Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Homily Podcast



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.

Homily 194 – 1st Sunday of Lent

February 26th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Baptism Saves You Now

There’s going to be a test at the end of Lent, and it’s not going to be about whether you managed to avoid dessert for 40 days. The test has six questions and you have to get all six right in order to pass. The good news is that today’s homily gives you not only the questions, but also the answers.

On Easter, the priest is going to ask us to renew the promises of our Baptism. Do we even know what those promises are? Do we know why they’re important? If someone asked you the question, “Are you saved?” would you be able to answer? Today’s homily will steer you safely through Lent and onto getting an A+ on the test this Easter.

Homily 193 – 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 19th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Rise and Walk

If we saw a man like in today’s Gospel who couldn’t walk or even move we would probably recognize that this person was in a very serious and sad condition. When Jesus encounters this man in the Gospel, he too recognizes a serious illness that needs healing, but not the one that we would automatically think of. Jesus looks right past the fact that the man is physically paralyzed, and instead sees that, even more seriously, he is spiritually paralyzed. The man is stuck in sin.

Jesus shows us that spiritual sickness is far more serious than any physical sickness. As we begin Lent this week, are there ways in which we are spiritually paralyzed?  Let’s all pray that this Lent we can make a good confession, take on some spiritual discipline, and hear those beautiful words of Jesus, “Your sins are forgiven…rise and walk.”

Homily 192 – Religious Liberty and Justice for All

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

This weekend and last weekend, bishops throughout the country have written letters to the faithful that were read at Mass in response the recent attack on religious liberty by our government, aimed particularly at the Catholic Church. My homily this weekend begins with Archbishop Naumann’s letter and continues with my own reflections. Archbishop’s letter can be found at the website of the Archdiocese,

My homily follows at the 4:30 mark of the recording:

Homily 191 – Catholic Schools Week

January 31st, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Learning and Living the Faith

This week we celebrate the ongoing legacy of a system of education that has been handed on to us as a treasured gift from past generations. Our Catholic schools continue to exist for one reason: to pass on the faith. This begins with outstanding teachers who form the minds of young Catholics in our great Tradition. Yet, intellectual knowledge of the faith is not enough. In a real sense, the faith cannot just be handed on; it must be caught anew by each generation. Our Catholic schools provide a wonderful environment for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully in our students. May God bless our dedicated educators as they work tirelessly to not only inform, but truly transform the lives of our children.

Homily 190 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 29th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Prophetic Witness of Celibacy

People are often confused by the meaning of celibacy practiced by those in religious life. Sometimes people think that priests are celibate because it gives them more time to devote to ministry. Sadly, sometimes people might assume that marriage is less holy than priesthood. Neither are the real reason for the celibate vocation. Rather, the celibate person serves as a prophetic witness to the reality of heaven.

Marriage and family are good, holy even. Celibacy is a sacrifice precisely because the priest or religious gives up something good. Yet, as good as this life is, it is not the greatest good. The celibate person is meant to be a sign reminding us of heaven. In heaven there is no marriage because it is as though we are all married to God. That relationship of love with God is so real that celibates forgo the early sign of marriage to point to the reality of the heavenly marriage awaiting us.

So, never feel sorry for your priests or religious, or wish for them to be married. We freely and joyful choose to give our lives completely to God. Pray that we may be good prophetic signs that point people to heaven.

Homily 189 – Epiphany

January 8th, 2012, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Model of the Magi

Today we rejoice in the manifestation of the Jesus to world, symbolized by the arrival of the “magi” in Bethlehem. The journey of the magi began long before Christmas. In them we can find a model for our Christian journey. Through the light of reason alone, interpreting the stars, the magi know that something special has happened and they follow the star. Needing more than just reason, they receive the last piece of the puzzle from God’s chosen people and form the Scriptures. This leads them to a personal encounter with Jesus in Bethlehem.

Our lives are meant to follow this example. What signs is God giving us? Are we following and using all the tools available in the Church and Sacred Scripture? Have we had a personal encounter with Jesus? Hopefully we can say yes to these things. However, one more thing remains. The Gospel says that after encountering Christ, the magi return by “another way.” We too must follow another way after meeting Jesus. May this new year be a time when each of us encounters Jesus in a new way and follows him more closely.

Homily 188 – Mary Mother of God

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

What Child is This?

We might think of Mary’s title “Mother of God” as saying something about Mary. Some even think that the title is too exalted for a mere creature, even the greatest of creatures such as Mary. Yet this title is important not so much for what it say about Mary, but rather what it says about the baby the Mary gave birth to in Bethlehem. Mary’s title answers the famous question in the Christmas carol, “What Child is This?”

Mary’s child is God. If we refuse to admit that Mary is “Mother of God” then we end up saying that Jesus was not God when he was born. The truth is that Mary gave birth to Jesus and Jesus is God. The title “Mother of God” is therefore not so much about Mary, but rather reminds us that this child born of the Virgin Mary is truly God in the flesh. This is what we celebrate at Christmas and this is why we honor Mary today.

Homily 187 – Christmas

December 24th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

What Christmas is All About

In the classic Peanuts show “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Charlie Brown famously asks, “Can anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?” His friend Linus then proceeds to give perhaps the most famous reading of St. Luke’s Gospel account of the birth of Jesus. St. John has his own version of the story, what one might call the “advanced” version of the Christmas story. John tells us, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” He also says beautifully that “The light shown in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The truth is that there remains much darkness in all of our lives. It is precisely to this situation that Jesus came and continues to come. God did not abandon the world 2000 years ago and he has not left us alone either. God has been and always will be with us. In times of darkness, the light shines all the brighter. In whatever situation we find ourselves this Christmas, God comes to us just as he did in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. This light brings us great hope, and that’s what Christmas is really all about.