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:

The Podcasts

December 24, 2010

To the Editor, The Franklin Times:

I, as a Christian, found the December 16 “guest editorial” to be profoundly offensive, both in its religious bigotry and in its incoherence.  Christianity, as I understand it, has a breadth and depth transcending the pitiful xenophobia expressed in this “editorial.”

Before going public with such unthinking expressions, the writer might have reflected upon the kinship among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – all of them rooted in the Abrahamic faith in one God.

Christianity, indeed, stands distinct from Judaism and Islam in affirming the Incarnation of the Son of God.  We Christians find ourselves to be, not smug in feeling that we “know better” than others, but humbled by the astonishing gift to humanity of the Word Made Flesh.  We know that this gift came to us because of our sinfulness, including our tendency, arising from insecurity, to seek to assert superiority over other people.  The birth of Christ speaks to the common poverty of human beings and our need to embrace a humble God by becoming humble ourselves.

The Rev. Kevin M. Laughery

Pastor, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Franklin

Ecumenical Officer, Catholic Diocese of Springfield

Board Member, Greater Springfield Interfaith Association

The Franklin Times has no web presence.  If you're wondering exactly what I was responding to, I can only say that it was someone shooting from the hip, decrying "political correctness" while calling for "keeping Christ in Christmas" and suggesting that religious sensitivity is akin to engaging in a vulgar action.

Category:general -- posted at: 12:09pm CDT

We have three very important but quite difficult Scriptures here.  The homily includes comments on the major difficulties to be found when reflecting on each of the readings.

Direct download: KML_2010-12-19_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:03pm CDT

It is not only the farmer awaiting the yield of the soil who learns patience.  Everyone staring at a computer screen also comes to appreciate the virtue of patience.  Patience liberates us to look at our life and its blessings in its fullness.

Direct download: KML_2010-12-12_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59am CDT

Amazing images of peace assure us that peace can conquer even our own hearts.  The call to repentance is an invitation to an astonishing peace.

Direct download: KML_2010-12-05_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:22am CDT

What is our concept of time?  Do we simply find a succession of events without relation or meaning?  The coming of the Kingdom of God breaks through the tedium and leads us to a moment of conversion, when things unthought of become possible.

Direct download: KML_2010-11-28_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:24pm CDT

How does Christ the King govern?  Consider how humbly he tends to his realm: from the throne of the cross.

Direct download: KML_2010-11-21_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:58am CDT

On the fourteenth anniversary of the death of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, we consider how his example accords with the scriptural call to be confident in the face of the "ultimates" of life.

Direct download: KML_2010-11-14_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:55am CDT

Resurrection is real.  If there were no resurrection, God would not be God.  As Jesus assures us, God is not a God of the dead but of the living.

Direct download: KML_2010-11-07_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50am CDT

There was no homily for October 24 as I was in Guatemala.

A man climbing a tree: an absurd image?  Maybe.  But maybe also it could be a helpful image as we consider the fundamental experience of the Christian life -- conversion -- and our need to open ourselves to new points of view (even up a tree!).

Direct download: KML_2010-10-31_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01pm CDT

Im sorry not to have posted anything till now.  Online resources have been somewhat limited.  To follow up on what I wrote for the bulletin last Tuesday -- Wed. thru Fri. we were on a road trip to western Guatemala where Fr. Joe served in his earlier years.  He met many people he knows.  The trip was kind of tough because of mudslides and speed bumps (this would be equivalent to having speed bumps on I-55).  We took it easy over the weekend and attended two of Fr. Joes four weekend Masses.  It was gratifying to see big crowds of people of all ages.  Today we toured the original Spanish settlement, Guatemala Antigua, where St Brother Pedro lived in the 17th century -- he was the first Guatemalan canonized, in 2002.  Looking ahead to a fierce night of Scrabble games.

Category:general -- posted at: 7:27pm CDT

Never mind mowing down Amalek with the edge of the sword.  The preceding image, of Moses' arms being supported by members of the community, is a beautiful reminder of the ways in which our prayers are enhanced when we are praying together.

