Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Homily Podcast



Homily 184 – 2nd Sunday of Advent

December 4th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Under Construction

Advent is a time filled with many treasured symbols: the Advent wreath, the Christmas tree, favorite foods and songs. In today’s homily I introduce my favorite Advent symbol: the orange construction cone. At first it may seem like an unlikely symbol for such a peaceful season, but if you look at the readings today, they’re all about road construction. Isaiah says plainly that our job this Advent is to build a highway for God.

How’s your road to God looking these days? Have you patched so many potholes that it looks more like a mine field? This Advent God invites us to put a big “under construction” sign out. We’ve got to do the hard work of repairing our road/lives through some spiritual resurfacing. No one likes construction while it’s going on, but there’s nothing nicer than a brand new road. The Sacrament of Penance is our chance to resurface our road and start over.

Finally, the season of Advent is one that can easily get out of control if we’re not careful. If we follow the wisdom of society we will wind up being very busy and arrive at Christmas exhausted and glad it’s over. To avoid this we need to slow down. Picture that construction worker on the side of the road with his big orange “SLOW” sign. Consider it a sign from God this Advent. Slow down, take time for prayer and quiet, and think of the beautiful new road God has planned just as soon as you get through this construction zone.

Homily 183 – 1st Sunday of Advent

November 27th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Resolve to Run Forth

Jesus tells us over and over in the Gospel today to “watch.” This is our attitude for the season of Advent. Just as the new translation of the Mass is causing us to have to watch carefully the words we use and pay attention, so we are meant to pay closer attention to our spiritual lives this Advent. This watchfulness of Advent is not a passive sitting back. Rather, the collect of today’s Mass prays that we will have “the resolve to run forth” to meet Christ at his coming.

Advent recognizes two comings of Christ. The obvious one is the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Yet, these first weeks of Advent urge us to prepare for a more important coming, the return of Jesus in Glory. This anxious expectation gives Advent and the Mass a sense of direction. We are not sitting around idle waiting, rather we are on a mission. May this season of Advent increase our resolve and an eagerness to welcome Christ at his coming.

Homily 182 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 13th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Pop Quiz

Like a pop quiz or a thief in the night, Jesus will return. The good news is that we know the questions that are on the test. We even know the answers. In the evening of life we will be judged on our love. How well did we care for the least of those among us? How well did we use the gifts God gave us? That is the emphasis of today’s Gospel. God has given each of us special gifts according to our ability and each of us is called to greatness. Let’s resolve not to compare ourselves to others but to do the best we can with the talents we have been given. If we do that, we will hear at the end of our life, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Homily 181 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 6th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Those Who Have Fallen Asleep

Paul uses the language of sleep to describe death. This makes death sound so temporary and indeed it is. The early Church had seen firsthand how Jesus could raise someone from the dead. They had experienced the resurrection of Jesus, a word literally meaning “to get up again.” It is not surprising then that the Christians refused the pagan practice of cremating the remains of those who had died. Instead they created large underground cemeteries such as the catacombs in Rome. There they placed the bodies of their loved ones awaiting that great day of awakening. This weekend’s homily explores the Church’s traditions regarding care of the body after death and explains what the Church really teaches about cremation.

Homily 180 – All Souls Day

November 2nd, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Prayer in Communion

Yesterday we honored the Church in Glory, the saints in heaven. Today we commemorate and pray for the Church Suffering, all those who have died and await the full glory of heaven in purgatory. There is a tendency today to “canonize” everyone who dies and talk as though it is certain that they are in heaven. Yet, the Scriptures tell us plainly that nothing imperfect can enter heaven. Certainly we know many of our deceased loved ones who we believe died in a state of grace. Yet, how many of us are completely free from all attachment to sin and are thus perfect when we die? Purgatory is the great gift of God’s mercy to allow us to get cleaned up before entering heaven.

On this day, we remember that it is a great spiritual work of mercy to pray for the dead. Let us remember our brothers and sisters who have died and can be greatly aided by our prayers, especially those forgotten souls who have no one to pray for them. May perpetual light shine upon them and may they rest in peace.

Homily 179 – Solemnity of All Saints

November 1st, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Heavenly Friends and Fans

To be a saint is to be in heaven. Today we celebrate all our brothers and sisters whom we know are in heaven. From there they behold God face to face forever. Thus they hold out for us the great example of where we are headed if we live heroic lives as they did. Yet, from this place of bliss they remain joined with us in the great Communion of Saints. Like the fans at a sporting event they cheer us on. They desire for us to share in their glory. May we be grateful this day and every day for the saints, our heavenly friends and our biggest fans.

Homily 178 – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 30th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Sharing Our Very Selves

St. Paul tells us in the second reading today that he is proud that he shared with his disciples, “not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well.” We all love teachers who put themselves into their teaching and give us more than just the words in the textbook. I think we love this quality in our priests as well. We love priests who understand us and with whom we have something in common. While we have beautiful examples of how the humanness of our priests helps us to know God better, their are also cases where the humanness of priests becomes a major stumbling block and even a scandal. It has always been this way since the beginning of the Church.

On this Priesthood Sunday we give thanks for our priests who are chosen from among us. We priests are called to image the perfect fatherhood of God, yet we often fall short, as all fathers do. Pray for your priests. Give thanks for the good you see, quickly overlook the bad, and remember that the two are always wrapped up together in the human condition. May God allow us as priests, broken though we are, to be living witnesses as we share not only the gospel of God, but our very selves.

Homily 177 – 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 23rd, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Affliction and Perfect Joy

St. Paul gives us what appears to be a paradox in the 2nd reading today. He praises the Thessalonians for accepting the Word “with affliction and joy in the Holy Spirit.” How can affliction and joy exist together? St. Francis of Assisi is a great model for solving this riddle. In his own unique way, St. Francis shows us how to radically live out the call of today’s Gospel to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. If we do that, we can have perfect joy no matter what affliction life throws at us.

Homily 176 – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 9th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Accepting the Invitation

In the new translation of the Mass which we will begin using this Advent, the words of consecration of the chalice will be changing. Instead of referring to the fact that Jesus shed his blood “for all” we will hear the priest refer to Jesus shedding his blood “for many.” While Jesus did indeed die for all, the new translation is not only faithful to the Latin, but also points out the sad fact that not all will accept Jesus’ offer of salvation. Like the people in the Gospel, many of us today make excuses as to why we have better things to do than accept God’s invitation.

Every Sunday we are invited to the marriage banquet prepared by God. How do we respond? Do we tell God that we have “better things” to do? If we do come to Mass faithfully each week, how is our attitude? Are we really participating and putting ourselves fully into it so as to “get something out of it?” Perhaps the meditation in today’s homily concerning our beloved Kansas City Chiefs football team will help.

Homily 175 – St. Francis of Assisi

October 4th, 2011, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The One Thing

I was conducting a parish retreat last weekend and so didn’t have a Sunday homily. As a bonus then, here is the homily I have at Bishop Miege High School for the homecoming Mass on the Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi. May we be like Mary in the Gospel and know how to find the one thing that is most important among the many. When we find that it is God that we need, may we be like St. Francis in leaving everything to follow God, placing nothing before him, not even sports.