What’s This Site For!

March 16th, 2017

Welcome to Deacon Larry’s Homily Website.  Deacon Larry Brockman’s  home parish is Holy Family Catholic Church in Orlando, Florida.  This site contains all of Deacon Larry’s Homilies organized by date.  There are three major categories- Holy Family Sunday Homilies; Holy Family Daily Homilies; and Westminster Tower Homilies.  You are welcome to read and download any homily.  Comments are also welcome. God Bless!

This site has been up for a couple of years now, and I see that there are a number of subscribers.  However, nobody ever comments on these homilies.  Please, I do welcome your comments.  They would help me to be more relevant to user needs!

Shaking Us From Our Apathy

March 16th, 2017

Thursday of the Second Week in Lent

Jer 17: 5-10; Lk 16: 19-31

Dc. Larry Brockman

How ironic!  First, Jesus tells the parable about the rich man and Lazarus.  And in that parable, the rich man wants Abraham to have Lazarus rise from the dead to warn his 5 brothers that they need to mend their selfish lives.  But Abraham says that if people will not listen to Moses and the prophets, then neither will they listen to someone raised from the dead!  Jesus told that parable for the Pharisees and Priests benefit.  But they didn’t get the connection then, even though the Chief Priest was one of 5 brothers!  

But then, irony of ironies, Jesus actually went on to raise a person name Lazarus from the grave!  You know, Martha and Mary’s brother Lazarus.  And it was in front of the Pharisees and Priests and Scribes, too- the same people the first parable was directed to.  And do you know what the Pharisees, Priests and Scribes did?  They got so angry they actually plotted to kill Lazarus because of his testimony.  Not only that, the raising of Lazarus was one of the things that pushed the Jewish Rulers over the edge  After that they wanted to have Jesus arrested and put to death.

What this parable demonstrates today is just how difficult it is to shake people out of their comfort zone, especially when things are going well for them.  And as a matter of fact, when things are going well, people get angry when someone tries to shake them from their apathy over things that are wrong in this world.  Why, because they just don’t want to hear it.   

This was the case for the rich man; and the Pharisees were not far behind him.  People can either be too comfortable to care- like the rich man; or they have a vested interest in the status quo and don’t want to hear there is something wrong with it- like the Pharisees.   

Boy, do we have that problem today!  Our society has lost sight of evil.  Religious persecution of Catholics, Abortion, Assisted Suicide, Gay Marriage, untreated Mental Illness, Third World Hunger, and a whole host of other evils plague us.  But most of us are too busy and passive about it in our relative affluence.   

One of the things we do is to trust the Government to solve these social problems.  But isn’t that what Jeremiah was preaching against in the first reading?  Isn’t that trusting in man; trusting in secular society?  We have a responsibility to help folks who are in need and to help people see the error of their ways.  But we cannot delegate it away through the Government, especially now when the Government is so secular and when the Government has no way to pay for it.   

There is one thing all of us can do and that is to pray.  That’s what the Blessed Mother continually asks us to do when she appeared to visionaries at Medugorje and other places; and it’s what the Church is asking us to do during Lent.  Remember, we are being asked to engage in Fasting, Alsmgiving and Prayer during Lent.    And what is it that we should pray for.  Lots of things: our enemies conversion; inspiration on how we can deal with and solve our problems; that God will somehow intercede, and perhaps even send us a leader; but most of all, to trust that when we pray, our prayers will be answered.   

Sometimes todays problems seem overwhelming.  But it is then that we should remember Jeremiah’s words:  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord; whose hope is in the Lord”.  So, pray, pray, and pray some more. 

Find Your Holy Life

March 12th, 2017

Second Sunday of Lent

Gen 12: 1-4a; 2 Tim 1: 8b-10; Mt 17: 1-9

Dc. Larry Brockman

Guess what? You were called to a holy life! That’s what Paul’s message to us is today. Yes, every one of us is called to a holy life. But what exactly does that mean?

Well, Paul says something very profound about that today. He says that a holy life is not measured by our works; but rather by our willingness to embrace the mission we are called to by God’s design. What is more, he says that mission was bestowed on us even before time began! That’s how universal and sweeping God’s overall plan is. And he tells us we have been given the grace to accomplish that mission, whatever it is.

The church gives us two examples today of persons who embraced God’s call and followed their mission. The first is Abram, known as Abraham. Abraham left the land of his fathers at the ripe age of 75, leaving everything behind; and settling in the land of Canaan. At the age of 75! That’s a lifetime for most of us; a time 10 years beyond normal retirement age.

