Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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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?

Homily 139 – Epiphany

Posted: January 2nd, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Time to Make God Manifest

The word Epiphany means “to make manifest.” Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, is today made manifest as symbolized by the arrival of the magi. It is also traditional on this day to solemnly announce the date of Easter for the upcoming year. As you listen to this chant, maybe the dates aren’t so important any more, but notice the structure. Everything revolves around Easter. Everything else is reckoned according to the fixing of this date first. Likewise we are told that what Easter is to the year, Sunday is to the week.

The new civil year is often a time when we get a new calendar. With today’s proclamation in mind you might ask yourself, “What do I put on my calendar…what is most important?” Particularly, as we look at our weekly calendar, can we truly say that Sunday is the center and everything else revolves around this most important day? What place does Sunday Mass have on our calendars? If someone looked at our calendar, would they be able to conclude that Sunday Mass is the central focus of our week around which everything else takes its place?

The star of Bethlehem manifested the presence of Jesus to the magi. We pray that our lives will also make God manifest to those around us.

Homily 138 – Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

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

Mother and Protector

Mothers protect their children; that’s what they do. It is not too hard to imagine Mary protecting the baby Jesus and then the child Jesus. She would have even sought to protect him in his adult life. Today’s feast, which would seem to be about Mary, is another example of Mary protecting her son…but this time in the realm of theology. To say that Mary is the “Mother of God” is not so much to say something about her, but to say something about Jesus. Namely, Jesus is God…always was…didn’t become God sometime after he was born.

Mary gave birth to a person who had two natures, one human and one divine. While Mary is not the origin of Jesus’ divine nature, when speaking of Jesus’ divine nature it is correct and necessary to say that Mary gave birth to God. To say anything less would be to say that Jesus was not God when he was born. May Mary continue to protect us during this new year, even in the realm of theology. May she lead us closer to Jesus her son.

Homily 137 – Christmas Mass During the Day

Posted: December 25th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

I’m Coming Down There

Homily 136 – Christmas Mass at Midnight

Posted: December 25th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Light for Those in Darkness

Homily 135 – 4th Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 19th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Brought to You by the Letter “O”

One of the most beloved songs of Advent is the famous “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” However, few people are aware of the origin of this classic. During the last 7 days of Advent, the official Evening Prayer of the Church contained in the Liturgy of the Hours has a series of special antiphons to accompany the chanting of the Magnificat. Each antiphon invokes a different title of of the coming messiah. They also all happen to start with the letter/word “O” and hence have come to be known as the “O” antiphons. Each of the 7 verses of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is actually an arrangement of one of these famous antiphons which date back to the 5th century.

Today’s homily explores each of these seven antiphons and how they can make Advent, and the famous song, more meaningful. The Latin and English texts of the antiphons follow:

LATIN: O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae. 
ENGLISH: O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.

LATIN: O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.. 
ENGLISH: O Lord and Ruler the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come, and redeem us with outstretched arms.

LATIN: O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.
ENGLISH: O Root of Jesse, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: come, to deliver us, and tarry not.

LATIN: O clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris.
ENGLISH: O Key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

LATIN: O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol iustitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis.
ENGLISH: O dawn of the east, brightness of light eternal, and sun of justice: come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

LATIN: O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.
ENGLISH: O King of the gentiles and their desired One, the cornerstone that makes both one: come, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth.

LATIN: O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster.
ENGLISH: O Emmanuel, God with us, our King and lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: come to save us, O Lord our God. 

Homily 134 – Monday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Posted: December 13th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Balaam and His Advent Donkey

The time of Advent and Christmas is filled with traditional stories. The greatest story ever told is that of the birth of Jesus. We’ve got stories of shepherds and magi. We even have beloved secular stories like The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol. One lesser known classic Christmas story is actually found in the book of Number in chapters 23 and 24. Our first reading today gives us the very end, but misses the best part of the story. Nothing says “Christmas” like a talking donkey, and that’s exactly what we have for your listening pleasure today. So light the fire, gather the kids, press play, and relax for the telling of a Christmas classic.

Homily 133 – 3rd Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 12th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Freedom from Edom

The prophet Isaiah prophesies in today’s first reading that “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.” The places referred to here are not generic but actually refer to the region south of the Dead Sea on Israel’s southeastern border. This region was the land of Israel’s great rival, the land of Edom. The kingdom’s of Judah and Edom were constantly waring back and forth and taking over the other’s land. Edom was a real thorn in the side of Judah and there was never peace with them but always stress and tension.

It is to this dry and battle-plagued region that Isaiah addresses words of comfort. “Fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication.” God is coming to smite Edom and bring peace to his people in Judah. Notice that God’s people do not save themselves. They need their vindicator. The words of Isaiah are also meant to bring comfort to us today.

What are the stresses in our life that are constantly tugging at our borders like Edom? No doubt there are many external pressures. Yet, the greatest force that makes war on us and robs us of our peace is our own sinfulness. How often we become discouraged by our sins and weighed down with guilt. The devil leads us into sin and then is there constantly beating us up over our failures. God says to us “Fear not!” He comes to be our vindicator and wants to bring peace to our borders.

Notice however that, like Israel, we cannot save ourselves. Our vindicator comes to us through the Sacrament of Pennance to bring us his peace and healing. The other problem Edom created for Israel was that they cut off the pilgrimage routes to Jerusalem so that people could not worship God in freedom. Sin does the same thing to us. It prevents us from worshiping God with a clean heart in freedom.

This Advent, let’s get to confession. Let’s allow God to defeat the Edom in our life and open the way home to full participation in the sacramental life of the Church. If we do this, we will indeed have great cause to sing Gaudete, Rejoice! Our God comes to save us and bring us his peace.

Homily 132 – Immaculate Conception of Mary

Posted: December 8th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Prepared for a Mission

In today’s celebration we recognize the great gift that God gave to Mary in protecting her from all stain of original sin from the first moment of her conception in the womb of her mother Anne. In this singular privilege, we see that God had a mission in mind for Mary from before she even existed. Indeed, he had her in mind right from the beginning in Genesis when the first woman failed to say yes to God. Mary would be the new Eve that would say yes to God and her son would crush the head of the serpent.

God preserved Mary from original sin in order to prepare her to be the Mother of God. That was the mission for which she was created. We too have our mission. God also knew us before we were conceived. As was true for Mary, we’ve got to find our mission for which God has prepared us. We honor God today for the gift given to Mary. However, we also honor Mary for saying yes to this rather frightening and unknown plan of God. We pray that through her intercession, we too may always say yes to God’s plan for our life.