Saturday, March 16, 2019

Our Citizenship is in Heaven

This is a homily based off of the 2nd reading from this upcoming weekend. Take a look and hear how we are called to live for something more than this world, which is a deep conversion from sin, and turning towards God as St. Paul states in his letter to Philippians.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

O God Beyond All Praising

            A couple weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon I had the opportunity to pray in the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston, TX. It is a beautiful Co-Cathedral, and here is a website with more information about it.
        As I was walking around and praying I noticed that the Cathedral had a balcony, so I decided to see if I could get up there, so that I could see a better view. Well, I am assuming that usually the door would be locked to get to the balcony, but seeing as how it was before Mass, there were a couple musicians up there, practicing before Mass. I asked them if I could get a picture from the balcony, and then noticed the amazing organ that the Cathedral has. Next thing I know, Crista  (director of worship) and Cody (cantor) are showing off the organ. Of course, I had to ask Christa to play my favorite song which is O God Beyond All Praising, to which Cody and I eventually sang along to. It was amazing, and I want to thank Christa and Cody for being so hospitable to a priest in shorts and a t-shirt who wondered up the stairs.
       The reason I enjoy the song O God Beyond All Praising so much is too hard to write in one session, but let me share the words with you, and also a recording of the first and last verse that you can hear here.  Take a look at the words, and in particular verse 1 and 3 make sure to pray with, and then realize that no matter what, we are always called to praise God, in good and in ill, because God is a God beyond all possible praising.

O God beyond all praising,
we worship you today
and sing the love amazing
that songs cannot repay;
for we can only wonder
at every gift you send,
at blessings without number
and mercies without end:
we lift our hearts before you
and wait upon your word,
we honour and adore you,
our great and mighty Lord.
The flower of earthly splendor
in time must surely die,
Its fragile bloom surrender
to you, the Lord most high;
But hidden from all nature
the eternal seed is sown
Though small in mortal stature,
to heaven’s garden grown:
For Christ the man from heaven
from death has set us free,
And we through him are given
the final victory.
Then hear, O gracious Saviour,
accept the love we bring,
that we who know your favour
may serve you as our king;
and whether our tomorrows
be filled with good or ill,
we’II triumph through our sorrows
and rise to bless you still:
to marvel at your beauty
and glory in your ways,
and make a joyful duty
our sacrifice of praise.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Do Not Test God, But Trust God

Here is my homily from 3 years ago, this is in regards to last weeks readings. I'll try to post one for this weekend ahead of time.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

I’ve never seen a U-Haul following a hearse.

One of the great witnesses of faith that I had growing up was Brother Alphonsus Martel, FSC, who taught business classes at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul. Brother Martel also was in charge of the outside maintenance of the campus and most importantly taught life lessons. 
Brother Martel was full of one-liners, and eventually if you got to know him well enough, they became part of who you were as well. Well one of the lines that has always stuck with me is Brother Martell saying, “I’ve never seen a U-Haul following a hearse,” which is a true statement. We can’t bring our earthly possessions with us when we die, they are all left behind, and when we die, we simply leave this world the way we came into it, with nothing but ourselves.
In today’s first reading from Deuteronomy 30:15-20 we hear Moses saying:

"Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.
If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy.
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.
For that will mean life for you,
a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore
he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

That’s right, it’s that easy. All we have to do is chose life. When we do, we will live forever with God, like Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. This also means that we have to live for something more than just this world. This does not mean that we cannot have any possessions (just look at all the ice-fishing gear that I have), but we cannot live trying to attain just worldly possessions. We are called to walk in the ways of the Lord, and have our every action be connected to God.
This is not always easy, but when we start to do it, it becomes easier and easier, because what we are doing is saying yes to God!!!! Remember, repentance is a radical conversion, so in order to do this we must be radical sometimes. But it is all worth it, because what we are doing is choosing life over death, life with God eternally. Remember, when we die, there is no U-haul that is going to follow us. Rather, it will be a procession of people who hopefully have seen you as a great witness, not only in this world, but also one who leads others to the greatest reward: life with God eternally.

I’ll leave you with the Gospel of today from Luke 9:22-25:

Jesus said to his disciples:
"The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised."

Then he said to all,
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?"

P.S. If you have any memories of Brother Martel or some pictures of him, feel free to share below.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Repent and Believe in the Gospel

A priest buddy of mine once told me that Ash Wednesday is the biggest day of the year that young adults come to Mass. There are 2 reasons why I think that this happens:
  1. It brings back their childhood memories.
  2. They want to actually live a Christian life, and they know that the world in itself is not enough for them.

Some of our earliest memories of Church are receiving ashes, and how cool it was that we were able to get something on our forehead, and then, of course, having the competition of who could keep the ashes on their forehead the longest. We maybe didn’t know what the ashes symbolized, but we knew that Lent began. We had some “dirt” on our foreheads, but it didn’t matter, because other people did as well.
As we grew older, we began to see that Lent was actually a great opportunity to start anew, and as Christopher West is sharing all around the country, we began to realize that we were “made for something more”. Made for what? Made for something more than this world can give us, made for God, and that is why we repent.
Repentance is a radical conversion, saying I desire to change, and living for something more, living for God. That is why the priest states “Repent, and believe in the Gospel”. The Gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ, and if we actually believe in Jesus Christ, then we will want to repent, because we will want all of Jesus Christ, and all that He wants to bestow down upon us, not only in heaven, but in this world as well.
The great thing about this is that we do not have to do this alone, we do it as a community of believers. You see, all those people who you saw today with ashes on their foreheads want the same thing that you want (even if you didn’t get ashes today or they didn't). We all want God. We know that we need to repent (remember, repentance is radical conversion every day) and to believe in the Good News of Jesus Christ. So, as we begin this Lenten journey, remember that you are not alone on this journey. We all want the same thing, we want life with God. Let’s journey together, regardless of age, race, or how religious we might appear, and Repent and Believe in the Gospel, because that is what we all desire.

As always, please know of my prayers for you and your loved ones, please continue to pray for me.

God Bless,
Fr. Carlson

Opening Prayer for Ash Wednesday:

Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting
the campaign of Christian service,
so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils,
we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Finding Baby Jesus

Sorry I have been away from this sight for awhile. We'll see what happens this time.

Merry Christmas, and continue to Find Jesus in this Christmas Octave, graces are flowing!!!!

God Bless,
Fr. Carlson