Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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New Missal Translation Example

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

As I give talks on the new translation of the Roman Missal which we will begin using this Advent, people are often interested to know just how much difference there really is between the current translation and the new translation. In some cases, there’s not much difference. However, I think “Blessing of Ashes” prayer on Ash Wednesday gives us a pretty good example of why a new translation was needed. Below are the current translation and then the new translation. Note that both prayers are supposedly “translating” the exact same Latin text.

Current
Dear friends in Christ,
let us ask our Father
to bless these ashes
which we will use
as the mark of our repentance.

Forthcoming
Dear brethren (brothers and sisters), let us humbly ask God our Father
that he be pleased to bless with the abundance of his grace
these ashes, which we will put on our heads in penitence.
O God, who are moved by acts of humility
and respond with forgiveness to works of penance,
lend your merciful ear to our prayers
and in your kindness pour out the grace of your blessing
on your servants who are marked with these ashes,
that, as they follow the Lenten observances,
they may be worthy to come with minds made pure
to celebrant the Paschal Mystery of your Son.

This is just one example of how what we have been praying has in many cases not been a “translation” at all, but rather a redaction or even a new creation. With the new translation, English speaking Catholics will once again be able to know that the prayers we are praying are in fact the same ones being used around the world rather than our own special editing. Much more will come in the upcoming months.

Homily 146 – Ash Wednesday

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

Today Is a Very Acceptable Time

Why do so many people seem to really enjoy Ash Wednesday and actual look forward to Lent? I think we all need to have that day when we are able to draw the line in the sand and head in a new direction. We get a glimpse of how much better we could be and we need a day on which we finally start. Today is that kind of day. We get a new beginning. This makes Lent not a season of sadness, but a season of hope. We hope for a future free from our attachments to sin. We pray for the new freedom of Easter and know that today can be that day when we really start to change our lives. If we’ve been waiting for just the right day to begin our new life, here it is. Today is a very acceptable time.

Homily 145 – 9th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Riding the Walls

St. Ignatius teaches that the devil is like the leader of an opposing army that rides around the walls of a city looking for a weak point at which to attack. When the weakness is found it is there that the attack begins. Ignatius proposes that instead of allowing ourselves to be continually attacked we should instead go out and round around our own walls. Upon finding a weakness we should immediately begin to repair it and build it up. Lent is a great time for going out and riding around our walls. We seek to strengthen our weaknesses by taking on voluntary penances. If we challenge ourselves this Lent we will arrive at Easter with our walls in good repair and with much new strength.

Homily 144 – 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Finding Peace

We live in a very busy world. It seems that everywhere we look we find stress and anxiety. Today’s gospel is meant to provide us some time to calm down. Jesus asks us to consider the “Lilies of the Field” and how the flowers and other plants and animals don’t worry about anything that we normally do, and yet they are provided for by God. Our peace comes from knowing that God loves us and will provide for us, no matter what our present situation might be. If we can trust in our Heavenly Father, then we will have a peace that the world cannot give.

Homily 143 – 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 20th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Perfect End

In this weekend’s gospel, Jesus continues where he left off last week with more hard sayings about what it really means to keep the law. Just when we might be thinking that it is impossible to really keep the commandments, Jesus offers this consoling summation. “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Well, that certainly doesn’t seem to offer much comfort. Just in case there was any doubt, yes, Jesus wants us to be perfect. Yet, if we look at the Greek behind this word, perhaps we may still find some hope.

The Greek word translated as “perfect” is “telos.” It’s a world that means refers to the end or reason for something. A perfect bridge would be one that best achieves the end of what a bridge is supposed to do. A perfect human being is therefore one who lives in a way that is ordered to his or her end, his or her “telos.” Jesus is essentially telling us to live up to who we were created to be. We’ve got to know the purpose for which we were created if we are ever going to find fulfillment. We’ve got to know where we’re going if we expect to get there.

St. Paul gives us the answer in today’s 2nd reading. “Do you not know that you are temples of the Holy Spirit?” We were created to be temples of God. That is why Leviticus tells us to “Be Holy just as I your God am Holy.” We were made for holiness; we were made to be with God forever in heaven. That is our “telos”. If we know that this is our reason for existence then think how much difference it can make in our lives. Every decision now comes down to one question. “Does this help me achieve my end or not?” “Does this help me get to heaven or not?” If we want to be perfect then let’s choose the things that will get us to heaven. Now that doesn’t sound so impossible after all.

