December 13, 2015


+  Pax et Bonum!  Peace and goodness to each of you this day!

Why is it, that so many times, when someone is challenging us on something, we always think that they are talking about everybody else?  We can always think of dozens of people that need to hear a certain message, and it is almost always never us!  Why do we do that?  I hear this all the time, “Father, I sure wish my sister, my son, my daughter, my neighbor, my co-worker could have heard that homily.  It was like you wrote it just for them.”  First of all, I write my homilies, because I need to hear them.  I figure if I need to hear it, probably some of the rest of you do also.  But we’re not supposed to think that I talking about somebody else.  We’re supposed to apply the words to our own life.  And another example, the Pope, our current Holy Father, is really challenging the Church to be more like Christ.  And the whole world loves it!  Take care of the poor, reach out to those who isolated, forgive those who have sinned against us, and we love it all, UNTIL, we realize that he is talking to us!  He’s not just talking to the people in Vatican City.  He’s not just talking liberal Democrats.  :And he’s not just talking to the people in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  He’s talking to all of us, even those of us north of 96th St. in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana.  It’s the same way with the medical people when they talk to us about losing weight.  When I hear a doctor talk about losing weight, I always think he’s talking to those people in Mississippi who have the highest obesity rate in the country.  No, they are talking to me.  And when I hear the experts talk about that we need to slow down on our highways and drive the speed limit, I always assume that they are talking about those people who text and drive.  They aren’t talking about me.  I am a superior driver, therefore I can drive a little more than the speed limit.  Wrong.  They are talking to me!  I was reminded of this, this past week, when I got pulled over driving through a construction zone.  No, the Carmel police are talking to me!

Today in our Gospel, St. John the Baptist continues to challenge those coming to him in the desert.  And they are asking him, what exactly to we need to change, what are we to do, to prepare for the coming of the Christ.  And St. John the Baptist tells them straight.  He gives them challenging advice.  You don’t hear the crowds saying, “Boy, the Romans really need to hear these words”.  And you don’t hear the soldiers saying, “Man, my wife really needs to hear these words”.   And you don’t hear the tax collectors saying, “Gee, the prostitutes really need to hear these words”.   No.   No.  They know that St. John the Baptist is talking to them!

It is the same way with our brand-new Year of Mercy, that just began last Tuesday, on December 8th.   We know, that Pope Francis first mentioned this at a Penance Service that he was at, at a Parish in Rome last March.  He said he intended to call a Holy Year to concentrate on God’s Mercy.  A few weeks later, he officially declared this coming year as a Year of Mercy.  The Pope is giving us all an extraordinary opportunity here.  This is not just for those away from the Church.  This is not just for the poor.  This is not just for “church people”.  This Holy Year of Mercy is for each and every one of us!  We are all invited to God’s great mercy, and forgiveness, and love.  There is NO ONE who is outside of that love!  Not even the world’s greatest sinner!  And who is the world’s greatest sinner?  Sometimes I think that we all think that we are the world’s greatest sinner.  I know I do.

You know, I think back to those Budweiser commercials from a few years ago, and there theme was, “This Bud’s for you!”  In so many ways, this Holy Year, this Year of Mercy is for you, and you and you.  It is for all of us!  Let’s receive God’s mercy.  Let’s pass on God’s mercy.  Let’s make mercy the center of our lives for this next year!

Every year, during Advent, doing one of the corporal acts of mercy, we invite the Little Sisters of the Poor out to St. Maria Goretti to allow us to share in their beautiful ministry at the St. Augustine Home for the Poor.  Today is the Day.  Let us once again welcome the Sisters to our Parish family.

+ God bless us today,   Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…       AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…     Pray for us !!!