But Abraham was willing to begin all over again in a new land. Abraham listened to the voice of God in his heart; trusted in the providence of God; and did as he was prompted. He could have raised more sheep; more cattle, and had much more influence right where he was because his family was well off. He could have retired in relative luxury. But he was a man of faith and trust in the Lord. And so he left and embraced a future of unknown challenges- all because he listened to God and trusted.

The second example is Jesus. Jesus has already had his 40 day sojourn to the desert by the time of this morning’s story about the Transfiguration. He had prayed, he had reflected, he had been tempted, and he had prevailed over the devil. He knew that his Father wanted him to preach repentance of sins and the coming of the kingdom of God. Now he was ready for that mission that God had chosen for him from the beginning of time.

So he ascends the mountain with his closest associates- Peter James and John. There, he is transfigured, transformed into a state that reflects his future glorification. He converses with Moses and Elijah. Scripture scholars tell us Moses represents the Law; and Elijah represents the prophets. The Gospel of Luke tells us what they were talking about- “Jesus departure from Jerusalem”. That means they were talking about Jesus mission to go to Jerusalem; preach the truth in the name of God and announce the coming of the kingdom of God; urge all mankind to believe in him, repent, and follow him. Because he followed that mission, he was arrested, tried, suffered, crucified, buried, and then rose on the third day. All this would happen according to the law and the prophets, because Jesus fulfilled what the law had prescribed and what the prophets had predicted.  This is represented by the conversations with Moses and Elijah. And we know that Jesus departure from Jerusalem was accomplished through his death, resurrection and ascension. Jesus tells them in both Matthew and Mark’s account that they should tell no one of this event till he rises from the dead. And they were baffled by that reference.

Now the Transfiguration is important to all of us because it is validates who Jesus is, and provides a pattern for the Apostles, and ultimately all of us to follow. All three persons of the trinity were present at the Transfiguration. Jesus, of course, in his body; the Father in the voice; and the Holy Spirit in the cloud that overshadowed the Apostles. Just imagine how powerful this must have been to Peter, James, and John. They fell face down on the ground in terror; that’s how remarkable it was. But then, Jesus predicts everything that would happen to him three times after the Transfiguration.  At the time, this baffled the Apostles; as wee; they couldn’t believe it. But on Easter when everything had happened just as Jesus had predicted, these men were firm in their belief.  These were powerful, unforgettable, God incidents that gave them unshakeable faith and firm resolve to go out and spread the Gospel to all nations. That was their mission; that was how they lived a holy life.

And so, we come back to our mission. How do we live a holy life? We need to follow the pattern. First, we have to reflect on our lives and listen to the voice of the Lord. That’s what the 40 days of Lent are all about. As we do that, we need to remember works are not as important as that urge inside of you on what God’s design is for you.

Some seem to be called to the glorious things of life- they are physically or mentally gifted, they are talented in art or music or sports, they are leaders; they are intelligent. But talents don’t always correspond to God’s call. Talents are gifts we use to fulfill God’s call. And it’s not about our agenda it’s about God’s agenda. His goals and the accomplishments needed to achieve them may differ from our personal goals and objectives. God is looking for a team effort, and just like any team effort, the team goal is what is most important, not the individual achievements. The team goal is conversion and salvation for all.

Others have talents which are less glorious in the eyes of the world but may be more in line with God’s objectives. Like people who are caregivers; people who humbly serve other’s needs, and people who support and enable but don’t lead. These efforts all contribute to the team goal of universal salvation when they are done in love.

We still have 4 weeks to go till Easter. Use Lent wisely, and find your holy life.

Reflecting on Our Mortality

March 1st, 2017

Ash Wednesday Blessing/Distribution of Ashes

2 Cor 5: 20- 6: 2

Deacon Larry Brockman

In just a few minutes, each of you will be given ashes on your foreheads. Each of you will hear the words “You are dust and to dust you shall return” as the ashes are applied. And that is a reminder to all of us of our mortality. Yes, each of our bodies came from the earth, and they will return to the earth.

But that is not the destiny of the true believer, is it. For we all believe as Christians that our immortal souls will live on, forever, in the coming Kingdom of God. That is our hope and our destiny. The problem is that many of the children of this world just don’t believe that. Some don’t believe in God, some say they don’t know, and some don’t believe in the kingdom of God.   But it is different for those of us who believe. Each of us recognizes that we owe everything to God, and we live our lives as Jesus passed on to us in the Gospel in the hope that we will experience everlasting life in the Kingdom of God.

