Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Homily 169 – 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: August 7th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Where is God?

In today’s first reading, the prophet Elijah has an amazing encounter with God. Mt. Horeb was the famous mountain where God appeared in smoke and fire to give Moses the 10 commandments. Elijah would have been full of expectation, and indeed while on the mountain he experiences some powerful signs. There is a strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire…all powerful signs that God had used in the past to show his presence. Yet, this time, Elijah discerns that God is not in any of these. Rather, Elijah encounters God somewhat unexpectedly in “a tiny whispering sound.”

Where do we expect to encounter God? Do we tend to look for him primarily in big and powerful ways, in ways that stir our emotions and excite us? This can happen, and we need it to happen every now and then. However, God is more often found not in loud exciting ways, but in silence. If we make time for silence, we might just be surprised that we will have an amazing encounter with God. In the ordinary work of our day, don’t forget to take some time to meet God, to be silent, and listen for the tiny whispering sound.

Homily 168 – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 31st, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Satisfaction for the Thirsty

Maybe we’ve never experienced a lack of water in our lives, but all of us experience thirst. We have a spiritual thirst put in us by God that only he can satisfy. Society gives us all kinds of things that it says will satisfy us, but they ultimately leave us unfulfilled. Today God invites us to “come to the water.”

After we have found the life giving water in our faith, Jesus then asks us to share it. Perhaps we are afraid. We may think that we’re not qualified to be an “evangelist.” The truth is that we don’t have to be experts to share the faith. Maybe we only have a little, like 5 loaves and 2 fish. We bring to Jesus the little that we have and he does the rest. All it really takes to be an evangelist is to recognize that you are someone who is thirsty and that you’ve found the source of water. Now who wouldn’t want to share that?

Our world is hungry like never before for the satisfaction only God will give. Don’t wait for someone else to do something about it. Jesus says to us as he said to the apostles…”Give them some food yourselves.”

Homily 167 – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

What’s in Your Field?

Jesus speaks today of a treasure hidden in a field. Hopefully we get the point that our faith is a treasure and our relationship with God worth “selling” everything. Truly there is wisdom in our Church beyond what Solomon could have imagined. Yet, do we realize this? Can we really say that our faith is what we value most of all?

We tend to focus on the man in the story who finds the treasure, but did you every stop to think about the man who sold him the field? He obviously didn’t know he had a treasure. Maybe he never bothered to really look around his field or else he could have found the treasure. As a result he probably sold his field cheap, no knowing what he had.

This parable is a warning to all of us. We have a treasure in the Church. However, if we fail to learn our faith, to dig around in our field, we will one day find the little faith that we had…gone. We will run the risk of leaving the Church and selling our field cheaply, believing that we actually got a pretty good deal on what we thought was just an empty field.

Homily 166 – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 17th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

A World Full of Weeds

With all the violence, difficulties, and scandals in our world, this place can really seem less than ideal. Well, it is. The good news is that we don’t have to make everything right in this world. We don’t have to fight to the death to avenge wrongs done to us. There is another world where all will be made right. As we go through this world, our task then is patience, like the farmer who allows the weeds and the wheat to grow together until the harvest.

While we’re at it criticizing the world and everyone else in it, we can often think that of course we’re the wheat. Is that so? Most of us probably look a little more like weeds than wheat at times. The good news is that God is not done with us. We are all works in progress and that is why we must be patient, with each other and with ourselves. The harvest will come when all will be made well, until then…patience.

Homily 165 – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 10th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Sink Your Roots Deep

Today’s homily was given in the Chapel of the Twelve Apostles on the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation in Osceola, Missouri.

Our young people today have so many options before them. Particularly alluring is the world of sports. It is not uncommon for kids to be playing multiple sports and giving great amounts of time to this. On top of sports there is a multitude of other activities to be involved in and it seems that no one wants to risk “missing out” on anything, so they try to do it all. In this way they seem to be a lot like the situation described in today’s gospel.

The gospel from today’s Mass describes a sower going out to sow. As he goes, it seems that he is throwing seed everywhere. Some lands in rocks, some on the trail, some among thorns, and some on good soil. Like kids who try to do everything, he seems to be casting seed everywhere, much of it having little lasting effect.