Direct download: KML_2010-10-17_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:07pm CDT

Having proposed that I might plan to do some sort of adult-education event on some topic in theology, I have received word from several parishioners that they would be interested in this.  I am thinking that I might plan such an event for January.

Possible topics: Since salvation is, you may say, the "bottom-line" concern of Christians, I have been thinking about presenting something about "what Scripture says about salvation."  I could also consider a survey of world religions and their relationship to Christianity.  Another possibility is Christian unity and how various groups of Christians are related to one another.  My official specialization is canon law, which, while not strictly theology, is built upon theology; I could certainly present something on canon law as it governs marriage.  If any of these topics is of particular interest to you, please let me know what you'd like me to speak on.

Time and place: Should this be four weekly sessions?  Just one session?  Weeknights or weekends?  

Category:general -- posted at: 5:03pm CDT

It seems to be a very slow process.  How do we expand our concept of God?  How do we move beyond the "local gods" that Naaman imagined?  How do we get beyond our constant denial that God is the God of all peoples?  Good questions.

Direct download: KML_2010-10-10_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:02pm CDT

We are four parishes and we have four parish feast days.  Let's review them: 

January 20 is the memorial of Saint Sebastian, martyr.  He may have died in 286, which makes his the youngest of our parish's titles, since the others are related to Jesus and Mary.  The image of Sebastian shot through with arrows has been very popular through centuries of European art.  Interestingly enough, the arrows didn't finish him off!  We have a 6:30 pm Mass scheduled at St. Sebastian on Thursday, January 20, 2011, followed by a meeting of the pastoral council of the four parishes.

May 31 is the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary's Visitation of Elizabeth -- the marvelous event, recorded in the first chapter of Luke's Gospel, in which two pregnant women share with each other their experience of the mercy and marvels of God, which few other people could appreciate.  In 2011, May 31 falls on a Tuesday.

The other feast days depend on the date of Easter, and in 2011, Easter falls on the second-latest day possible: April 24.  (Later on, I will present a discussion of the determination of the date of Easter.)  The solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Friday after the second Sunday after Pentecost, falls in 2011 on July 1.  Given that 2011 is the 125th anniversary year for Sacred Heart Parish, we need to begin planning for this celebration, which, coincidentally, is very close to the Franklin Fourth of July celebration!  Immediately following Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart of Mary memorial (the more common rendering of the name "Sacred Heart of Mary") is Saturday, July 2, 2011. 

Category:general -- posted at: 4:56pm CDT

We often find our existence to be dreary.  We are encouraged by the prophet's words:  "The vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint.  If it delays, wait for it.  It will surely come.  It will not be late."

Direct download: KML_2010-10-03_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:39pm CDT

Each of us wants to be assured that we are properly integrated into the society we believe we are a part of.  Such integration, of course, requires that many people know us by name and are willing to have some acquaintance with us.  We prefer not to be addressed as "hey you."  To be known and called by name means that we have attained a certain level of respect and acceptance within our social circle.

On the other hand, one must also admit that, under some circumstances, being known by name is not much of a compliment.  We chafe under people who call us by name only to order us around.  We know very well that our purpose in life is greater than simply being someone's lackey.  We wish that the imperious people in our lives would develop a sense of perspective and see us as human beings just as worthy as they.

At the beginning of Jesus' parable of the rich man and Lazarus, it is unclear whether these two are acquainted with each other.  Lazarus languishes at the rich man's door; it is conceivable that, even in spite of such proximity, they are strangers to each other.  After each has died, however, the rich man betrays himself.  From his torment in the abode of the dead, he looks across the chasm to Lazarus in heavenly bliss, and he calls out to have Lazarus (he knows his name!) sent to run an errand for him.

Out of all the non-historical characters in all the parables of Jesus, only the wretched Lazarus is assigned a proper name.  We must consider our own habits of learning or failing to learn the names of people, examine our motives for remembering or forgetting, and find comfort in being known by the God who reveals to us our true dignity.

Direct download: KML_2010-09-26_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:20pm CDT

On this weekend, when the Gospel refers to believers as servants doing their duty, I'd like to explain the major duty which takes up most of my working hours.

