Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Homily 252 – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Posted: May 26th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Joy of Affliction

In the 2nd reading today, St. Paul tells us to boast even in our afflictions. This leads to endurance, which leads to proven character, which leads to hope, he tells us. We tend to not like affliction and often run away from it. Yet on this Memorial Day weekend we are especially aware of the men and women who throughout history have countless times put themselves in the path of affliction and even given their lives for our freedom. Certainly St. Paul’s phrase, “proven character,” immediately reminds us of our veterans.

You see the secret that our veterans know is that you will never find peace running from trouble. Rather, meaning in life is found most beautifully when you find something worthy giving your life. This is also the secret to the Christian life and to today’s celebration of the Trinity. God cannot be a solitary being because even God needs someone to whom he can give himself. Our lives are meant to image this self giving of the three persons of the Trinity. Today we honor the sacrifice of our men and women who have and do protect our freedom and we hear the call of Jesus to follow after him and make our lives a gift for others.

Homily 251 – Pentecost

Posted: May 19th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Explode with the Spirit

The Scriptures use the image of wind and fire to describe the power of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for this power is dynamis, from where we get the more familiar word dynamite. Like the Apostles we might wish to stay comfortable in the relatively safe environment of the upper room or our church buildings. However, this is not the plan of the Spirit. The Spirit doesn’t like to stay boxed in. He blows where he wills and does so with power. Today is a day for coming out of our comfort zones to speak boldly and publicly about Jesus. We’ve got infinite amounts of grace stored up through the Sacraments. Now it’s time to let the dynamis of the Spirit explode.

Homily 250 – Ascension

Posted: May 12th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

A Pilot’s Perspective

There are lots of theological ways to look at the meaning of today’s Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord. However, in today’s homily I give a perspective that few priests will probably preach on today. Today’s homily is the Ascension from a pilot’s perspective. Fasten your seat belts please.

New Assignment

Posted: May 6th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

CUA Welcome SignThis past week I received the official bound version of my S.T.L. thesis in the mail. It feels quite nice to hold it in my hand and know that it is finished. I can’t make it back to Chicago for graduation, so I will celebrate with my high school seniors who graduate from Miege on the same day. People have asked what to call me now. I’ve been telling people to call me “done.” However, it appears that being done isn’t going to last very long.

While apparently there is no step increase in salary for a priest receiving an S.T.L., I did get a call from the Archbishop. He must have been impressed with my finished thesis because he has decided that he wants me to write another one!

I officially announced at the parish this weekend that the Archbishop has asked me to go back to school to get a degree in Canon Law. This fall I will begin three years of studies at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. to become a Canon Lawyer. The last weekend in June will be my last in my current assignment.

I’m not one that is good at moving around a lot, so please pray for me. Right now I am still trying to find a place to live in D.C. I love history and always love being in D.C. for the March for Life. Now I’ll have plenty of time for all those museums…unless I have homework…or it’s a school night.

Homily 249 – 6th Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 5th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

IMG_0299Mary’s Month

The month of May is one in which we give special honor to our Blessed Mother Mary. Today’s homily if full of some good tips in how we can entrust ourselves more to Mary and so become more like Jesus her son. Like little children, we never have to be worried or afraid in the arms of our mother.

Homily 248 – 5th Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 28th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Church Visible

I was once surprised to learn that many non-Catholics use the same creed that we do and actually profess to believe in “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church” just like we do. How can that be? For most of them, they understand the word “catholic” very generically and believe that this “universal” church is in fact more of an idea or even invisible. Today’s first reading clearly shows us a church that exists concretely. St. Paul establishes actual communities with priests to lead them. When he goes to a town he calls together the church, clearly a tangible body. So why would someone want to belong to an invisible church?

Two things come to mind. First, an invisible church doesn’t make any demands on us. We can stay exactly as we are and create our invisible church to suit all our weaknesses that we’d rather not change. An invisible church can be rather convenient if you’re not looking to grow in holiness. Secondly, an invisible church can be perfect, no faults or sinners to mess things up. Sometimes when you look at the concrete church that actually exists you can’t help but see all the mess. Yet we can also take comfort in the fact that it has existed for 2000 years and no amount of sinning has managed to destroy it yet.

No matter how attractive the idea of an invisible church might be, the Scriptures and history are clear. The church is and has always been a concrete, existing, visible reality that one can find and adhere to. We tend to focus on dogma and correct teaching to know the true church, but today’s gospel gives us another way. St. John tells us that the way the disciples of Jesus can be found is by seeing the way we love each other. How are we dong on that? Would people know we are the disciples of Jesus and that they had found his church by looking at our love? It’s easy to point out how the Catholic Church is the church founded by Jesus, but would others be able to tell this apart from doctrine? Would they know we are Christians by our love?

Homily 247 – 4th Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 21st, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

IMG_0257Faithful to Hope

It seems everyone wants to be successful, but when it comes to faith this can be a dangerous goal. You see, we always tend to measure success on the world’s terms. Do people like us? Are we getting ahead? Yet, in the Scriptures we see that sometimes the heroes are the ones that seem to be most defeated. The martyrs are killed, the apostles are put in prison and then killed and on and on. This sure looks like a lot of failures. Mother Theresa gives us the perfect answer to this problem. She tells us that God does not call us to be successful, but faithful. Faithfulness, no success, is our goal.

This is why we can have great joy even amid worldly failures. This world is not our goal. We live this life knowing that Christ has already won the victory and that if we follow him, our good shepherd, then nothing can take us out of God’s hand. God would never allow the slightest evil in the world if he were not able to bring about an infinitely greater good. The Father is greater. This leads to the virtue of hope. Even in our darkest moments, with all the pain and suffering that we’ve seen even just this week in Boston and other places, in the middle of all the apparent failures, we have joy and hope. In the end, we win. Therefore, let us not despair but remain faithful to hope.

Homily 246 – Divine Mercy Sunday

Posted: April 7th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Peace Is Flowing Like an Ocean

When Jesus reveals himself to the apostles after his resurrection the Scriptures tell us that his wounds were still visible. Why would a glorified body have wounds? The wounds of Jesus reveal how much he loves us, what he endured to save us. They are part of his perfect body because they perfectly reveal his mercy. Rather than condemn the apostles for their failure at the time of the passion, Jesus wishes them “Peace.” When God forgives our sins, what he is saying is that he loves us anyway. Even through our woundedness God is able to bring about great good. Our sins our swallowed up in the ocean of his Divine Mercy. Now that’s good cause for all of us to have peace.

Homily 245 – Easter Sunday

Posted: March 31st, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Faith: Love It, Learn It, Live It

In today’s Gospel, we read how Peter and John both saw the same evidence at the tomb. The tomb it empty. Yet faith was necessary to correctly interpret what really happened. One could conclude the body had been stolen, but you’d be wrong. Faith isn’t just some fringe nicety that we can do without. If we don’t have faith, we are doomed to misinterpret all kinds of things in life. In this Year of Faith, let us resolve today to take the new life given us at Easter and make it grow.

Homily 244 – Palm Sunday

Posted: March 24th, 2013, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The Hour Has Come

After weeks of prayer and fasting through these forty days of Lent, the Gospel tells us today that “the hour” has come. It is time for the celebration of the most important events in our Christian lives. Yet these are not just historic remembrances. Through the mystery of the Sacred Liturgy this week, the Church throughout the world lives once again these special moments. May the renewal of the Holy Spirit be evident in this upcoming Holy Week.