There is a notion of freedom today that relishes the ability to do whatever we want. However, I would propose that the true joy in life comes not from doing a great number of things, but rather in being committed to a few important things. The seed that falls on good ground needs time to stop and put down roots. We too need to stop trying to find happiness in the quantity of activities and realize that true joy and freedom will come only from commitment.

What is worthy of the commitment of our lives? For what are we willing to say that we will forgo all these other activities in order to commit to something special. The greatest joy in life comes when we find the special things that are worthy of our commitment, when we stop and put down our roots. While there will be many things along the way that will give great meaning to our life, ultimately only God is worthy of the total commitment of our lives. May we have the strength today to sink our roots deep in something of great meaning, most especially our faith.

 

Homily 164 – Immaculate Heart of Mary

Posted: July 3rd, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Gift of Freedom

This weekend we celebrate our freedom, our Independence Day. What could be more American than freedom? Yet, have you ever stopped to think about what that freedom really means or where it comes from? Ultimately, our freedom cannot simply be about doing whatever we want and no one stops us. True freedom is the freedom not to do what we want, but to do what we ought. We are most free when we become the people God created us to be.

In our Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers recognized that the right of people to be free comes not from government but from our Creator who has endowed us with “unalienable rights.” It was for the same reason that the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1950’s. Communism was trying to remove belief in God from public life, leaving only the state as the source of rights and freedom. If the government thinks that it gives us freedom, it can also try to take away our freedom. The recent attempts to remove the “Creator” from the Declaration or “under God” from the Pledge shouldn’t just make us sad, it should make us scared.

If we will not be a nation under God, then we will inevitably be a nation under tyranny.

The truth is that freedom comes from God and we are truly free only when we give ourselves completely to God. We have no better example us this than our Blessed Mother. She found great freedom in her complete obedience to God. An even more perfect example of this is God himself. Jesus entrusted himself completely to Mary as a little baby. If Jesus could give himself into Mary’s hands this way then we should too. Blessed Pope John Paul II took as his papal motto, Totus Tuus, “totally yours.” Everything we have belongs to God. In the great irony of the Christian life, it is when we claim nothing as our own and give ourselves totally to Jesus through Mary that we are able to be truly free.

Homily 163 – Corpus Christi

Posted: June 26th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Help for Failing Senses

At first it might seem strange to celebrate a day in honor of the Eucharist. Don’t we do that at every Mass? Of course, but today is a special day to recommit ourselves to our faith in the Eucharist. Sometimes we can let our faith grow weak, not really stopping to think who it is we receive in Holy Communion. It’s easy for our senses to be deceived since the Jesus comes to us under the appearance of ordinary bread and wine. We might doubt that this is really Jesus.

This was the case for a priest whose doubt of the Eucharist gave rise to the feast we celebrate today. Today’s homily tells the story of Fr. Peter of Prague and the great miracle God worked for him and for the Church in 1263. May we all recognize the great miracle that God works at Mass today and every day.

Baptist Blessings

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

Today is the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. St. John has the distinction of being among only Jesus and our Blessed Mother who are honored with the celebration of their birth on the Church calendar. Today is also a special day for me as St. John the Baptist is my primary patron and the namesake of this website. Shawn being the Irish rendering of John, that makes me “Shawn the Baptist.” I pray for the grace to be the faithful prophet that St. John was and to always point people to Jesus. That he may increase and I may decrease.

The Witness of Fr. Corapi

Posted: June 21st, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Fr. Corapi - The Black Sheep DogBy now many Catholics are aware of the scandalous situation regarding Fr. John Corapi, the once great preacher, teacher, and priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). I have refrained from posting comments about this as I don’t want to be seen as kicking a priest when he’s down. Fr. Corapi needs our prayers. He has done much good for the Church and no doubt Satan has tested him severely. Unfortunately, the great strength that was so attractive in his preaching has failed him at this critical moment.

