Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Be Careful What You Steal

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

Theologically speaking, it is always stupid to break one of the ten commandments. However, some people add an exclamation point to the 7th commandment by stealing some really stupid stuff. For instance, don’t steal something that can automatically track where it’s at and report your exact position to the police, like stealing a GPS enabled phone. In a similar vein, a recent story from California falls into this category and I guess would be filed under “religiously stupid” acts.

A woman decided to steal a 1st class relic of St. Anthony from the church bearing his name and on the saint’s feast day nonetheless. Now, those who don’t fall into the “religiously stupid” category will quickly note that St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things. What do you suppose the chances would be of a 1st class relic of the patron saint of lost objects staying…lost? I’d say about zero, and that is how this bizarre story ended today. The relic, along with the stupid person who stole it, have been found. Another triumph for St. Anthony who today got himself…unlost.

 

Homily 161 – Pentecost

Posted: June 12th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Do Not Be Afraid

Today is not any ordinary day. Today is Pentecost. It is a day filled with the power of the Spirit. Today the apostles went from being locked in a room in fear to spilling out onto the streets to boldly proclaim the Gospel. The Spirit was present on another fateful Pentecost in Warsaw Poland in 1979. John Paul II returned to Poland for the 1st time as Pope and told the millions gathered, “Do not be afraid.” The Catholic Church in Poland came out of their locked rooms and the Spirit sowed the seeds that would lead to the end of atheistic communism in just 10 years.

The Spirit continues to come to us today. Pentecost is a day on which we can change the world…one family at a time. All it takes is one family, one person, to say yes to the Holy Spirit and we can change the world. Let’s not try to contain the Holy Spirit. Let’s say yes to the Spirit today, and when you do…do not be afraid.

Homily 160 – Ascension

Posted: June 5th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

I Am With You Always

There is more to reality than what we experience in the material world. Many things are very real that are beyond our senses. Today we celebrate the day when Jesus Ascended into heaven and left this material world. Yet, as he was leaving, he promised that “I am with you always.” As the Church fathers put it, the Christ of history is now present in mystery. Sometimes we think that the apostles had it better because they experienced Christ physically present in the world. The truth is that the presence of Christ which we experience today is every bit as real, more real in fact.

The Second Vatican Council taught that the presence of Christ can be experienced today through the Word of Sacred Scripture, through the Sacraments, the person of priest, and especially through the Eucharist. When we realize that Jesus is with us always, we are no longer tied to just one physical place as the apostles were. Now we are ready for mission. Jesus’ last words to the apostles were instructions to “Go!” So at the end of Mass, after we have been filled with the presence of Christ, we too are told to “Go!” As we are sent we hear Jesus say to us as he did to the apostles, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Homily 159 – 6th Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 29th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Reason for Our Hope

St. Peter reminds us in the 2nd reading today to always be ready to give an explanation for the “reason for your hope.” Perhaps we don’t know the faith as well as we should. Maybe we are afraid when others question or challenge us about teachings of the Church. St. Peter reminds us that the faith is reasonable. Our faith “makes sense” and can be defended. However, our faith is much more than just a reasoned deduction. Hope is not quite as tangible as reason, but is just as real. Our hope points us toward heaven and our relationship with God.

Homily 158 – 5th Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 22nd, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

To God We Plight Our Troth

In today’s gospel Jesus says that he goes to prepare a place for us and will then return to take us to be with him forever. It sounds like the end of the world…and it is. But, the language also tells us something about our relationship with God right now. In the time of Jesus, when a couple became engaged it was known as betrothal. The formal period of betrothal began when the husband paid the father of the bride the “bride-price.” The couple was then known as husband and wife. However, they were not yet married. The period of betrothal would last around a year.

During the year of betrothal, the husband had to ensure proper employment such that he could support a family and he had to go and build a home for this new family. Literally, he had to go and prepare a place for his wife and children. After a year, the marriage was sealed when the husband came to the home of the bride and took her in solemn procession into his new home. During this period of betrothal, the couple did not engage in marital relations. Rather, the time of betrothal was meant to prove that the couple could live chastely and were not mere slaves of their passions.

It is in this context that Jesus says in the gospel that he goes to prepare a place for us and will return to bring us to himself. Jesus is saying that he is our bridegroom who has betrothed himself to his bride the Church. This means that in this life we should be waiting expectantly for the coming of Jesus the bridegroom. It also means that during this time of preparation we are called to faithfulness. How are we doing?

We can certainly see that with regard to marriage we could be doing a lot better. Moving in together is no longer seen as the sign of marriage. In fact, couples live together today with almost no commitment at all. It wasn’t too long ago that if a boy tried to take some young lady to live with him outside of marriage that the father of the girl would have been there with a shotgun. Where are the fathers today to protect their daughters? Where are the fathers to show their sons how to be real men and care for women?

