass prays that we will have “the resolve to run forth” to meet Christ at his coming.

Advent recognizes two comings of Christ. The obvious one is the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Yet, these first weeks of Advent urge us to prepare for a more important coming, the return of Jesus in Glory. This anxious expectation gives Advent and the Mass a sense of direction. We are not sitting around idle waiting, rather we are on a mission. May this season of Advent increase our resolve and an eagerness to welcome Christ at his coming.

Homily 182 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: November 13th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Pop Quiz

Like a pop quiz or a thief in the night, Jesus will return. The good news is that we know the questions that are on the test. We even know the answers. In the evening of life we will be judged on our love. How well did we care for the least of those among us? How well did we use the gifts God gave us? That is the emphasis of today’s Gospel. God has given each of us special gifts according to our ability and each of us is called to greatness. Let’s resolve not to compare ourselves to others but to do the best we can with the talents we have been given. If we do that, we will hear at the end of our life, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

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.