Posted: February 27th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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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?
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.
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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.
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Posted: December 25th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
I’m Coming Down There
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