In God’s infinite goodness, he sent his son Jesus to be one of us. And the scripture we just read said this of Jesus: “For our sake he made him sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteous of God in him.” Jesus, God become man, took on our corruptible body, and humbled himself by living within the limitations of the human form. Jesus accepted God the Father’s will that he suffer, die, and be buried for three days; only to rise from the dead and take his rightful place at the right hand of the Father. Each of us is called to die unto ourselves, and accept God’s will for us. That includes the good things of life- our talents, joys, gifts, and families. But it also includes the suffering that life entails- disease, old age, separation from loved ones, and lots of other things. We know that if we do that, we will be saved.

But wait a minute. Paul is saying something else about our role as Christians. Paul says we have a responsibility to be “Ambassadors for Christ”. That’s how Paul opened up this reading. Just how do we do that, how do we become ambassadors for Christ, and what does that mean?

Well Paul mentioned a couple of things. First, he says we need to be reconciled to God. Being reconciled to God means that we are in harmony in our relationship with God. That is the reason for the Church season of Lent. Lent is the opportunity that each of us has each year, to reflect on our own relationship with God. It is a season of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting lasting 40 days. The 40 days represents the length of time that Jesus went away into the wilderness and reflected on his life before he started his 3 year public ministry. We are being asked to spend 40 days each year reflecting on our lives.

During Lent we are advised to practice almsgiving and fasting  As a way of divesting ourselves from whatever it is that diverts our attention from God. Fasting usually means food, but when you think about it there are probably other things we should fast from that free us up for a better relationship with God. Consider for example the time we spend watching TV.

And almsgiving usually means giving money to a worthy cause. But giving away anything that really helps someone else puts us into a spirit of self-denial, a sort of emptying of ourselves from pre-occupation with ourselves.

Both fasting and almsgiving can then be seen to facilitate our ability to be open and ready for what God has in mind for us when we pray and reflect.

Now when you reflect on your own sinfulness, you reflect on those things that you do or fail to do that hurt your relationship with God. Deep down, you know what those things are because your conscience works on you when you are free of the distractions and the hustle and bustle of life. God is nudging you, even nagging you, to repent- meaning change. Because no matter how you look at it, none of us is perfect; all of us are sinners and need reconciliation with God.

Now when we become reconciled with God, then we “become the righteousness of God in him”, as St. Paul says. And so, we will receive the grace of God. That grace works through the Holy Spirit to shine in us. And together, the light of Christ becomes as a beacon for the rest of our companions. They will know we are Christians by our love, the love of Christ. That’s how we become “Ambassadors for Christ”. That’s how we fulfill our Baptismal promise to evangelize, just as Jesus evangelized all of us- by example.

Our reading today ends in an interesting way. Paul says in the name of the Lord that “In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” So Paul is speaking of Jesus role as our evangelizer. But he finishes by challenging all of us to do the same. For he tells us: “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

“I Will Never Forget You”

February 26th, 2017

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Is 49: 14-15; 1 Cor 4: 1-5; Mt 6: 24-34

Deacon Larry Brockman

“I will never forget you”. These are the Lord’s words to Zion this morning. And that’s each and every one of us- we are all part of Zion.

You know, it is really hard to conceive of just how much God loves each one of us. Each and every one of us was specially created by God. That means God thought about you, just you, and made you what you are. Each of us was given a unique set of talents, a unique body, and our own immortal soul. We are all one of a kind; there will never be another you.

And God loves all of us equally. Why would God create a being in his image and likeness that he didn’t love? God loved us so much he gave us a free will- so that we can determine our own destiny. But our main choice is whether we return to God or not.

Now we are even loved by God when we are sinners. In Luke’s Gospel, he tells a parable about the lost sheep. Yes, God goes after each lost sheep because he loves them. God is relentless in his pursuit of each one of us too. It’s that little voice in your conscience you hear all the time.

Realistically, all of us are sinners. It may be a matter of degree, but none of us is perfect. And if we feel that we are perfect, or close to it, we are deceiving ourselves. Part of the lesson of life is to realize that and to recognize and accept the suffering, disappointment, and imperfection that are part of life for each one of us. It’s part of God’s plan that we be tested and follow his script for dealing with our test. His script is the Gospel.

