Father Mark shares his final words for the parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy. As he heads to St. Mary in Mokena, Father Mark offers words of thanks and gives a few last appeals based on Jesus’ words in the Gospel.
The siege of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. was a result of disobedience to God’s word. The lesson from today’s readings is simple: be obedient to God’s word. God’s word orders reality and is the foundation of our existence.
Chances are that you and I are thinking way too small on the kind of impact God wants us to make on the world. On the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist, we hear about God’s desire for his servant to be a light to the nations (Isaiah 49:1-6). Fr. Mark reminds us that whether we are engaged to be married or looking toward retirement, God’s plan is far greater than we could dare to imagine.
There are numerous things that we put a lot of effort into; how about prayer? Prayer presupposes effort. Father Mark encourages us to understand properly that prayer is a battle. The paragraphs from the catechism he exhorts us to read are 2725-2745.
On the feast of Corpus Christi, we hear Jesus tell His disciples to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Father Mark explains why watching Mass from home on a computer is lame; he offers three things for us to keep in mind as we return back to Mass.
Elijah was told by God that he would be sustained after heading to Cherith. Elijah was obedient to God, yet the brook ran dry. There are times when we are obedient to God, but things still go bad. Father Mark asks us to consider what we do when the brook begins to run dry.
Living Above Reproach
In the 1st reading today (2 Tim 2:8-15) St. Paul exhorts Timothy to be "eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation.” Are you living above reproach? Are there any ongoing sins in your life that would bring shame if they were made public? Our world needs people to live above reproach, doing so leads others to Christ.
Father Mark breaks open the 1st reading today and explains that for Peter it comes down to one thing, sanctity!
In the midst of more and more ugliness in the world, one wonders how to proceed. Father Mark explains that beauty will save the world. As we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, Father Mark encourages us to ask the Lord for the fruits of the Holy Spirit so as to live and act beautifully.
In the 1st reading, we see the Scribes and Pharisees fighting with one another so much that their eyes are taken off their mission. Jesus knows we have this tendency toward in-fighting—whether that be in politics, in the church, in families, etc.— so he prayers for unity. This kind of in-fighting takes our eyes off the mission. Fr. Mark challenges us to consider if our words sow seeds of unity or disunity in our relationships and community.
In our 1st reading (Acts 18:1-8) Paul, while in Corinth, meets a married couple named Aquila and Priscilla. They were a great help to St. Paul in his ministry and did much in spreading the Gospel. Father Mark gives us three takeaways from the things we know about this power couple.
Paul and Silas are thrown into a cell and their feet shackled (Acts 16:22-34); they served as a bridge for the jailer’s conversion. Father Mark explains the need for pre-evangelization in the world today. People need shallow entry points where they can establish trust and thereby have their hearts ready to encounter Jesus.
We are intense and passionate about a lot of different things. How intense are we toward the things most important? Father Mark encourages us to have a Michael Jordan intensity with keeping God number one and family number two. Given the anti-Christian creed in the world, he offers suggestions in seeking help. Father Mark explains that the most powerful help at our side is the Advocate which Jesus promises us in today's Gospel.
Below are the items Father refers to
_Marriage Course page which has the video he refers to and registration link https://olmercy.com/mc/ [Starts Friday 5/22 @ 7:30pm]
_Virtual Narthex Small Groups After Mass [Starts Sunday 5/24 right after Mass]
Keep an eye out for the sign up to be released this week.
_Bible Study on: Jesus: the Way, Truth & Life [Starts Tuesday 5/26 @7pm]
_Bible Study on: The Bible Timeline Study [Starts Wednesday 6/3 @pm]
Our 1st reading today (Acts 14:19-28) is flooded with encouragement. It’s amazing how little encouragement we need to keep persevering. Father Mark exhorts us to encourage others today and to be encouraged by Jesus’ words in the gospel.
In our 1st reading (Acts 13:44-52) we hear that “almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” The people’s hearts were moved the following Sabbath and want to hear more of the power of the Gospel. This is the same cry we hear from Philip in the Gospel when he asks Jesus to show him the Father. Father Mark encourages us to pause today in order to rest in the trinitarian love our hearts were created for.
Today we hear Paul given the opportunity to share the gospel with the Jews in the Synagogue (Acts 13:13-25). The ball was placed on the tee for him to swing, and swing he did. When our children or grandchildren ask us why they have to go to Mass, will we be ready to swing away?
When given to Christ, your wounds become a Badge of Honor
Today we hear from Luke’s account of Jesus appearing to the apostles. Father Mark explains why the resurrected Jesus still has His wounds. May we also be quick to show our wounds to Jesus; they then become a badge of honor to show a hurting world.
Lean Back into Jesus’ Chest. Father Mark contrasts Peter and John’s reaction in the face of fear. Peter’s fear caused himself to distance himself from Christ. John leaned back into Jesus’ chest. Father Mark encourages us to spend time today imagining ourselves resting our head on Jesus’ chest.
There is a tragic element to our humanity. Father Mark reflects on how pain and suffering seems to be taking center stage these days. Jesus’ passion and death speaks into the tragedy of our humanity. Father Mark encourages us to watch Jesus closely this week as He takes center stage and goes to work.
What Are We Suppose to Look Like?
Today we hear (Acts 11:19-26) what the early church looked like. Church communities were formed by individuals responding to the gospel. Hearts were pieced and convicted which led to different living from the world. Is that what our parishes look like today? Does Our Lady of Mercy look that way? Father Mark encourages us to be the change when we come back to church.
