Sunday Homilies

from Father Kevin Laughery, Troy St. Jerome and St. Jacob St. James Parishes, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Note: Comments from this page do not reach me; instead, email: kl@kevinlaughery.com

The Podcasts

In our polarized society, we must recognize our absolute need to be branches on the one vine, Jesus, who leads us out of tribalism into life-giving union.

Direct download: KML_2018-04-29_830am.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:46pm CDT

This was First Communion weekend in my parishes.  "This is the church, this is the steeple" leads to a discussion of the Church as the people, and of our need to be shepherded.

Direct download: KML_2018-04-22_830am.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:41pm CDT

We used the Gospel from the Easter Vigil: Mark's account of the discovery of the empty tomb.  We can identify with the fear which the women felt when they were charged with announcing Jesus' resurrection to the world.

Direct download: KML_2018-04-01_930am.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:37pm CDT

As we near the celebration of the Passion of the Lord, the image of the grain of wheat becomes very helpful to us.

Direct download: KML_2018-03-18_830am.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:34pm CDT

The homiletic treatment of the strange story of Abraham and Isaac.

Direct download: KML_2018-02-26_830am.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:32pm CDT

I never was able to do an audio re-creation.  Here is my outline.

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Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois

Parishes of St. Jerome, Troy; St. James, St. Jacob; St. Elizabeth, Marine

2018 LENTEN SPEAKER SERIES

Thursday, February 22, 2018, 6:00 pm

St. James Catholic Church

Second of six speakers:

Father Kevin Laughery, Pastor, St. Jerome and St. James Parishes

Topic: Abraham and Isaac.

This weekend’s Scriptures (Year B) are: Gn 22: 1-2. 9a. 10-13. 15-18/ Ps 116: 10. 15. 16-17. 18-19/ Rom 8: 31b-34/ Mk 9: 2-10

(Mass reading citations for every day are at kevinlaughery.com/lc.html; the texts for every day are at usccb.org/bible/readings/.)

I.  Theological orientation

A.  Our need to be familiar with Scripture (the Bible)

1.  Review of our need for context

2.  Awareness of various origins of specific Scriptures

B.  The “theology of story” has influenced me deeply.

1.  “Truth” is not to be equated with, say, journalism.

2.  Very little of Scripture could be called “journalistic.”

3.  All of Scripture is true!

4.  Book Tellers of the Word, by Navone and Cooper (available online, including through amazon.com)

C.  Why do we tell and listen to stories?  Because of the truth in them!

1.  Again, truth is not to be equated with journalism.

2.  We remember and tell stories because of their dynamism, and how they demonstrate necessary change (conversion) in people as they enter into relationship with God.

D.  Truth and conversion

1.  We are all seeking truth together.

2.  Conversion is the fundamental experience of the Christian on the path to fullness of relationship with God (Bernard Lonergan, Method in Theology).

3.  We have intense, dramatic moments of conversion by which we find that our very orientation toward God is fundamentally changed!

4.  We have less dramatic moments of conversion which, I trust, we take in stride.

5.  We formulate narratives (“stories”) by which we make sense of God’s work upon us, and share them with fellow Christians (but, please, learn to summarize!).

6.  Our process of conversion, as lived out among non- Christians, leads to possible conversion for such people, but more on the level of the perception of our integrity of life than on “heady” arguments.

II.  Transition to Abraham and Isaac

A.  Teaser: Langston Hughes and his phrase “a raisin in the sun” (used by Lorraine Hansberry as title of play)

B.  Teaser was chosen as a 20th-century expression of the futility which we find as a theme of the Abraham-Isaac incident; see also the Book of Job and “the triumph of impotence.”

III.  Abraham and Isaac: Genesis 22: 1-18   

A.  In our 1969 (current) Lectionary for Mass, this Sunday’s Old Testament reading is Genesis 22: 1-2. 9a. 10-13. 15-18.

B.  Many non-Catholic Christians, although they have adapted the Catholic lectionary for their own needs, are somewhat scandalized by the heavy editing Catholics have done.

C.  Besides occurring on this Sunday of the three-year Lectionary cycle, this incident is the second Old Testament reading of every Easter Vigil, on which occasion one may repeat the edited version or the straight narrative, Genesis 22: 1-18. 

D.  It is believed that Genesis and the other books of the Pentateuch were compiled from several sources (probably four) which themselves were written between the 900s and 400s B.C.

E.  Abraham is believed to have lived at the beginning of the second millennium B.C. (2000 B.C. or later).

F.  Need we add that this is not journalism?

IV.  Fundamental themes of Genesis 22

A.  Futility: This is what I believe stands out to most of us as we come to know and appreciate this story.

1.  The birth of Isaac was a great wonder which Abraham and Sarah had yearned for.

2.  So now he is to be offered up as a holocaust?

B.  The singularity of the believer’s relationship with the one God.

1.  Other nations had a multiplicity of gods.

2.  Abraham’s insight: there is only one God.

C.  The absolute character of this same relationship.

1.  Life itself comes from God alone.

2.  God, the Lord of life, justly takes back life once given.

D.  Sacrifice

1.  When we read the Bible all the way through, we cannot help but wonder about Old Testament customs of sacrifice.

2.  We suppose that such practices are backward. 

3.  Do we not engage in such practices ourselves?

4.  Sacrifice would seem to arise out of the believer’s sense of insecurity about our relationship with God.

5.  Temptation to offer human sacrifice (see Micah 6).

6.  Perfectionism

a.  Religious practice as “being good”

b.  Perfectionism as self- defeating behavior

c.  Perfectionism as a state of arrested personality development

d.  New Testament discussion of sacrifice: Hebrews (esp. chaps. 9, 10)

E.  Light shed on the Christian mystery

1.  “God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust” (22: 8 — not in this Sunday’s edited version)

2.  Do we see how appropriate this reading is for the Easter Vigil?

F.  Connection with the other readings of this Sunday

1.  Psalm 116: I will pay my vows

2.  Romans 8: God did not spare his own Son

3.  Mark 9: Transfiguration: Wondering about the meaning of “rising from the dead.”

Category: -- posted at: 6:19pm CDT

I told numerous people to find here a recording of my February 22 presentation in the "Lenten Speakers Series" of my parishes.  It was on Abraham's resolve to offer up his son Isaac as a burnt offering/ sacrifice.  I turned on my recording device but apparently did not then press "Record."  I will try, in the next few days, to record an equivalent of my talk; it will not, however, include the numerous occasions of riotous laughter.  

Category: -- posted at: 9:04am CDT

On February 4, I apparently did not turn off the recorder, so that homily was part of a several-hours-long file.  Sorry.  February 11, I did not preach.

This homily was preached at a retreat for 7th- and 8th-graders, just after the mass shooting at Parkland, Florida.  If we are to understand human behavior and, especially, the ways in which we succumb to temptation, we cannot demonize even the most egregious sinners; we must understand ourselves as being on a continuum which includes those who do unspeakable things.

Direct download: KML_2018-02-18_400pm.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:08pm CDT

Can gift cards heal?  We need to consider all the various ways in which people need to be healed, and we will grasp this possibility.

Direct download: KML_2018-01-28_830am.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:03pm CDT

The homilist did not preach January 14.  -- We certainly need to know the context of this episode in the book of Jonah if we are going to appreciate how God works with an unwilling prophet.

Direct download: KML_2018-01-21_830am.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:33pm CDT