We also learn by recognizing that all the bad things that happen to our neighbors but for the grace of God can happen to us as well. Even when we are on a high plateau in our lives, it is all temporary; it can and probably will change. So, understand that God and God alone is under control. Humility is recognizing the truth of one’s status. And the fact is that no matter who you are, you are not in control. When you embrace that fact and all the uncertainty that it entails, then you will know and understand yourself better, and that is true humility.

Now I say all this because this morning our Gospel calls us to recognize that worrying is another limitation we have as human beings. We worry about our problems, our status, our future, and all kinds of things. But the fact is that we really don’t have control over the events of our life, God does. So, it is pointless to excessively worry about them. Just as we must accept that suffering and imperfection are part of every life, we also have to accept that excessive worrying over things makes no sense.

Because God loves you that means, as Isaiah remarked, that he will never forget you. If you really believe that God will never forget you, then the thing that each of us must do is to trust in God. That may be easier to say than to do. Just how do we trust in God that all of those things we worry about will be taken care of?

Well, that brings us to the topic of serving just one of two masters. In 19th century US politics there was a term called a Mugwump. A Mugwump had his “mug” on one side of the political fence, and his “wump” on the other. So, a Mugwump tried to play both sides of the fence at the same time. It was a derogatory term that accurately described people who tried to finesse the system. It just didn’t work.   Jesus is also telling us you cannot do that; you cannot have it both ways. You either belong to this world and the Master of this world, which is the devil and his followers, or you belong to Christ, and have a trusting relationship with God.

If you belong to this world, you attempt to be in total control of your life. You will determine how each need will be met; you will take care of yourself- even if it is at the expense of others. And you will depend on all of your abilities. It’s all up to you; you don’t need God. So when things don’t go your way, you will worry. And you will worry and worry.

Now you can try to be a Mugwump, and be in control yourself when things are going well. And then fall back on God when things go wrong. But my point is that it doesn’t work that way. It is all or nothing with God because God reads your heart. And if you have to always be in control, then you haven’t given your heart to him.

If you belong to Christ, then He is your master in this world. That means two things. First, you know God; you have a relationship with him. And like any special relationship that you have, you have to nourish that relationship often. That means you have a regular prayer relationship with God. You can hear him when he talks to you.

Second, you must learn to trust in God always. That means you share your successes with him, and your joy with him because you know God is the source of all blessings. So, you thank God as the source of those blessings- your family, your career, and whatever talents and good things you have. But you also share your sufferings, your worries, and your failures with him. You trust that, just as he helped you with your successes, so he will also help you when you experience things beyond your control.

After all, God has promised that he will never forget you.

Salted With Fire

February 23rd, 2017

Thursday of 7th Week in Ordinary Time

Sir 5: 1-8; Mk 9: 41-50

Deacon Larry Brockman

So, “Everyone will be salted with Fire”! Yes, every one of us will be tested, that’s the fire. And the salt represents the good effects, the good taste, that the testing produces in us. The salt flavor is the cumulative goodness from our ability to resist temptation.

Now Sirach gives us an interesting perspective on temptation. He walks us through various attempts to rationalize bad behavior. And people do rationalize in this way. They say to themselves: “I can live with this temptation, flirt with this temptation, because I am strong enough”. Or even worse: “I can get away with this because I will have time to reform”. But Sirach is clear: “Rely not in your strength.” And Sirach admonishes us “not to put off our conversion”.

Jesus message echoes this yet with a little hyperbole. Not only are we to avoid temptation, but we should eliminate the source of the temptation, even if it means cutting off our feet or hands or gouging out our eyes if they facilitate our temptations to sin.

We have just finished the year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. And so, we are all sensitized to God’s great mercy. God does love each and every one of us unconditionally, even when we are sinners. And he is constantly offering us an opportunity to repent and reform. Further, all of us have an obligation to facilitate that mercy by evangelizing our brothers and sisters who are separated from the Church.

But this morning, we are reminded of our obligation to hold firm to the law and the teachings of the Church. It’s not that God will not be merciful to us when we sin. It’s just that we ought not take it for granted just as Sirach explicitly says in the first reading.

You see, our attitude must be one of abandoning ourselves to the Lord’s will at all times, and to obedience to the Lord in the face of difficulty. Then, when we find that we have fallen, mercy will be extended to us. But if we live our lives day to day, knowing in the back of our minds that things are not quite right, but not taking the time or effort to sort out God’s message for us, then we will be like the folks in Sirach’s reading, making excuses, hoping for mercy no matter what we do and what our attitude is.

