Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Homily Podcast



“The” March on Washington

August 24th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

1963 March on WashingtonAs I was preparing to head out the door today to catch the Metro to downtown DC, I discovered that things would be a little busy on the National Mall. It turns out that this Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a Dream” speech. Rather than wait for Wednesday, they are commemorating the anniversary today with a rally.

All over the place the media are referring to the event in 1963 as “The March on Washington.” I remember learning about MLK and his speech, but this was the first time I remember hearing this rather curious title for the whole event. A little research led me to discover that the event in 1963 was billed as the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” I also discovered that the estimated attendance was about 200 to 300 thousand.

Here’s the thing the strikes me: somewhere along the line the media starting referring to this event simply as “The March on Washington,” as if everyone should know exactly what they are referring to. Perhaps the MLK speech does raise it to that sort of rhetorical level. Still, I can’t help but point out that this march of 300 thousand people happened ONCE 50 years ago. There is another march in Washington of over 500 thousand people that happens EVERY year and is about something much more important than jobs or even freedom. I am of course referring to the March for Life.

As important as this Wednesday’s anniversary is, if you were to ask a young person today about “The” March on Washington…there’s a good chance they will assume you mean the March for Life.

Homily 261 – 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 11th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Evidence for Faith

Often times people of faith are made to believe that scientific knowledge is more believable than the knowledge faith provides. Sometimes, even those who are believers can make the mistake of thinking that faith means accepting things that are irrational or that seem impossible. Today’s second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews assures us that opposite is true.

“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for, evidence of things invisible.” Science can only tell us about this physical world. By definition, science will never be able to create an experiment that proves or disproves the existence of God. Since God exists outside of the system of our physical world, it takes a different kind of knowing to gain knowledge about God. This way of knowing we call faith, and it is every bit as certain as the knowledge we gain from science. We should never be scared of science. The more we experiment, the more we will see that this visible world points to an invisible reality, even providing evidence for faith.

Homily 260 – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 4th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Numbering Our Days Aright

In today’s psalm the author prays “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” There is a certain wisdom that comes from remembering that our days are numbered. None of us lives forever. Moreover, since we know not when our last day will come, we should live each day with at least some thought about our last day. The world might go on for centuries, you’re life might go on for decades…or you could get hit by a bus today. Are you ready? If not, why not make some changes today.

Homily 259 – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 28th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Prayer Conforms Our Hearts to God

In our first reading today, Abraham shows us the power of intercessory prayer. Specifically, his nephew Lot has gotten himself into trouble living in the Las Vegas of the biblical world, the city of Sodom. Through the prayer of Abraham, Lot and his family are saved. That’s good news for all of us who know some family members that could using a little saving.

God really does hear our prayers. Yet, while it’s somewhat poetic to think of us changing God’s mind as a result of our prayer, the deeper reality is that prayer changes us. Jesus has an intimacy with his father in prayer that makes the disciples jealous. The ultimate fruit of prayer is not that our prayers change the world or even God, but that we grow in intimacy with God. It’s our hearts that change to become more like God. What better answer to prayer could there be?

Homily 258 – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 21st, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Choosing the Better Part

Jesus chastises Martha in the gospel today for being “anxious and worried about many things” while there is “need of only one thing.” We too often get swept up in doing so many good things that wind up worn out and not fulfilled. Normally it’s not that we’re doing bad things, just like serving was not a bad thing for Martha to be doing. However, when we get too busy with worldly things we can tend to miss the one thing that is important.

If someone looked at your calendar, would they be able to tell the one thing that matters most in your life? Most in importantly, would that one thing be God?

Update on My Condition

July 3rd, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

End of the VibeThe past week has been one that I will never forget. The events are permanently etched on my mind and there are even some reminders left on my body that are still healing. The amount of support I have received over these trying days has been amazing. I wish I could talk with everyone personally to thank you all, but I thought this public update might more easily reach all those who are interested. Here are some details you may be interested in:

  • My physical injuries include a broken bone in my right wrist which is minor enough not to need a plaster cast.
  • My left shoulder and back area were heavily impacted by the seat belt in that location. While it appears that none of the ribs were broken, there has been quite a lot of pain. Unfortunately, there is no real treatment for strained ribs, so pain medication and time are the only option. Please pray for a quick healing.
  • My car was obviously totaled, but the seminarians here at Curé got all the stuff out of my car right before it started to rain. There are a few things missing that were thrown from the car, but my laptop works and some scouts found my iPhone in the grass.
  • The doctors that treated me in the trauma center in Belton said that there was something unusual in the scan of my brain that was not related to the accident (I was worried that they had discovered the source of my secret super powers). A wonderful parishioner who is a radiologist confirmed that there was something to be explored in an MRI.
  • Last night my primary care doctor called to say that they looked at the MRI of my brain and…there was nothing there. I think they meant nothing bad there.
  • However, this morning my radiologist friend took a look and thought that there was something unusual. He decided to show it to his colleague who is the brain expert and he agreed that there is something that is not normal that needs to be explored. It’s apparently nothing immediately threatening, but I won’t know for a few days what’s going on. Maybe God allowed this whole ordeal partly so that this anomaly could come to light.

