Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Homily 8 – Feast of St. Lawrence

Posted: August 10th, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Cheerfully Knowing Where You’re Going

The words of Jesus in today’s Gospel can sound harsh as he tells us, “Whoever hates is life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” Jesus is reminding us to have our priorities straight and to know where we are going. When you consider eternal life in heaven, it is true that this life pales in comparison. St. Lawrence knew his goal was heaven. This faith allowed him to courageously surrender his life in this world rather than risk losing eternal life in heaven. St. Paul reminds us today that “God loves a cheerful giver.” St. Lawrence showed this cheerfulness right to the end as it is told that while he was being martyred by being grilled to death he cheerfully told his torturers, “You can turn me over now; I’m done on this side.” May we, like St. Lawrence, always be mindful of our ultimate destination and thus cheerfully live out our days on earth, whatever challenges might come.

Homily 7 – Memorial of St. Dominic

Posted: August 8th, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Another New Evangelization

The story of the early Church is filled withthe tales of the apostles going out and spreading the faith all over the world. Little by little, the faithspreads and even entire lands become “Christian.” Unfortunately, things don’t stay this way forever. Over times, the lands once famously converted by St. Paul fell away from the faith, came back again, and fell away again, over and over. Despite the initial evangelization of a culture, it is all too common that heresy gradually creeps in and soon the faith is lost. A “new evangelization” is then needed to go and plant to seeds of faith once again. St. Dominic encountered this problem in southern France in the 13th century. He was saddened that people did not know their faith and so had gradually fallen into heresy. He founded a special Order of Preachers, the “Dominicans,” to help teach people the truths of their faith. Mary appeared to him bringing the gift of the Rosary to aid in his task. Today we find ourselves in similar circumstances as St. Dominic. Once again people don’t know their faith and thus are falling away. For this reason the Pope has called for a “New Evangelization.” This isn’t the first new evangelization and it won’t be the last. With the prayers of St. Dominic and Our Lady, we know that we will be successful.

Homily 6 – Feast of the Transfiguration

Posted: August 6th, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Glimpses of God to Keep Us Going

Jesus gave Peter, James, and John a great gift on Mt. Tabor. For a brief moment, they saw the divinity of Jesus as clearly as any human eye can on this earth. We might wonder why Jesus didn’t reveal himself this clearly to everyone. He reserved this special moment not even for the 12 apostles, but only a chosen 3. Ultimately, the lesson is that God has never acted in such a way as to force himself upon our intellect or compel our will. In heaven we will have that beautiful Mt. Tabor experience permanently, but here on earth we are still on the way. Peter wants to stay on the mountain as well all would, but this vision is given not that Peter, James, and John might stop and stay. Rather the vision is given to strengthen them for the struggle of the cross that lies ahead. We too have moments in our life where we see God clearly, and they do often seem few and far between. We take courage as we look to the joy of beholding Jesus face to face permanently in heaven, but for now we treasure these transfiguration moments in our lives, these glimpses of God that keep us going.

Homily 5 – Dedication of St. Mary Major

Posted: August 5th, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Mother of God and Our Mother

The Council of Ephesus in the year 431 officially affirmed what the Church had always believed, that Mary is rightly called Theotokos or “Mother of God.” There was great celebration in the city of Ephesus and in Rome a certain nobleman decided to give his entire estate to the building of a grand church in honor of the Mother of God. When deciding where to build the church, it was revealed in a vision that the church should be built on the hill where snow would fall on the following day, August 5th. Despite being the middle of summer, the following day found the Esquiline hill covered in snow and the Basilica of St. Mary Major was built on this site. Today’s feast is thus also known as Our Lady of the Snows. Over the centuries the people of Rome have come to this church to implore the intercession of Our Lady in times of difficulty. We have no greater intercessor among the saints than the Mother of God, for she is also our mother.

Homily 4 – Memorial of St. John Vianney

Posted: August 4th, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

I Saw God in a Man

When Peter sees Jesus walking on the sea, he briefly forgets all the trouble they are in on account of the storm. Instead, he is consumed with one thought; he wants to do what Jesus does. He goes out on the sea to meet Jesus, but more importantly, to be like Jesus. This is our call as Christians, to become “another Christ.” St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, did this so well that when someone asked a lawyer returning from Ars what he had seen there he replied, “I saw God in a man.” May we live our lives in such a way that people see Christ in us.

Welcome to My New Blog

Posted: August 3rd, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

I first started a blog in 2005 and have been a faithful user of the Xanga platform since then. Over the years I’ve noticed that Xanga seems to have fallen by the wayside as far as mainstream blogging platforms go. However, a recent event convinced me that it was time to migrate. I sent a link from my blog to my Archbishop and he wrote back that the firewall at the chancery had blocked the entire Xanga domain as “obscene.” Well…

I decided if I was going to move, I’d go all out. So, I registered this new snazzy domain (Shawn is the Irish version of John and I take John the Baptist as my principal patron saint) and got my self-hosted WordPress site all up and running…including the much demanded homily podcast. As you can see, I still have only the very basic standard WordPress theme and have much work to do. I’m debating about migrating over all the old posts from Xanga, but that could be a chore. We’ll see. Thanks for visiting and stay tuned.

My old blog, Diary of a Pilgrimage

Homily 3 – Monday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time

Posted: August 3rd, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Moses Learns How to Lead

Moses takes on the weight of leading God’s people and finds it too heavy. God reminds him that he’s not supposed to be carrying it by himself. Both Moses and the apostles in today’s gospel learn that if we try to do everything by ourselves, we are bound to get frustrated and fail. Yet, when we allow God to lead, there is no difficulty that can’t be overcome.

Homily 2 – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Posted: August 2nd, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

Last week in part 1 of a 4 part series on the Eucharist, I spoke of the Mass in the context of the traditional “family meal.” Jesus wants to share an intimate meal with us and to build up our family, the body of Christ. This week I offer the image of the Mass as sacrifice. What do we mean when we refer to the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?” God spent thousands of years forming his chosen people in the practice of sacrifice. This context is just as important for us today if we are going to understand what happens at Mass and what our role is.

Homily 1 – Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori

Posted: August 1st, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

We Need a Jubilee…Especially for Marriage

St. Alphonsus is one of the 33 doctors of the Church and is known for his teachings on the Eucharist, Mary, and the moral law.

The First Priest in Space

Posted: July 23rd, 2009, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

As many of you are aware, this past week has marked the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I confess that I do tend to fit the category of the proverbial “space cadet” and have been watching a lot of old TV coverage and reading a lot of books about the space race lately. In a recently released book I came across this rather interesting quote from one of the people charged with selecting the very first group of astronauts:

“When NASA began looking for astronauts, we spent a long time discussing the psychological requisites necessary for an astronaut, and the result of our discussion was that we ought to look for them among the priests….A young, healthy priest, qualified in engineering, in chemistry, in medicine, in geology, and able to pilot a plane competently” (Rocket Men, Craig Nelson, pp34-5).

I might have to learn a little more in the medicine and geology fields, but as for the rest I think I fit the bill very nicely. If anyone from NASA is out there reading, I recommend revisiting this initial wisdom. To think that if we had started the space program today I could have been one of the first Mercury astronauts! I thought getting my pilot’s license would be as close as I ever got to space, but now I have new hope. Therefore…

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the next decade is out, of landing a priest on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

If you thought “man on the moon” was impressive, just wait until you experience “Mass on the moon”!