Not only that, our actions are seen by others. And so when we flaunt with temptation, we can be influencing others. For example, our children see what we watch on TV. What we do speaks louder than the words they hear in religious education classes.   A

ll of us are caught up in today’s whirlwind of daily activity. So, we don’t always take the time to listen to the Lord and reflect on where life is taking us. The message today is that we need to do that. Because we are held accountable for our actions especially if we don’t have the right attitude in our approach to daily life.

In our morning offering, each of us should spend a little time reflecting on where God is pointing us today. And understand that the devil is persistent in offering seemingly attractive and pleasurable things. But we need to contemplate the consequences of all these things. That is how we can assure that our salt does not lose its flavor.

Being Stewards of Our World

February 16th, 2017

Sixth Thursday of Ordinary Time

Saint Onesimus

Gen 9:1-13; Mark 8: 27-33

Deacon Larry Brockman

Power corrupts. That’s really what Jesus was telling the Apostles when he rebuked them. “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do”.   And the way human beings think all started with the way man misinterpreted God’s commands to Noah. For God told Noah to be fruitful and multiply; and he gave us the flesh of animals to eat. Then he told us: “Abound on the earth and subdue it.” And subdue it we have.

And so, mankind has become master of the earth, so much so that many movements have arisen amongst the educated that take this command to subdue the natural world to the extreme. Some of the educated elite claims there is no God and they believe mankind can control our destiny totally on our own. They believe they can explain how everything came to be; and can control how everything will be. Yes, power corrupts.

It’s almost as if society has gone full circle And we have returned to the days before the flood where society forgot the God that had made them, and used the earth and its pleasures indiscriminately. For a great deal of the world, the secular vision is this: “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.”

Yet God was very clear with Noah. In exchange for the power he delegated to mankind, we were given a responsibility as well. For God said: “I will demand an accounting”; and then “I will demand an accounting for human life.” Yes, Noah and his descendants were given a New Covenant, and charged to be God’s agents for proper domination of the forces of nature on our planet. But in exchange for that new chance that the remnant on the ark was given, God demanded an accounting from us.

Are we thinking the way God does, or are we thinking as the world does? First, as custodians of the world we dominate? Pope Francis Exhortation dealt with this topic extensively. We all have a responsibility to share in the things of this world with those who are less fortunate; and we all have the responsibility to treat all of God’s creation with respect.

Second, on life issues? It is striking that God tells Noah specifically that an accounting will be demanded on each human life. In today’s world, the lives of unborn babies, older people, those who are sick, and the poor are all valued less by society. That’s because mankind’s stewardship of the world is based on mankind’s attitude about what is prudent and efficient.

This morning’s scriptures are a wake-up call for all of us. It is time to reflect on our thinking. Are we thinking as man does- based on pride and self-sufficiency? Or are we thinking as God does? For God loves all of us, all human beings equally. And proper stewardship demands that we love all equally.

We need to reflect on this because all of us will be held accountable.

Reflecting on Love on Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2017

Benediction

Deacon Larry Brockman

God is love and God loves each one of us. Recently, my bible study group learned from the Catechism that the Church teaches that there has never been a single person, a single human being, that has ever existed that God didn’t love. When Jesus died on the cross, he suffered for all of us, that’s how great his love is for us.

Today is Valentine’s Day, the day we celebrate our love for our spouses and loved ones. We are made in the image and likeness of God. That means we are called to love all other persons as God loves us. That is hard. But here’s what each of us can do. We can consider the person in this world that loves you the most- your mother, your spouse, your dad, your grandparents- whoever. And ponder how much you love them because of their love for you. Well, God loves you infinitely more than even that.

So as we reflect for a few minutes, consider how you can emulate God’s love, Mary’s love, and your most precious loved one’s love- unconditional, accepting, pure love. Because that is our calling.

The Remnant

January 29th, 2017

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Zeph 2:3, 3:12-13; 1 Cor 1: 26-31; Mt 5: 1-12a

Deacon Larry Brockman

Well, have you considered your calling- your calling to live a Christian life and let your light shine on others?  Because here you all are, faithfully giving praise to God, and recognizing Jesus as your savior, just as you all have now for over 70 years.

Now chances are that just like the people that Paul was addressing, those called to Christ here in this room, are not noble of birth, wise by human standards, or powerful in this world.  We are, however, just like the people of Paul’s time who responded to the call.  We are greatly blessed.  We are blessed because we can boast in the Lord that we are following him in righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  And so, all the well born, powerful, and well to do people of the world who are blindly preoccupied with the world, have been put to shame by us who responded to the call.