When I entered the seminary in 1975, I knew that, following two years of studies at our own diocesan seminary in Springfield (it closed in 1986), I would have six more years of seminary in St. Louis.  Shortly after entering the seminary, however, I saw a list of all our seminarians and discovered that two of them were studying in Rome.  I said to myself: "I think I'd like to do that, too."  At the end of college seminary, Bishop McNicholas told me: "Well, Kev (bishops can get away with calling me Kev), I'll send you to Rome, but you'll have to get a canon law degree."  So I ended up living in Rome from 1979 to 1985, and I did get my licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1984.

As of the end of 1983, when a new code of canon law went into effect, it became necessary for diocesan tribunals to have judges with canon law degrees; no longer would there be a loophole by which judges at least had to be "truly expert" in the law.  I remain one of the very few priests of our diocese with a canon law degree.  Throughout my 27 years of priesthood, I have been involved in the work of our diocesan tribunal, as well as the interdiocesan Court of Appeals of the Province of Chicago.  Bishop Lucas put me in charge of the tribunal on an interim basis in 2005, and in 2006 I became judicial vicar.

Theoretically, a diocesan court or "tribunal" could litigate any matter which parties might care to bring before us.  In practice, however, our work is almost completely devoted to the petitions of persons who seek to be declared free to enter a new marriage in the Catholic Church following a divorce.  In weeks to come, I will write more about this work.

Category:general -- posted at: 10:29am CDT

Jesus speaks about a wily business manager who uses initiative to prepare for a decent future, now that his boss is firing him.  Apparently what this man is doing -- for which his boss compliments him for resourcefulness -- is lowering the interest rates which he had originally proposed to his boss's debtors, so that these people might look upon him favorably when he is searching for a new situation.

Do believers show as much initiative as this man?  Our relationship with God is about eternity, something encompassing even more than the future!  We relate to God in what is for us the hard-to-imagine realm of timelessness.  We can hide nothing from God.  Do we show God at least as much devotion as the manager did toward the debtors?  

A relationship with God is something truly personal.  Christianity teaches us that God the Son established an unbreakable bond with human beings by himself becoming human.  If we who understand ourselves to be Christians do not take initiative in exploring the relationship which our God is opening up to us, we impoverish ourselves.

Christianity is a communal experience.  We must participate in shared worship with Christian brothers and sisters, and open ourselves to opportunities for service.  When we commit ourselves to what we know we must do, we will find a variety of doors opening up to us.  We come to discover who we really are.

Direct download: KML_2010-09-19_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:25pm CDT

It is curious that the word "prodigal" is used in the English language almost exclusively in reference to this parable of Jesus, popularly known as "The Prodigal Son."  Many of us have learned the parable without learning the meaning of the word "prodigal."

Many of us identify with the "prodigal son" (the word "prodigal" means "wasteful" or "spendthrift"), and yet he is the least interesting figure in the parable.  We can imagine wanting to do what he did, and we are amazed that he got away with, essentially, pretending that his father was dead and getting his inheritance in advance.  He is a fool who, when he is starving, has only the cunning which comes from an urge to survive.  He figures that he would be better off a servant of his father than dead, so he heads home.

More interesting than this younger son are the father and the elder son.  We wonder: Why does the father enable the younger son to pretend that he is dead?  Why did he allow him to rip him off?  And now, why does he welcome him home?  Furthermore, we are anxious about what the elder son has to say, because has a very good point!

Jesus gave us parables to make us uncomfortable.  This is probably the second most aggravating parable, after the one about pay scales for workers in a vineyard (Matthew 20: 1-16).  As in the parable of the vineyard, you and I have a reaction reflecting a deeply felt sense about justice and retribution.  Why the lavish welcome?  We don't get it.  But such is the nature of God's mercy, which provides healing, affirming surprises for fools like you and me.

Direct download: KML_2010-09-12_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21pm CDT

From the Vatican, Wednesday, September 8, 2010: 

"The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue received with great concern the news of the proposed 'Koran Burning Day' on the occasion of the Anniversary of the September 11 tragic terrorist attacks in 2001 which resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and considerable material damage.