St. Philip the apostle begs Jesus today, “Show us the father.” Indeed, we are in dire need of strong fathers who will protect their families from evil. We also must see in Philip’s request the great desire we should all have to be in heaven. During this time of betrothal we pray that we can have the expectant joy of a bride preparing for her husband. We pray that we will be faithful.

Homily 157 – 4th Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 15th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Good Shepherd Sunday

We often think of sheep as being cute and fuzzy little creatures that you just want to hug when you see them. However, I was reminded of a different side of sheep recently when I saw a book written by a Protestant pastor entitled, “When Sheep Attack.” We often like to think of ourselves as cute little sheep, but the truth is that sometimes we attack. We often find ourselves frustrated with our shepherds. Yet, we need to stop and think about how we got these shepherds leading the Church in the first place.

The Church does not have the leaders she does because our bishops and priests are are so incredibly talented and holy. In fact the Church succeeds in spite of the often obvious unholiness of her leaders. There can only be one reason that the Church is what it is today, and that is because God is holy. He chooses to work through unworthy servants that he calls to be shepherds of his people. If chose the leaders of the Church, we would probably pick different people than what we’ve got, but then we’d also want to take credit for any success.

Today we thank God that we are not in charge of the Church; he is. If our shepherds are holy men, praise God. If we are frustrated by our shepherds at times, pray for them. Above all, trust that, no matter who the shepherd might be, the voice of the Good Shepherd speaks through them. Learn to hear his voice, no matter how unworthy his instrument may be. May God bless us with holy shepherds…and more of them!

Homily 156 – Divine Mercy Sunday

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

We Are the Blessed

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Like a time capsule left for us in scripture, these words are addressed to us living today. We never saw Jesus during his public ministry. We did not see him die on Good Friday. Except for a few mystics, we have never seen him alive after his resurrection. Yet, billions of Christians all over the world gather today and profess our whole-hearted belief in Jesus Christ. Have you ever stopped to think how amazing this is? St. Paul tells us that “without seeing him, you love him.” On this day that see our beloved Pope John Paul II officially named “blessed,” the words of Jesus remind all of us who believe that truly we too are among the blessed.

Homily 155 – Easter Sunday

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

We See and Believe

An atheist once admitted in a debate that, although he did not believe in the resurrection, the only logical conclusion was that the apostles did. He said it was completely absurd to think that the apostles made up a story of the resurrection, or faked it, or just thought it in their minds. How did he arrive at this conclusion? He said that the lives the apostles led after the resurrection, the testimony that they gave…and especially the testimony of laying down their lives as martyrs…could lead to only one conclusion. The apostles really thought they saw Jesus raised from the dead.

Now this atheist also believed that the apostles were hallucinating, but his conclusion is at least partly right. The lives of the apostles bore witness to what they had seen. What about our lives? We have the same chance that Peter and John had in the Gospel today. They saw an empty tomb and it says that St. John “saw and believed.” We can see the same empty tomb today in Jerusalem. Do we believe? If we do, is there the same kind of evidence in our lives such that even an atheist would have to say of us that there is no doubt that we really believe we have encountered Jesus raised from the dead?

Today, 2000 years later, all Christians gather on this Easter Sunday to boldly proclaim together, “We have seen the Lord!” Alleluia!

Homily 154 – Good Friday

Posted: April 22nd, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Strangest Day

It is a great mystery to think that the Almighty God became man and became a part of His own creation. Yesterday we celebrated the incredible mystery that this same God would then take ordinary bread and wine and change them into Himself. However, nothing can compare with what we celebrate today. Today is the strangest of days. On this day we recall the inexplicable truth that God died for us.

This event is made so real today that the sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated. Today we come confidently before the thrown of grace to receive God’s mercy. We venerate the wood of the cross now become the tree of life and we eat of it’s fruit, Jesus the crucified given us today in Holy Communion. Oh strange and blessed day on which the savior of the world died that we might live. Come, let us worship.

Homily 153 – Holy Thursday

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

Sing My Tongue the Savior’s Glory

This evening we sing an ancient hymn composed by St. Thomas Aquinas for the Mass of Corpus Christi in the 13th century. While most people will probably never read much of the volumes of theology he wrote, almost everyone is familiar with the words of his famous chant, Pange Lingua. We use the last two verses which begin with the words Tantum Ergo in the liturgy of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Tonight this chant serves to accompany the procession at the end of Mass whereby we spiritually follow Jesus as he leaves the upper room and goes to the Garden of Gethsemane. Tonight we sing of his glorious body and receive that same body through the gift of the Eucharist. Tonight we are Jesus’ “chosen band.”

Sing, my tongue, the Savior’s glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world’s redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
then He closed in solemn order
wondrously His life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
seated with His chosen band,
He the Pascal victim eating,
first fulfills the Law’s command;
then as Food to His Apostles
gives Himself with His own hand.

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling,
This great Sacrament we hail,
Over ancient forms of worship
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith will tell us Christ is present,
When our human senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son who made us free
And the Spirit, God proceeding
From them Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.