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Homily: Recognizing the Gifts of the Spirit: May 25, 2020

I played a dangerous game in high school. I compared my individual talents to others, and I found myself lacking. That is because for each individual talent I had, there was always another person who was better. Rather than being able to see the many blessings God gave me, I focused on what I did not have. In today’s first reading, the apostle Paul shows how being baptized helps each of us to see the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Homily: Really Pray the Our Father Today

It is called the most complete prayer ever. The Our Father is one we pray often. But how often do with really think about the words we are saying. Do we pray the Our Father thinking only of ourselves? Do we pray for God’s will to be done when we hold back from doing God’s will? Do we seek forgiveness without forgiving? Today we are given the time to really consider the prayer and what we are saying.

The temptations of Jesus help us

There is an interesting phrase in today’s gospel about the temptation of Jesus. Namely, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan. Why? Why would the Spirit lead the Son into the desert? While the easy answer is that there must be a good reason if it is something the Spirit does, it still leaves a big question. Fortunately, Saint Thomas Aquinas answers it. He indicates four reasons it was fitting for Jesus to be tempted, and they are all for our benefit.

It’s the time to fast

Isaiah, often the mouthpiece for God, was a man of innovation. He challenged people to think in a new way about an old covenant. Today he takes the concept of fasting, and builds on the connection between fasting for God, and the attention service God’s people demands. Jesus is asked about why his disciples do not fast. He essentially says there is a right time for everything. Knowing how to respond to God by reading the signs of the times and the signs of our faith, now is the time to fast.

Who would choose a curse? You’d be surprised

Moses sets before the people today a blessing and a curse. It is hard to imagine that anyone would really choose a curse, but every time we sin we do. Why? How is it we can turn our back on God’s gift of life and choose the curse? Well, choosing life has consequences. Standing up for what is right and true can be hard, we can be persecuted for it. For this reason Jesus tells his disciples about his death, or warns his followers about self-denial and taking up a cross. Lent is a time where we are called to remember to take up a Cross so that we choose the blessing.

What do you desire? Sin or God?

The Buddhist religion starts out with four great truths. And among the big lesson is this: While life is suffering, the cause of the suffering is desire, and the person on the path to Nirvana should detach from what they desire. In today’s reading from James, the idea of coveting, or desiring what is not good for us. But unlike Buddhism, we believe there is a desire that is good for us: the desire for God.

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