Confession–to a priest?

Sometimes people will simply ask me, “father why do I have to confess my sins to a priest? There are priests who have done bad things and we hear about this in the news. I’ve decided I can just confess to God.” So let’s follow this logic. Read More

Frequent Confession to battle sin

On April 6, 1957 a young man was convicted of murder and sentenced to death: he had murdered a stock merchant at the Paris stock exchange by bludgeoning him to death and in his attempt to escape had shot and murdered a police man, and seriously wounded another. Jacques Fesch had grown up in a well to do home, but there was no love. His girlfriend became pregnant and he was unable to provide, no matter what he did. He eventually sought to escape and he would use any means to get to his desired tropical island, no matter what it cost him. He needed more money than he had to get to his desired tropical island…he decided to do whatever he needed to do, regardless of the cost to obtain the money. Even steal and murder.

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This Gospel (cf Luke 4:1-13)  is a great mystery: our Lord is like us in all things but sin. Here he is battling it out with the devil. Our Lord is weakened after 40 days in the desert, a time of preparation. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert in preparation for their entrance into the Promise Land. So 40 is a pretty significant number. In beginning these 40 days we are living a small part of our lives: we have our whole lives to grow in holiness to prepare for the ultimate Promise Land. At the end of our Lord’s time, He would have been starving and very weak. This is important: He redeems all aspects of the human condition. Holiness takes a lifetime of faithfully serving God-we are constantly facing one temptation after another. Read More

Don’t judge me!

I know you’re about to judge me: “should I listen to Father or should I read the bulletin?” We are constantly making judgments. Recently when I was returning the Pro Life march somebody pointed out to me that we now have a new state motto on the signs that welcome people to Pennsylvania. Instead of saying “Welcome to the Keystone State (or whatever it used to say)”, it now says, “Pennsylvania. Pursue your happiness.” Supposedly this is from the Constitution, but I think there’s a deeper reality going on here: relativism. One thing which you might have heard is this one: “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.”(cf. Luke 6:27-38). This is often thrown in the face of people who try to call people away from a sinful situation. “Don’t judge me! Jesus said don’t judge! Aren’t you a christian?” Read More

Mortification, Strength in God

This is several weeks behind, but here is my homily from last weekend…

I don’t know about you, but for me one of the consequences of winter is dry skin. It’s a constant battle to keep from having cracks and cuts in my hands. We see what salt on the road does to the cars. Now salt in the Gospel is used in a good sense as well: we need to be salt for the world, to fill it with the flavor of the Gospel. In this instance we hear of a salted wasteland. In the first reading today we hear of Jeremiah making a pretty clear contrast: a strong verdant tree that can withstand storms and on the other hand a barren bush in the desert that stands in a lava waste.

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Heart of Saint John Vianney

Yesterday my diocese had the great joy of welcoming the incorrupt heart of Saint John Vianney to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. Read More

God’s gift of Life

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet… (Is. 62:1)

On Friday January 18, I was at the March for Life in Washington, DC, and every year when I look around I am awestruck by the sacrifices people make to get there. I heard of one man who walked 2,800 miles starting last April to be there this year. I met one group from Kansas City who drove for 24 hours straight. I’m always impressed by the families that come—families who are very courageous in not only traveling a long way with their children but who are brave enough to enter a massive crowd of people. There is a lot of sacrifice and courage here—two virtues which are opposite those vices promoted by the culture: selfishness and fear. Read More