Posted: July 4th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
Today we rightfully give thanks for the blessings of freedom we enjoy in this country. Our scripture readings today also call us to give thanks for an even greater freedom, the freedom that only God can give. What is the source of this freedom? Isaiah reminds the Israelites that as bad as things might seem in exile, they have cause for hope. One day they will return to Jerusalem. Jesus teaches the apostles in the Gospel that if they have him, they needn’t fear that anything will be lacking. There is a great freedom in knowing that God is in control. Yet so many of us rarely experience this kind of freedom. What gets in the way? In a word…fear.
We’re afraid of so many things. We’re afraid of loosing our job, afraid we won’t find a job, afraid our kids will lose the faith, afraid our health will fail and list goes on and on. Ultimately, we’re afraid that we will die. In little ways and big ways we are confronted with death every day. If we live in fear of dying, we are not truly free to live.
St. Paul gives us the answer to this problem in our second reading. He talks of how we should boast in the cross of Jesus. The cross seemed like the ultimate defeat and yet was turned into the symbol of Jesus’ triumph over death. The cross reminds us that death is not the end and that Jesus has conquered death. We need no longer fear death.Boasting in the cross is now our ticket to true freedom. If we have nothing to fear from death then we need not be afraid to encounter the cross in our life. To live in the knowledge of the resurrection gives us a freedom the world can never give.
Today we are especially thankful for the freedom we have in this country and we know that it was bought at a great price. Men and women throughout history have given their lives that we might live free. Even greater though is the freedom in God that points beyond this world. This freedom too was bought at a great price. Jesus gave his life on the cross that each of us might live in freedom, freedom from sin and death. This is a victory we celebrate every Sunday. Each week we can rightfully celebrate the Lord’s day knowing that it is indeed our Independence Day.
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Posted: June 26th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
Freedom, Commitment, Fidelity
50th Wedding Anniversary of Joe and Pat McGreevy
St. Paul speaks today in the second reading about freedom. Perhaps no other value expresses better the core element of what it means to be American. But what do we really mean by freedom? Today, we tend to think that freedom means being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, and no one can stop you. We also value freedom as “keeping all our options open.” St. Paul, and the Church, have a different view of freedom in mind. Freedom should be seen as the ability to be who you were created to be. Our freedom is a gift to be used in such a way that we make ourselves a gift to others. When we discover how we are to make this gift we are called to use our freedom to make a commitment.
If freedom is seen as “keeping all your options open” then commitment would seem to be the opposite of freedom. After all, doesn’t making a commitment limit one’s freedom? While committing to something will necessarily close the door to certain other options, it is actually through making a commitment that we become most free. A life that is lived with “all options open” is a wasted life. When you make a commitment, especially the commitment of your life as in marriage or religious life, then and only then can you become who you were created to be. Then you find a new freedom that you never knew before.
After a commitment is made, there can be only one course of action…fidelity. If you think about it, we wouldn’t need to have solemn public commitments in marriage if it were easy to stay married. We wouldn’t need sacred vows in religious life if everyone who became a priest or religious just naturally went on without any temptations to think that maybe the grass was greener somewhere else. It is precisely because of the great difficulty in living out our vocations that we need commitment. If the only thing that keeps you coming to Mass every Sunday at times is that you know you have a commitment on pain of mortal sin, well…good! That’s what the commitment is there for…to get you through the tough times.
This weekend we celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Joe and Pat McGreevy. We celebrate the commitment they made 50 years ago and have been living out in fidelity ever since. It has of course not always been easy, and that is precisely why the joy of celebration today is so special. They’ve remained faithful to their commitment through good and bad times, just as they promised each other. What is the result? Joy and peace…and life. Just look at the family that they have around them and you can see the fruit of a commitment faithfully lived. We thank them for their faithfulness and witness and ask God to strengthen all of us in our commitments that we too may know this great peace and joy.
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Posted: June 19th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
Why We Believe in the Eucharist
The following homily was given at the monastery of Santa Maria Real in Spain while on pilgrimage. A Eucharistic miracle took place here in which the appearances of the the consecrated bread and wine in the Mass were changed along with the substance into true flesh and blood.
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Posted: June 6th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
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Posted: June 5th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
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Posted: June 4th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
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Posted: June 3rd, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
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Posted: May 31st, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
The Courage to Get Up and Go
Today we have the celebration of the Feast of the Visitation on the Church calendar combined with the American celebration of Memorial Day. I think we often overlook how difficult a journey it was for Mary to travel from Nazareth all the way to Jerusalem and on the the “hill country” town of Ein Karem, the home of Elizabeth. We see Mary respond so easily. She goes “with haste” even. She is a woman of virtue who sees a need and just goes. On this Memorial Day, the story of the visitation reminds me of this same kind of spirit in those who have given their lives in service of our country. When there was an urgent need, people in trouble, the world threatened, how many American soldiers volunteered and went “with haste” to do their duty, many giving their lives in this service. We are grateful today for this spirit of sacrifice that has bought us the gift of freedom. May each of us have this spirit as we look out for our brothers and sisters in need and go “with haste” to help them.
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Posted: May 30th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
A Communion of Love
The Trinity is a complicated thing. Today’s homily tells how even the great St. Augustine was reminded that he would never be able to fully understand this mystery. How can God be 3 persons in 1 God? The things we can say about each person of the Trinity we learn from sacred scripture. Perhaps the most obvious thing about the Trinity…and the easiest to understand…is often the most overlooked. God is not an isolated individual, but is rather a communion of persons. You could say that our God is a family of persons.
To say that “God is love” is often hard to grasp. To love, you need someone to love. You can’t love in isolation. It is not surprising then that God would not be alone, but would be a communion. The Trinity is a communion of love. Perhaps the easiest way to understand the meaning of this is to look at our families. They are supposed to be communions of love. Let us look to the Trinity today as our example. Let us be willing to lay down our life in love for others. We just might find the Trinity a little more understandable.
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Posted: May 27th, 2010, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
Being a Good Priest
We are all familiar with the ordained priesthood, but did you know that everyone who is baptized is a priest? The job of a priest is to offer sacrifice and we see the ordained priest offering the sacrifice of Jesus at the altar. However, all of the baptizied should come to Mass with something to offer. We “offer up” all the struggles and difficutlies of our day in union with the sacrifice of Christ. So be a good priest and come to Mass with an intention next time and offer it up to God.
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