Weak Spots in the Wall
Even though Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ victory over Sin, Death, and Satan, the battle continues. Satan lurks around like a thief, looking for weak spots in our wall in order to break in and cause havoc. Father Mark explains that the Good Shepherd comes with his rod and staff in hand to protect and heal us by His wounds.
Not much has changed over the years, difficult teachings of Jesus don't become less difficult as time goes on. Many leave the church because of church teachings that are hard. Father Mark encourages us to double down, reflect deeply on John 6 with Jesus, continue to believe in, and grow our devotion in Him, in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Manna and God’s Initiative
In today’s gospel, Jesus refers to manna. Father Mark explains how manna was miraculous food given by God to sustain the wandering Israelites. The manna is a prefiguration to Jesus’ own flesh He gives to sustain us on our journey.
Stop and Think
If the crowd would have just stopped and thought, they would seen the mighty works of God. Father Mark explains how important it is in the spiritual life to ‘stop and think’. We tend to move throughout the day so fast that we don’t realize God’s love for us; we even move fast through prayers, not thinking and expecting the Spirit to come. The gift of the Holy Spirit is always available to us if we would just stop and think.
What’s Essential Anyways?
Father Mark describes how the locked church doors are an image for modern man casting God as non-essential. When God is viewed as non-essential, sadness, and despair reign. In the Gospel today, the two disciples find themselves saddened before Jesus restores their hope. Father Mark gives two challenges to share the gospel to those who are searching for answers in this time of the pandemic.
For further reflection, please see the following Scripture verses he points to:
Acts 2:32 “God raised this Jesus; of this we/I am a witnesses”
1 Peter 3:15 "Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;"
Celebrating the Feast of St. Mark gives us an opportunity to recall the communion of Saints. The victory of Christ death and resurrection has been realized, but the trials of life continue. Father Mark encourages us to tap into the fellowship of the Saints while in lockdown. Take a listen.
Where Are You Being Stingy?
The inner life of God is one of self-donating love. The Father pours everything he has into the Son; the Son everything into the Father. Father Mark explains that we are created to give of ourselves in a move of self-donating love. Where we were once excited to give ourselves as a gift we perhaps have grown stale, stingy. Where are you stingy in making yourself a gift? Relate this to Christ, receive from the Triune God, be refreshed, then be the gift. Take a listen
Don’t be a Nicodemus!
In today’s gospel, Jesus continues his conversation with Nicodemus. Nicodemus is clueless; his mind in on earthy things where Jesus speaks of heavenly things. Father Mark explains that the spiritual world is incredibly active. Unfortunately, most of us don’t meet Christ throughout the day because we live as practical materialists.
Companions of Jesus
Peter and John are recognized by the scribes as companions of Jesus. Father Mark explains that companionship with Jesus is the first step to evangelization and having an impact on our circle of influence.
No one calls our name the way Jesus calls our name
In today's Gospel we encounter Mary Magdalene weeping outside the tomb. She doesn’t recognize the resurrected Christ until she hears Him say her name. Let us take time today to hear Jesus call our name as no one calls our name the way Jesus calls our name.
Come See Jesus. Death was on the mind of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary on the very first Easter morning. Similarly death is on our mind this Easter morning due to the pandemic. Father Mark explains that Satan is the ultimate invisible enemy who hold us ransom. Jesus rose from the dead, which means we will not die. Now the invitation is for us to come see Jesus.
Holy Thursday We’re Hurting and You’re Hurting
Father Mark explains how all Priests are hurting during this time being away from their people. Time away from the Eucharist is also causing the laity to hurt. On this Holy Thursday, where we commemorate the institution of the Priesthood and the institution of the Eucharist, Father Mark suggests that in the hurting there can be great spiritual growth and renewal.
A Good Father Keeps His Promises
Father Mark explains the situation the Israelites find themselves during Babylonian Exile. The prophet Ezekiel gives the people hope by proclaiming God’s outrageous promises.
“Never tasting death” If Jesus is God then everything He said is true. Father Mark encourages us to spend time today with the claim Jesus makes in the Gospel today, “Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.”
Who you calling “Not Free?!?” Father Mark reflects on the 8th chapter of Gospel of John. The Jews take issue with being told they aren’t free. This is our common reaction to Jesus as well. It is only remaining in Jesus where we find freedom.
Healing gaze at the cross As we approach Holy Week, Father Mark exhorts us to gaze at the crucifix for healing. To help with our prayer today, he reads a meditation from Bishop Fulton Sheen.
2020-03-28 Fr Mark - Daily Mass - When Darkness Chases You by OLMSoundbites
2020-03-27 Fr Mark - Daily Mass - Do what is right by OLMSoundbites
Golden Calf—How in the world? While Moses is absent 40 days on the top of Mt. Sinai, the people grow restless and they begin to worship a golden calf. When God seems distant it is easy for us to grasp for other things to replace HIm. We tend to lose moral judgment due to the social mob.
2020-03-25 Fr Mark - Feast of the Annunciation - Crazy Impact by OLMSoundbites
Father Mark recounts Jesus' conversation with the man who has been ill for 38 years. The man’s problem is that he bemoans in his self-pity. Father Mark gives us three tips to be freed from the weight of self-pity.
2020-3-23 Fr Mark - Daily Mass - Confidence in God by OLMSoundbites
We hear from the prophet Hosea for the 2nd day in a row. He gives another reminder to return to Him. Father Mark describes how now is gut check time
Parish Family, we apologize we were unable to post a live recording due to technical difficulties. Mass was celebrated this morning and the Mass intention was for Deacon Bob Vavra. We do have a sound file recording of Father Mark’s homily this morning below. We will vet the tech items and post a recording of the daily Mass tomorrow. Friday 3/20/20 3rd Week of Lent - God’s warm and gentle invitation.