ACTS Clergy Committee Homily Helps/Talking Points

January 28/29, 2023
– Fr. Matthew Schiffelbein, Christ the King – Topeka

  • To be poor in spirit includes recognizing all that we have comes from God. Everything is a gift. This invites us into gratitude and responsible use of these gifts. It also invites us to be generous as God is generous.
  • God turns the wisdom of this world on its head (1 Corinthians 1). According to this world, we should grab everything we can while we have the chance. To invest in ACTS or any other generous endeavor is foolish in the world’s eyes.
  • God invested in us by giving His Only-Begotten Son to save us from sin. Jesus continues to invest in us through His sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Let’s respond by investing in the work He is doing in our Archdiocese.

February 4/5, 2023
– Fr. Bill Bruning, Queen of the Holy Rosary – Overland Park

In December 1943, Father Ed Dowling,  published an article in The Queen’s Work.  The title of the article was “How to Enjoy Being Miserable.”  Father Ed was a St. Louis Jesuit and a friend of Bishop Fulton Sheen, who had a great sense of humor.  But once he caught your attention, he would then bring home a very serious point. 

Father Ed, who had severe suffering in his life, (terrible arthritis) says:

 “To enjoy suffering, you have to be either crazy or in love.  In everyday life we se instances of people wanting pain if it helps someone they love.  In carrying a trunk upstairs with your mother, you definitely want to get the heavy end of the burden.  On a winter night a mother will shiver so as to give a warm blanket to her child. 

Hence the psychological trick of changing from resigned willing acceptance of suffering to grateful wanting to take up and enjoy suffering consists in finding someone we love who will be helped by our sufferings.”

That someone that we love is Jesus.  As Saint Paul says in Colossians 1:24, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s suffering for the sake of his body, that, the Church.” 

Are you in love?  It gets down to this simple question.  Are we in love with the Lord?  If we love the Lord then we must love the Church.  It is easier to say I love Jesus than it is to say, I love the Church.  But we cannot separate the two.  We are the Body of Christ.  Broken and wounded, with problems and flaws.  But this is the Body of Christ.  To say I love Jesus, but I do not love the people is like telling your spouse, I love your head, but not your body!  See how that will work for you!

Jesus makes it so clear in Matthew 25:  When I was hungry, you gave me food, when I was thirsty, you gave me drink, when I was naked you gave me your clothes, when I was a stranger you welcomed me, when I was sick, you comforted me, and when I was in prison, you visited me. 

We all know the corporal works of mercy.  Now if we do not love the poor and the vulnerable, then we may still give and sacrifice for them, but this will be done with reluctance, and maybe even resentment.   But if you take time to really love the poor and vulnerable, then you will be like a mother willing to give her blanket to her child with love and joy.

How do you fall in love with the vulnerable?  If you do not have joy in suffering, then do what Mother Teresa would do with her sisters.  She would spend an hour in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament every morning.  She would fill that time with gratitude prayers.  She would teach her sisters to be specific in thanking Jesus for all the blessings of the day.  She would teach the sisters to chose gratitude and to be specific with Jesus before the Blessed Sacrament.  All these gifts and graces pouring forth from Jesus, help the Missionaries of Charity to know that they are beloved, and Jesus is in love with each of them in a unique personal way.  Falling in love with Jesus hidden in the Host, propels the Sisters to love Jesus, found in the “disturbing disguise of the poor” in the streets of Calcutta.

In this year of Eucharistic Amazement, I encourage you to spend time in Adoration.  Fall in love with the one who already is in love with you.  Commit to a regular Holy Hour.

When you receive Communion today, know that Jesus comes to you and loves you and wants to transform your heart to be like his.  A heart that opened up and poured out all his love to save you and me. 

Let me ask you again.   Are you in love?  Do you love Jesus’ head and body? 

Then: “Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own.  Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed…”      

“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.  A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.  Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

You have an opportunity to care for the vulnerable of our Archdiocese, in supporting the Archbishop’s Annual Call to Share.  We have an opportunity to do something beautiful for the Body of Christ.  43 different ministries throughout the Archdiocese are supported by your generosity.  From children with developmental disabilities to our Newman Centers that minister to our vulnerable children going off to college.  Call to Share supports marriage preparation, and seminarian training for future priests.  It also offers support for counseling services, pregnancy centers, and reaching out to struggling families and hurting individuals. 

I recently heard a talk given by Michael Podrebarac on the Eucharist.  He said, a reporter asked Pope Benedict a few years ago, how the Church will be able to get back its credibility and be seen as a beacon of light for the world?  The Holy Father gave a long answer to the question.  Podrebarac said he was shouting at the television, “Just say 2 words!!!”  And what were those 2 words?  “WASH FEET!!!” 

Fall in love with Jesus, and let’s was the feet, of the one who has already washed us in His love.  Be generous, and even hurt a little bit.  I you are in love you might even enjoy it!

February 5/6, 2023
– Fr. Dan Gardner

1. Isaiah tells his people, and us, to be a light to others:

      share your bread with the hungry,
      shelter the oppressed and homeless,
      clothe the naked

“then light shall rise for you in the darkness and the gloom shall become for you like midday”.

Can you recall a moment in your life when you reached out to a person in need, such as food, clothing, or simply listened to them and tried to lift their spirits, and walk away filled with more joy and happiness that you brought to them, which you didn’t expect?  You reached out to lift them up and in turn, they lifted you up!  You wanted to bring hope and joy for them, and you left with more hope and joy than when you arrived!  Hope and joy is a part of Call to Share.  Reaching out benefits every single person.  A light glows upon everyone.

2. When Paul reflected on his visit with the Corinthians, he wrote that he came “in weakness, and fear and much trembling”.  In other words, he approached them in the same manner as an actor would step on the stage in front of an audience, or in the same manner a person would prepare a conversation with a difficult person, or an athlete preparing for a game – with butterflies in their stomach – nervous and uncertain of the results.  He resolved to speak simply the story of Jesus, and people listened.

It is the same today, in our time, in the circumstances of the world whom many wish to ignore or dismiss the story of Jesus.  But it is a story that needs to be told.  People, knowingly or not, hunger and thirst for a new and better reason to live.  The different ministries of Call to Share offer that hope to so many people.

From Daily Study Bible Series. Letter to the Corinthians, by William Barclay, the following story is told as a reflection of this scripture passage:

       “John Hutton [not sure who this guy is] used to tell a story with gusto.  A man who had been a reprobate and a drunkard was captured by Christ.  His workmates used to try to shake him and say, ‘Surely a sensible man like you cannot believe in the miracles that the Bible tells about.  You cannot, for instance, believe that this Jesus of yours turned water into wine’. ‘Whether he turned water into wine or not,’ said the man, ‘ I do not know; but in my own house I have seen him turn beer into furniture'”.  (side note, there was a John Hutton who was a furniture designer.  Whether this is the same man or not is unknown to me)

3. Parents teach their children simple, practical things, such as tying their shoes, brushing their teeth, learning the names of different colors, learning how to walk, ride a bike, drive a car, etc. These are various ways of being a light to their children for they reveal to them ways of living daily, having confidence in developing their skills, talents, and abilities.  In teaching them to pray, they reveal the light of God’s love and presence.  Giving of ourselves to others, as parents do for their children, in prayer and resources, shines a light to another person that God loves them and cares for them, whether they recognize that or not.  Call to Share is one such path of showing the light of God’s love and care.