Like many, I was incredibly surprised to hear Fr. Corapi’s statement that he is abandoning the priesthood of Jesus Christ to become “The Black Sheep Dog.” It is a move so bizarre and sad that for the first few hours after his announcement, the opinion among a good number of his fans was that his website had been hacked; this simply could not be him. Much of the analysis of this sad situation has been handled ably by others and you are welcome to see the National Catholic Register’s coverage for details. However, in light of the new statement Fr. Corapi released yesterday, I would like to add something of my own, as someone who once very much admired Fr. Corapi.

Perhaps the thing that most bothered me about Fr. Corapi’s proposed plan of action was that he indicated that he was resigning from public ministry and leaving the priesthood, yet seemed to think that he would just go on doing basically the same things he had been doing. “How on earth does he expect to do that?” I thought. How can someone who spent so much effort teaching people to love and respect the authority of the Church think that he is just going to continue, business as usual, while living a life radically opposed to his own teaching? Does he really think that somehow the priesthood was just superfluous to his teaching the Catholic faith? Does he really hold the priesthood that cheaply?

The answer came in his statement yesterday (see www.theblacksheepdog.us for more). Speaking of the great privilege he enjoyed as a sacred minister of the greatest gifts Our Lord ever gave us, of the supreme call from God he received to make Jesus Christ present thought the Sacraments, Fr. Corapi said simply,

I didn’t do very much of that, quite honestly, in the 20 years that I did minister. About 90% of what I did in the past did not require ordination.

To further answer all my questions, he concluded,

What I’m going to be doing in the future is pretty much the same thing [I’ve been doing].

No, no, and no. There is absolutely no way he will continue doing “pretty much the same thing” that he’s been doing. This whole situation reminds me of a quote of Pope Paul VI:

Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.

Fr. Corapi was a great teacher of the faith. He proclaimed the truths of the Catholic Church with great conviction. But people listened to him for only two primary reasons. First, because the truth he taught was so attractive. He taught the fullness of the faith to a culture that is often left with only watered down Catholicism. That this truth is attractive is nothing for which Fr. Corapi or any priest should dare take credit. When we give people authentic Catholicism it’s like water in the desert and it’s no great coup for a priest that people drink and desire more.

While it is true that “John Corapi” could go on proclaiming the truths of the faith “pretty much” as before, no one will listen to him. At least very few will listen, and that is because the second and most important reason people listened to Fr. Corapi was because he was a witness. Anyone can read the Catechism. People listened to Fr. Corapi because they found him to be an authentic, credible witness. He could command obedience to Holy Mother Church because he himself had pledged his life to such radical obedience. He had made public promises to God that his life was no longer his but was given totally to God through the Church. This is what made his teaching, and that of any true witness, powerful.

The “Black Sheep Dog” now thinks that he can simply go on doing “pretty much the same thing.” He is like Sampson who has not yet realized that his hair has been cut (no pun intended). The strength of the Catholic Church and her teachings remain, but Fr. Corapi’s strength to teach these truths is gone. He thinks that he can be a teacher without being an authentic witness. The words of Paul VI foretell his future. No one will listen to him any more…and that is a shame. We needed teachers like him.

Homily 162 – Trinity Sunday

Posted: June 19th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Fearful Yet Overjoyed

After encountering Jesus after the resurrection, the gospels describe the apostles as being “fearful, yet overjoyed.” Perhaps that’s the best description we can hope for to describe how we should feel in the presence of God. On today’s Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity we try to put into technical language what is ultimately a mystery. How do we properly describe God? Is God a powerful force that created everything, the “Lord” who appears to Moses in smoke and fire? Or is God a loving father, who sends his son on a rescue mission to save his beloved children? Yes…”both and.”

On this Fathers’ Day we are reminded that earthly fathers are meant to be an image of our heavenly Father. Although we should always know that our fathers love us, my experience is that when you’ve been bad, no words strike more fear than the infamous, “Wait until your father gets home!” Earthly fathers image this “both and” of the Trinity. God loves us, but he also expects certain things. We pray for our fathers today that God will strengthen them to carry out their mission. Through them, may we come to know a little bit better the love of the Holy Trinity.