Browsing Homilies

Fr. Bill

Homily Rerun:  5th Sunday Ordinary Time, 2019

 Great Saints Living in Extraordinary Holiness!  (Fr. Bill)


“The Catholic Church glories in every deed of Christ. Her supreme glory, however, is the cross.  … 

“Certainly in times of tranquility the cross should give you joy. But maintain the same faith in times of persecution. Otherwise you will be a friend of Jesus in times of peace and His enemy during war. Now you receive the forgiveness of your sins and the generous gift of grace from your King. When war comes, fight courageously for Him.” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem)


The forces of evil make perpetual war against the Church. This is bad enough when the forces of evil are outside the Church. When they are inside the Church it becomes particularly difficult and painful to fight off the attack and the persecution which so often accompanies it. Serious, deadly and ugly scandals have rocked the Church for many years now. The most recent bout of evil attacking from within the Church has been most discouraging for me personally.


A problem cannot be corrected until it is accurately identified. All of the evidence and research clearly and unmistakably identifies the evil which is attacking the Church from within. But our bishops refuse to identify the problem for what it is. Pedophilia is an ugly and repulsive sin requiring immediate corrective action and the harshest punishment possible. In response to the latest scandalous news reports most bishops have pointed to the procedures put in place a few years ago which have in all likelihood made the Catholic Church the safest place in the world for young children. This is very good and there can be no let up on it. However, the evil attacking the church from within is not a pedophile problem but a homosexual problem. Focusing attention on a problem the leaders of our church have dealt with unequivocally deflects attention from the problem they are refusing to even acknowledge. Our holy father saying that he does not have to respond to questions concerning this only exacerbates the problem in a most disheartening way. Precisely because he is the pope, he needs to answer the pertinent questions so that he can lead the us in the process of healing.


In pointing a self-righteous finger and demanding, “What are they going to do about it?” I disengage myself from the healing process. I must ask, “What am I going to do about it? What am I going to do to bring healing to the Body of Christ?” I am convinced that the only path to healing for the Church is for us to become great saints living in extraordinary holiness. “Good enough” is no longer good enough. We, each one of us, have to dial it up a notch and let the increase in grace surge upward from us rather than expecting it to drift downward to us.


So: How Do We Become Great Saints Living in Extraordinary Holiness! 


In the words of  St. Cyril of Jerusalem, u The Cross of Christ must become our “supreme glory.”

We must strive for holiness in v The Ordinary Experiences of Daily Life. When Jesus Asked Peter to go fishing, Peter had to pick up his tools and go back to work. Jesus was asking Peter to do his job. St. Francis De Sales writes a good bit about each of us striving for the holiness of our station in life. He points out that the journey to holiness is one thing for a hermit, another for a religious living in a monastic community, another for a diocesan (i.e. secular) priest, another for a mother and/or a father; one thing for a soldier, another for a doctor, another for a teacher; etc.

For a great miracle to happen at the hands of Peter he had to do the tasks of his everyday life in w Obedience to the will of Jesus. Peter, the fisherman, had to take orders from Jesus, the carpenter, on how to fish.

Since “good enough” is no longer good enough for us we must allow the grace of Christ to lead us beyond the ordinary into x The Extraordinary. We must out-of-the-ordinary lives not in the sense of different from the ordinary but in the sense of coming forth from the ordinary and/or fulfilling the ordinary. A basic premise of Catholic spirituality is that grace builds on nature. God gives us super-natural grace to take nature to the next level; not contra-natural grace to change nature into something other than what He made it to be.

Live in y New Testament Hope that is rooted in and completes Old Testament hope. OT hope is confidence in God’s love based on belief in a future event – salvation to be accomplished by a coming Messiah. NT hope is confidence in God’s love based on belief in a past event – salvation accomplished in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. OT hope is grounded in a promise. NT hope is grounded in a z Person, Jesus.

{ Embracing St. Peter can be most helpful in this matter of hope and holiness. He lived in both the OT and the NT. The OT Peter, when facing his sinfulness in the light of the miraculous power of Jesus, prayed with the humility of a sinner, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” {Echoing the words of Isaiah from today’s first reading, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips.”} The NT Peter, when facing his sinfulness in the light of the cross and resurrection of Jesus, prayed with the humility of a lover, “Lord, You know everything. You know that I love You.” 

That which has enabled me to grow from OT hope into NT hope is | The Sacrament Of Reconciliation. Very, very few of us have made this sacrament, effected by the blood of Christ, an ordinary part of our spiritual journey. If you are not going to take sin seriously (esp your own sins), what right do you have to expect the bishops to take sin seriously? That would be true hypocrisy. On the other hand, if you do take sin seriously that very reality demands that your bishops and priests do the same.

This journey to sainthood is not just for you and you may not keep it to yourself. You won’t be able to keep it to yourself. Living in God’s will overflows as joyful hope into every aspect of our ordinary, daily lives making each aspect extraordinary for all to see. This is  } The New Evangelization to which recent popes have repeatedly called us.

Ordinary  ~ Trust In God, through, with and in the ordinary events of daily life, is the path: to extraordinary miracles, to extraordinary love, to extraordinary mercy, to an extraordinary life, to extraordinary holiness (i.e. supernatural holiness). It is the path to heaven, and the path to the healing of our Church.


Let us set out together, determined to become great saints living in extraordinary holiness.