Archive for January, 2017

The Remnant

Sunday, 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

Thursday, 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.”

The Joy of Christmas is Not Over!

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Is 49: 3, 5-6; 1 Cor 1: 1-3; John 1: 29-34

Deacon Larry Brockman

Well, the Christmas Season is over!  The trees are all taken down; the lights are gone; and everybody is back to work or school.  The cookies and egg nog are depleted.  All the parties are over.  The joy of the Season has run its course.  It’s over!

But you know what?  If that is the feeling you have, you may have missed the whole point of the Christmas season.

Christmas arrived with all its festive music and decorations and lights and feasts to remind us that a savior had been born to us.  That Savior is Jesus, the second person of the Trinity.  He came to be one of us and live as one of us.

Last weekend, we saw the manifestation of Jesus symbolized as priest, prophet and king when the Magi arrived and did the Christ child homage.  And then we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord this week, when John the Baptist witnessed the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus and identified him publically as the Messiah.  So there is still much to rejoice over because the Messiah came to be with us.

Today, our readings help us to recognize the consequences of Jesus arrival for each of us.  You see, Jesus shows us the way to live; his way to live.  His Baptism prefigured ours.  That means that we received the Spirit and a mission at our Baptism.  And his life, which plays out as the Gospel in Ordinary Time, prefigures the kind of life we are called to live.  Yes, each of us is called to follow Jesus at our Baptism by having faith in Jesus, living a Christian Life, and evangelizing in word and deed.

Today, we hear three different aspects of that message in our readings.  Listen again the Paul’s words from Corinthians, whom he addresses this way:  “To you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”  That applies to us as well- since all of us have been sanctified through our Baptism and ultimately, we are all called to be Holy as were the Corinthians.

Then, in our reading from Isaiah, we hear the Lord say of Israel, which refers symbolically to the Messiah, that:  “I will make you a light to the nations that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”   How else does that salvation reach the end of the earth except through us?  We are witnesses through the Apostles and the Gospels to all that Jesus did and promised; we were Baptized and received the Spirit of God and a mission.  And so, we are the way that the light reaches to the end of the earth.  All who are Baptized in our Faith and sent out to live that Faith can and must be evangelizers.  We evangelize through the witness of our lives that we believe, and by our actions which draw others towards the promise of salvation we enjoy.

The Gospel today speaks of John pointing to the Lamb of God.  This happened after Jesus was Baptized by John, and after Jesus spent 40 days in the desert reflecting on God’s mission for him.  As Jesus returns from the wilderness, John sees and recognizes him as “The Lamb of God”.

The Lamb of God!  The Lamb of God is the sacrificial victim in the Passover.  So John first prophesies that Jesus will offer his life as the sacrificial victim on behalf of God the Father.  Then, after repeating that he saw the Spirit of God descend on Jesus, John goes on to state of Jesus:  “He is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit”.  And indeed, after Jesus rose from the dead, and just before he ascended to heaven Jesus tells his Apostles to evangelize all people, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus passes on the responsibility for evangelizing to all of us.

So, we are not done with the coming of Christ.  In fact, the joy of his coming just begins with Christmas.  The rest of the Church year memorializes the rest of the process.  We have all been called to walk in Jesus footsteps.  We are called to believe in him; to become members of his people, the Church; to live as he did according to the Gospels; and to go out and evangelize all people, assuring that they are baptized.  All of us share that calling.

The early church was successful because the Christians got this message.  In unity and love, they lived the Gospel and projected that love in what they said and did.  They held firm in adversity, even suffering death and martyrdom for their faith.  Their example was a powerful testimony that won over an empire- the Roman Empire.

It’s a challenge, but all of us can live up to this calling.  Whether at work, school, play, or leisure, we can project the love and values that Christ left to us as his legacy by always doing the right thing, not what society expects; by showing love for our family and neighbors rather than always feeding our self-interests; and by accepting the sufferings dealt in our lives with dignity and acceptance rather than in bitterness and anger.

And so, they will know we are Christians by our love.

For Christians, the real joy of Christmas has just begun.


Tuesday, January 10th, 2017


1Jn 3: 1-3

Dc. Larry Brockman

We are all gathered here tonight to adore Jesus and pray to him in unity. And it is when we are unified that we please God the most.

God is a social God, three persons in one God. And in a mysterious and incomprehensible way, those three persons share the one Godhead.  Within the limitations of our human understanding, just how is that even possible?

It is only possible through Love.  Mutual Love binds the three persons together. After all, God is love.

Now although we are praying in unity tonight, all of us are unique creations of the one God and are made in His image and likeness. That means we have our own diverse talents, perspectives, and understandings. But if we can come together in unity, to pray to God as a single voice, that would be most pleasing to our God. and to do it most effectively, all of us should be motivated by true love, love for God and his gifts to us, and love for each other.

We haven’t talked about it, but likely all of us are here to pray in hope for our future. In just 10 days, a government takes over. So, let us all pray together in unity in hope, and In a spirit of love of country and each other, that this new government will be moved by the Spirit of God to follow the will of God for us as a nation to do what is right before God, for each and every one of us.