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Hayden Faculty Retreat 2009 – Talk 2

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

Lessons from the Lunar Landing
2009 Hayden Faculty Fall Retreat

Talk 2

Why?

Earthrise

The four “causes” of Aristotle
Material – what’s it made out of?
Formal – what is it?
Efficient – who made it?
Final – why?

“After all the training and studying we’d done as pilots and engineers to get to the moon safely and get back, and as human beings to explore moon orbit, what we really discovered was the planet Earth.”
- Bill Anders, Apollo 8 Astronaut

On Christmas Eve 1968 the crew of Apollo 8 was scheduled to do a live television broadcast from the moon. It would be watched by the largest television audience in history at that time. Mission Control reminded the crew of this fact and admonished them, “You better think of something good to say.” They chose to read the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis. Over 2 billion people, more than half of all people alive at the time watched.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, d“Let there be an expanse1 in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

“A merry Christmas and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”
- Frank Borman, Apollo 8 Astronaut

“Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made? Was not this entire visible universe made for your dwelling? It was for you that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom; for your sake was the night regulated and the day measured, and for you were the heavens embellished with the varying brilliance of the sun, the moon and the stars.”
- St. Peter Chrysologus

“When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place— What is man that you are mindful of him, mortal men that you care for them? Yet you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field,the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!
- Psalm 8:4-10

Hayden Faculty Retreat 2009 – Talk 1

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

Lessons from the Lunar Landing
2009 Hayden Faculty Fall Retreat

Talk 1

Where?

 Kennedy Addresses Congress

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”
- John F. Kennedy, Speech to Congress, 1961

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
- John F. Kennedy, Rice University, 1962

“What is the purpose of a newborn baby?”
- Werner von Braun, Rocket Scientist

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”
- God , Jeremiah 1:5

“They told Moses: “We went into the land to which you sent us. It does indeed flow with milk and honey, and here is its fruit. However, the people who are living in the land are fierce, and the towns are fortified and very strong. Besides, we saw descendants of the Anakim there. Amalekites live in the region of the Negeb; Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites dwell in the highlands, and Canaanites along the seacoast and the banks of the Jordan.” Caleb, however, to quiet the people toward Moses, said, “We ought to go up and seize the land, for we can certainly do so.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We cannot attack these people; they are too strong for us.” So they spread discouraging reports among the Israelites about the land they had scouted.”
- Numbers 13:27-32

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.”
- John Henry Cardinal Newman

“We’re on a mission from God.”
- Elwood Blues

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.