Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Solemnity of Christ the King

“On this feast of Christ the King, let me begin with a very “un-king-like” figure. His name was Solanus Casey and, like Fr. Paul, he was a Franciscan priest, a Capuchin Friar.

“I’m told that all Franciscan Friars are good and humble men but when it came to being good and humble Fr. Solanus was the best. But his path to the priesthood and to religious life wasn’t easy. Born in Wisconsin in 1870, he was given the baptismal name of Bernard Francis but mostly he was called ‘Barney’. He grew up on the farms where he his father worked but moving from place to place it became clear that young Barney was not a star student. So he dropped out of school and went to work. He was a lumberjack, a hospital orderly, and street car conductor and prison guard. In prison he witnessed a brutal murder and that experience changed his life. Deep down he had always desired to be a priest but for him the only path to the priesthood was to find a religious order that would accept him. In God’s Providence he found his way to Detroit where he entered the Capuchins and was given the religious name of ‘Solanus’. To be sure, he struggled with his studies and barely made it to ordination and even then was not allowed to preach, at least at first, nor was he given any major responsibility in the Capuchin Order. After a few assignments, he was sent to St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit and for many years he was the porter, the doorman, at the monastery.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

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Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Senior Leadership Retreat Day

“This morning we celebrate a beautiful feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary namely, the Feast of Mary’s Presentation in the Temple. It is an event which illumines our Christian imagination: that wonderful and grace-filled moment when Saints Joachim and Anne presented their daughter, Mary, in the Temple. Let us remind ourselves why Mary’s Presentation is exceptional and what this event in salvation history has to do with us and our ministry.

“Joachim and Anne, Mary’s parents, were part of a remnant of God’s People who looked forward with eager anticipation to the coming of the Messiah. Their hope and trust in God’s promises of deliverance were undimmed by the catastrophes that befell the people of Israel – whether it was exile, or the desecration of the Temple, or suppression and conquest by foreign powers. Through it all, the faith of this holy remnant—far from fading— grew ever more vibrant and ever more expectant.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Mass for Deceased Priests

“November is a month when we lovingly remember our beloved dead and commend them to the Lord in the Masses we celebrate and in the prayers we offer in the silence of our hearts. So it is fitting that we gather tonight to commend to the Lord of life and love our brother priests who have gone before us in faith. Ours is a solidarity of faith and prayer that spans time and eternity and thus, what we do here tonight, is of benefit to our brother priests even as we trust that they are praying for us in eternity.

“For that reason, our Scripture readings this evening have Eucharistic overtones for the Eucharist, the heart of our vocation, is the meeting place of earth and heaven, of time and eternity. It is a sacred time and space in which we accompany with our prayers both the living and the dead. In this Mass, we are praying for brother priests who, like ourselves, accounted the celebration of the Eucharist as the source and summit of their lives of faith and their ministries. Let us see what these readings say to us, beginning with the Gospel.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Archbishop Lori’s Homily: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time; Knights of Columbus Mid-Year Meeting

“As we approach the end of this current liturgical year, the Scripture readings at Mass call us to reflect on the final judgment when Christ will come ‘to judge the living and the dead.’ The tale of the three servants in today’s Gospel is a case in point. The Master of the household is Jesus and the household in question is the Church. Each of us is represented by the servants to whom the Master entrusted a portion of his wealth. Just so, through the Holy Spirit, the Lord has given each of us ‘talents’ and has given us a lifetime to develop and use those talents One day, however, the Lord will return in glory to ask us what we did with them. This is the question the Gospel poses to you and me: What am I doing with the ‘talents’ God gave me?

“Now, the word ‘talents’ means that share of God’s own goods, the inheritance, if you will, that he has entrusted to each of us. And so it might refer to the natural talents God has given us and we need to ask if we developing and using our talents or wasting them. The word ‘talent’ can also refer to the material blessings bestowed on us. Are we using those blessings not only for ourselves but also for the good of others? Above all, the word ‘talent’ refers to the spiritual blessings which God, in his mercy, has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Among those spiritual blessings is the call to be a leader in the Knights of Columbus, and the many opportunities for spiritual growth through charity the Order offers us. What are we doing with all these wonderful gifts?”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Knights of Columbus Mid-Year Meeting, Chaplain’s Remarks

“First of all, it is always a pleasure to be with, my brother Knights, to gather in the midst of the fraternal year to encourage one another in fulfilling the aims and goals of the Order. Please accept my thanks for your service to the Knights of Columbus and know of my daily prayers for you and for your intentions.

