Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Homily Podcast



Homily 203 – Holy Thursday

April 5th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Night of That Last Supper

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 wordsTantum 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.

Homily 202 – Palm Sunday

April 1st, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

A Week We Call Holy

How quickly on this Palm Sunday the cries of the crowd change from “Hosanna” to “Crucify Him.” It is a reminder to all of us that our faith can be very weak at times. All seems well in a moment of triumph, but then a moment of weakness finds us abandoning God. We need to strengthen our faith, to “keep watch and pray.” This week has been given to us as just such a time. This week we recall the greatest mysteries at the center of our Christian faith. It is a week to be set apart gaining spiritual strength and love. A week we simply call “holy.”

Homily 201 – 5th Sunday of Lent Year B

March 25th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Be Open To Something New

In the first reading today, the prophet Jeremiah foretells that soon God will do something new. He will make a “new covenant” with his people. If we really want to grow in holiness, we have to be open to God working in new ways in our life. This may mean getting out of our comfort zone and trying something new. Ultimately God wants everything from us, our entire life. Yet, he does not ask for it all at once. He gives us little opportunities to say yes to him everyday. If we give God just a little to start with, like a small grain of wheat, God will allow us to bear fruit abundantly.

Homily 200 – 5th Sunday of Lent Year A 3rd Scrutiny

March 25th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Allow For The Unexpected

By the end of Jesus’ public ministry, perhaps people had gotten used to the way he worked, even in his miracles. If someone was sick, or lame, or blind, you bring them to Jesus and he will heal them. As miraculous as that sounds, it had become somewhat commonplace with Jesus. Perhaps that is why in today’s Gospel Jesus does something so unexpected. He wants to stretch his disciples and show them that he is victorious not just over sickness and suffering, but over death itself.

Homily 199 – 4th Sunday of Lent Year B

March 18th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Banner of Victory

Perhaps it seems strange that we as Christians would use the cross with such pride, that we carry it as a banner of victory. On the cross Jesus looks like he’s been through war and looks defeated. Yet we know this is not the end of the story. Jesus indeed fought and died for the price of our freedom, but his death brought life to the world. If we follow Jesus, we must take up our cross. When we do, we shouldn’t be so surprised that we will end up looking like him, as though we’ve been through war. May we fight well this earthly battle that we may indeed share in the victory to come.

Homily 198 – 4th Sunday of Lent Year A 2nd Scrutiny

March 18th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Chosen for the Light

Our catechumens received a new title at the beginning of Lent. They are now known as the elect. The work elect means to chose and these men and women have been chosen for baptism this Easter. All of us should reflect on how special it is that God has chosen us. The gift given us in baptism is even more radical than if we were blind from birth and all the sudden could see like the man in the Gospel. In our baptism we were called from a life of darkness to walk in the light. May all of us use this Lent to strengthen this most important commitment of our baptism.

Homily 197 – 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A 1st Scrutiny

March 11th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink


A human being is full of desires. These were put there by God. Yet they are not ends in themselves. God’s plan is to lead us by our desires to him. In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses the ordinary thirst of a Samaritan woman to lead her to life-giving water in the spiritual life. Where are our desires leading us? Are they perhaps out of control? Lent is a great time to reorder our desires toward God, the only one who can truly fill us.

Homily 196 – 3rd Sunday of Lent Year B

March 11th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Thank God for Rules

Have you taken time lately to look at the owner’s manual for your car? You might be surprised to find a few new features there. God has also given us a spiritual owner’s manual for our lives. In it are many rules that tell us what we need to do in order to live life to the fullest. Do we take time to look over our spiritual owner’s manual? Or do we rather think that God’s rules are impositions that restrict our freedom? Today’s homily explores why we should instead see God’s rules as fatherly instructions for our happiness.

Archbishop Naumann and U.S. Bishops Hear from Pope About Marriage

March 9th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Archbishop Naumann is currently in Rome along with the bishops of KS, MO, IA and NE for the “ad limina” visit required of bishops every 5 years. This morning, Pope Benedict delivered to following address to them regarding the crisis of marriage and family in our country.

“In this talk I would like to discuss … the contemporary crisis of marriage and the family, and, more generally, of the Christian vision of human sexuality. It is in fact increasingly evident that a weakened appreciation of the indissolubility of the marriage covenant, and the widespread rejection of a responsible, mature sexual ethic grounded in the practice of chastity, have led to grave societal problems bearing an immense human and economic cost”.

“In this regard, particular mention must be made of the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage. The Church’s conscientious effort to resist this pressure calls for a reasoned defence of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation. Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage. Defending the institution of marriage as a social reality is ultimately a question of justice, since it entails safeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike.

“In our conversations, some of you have pointed with concern to the growing difficulties encountered in communicating the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family in its integrity, and to a decrease in the number of young people who approach the Sacrament of Matrimony. Certainly we must acknowledge deficiencies in the catechesis of recent decades, which failed at times to communicate the rich heritage of Catholic teaching on marriage as a natural institution elevated by Christ to the dignity of a Sacrament, the vocation of Christian spouses in society and in the Church, and the practice of marital chastity”.

“On the practical level, marriage preparation programmes must be carefully reviewed to ensure that there is greater concentration on their catechetical component and their presentation of the social and ecclesial responsibilities entailed by Christian marriage. In this context we cannot overlook the serious pastoral problem presented by the widespread practice of cohabitation, often by couples who seem unaware that it is gravely sinful, not to mention damaging to the stability of society. I encourage your efforts to develop clear pastoral and liturgical norms for the worthy celebration of matrimony which embody an unambiguous witness to the objective demands of Christian morality, while showing sensitivity and concern for young couples”.

“In this great pastoral effort there is an urgent need for the entire Christian community to recover an appreciation of the virtue of chastity. … It is not merely a question of presenting arguments, but of appealing to an integrated, consistent and uplifting vision of human sexuality. The richness of this vision is more sound and appealing than the permissive ideologies exalted in some quarters; these in fact constitute a powerful and destructive form of counter-catechesis for the young. … Chastity, as the Catechism reminds us, involves an ongoing “apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom”. In a society which increasingly tends to misunderstand and even ridicule this essential dimension of Christian teaching, young people need to be reassured that “if we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, absolutely nothing, of what makes life free, beautiful and great”.

“Let me conclude by recalling that all our efforts in this area are ultimately concerned with the good of children, who have a fundamental right to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships. Children are the greatest treasure and the future of every society: truly caring for them means recognising our responsibility to teach, defend and live the moral virtues which are the key to human fulfilment. It is my hope that the Church in the United States, however chastened by the events of the past decade, will persevere in its historic mission of educating the young and thus contribute to the consolidation of that sound family life which is the surest guarantee of intergenerational solidarity and the health of society as a whole”.

Homily 195 – 2nd Sunday of Lent

March 4th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Peaks and Valleys

Today Jesus gives his apostles a special glimpse of who he really is. Standing in the presence of the transfigured Christ with Moses and Elijah bearing witness the apostles know for sure that Jesus is God. Were we there we would indeed exclaim with Peter, “It is good that we are here!” Yet, they cannot stay on top of the mountain. Live is not live always on top of a mountain. Today’s homily explores how to manage the peaks…and valleys…of our life.