Jealousy and selfish ambition. Foul practices. Ego and arrogance. “These are the things that destroy the body of Christ. These are the things that tear at the fabric of society,” says Fr. Tony Cutcher. He makes an appeal to Truth, encouraging us to always desire it, seek it, accept it, and live it.
What does it mean to have peace? Drawing a distinction between extending superficial pleasantries and sharing truly joyful peace, Fr. Deepak D’Souza reflects on this question. He says: “Let us pray that there is more understanding and more compassion towards each other. And let there be peace.”
How do we discern the voice of Christ in a world full of noise? Reflecting on Jesus’ healing of the deaf man, Fr. Tony Cutcher says: “There’s constant background noise. And we lose the ability to distinguish what is important and what isn’t. We effectively become deaf — deaf to those things that matter, deaf to the sound of our Savior.”
Which prayers are answered [and how] remains a mystery. Fr. Joseph Kindel ponders this as he reflects on Christ’s healing of the deaf man. He relates it to our need for healing in the Church today: “Part of the process of healing is surfacing the problem, letting the light shine on the problem…you can feel a lot worse before it starts to get better.”
Echoing Jesus’ challenge to the Pharisees, Fr. Tony Cutcher asks his congregation to reflect on the desires of their hearts, on what’s on the inside. He emphasizes: “As you hear the words of the Lord and you review the things that come out of you, from time to time, remember that the Lord stands ready to reconcile with you and to continue to put you on that path to righteousness.”
Reflecting on Christ’s harsh words about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Fr. Deepak makes an appeal to honesty: “Let us look at ourselves and ask the Lord to bless us, that we remain sincere and transparent in our dealings and remain faithful to the image in which the Lord has created us. Let our thoughts, words, and actions be good, so that what comes from outside does not affect us.”
“Help us to renew the Church,” Fr. Tony Cutcher implores his congregation in the wake of extensive reporting on abuse and cover-ups within the Church. He emphasizes the tragic reality of the scandals: “One child being abused, in any way, is one too many. And I grieve. I grieve for the childhood that these children lost and, for some of them, their adulthood. I pray for them every single day."
“Our church is on fire,” says Fr. Deepak D’Souza, addressing the string of scandals and revelations of abuse and cover-up within our church. He pleads: “Let us face it the way Christ taught us: by accepting this cross, not by running away from it.”
“If we willingly come forward and receive the body and blood of Christ, we are committing to being the body and blood of Christ in the world. This is an awesome responsibility,” says Fr. Tony Cutcher in a beautiful homily on the responsibility assumed in receiving the Eucharist. He asks: “Are we willing to be the body of Christ for the world by receiving his flesh and blood? Or is it too hard and we just walk away?”
Emphasizing the significance of the act of receiving the Eucharist, Fr. Joseph Kindel addresses the scandals of sexual abuse and its cover-up in the Church. He says: “The distressing news in the last few days of Bishops and Cardinals who evidently have been receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist unworthily for years, I think it’s time for all of us to recognize what we do here every Sunday. Receiving Jesus into our hearts should be creating a change in us, that we grow more and more like Jesus and find a way out of sinful patterns in our lives."