16th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today, Fr. Steve focuses on the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds, highlighting the importance of the Spiritual Battle, and the ultimate judgment that we will all face one day. We ought not judge prematurely, but be prayerfully patient, with ourselves and with others. Fr. Steve emphasizes the work of the Devil, especially in our electronic, social media age. Just as the Son of Man sows seed, so does the Evil One, and he is particularly focused on our children. Fr. Steve challenges parents to be very careful with smart phones and other media, and guard their children's hearts and minds like they do their homes (i.e., don't let anyone get access to them that you wouldn't invite to your home). Here are links to two articles by Rod Dreher: "The Terrible Cost of Porn" and "What Porn Did to Their Lives." Please note that those articles include mature material, suitable for adults. For information about keeping families and children safe, you can visit Enough is Enough or information by Matt Fradd at the Chastity Project or at his website

After this homily, I got this email from a parishioner:

As discussed after Mass, here is the link to the book Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, which is an aid to parents seeking to protect their children from pornography. I read it to my three oldest (ages 5 to 9) this afternoon and thought it was excellent and age appropriate for all. It took me about an hour to read it to them. The older two remained engaged throughout. The book may have been more suitable for my 5 year old in two or three shorter settings, rather than in a single setting.

I highly recommend this resource for all parents of children (especially those ages 5 to 12) in the parish. And it is my hope that my fellow parents in the parish will take similar measures--books, technological filters, limited access to devises--to protect their children. I say this out of love for their children and also out of love for my own children, for if other parents in the parish don't do their job, it increases the likelihood that my children will be harmed by pornography--or worse.

I'm very hopeful too that parents in our parish and in our school will take prudent steps to safeguard their children's hearts, minds, and souls. 

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today, Fr. Steve reflects on the very consoling text from the end of Matthew 11. "Come to me . . ." The Lord longs to share His love with us, and for us to share out hearts with Him. Fr. Steve talks about our parish commitment to allow hearts to speak to hearts ("Cor ad cor loquitur"--"hearts speaks unto heart.") here in the heart of the City of Lansing. Father then describes the elements of our parish case for the Witness to Hope campaign, which focus on the school and sanctuary. 

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today, in light of today's Gospel and Romans 6, Fr. Steve talks about the importance of preaching Christ crucified, and the powerful truth that Jesus speaks: "Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." As an illustration of what that might mean, in his homily Fr. Steve reads from a chapter of his brother Dan's book, Why I Don't Call Myself Gay, entitled "The Gift of Loneliness." In that chapter, Dan talks about how he learned to embrace his suffering and join it to the suffering of Christ, as Paul talks about in Colossians 1:24. 

More on "LGBT" matters and the Church

Fr. Steve continued today to talk about the battles in the culture and the Church. He warned that things are likely to get worse in the culture and the Church before they get better, but there is never any reason to be afraid. God has promised to not forsake us, and "He is not losing any sleep" over the current challenges. Fr. Steve concludes the homily by encouraging us: "Do not be afraid, but pray. And buckle up."

The "LGBT" Question in light of the First Roman Martyrs

Today, Fr. Steve talks about two recent books in the context of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church: Fr. James Martin, S.J.'s Building a Bridge and his brother, Dan Mattson's Why I Don't Call Myself Gay. Fr. Steve addresses forthrightly the challenges, temptations, and responsibilities of preachers today when addressing the questions that arise around matters "LGBT." 

In his homily, Fr. Steve talks about the context of the First Martyrs of the Roman Church, and states that the issues today are like unto those of the First Century. Here is a quote from an important book that addresses that First Century context in which the Gospel was preached and Christians were hated:

Though Christian morality promoted genuine self-emptying love and was positive for society, it nonetheless set Christ’s people against the prevailing culture. Romans did not like being told that some of their favorite activities were displeasing to the Christian God, and they pushed back. Still today, proponents of sexual immorality are not content to practice their ways behind closed doors; they demand public approval. In the first century, when Christians refused to approve, they became enemies of humanity itself in the Roman mind. (Rueger, Matthew W. Sexual Morality in a Christless World (Kindle Locations 721-725). Concordia Publishing House. Kindle Edition. 

After communion, Fr. Steve offers some additional reflections about what motivated his preaching today. 

p.s. There is, in the end of the day, no need to fear. God is in charge, and He is allowing this confusion to continue, but will one day bring the needed clarity to the Church's message about these matters. The unchanging Truth of the Church will again, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, be acknowledged as the Good News that it was in the First Century. Come, Holy Spirit!

p.p.s. One final note: the real "bridge" between the Catholic Church and those who experience same-sex attractions or gender dysphoria is the type of support that the Courage apostolate offers to those, like my brother Dan, who want help living chastely. 

Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ

This weekend, Fr. Steve highlights the essential Eucharistic character of Christian worship, and underscores the two millennia-old tradition of receiving Jesus from the Ambo and the Altar, i.e., from the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist. In my homily I should have made clearer that the Mass is, objectively speaking, the highest form of worship for Christians, for it is the Source and Summit of the Christian Life (Vatican II). All other worship of Christ (e.g., praise & worship, charismatic prayer, etc.), even if it may at times be subjectively more meaningful to us or someone else, draws its power from the Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross made present in our midst. 

At the end of Mass, Fr. Steve discusses some changes in our middle school staff and program, and announces that Brian Fink will be expanding his work at our parish and will be teaching in our middle school, beginning in the fall.

Ascension 2017

Today, we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, and recall His command to wait to be clothed with power from on high. Fr. Steve talks about the power God has for us who believe, and concludes with a discussion of one of the greatest barriers to God's work in our lives, which is bitterness. Forgiving others is a way to unstop our stopped up hearts, to let the healing graces flow.  

3rd Sunday of Easter

Today, our Gospel is from Luke 24, the Road to Emmaus, and Fr. Steve invites us to enter in deeply into that account and to see how it reveals the power of the Mass, in which we are fed from the Table of the Word and the Table of the Eucharist. In his homily, Fr. Steve quoted from John Senior's book, The Restoration of Christian Culture, which reveals the cosmic and earthly importance of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is what he says:

What is Christian Culture? It is essentially the Mass. That is not my or anyone’s opinion or theory or wish but the central fact of two thousand years of history. Christendom, what secularists call Western Civilization, is the Mass and the paraphernalia which protect and facilitate it. All architecture, art, political and social forms, economics, the way people live and feel and think, music, literature–all these things when they are right, are ways of fostering and protecting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (p. 17)