Homily 142 – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Fulfilling the Law in Our Hearts

Sometimes we think of the Old Testament as the time when God had all those rules and laws. We think that Jesus came and did away with all those silly rules and just told us to love everybody. Today’s gospel shows us that this is hardly the case. Jesus tells us plainly that he has come not to abolish even the smallest part of the law, but to fulfill it. Jesus takes several examples from the 10 commandments and seems to really raise the bar. In fact, what he is doing is showing us what the commandments were all about in the first place.

The Christian life cannot be simply about rules. It’s about what is in our hearts. Each of Jesus’ examples points beyond the law to look deeper within. When we look at what is in our hearts, what do we find? If we don’t like what’s there, we know we need to go to confession. Nothing that is in our heart will be able to remain there very long; it will come out some way. Jesus offers us not an abolishing of rules, but rather the freedom to live as God intended. St. Paul reminds us that the fulfillment of the law is love. Let’s hope that one day we can look into our hearts and there find only love. Then we will have fulfilled the law.

Homily 141 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Catholic Schools Week

The Rite of Baptism reminds parents that they are to be “the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith…may they be also the best of teachers.” Parents have a sacred role in helping their children to know and love God and, ultimately, to arrive together in heaven. Our Catholic schools have long be a valuable tool in assisting parents in this mission. Today we begin a week of celebration of the great accomplishment of our Catholic schools in this country. We give thanks for the faith and those who have passed it on faithfully for 2000 years.

Address to the Kansas Congressional Pro-Life Prayer Breakfast

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

Kansas Must Lead

I delivered the following talk as the keynote address at the annual Kansans For Life congressional prayer breakfast held in Topeka. In attendance were the various senators and representatives that serve Kansas both in on the national level in Washington and on the state level here in Topeka. Newly inaugurated governor, Sam Brownback, and members of his administration were also present. It was a great honor to deliver this address on the 150th anniversary of the day Kansas became the 34th state. May God continue to bless Kansas and use us to bring about a culture of life.

Address to the 2011 Kansas Congressional Pro-Life Prayer Breakfast (audio – mp3)

Address to the 2011 Kansas Congressional Pro-Life Prayer Breakfast (text – pdf)

I was also priviledged to deliver the keynote address at this breakfast two years ago. Video of that address can be found under the entry for March 11, 2009.

Homily 140 – The Baptism of the Lord

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

Being the Beloved

Today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord marks the conclusion on the season of Christmas. In the Gospel we hear the voice of the Father speaking of Jesus saying, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” At Christmas we celebrate that Jesus was truly human and so it must have made him very happy to know that he was loved by his father. We too are beloved sons and daughters of God. In our baptism God claimed us for his own. Through all the joys and difficulties of life we return to the surety of our identity. Who we are is not dependent upon how much money we have or how successful we are in the world’s eyes. Who we are was established at our baptism. We are the beloved of God and He is pleased with us.

Oestrgen Causing Cancer in Young Women

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

My daily news feed had an article with the above headline that caught my attention. What exactly is “oestregen” and why has it started causing cancer in young women? The article offers the following explanation:

“The hormone oestrogen could be fuelling head and neck cancers in young women, explaining why the disease is on the increase in that group, a US team says.”

This left me confused. It doesn’t really explain why “the disease is on the increase.” The whole premise of the article is that oestrogen is causing cancer. The logical question would be “what has caused this apparent increase in oestregen that is causing the cancer?”

Alas, the article doesn’t answer that obvious question. It doesn’t even raise it as a question. So, I did a quick Google search on this mysterious cancer-causing hormone. It turns out that oestregen is the main ingredient in the oral contraceptive pill. Who would have thought it?

It seems like the more correct headline would have read “Contraceptive Pill May Fuel Oral Cancer in Young Women.” I wonder why they didn’t just come out and say that. If a chemical taken by millions of women turns out to cause cancer, the media would want people to know, right?