And just how did we respond to the call? Well, by our faith first and foremost; and then by the light that  our lives shone in the darkness of society.  For, given our limitations in the eyes of the world, we faithfully supported the Church in the course of our lives; and we raised families, labored tirelessly, and suffered through life’s challenges bravely.  In other words, as true followers of Christ we have heard the  Sermon on the Mount, humbly accepting life as God gave it to us.  And so, to the greatest extent possible we have been poor in spirit- not puffed up and arrogant in our attitude; we have mourned graciously at appropriate times; and we have submitted meekly to our trials,lsicknesses, circumstances and limitations.  We have consistently sought righteousness- harmony with God; and forgiven and shown mercy to those who wronged us.  We have tried to stay clean of heart and abide by God’s commandments to avoid the sordid things of life.  And we have held steadfast in our faith no matter how society has tried to undermine it.  We have lived through many years of trials, and still radiate our faith for all to see.  And we are still here- expressing our faith and joy in the Lord.  We are still witnesses to Christ.

So take heart, all of you. Zephaniah describes our situation just as accurately as he described the Israeli’s plight in his time.  We are the remnant that has been left, a people humble and lowly who take refuge in the name of the Lord.  And we are confident in the salvation that awaits us;  One in which we will live forever with God and each other, in peace and joy.  Amen.

Don’t Hide Your Lampstand

January 26th, 2017

Third Thursday of Ordinary Time

Saints Timothy and Titus

2 Tim 1: 1-8; Mk 4: 21-25

Deacon Larry Brockman

We are all so fortunate. Especially those here this morning and every Thursday Morning. We are fortunate because we have our faith; we are committed; and we come here to daily Mass because of our commitment. And for many of us, we share the experience that Timothy had.  For he received his faith from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice.  Yes, most of us were fortunate enough to have been born into our faith and we have been nurtured in it by our families.

Hopefully, we don’t take our faith for granted because it is a very precious gift, indeed.  In fact, our faith is the light that Jesus talks about in the Gospel this morning.  Because the faith that we have can illuminate others.  By our actions we can spread the light; by our inaction, we can leave others in the darkness.

Scripture scholars tell us that the parable of the lamps was probably directed at the Apostles themselves.  They had the special gift of access, direct access to Jesus.  That gave them special insight into God’s plan for salvation.  It gave them special graces in understanding the mysteries hidden from the general population; and by virtue of their ordination and commissioning by Jesus, they had special responsibilities to spread their faith to the whole world. It was not enough for them to believe in Jesus and to rejoice in the salvation he brought them.  It was necessary for them to be lamps on a lampstand, shedding their light onto all, sharing their faith in a proactive way.

Jesus even tells his Apostles to “Take care what you hear”; meaning listen up, soak it in, absorb it like a sponge because you cannot spread what you don’t know or understand.  And then he tells them that “the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.”

Jesus mandate to his Apostles is challenging.  History documents that all of them ran with their faith and acted as lampstands.  Their light shone forth; multitudes were converted to the faith by their testimony; and all of them but one, St. John, died a martyr’s death for their faith.

We live in a world of politically correct “toleration”.  Society teaches us to “live and let live”.  We are not to judge; we are not to criticize; we are not to force our beliefs on anyone else.  And so, we need to hear this parable of the lampstand from time to time.  We cannot just come to our refuge, this church, and enjoy the benefits of our faith along with our fellow believers and then enter into the world as neutral bystanders.  We, by virtue of our Baptisms and Confirmations, share the Apostles responsibility to evangelize in word and deed.

How do we do that? By not hiding our lampstands.

Rather, we need to shine forth into the darkness; by expressing our opinions on faith and morals when we are given a chance.  So, rather than politely excusing ourselves when challenged, we need to be prepared to respond with the truth, and with conviction when a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness comes to your door.  And we need to make our positions on key issues known- like the hundreds of thousands of Christians headed for Washington DC this weekend for the March for Life are going to do.  When we dine out with our families, we can say grace together as a family in plain sight of everyone else.  The way we dress; how we relate on social media; the kind of entertainment we buy and support- all of these are ways for us to shine the light of Christ in the darkness.

Sometimes we will experience pushback from shining the light of Christ. But as St. Paul says to Timothy: “Bear your share of the hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God”.  For the spiritual rewards are great. Jesus says it this way: “To the one who has; more will be given.”