“On occasions such as the Mid-Year meeting, we always take time to reflect on the principles at the heart of our Order, most especially our foundational principle, which is charity. But today I would like to spend a little time reflecting on our third principle, viz., fraternity, for we are indeed a fraternal order. The question is, what does it mean to belong to this fraternal order, the Knights of Columbus – and what distinguishes membership in the Knights from membership in other fraternal orders, worthy though they be?”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Friday, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time; Knights of Columbus Mid-Year Meeting

“In the wake of the mass killings at the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church in Texas, messages of prayerful condolence poured in from around the world. But some raised objections to these messages. What’s the point of praying when such tragic events keep happening? One public person observed that the victims themselves were in fact praying but that did not protect them from violence. Watkins, in Salon magazine, wrote that the victims of the mass shootings ‘deserve justice and to be honored . . . not just tweets about prayer.’

“I thought of such reactions as I reflected on Jesus’ words about the necessity of praying always. If prayer doesn’t do any good and in fact is a distraction, why did Jesus himself pray? And why did he tell his followers to pray and instruct them in the art of prayer? Clearly, Jesus’ teaching on prayer is a quite different than the notions of prayer that are floating around social media. This morning, let’s have a look.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Prayer is a Gift

In the wake of the recent church shooting in Texas, many people, including politicians, reporters, and other public figures, took to traditional and social media to share their opinions. Among the expected and reasonable comments about issues such as gun control and mental health, was a shocking dismissal of the value of prayer. Editor, D. Watkins wrote in Salon that victims of mass shootings “deserve justice and to be honored…Most of all, they deserve reform, not just tweets about prayer.”  Comments like these sparked a debate on social media about the importance and role of prayer.  “Just because you might not believe in prayer, doesn’t give you the right to publicly insult those who do,” responded Jeremy Hunt in an opinion piece.

The very idea of prayer is foreign to many people, including those who consider themselves to be practicing Catholics. For many prayer is a formality or merely a way of assuaging God or perhaps a way of leveraging divine favors – but not the lifeblood of discipleship or the path to that holiness and charity which should be the hallmark of every disciple and every worshipping assembly.  Many people go through life without really developing a life of prayer. When they encounter life’s inevitable sorrows, its tragedies, and the assaults of temptation, they are without defense or consolation. How often do we find people questioning the goodness of God, if not his very existence, in time of trouble, such as the church shooting in Texas?

But it is in precisely such times that we are reminded of God’s mercy and love and it is through prayer that we draw ever closer to our Loving Father.

Prayer is the means by which we deepen our loving relationship and friendship with God, a relationship that begins on the day of our Baptism.  Through sustained daily prayer, we come to know the Lord and develop the trust that is at the heart of a life of prayer.  We trust in His love, in His plan for us.

When we pray, we simply follow the words our Savior taught us through his instructions to the first apostles (Luke 11:1):

* Lord, we give you our praise…in good times and bad.
* Thy will be done, not only in heaven but here on earth and in our day.
* Give us our daily need.
* Forgive us and help us to forgive others.
* Protect us from the evil that tries to convince us you do not care.

Ironically, at around the time of the church shooting in Texas, the woman who leads the prayer ministry of the Archdiocese of Baltimore experienced the sudden loss of her adult son. His death might have shaken the faith of the most ardent supplicant. Pat, however, turned immediately to her Heavenly Father for the strength to endure such sorrow. As she came to terms with her grief and reflected on the comfort she received from the Lord to who she so devotedly prays, she unselfishly decided to share the gift of God’s love with others.  “I would not allow the pain and sorrow of the moment to keep me from sharing with others that closeness to Christ that is available to all,” she said.

Prayer is a gift.  It is a gift we receive from God to better know him and his unending love for us.  We need this gift in our lives, in good times and in bad.