My high school kids always like to ask questions about the end of the world and when it’s going to happen. I normally tell them to be ready every day because you might get hit by a bus or something before the day is over. If there is something you would do differently, just go ahead and do it and don’t put it off. The end of the world for me came very close last Wednesday. While I often get preoccupied with all the ways that I can improve and continue to fight against sin, I did have the happy thought of knowing after it was all over that there was really nothing major that I would now do differently. If it had been my time, I think I was in a good place. Get to confession regularly, attend Mass often, talk with God each day…be ready. If there’s something that would make you afraid to die today because you’re not ready to see God…just go ahead an fix it sooner rather than later.

By the way, I pointed out to someone recently that John Paul II was hit by a truck and was almost killed when he was a young man. I said I thought that perhaps I’ve now gotten that traumatic near brush with death out of the way. The person then pointed out that JPII also got shot and he wondered when I was going to get shot. I said that is reserved for after I become Pope, so I should be safe. Thanks again for all the prayers and support. Please keep it up, because things are very difficult right now, although getting a little better each day. God is so good. I pray that I can continue faithfully in the mission he has yet before me.

Homily 257 – 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 30th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Farewell to Curé of Ars

Today’s homily is the last one given by me as the Associate Pastor at Curé of Ars. It’s been an amazing two years here and I want to thank everyone. My recent car accident has made it difficult to do some of the normal physical tasks of life, but has made it much easier for me to see what is really important. Nothing matters more than our relationship with God. After that, it’s our relationship with our family and friends that matters. Those are the things that last. I am blessed to call so many of you at Curé among my extended family. Please pray for me as I go to Washington, and know that I will pray for you.

I’m Alive

June 26th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Dear friends,

This morning on my way home from Boy Scout camp I was involved in a major car accident. While traveling north on Interstate 49 I entered momentarily onto the shoulder. However, there was a parked car on the shoulder immediately in front of me. With not much time to react, I swerved over as best I could but still plowed the passenger half of the car into the back of the parked car at interstate speed.

My car spun around horizontally and then flipped in the air end over end and then rolling several times on the side of the road, eventually landing several hundred feet from the road.

Providentially, there were many Boy Scouts following who came to my help. After cutting me out of the car I finally ended up at the hospital. Miraculously my injuries consist only of a broken bone in my right wrist and some very sore and perhaps fractured ribs.

I remember invoking our Blessed Mother with each roll and give her and my guardian angel incredible thanks tonight. God is so good. This is as close as I want to come to death until its really time. In addition to God I owe incredible thanks to my good friend Terry Sexton who immediately came to the hospital and got people praying. I am so blessed today. Always wear your seatbelt and thank God for each day of life.

Homily 256 – 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 23rd, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Big Rewards from Small Commitments

Today’s homily was delivered to over 500 scouts present for Mass at the Chapel of the Twelve Apostles on the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation in Osceola, Missouri.

I love playing my trumpet. With all the activities that I did in school growing up, playing trumpet is one that I have continued to enjoy. People often wonder how I got started. The truth is, I just wanted to be my troop bugler. Little did I know that trying to fill that simple need of my troop back in 6th grade would lead to one of the most enjoyable leisure activities in my life.

God often works this way. He’s got a big plan for our happiness, but he only shows it to us in little bits. It takes saying yes to one little decision each day, taking one small step. Before you know it, you look back and see all the fruit that God brought from those baby steps. Let’s pray that we can all have the faith to make the commitments that God is asking of us.

Homily 255 – 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 16th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

What Does God Think About Sinners?

Today’s readings all consider the important question of sin and what to do with sinners. We get several examples of people who know they are sinners…David and the woman in the Gospel. We even get one example of a guy who thinks he’s not a sinner but everyone else is…Simon. Most importantly we get the example of Jesus and how to deal with all these people. From this we can learn just what God might think of us.