"These deplorable acts of violence, in fact, cannot be counteracted by an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community.  Each religion, with its respective sacred books, places of worship and symbols, has the right to respect and protection.  We are speaking about the respect to be accorded the dignity of the person who is an adherent of that religion and his/her free choice in religious matters.

"The reflection which necessarily should be fostered on the occasion of the remembrance of September 11 would be, first of all, to offer our deep sentiments of solidarity with those who were struck by these horrendous terrorist attacks.  To this feeling of solidarity we join our prayers for them and their loved ones who lost their lives.

"Each religious leader and believer is also called to renew the firm condemnation of all forms of violence, in particular those committed in the name of religion.  Pope John Paul II affirmed: 'Recourse to violence in the name of religious belief is a perversion of the very teachings of the major religions' (Address to the new Ambassador of Pakistan, 16 December 1999).  His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, similarly expressed, '…violence as a response to offenses can never be justified, for this type of response is incompatible with the sacred principles of religion...' (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI, to the new Ambassador of Morocco, 6 February 2006)."

As president of the Greater Springfield Interfaith Association, as ecumenical and interreligious officer of our diocese, and as your pastor, I have sent a letter of greeting to the Islamic Society of Greater Springfield on the occasion of the end of the Ramadan fast this weekend.  I am happy to speak with individuals or groups regarding our responsibilities as Catholic Christians in seeking Christian unity and in appreciating what we have in common with people of other religions.

Category:general -- posted at: 10:29am CDT

Hate your family?  No -- Jesus is talking about subordinating cherished aspects of our life to the goal of the Kingdom of God.  We do have to deliberate carefully about this, as in the examples of the builder and the king.

Direct download: KML_2010-09-04_420pm.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59pm CDT

The N.Y. Times obituary feed brings news of the death of Paul Conrad, editorial cartoonist.  During my high-school years, I myself did editorial cartooning for a weekly paper where I grew up.  Paul Conrad was always my favorite.  It could be said that he lacked subtlety.  There were some issues, however, in which he displayed nuance.  He was anti-abortion, but he also tired of pro-life sanctimony.  He once portrayed a grim soul with a sign "Protect the Unborn" near another person with a sign "Protect the born, too!"  My brief career was during Watergate -- no better time to be an editorial cartoonist -- and Conrad too reveled in those times and events.

Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm CDT

Every year, the bishops of the United States make a Labor Day statement, reminding us of the rights of workers in the economic system.  Read this year's statement at, search term "Labor Day."

Again I encourage Sangamon County residents to complete the surveys regarding a rural transportation service.  Surveys may be picked up and deposited at the entrance of St. Mary's Church (above the missal storage area).  

The "Mass of Welcome" for Bishop Paprocki in the Jacksonville Deanery (in which Sacred Heart, Visitation BVM, and St. Sebastian are found) takes place this Wednesday, September 8, at 7:00 pm at St. John's in Carrollton.  The parallel event for the Springfield Deanery (St. Mary's is in this deanery) takes place Tuesday, September 28, at 7:00 pm at St. Joseph's in Chatham.  The liturgy planners for this event are asking that a St. Mary's parishioner act as a giftbearer for this Mass.  Please let me know if you are interested in serving in this role.

Two UIS professors will speak on "Lincoln and Race" at the Brookens Auditorium of UIS on Thursday, October 7, 7:00 to 9:00 pm.  I am active with an anti-racism team of the Illinois Conference of Churches, and I consider it vital to be aware of racial issues, because such awareness is an extremely important form of self-knowledge.  

Category:general -- posted at: 8:01pm CDT

"It's good to be humble."  There's no subtlety in these readings; they hit you over the head as if with a 2x4.  So what is the complete meaning of humility?  It has to do with our connection with people we would prefer to overlook.

Direct download: KML_2010-08-29_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27pm CDT

It's not enough to be acquainted with our God; we must enter into the challenge of relationship with the author of our being.  The challenge will feel like discipline, so we must be careful to recognize that discipline is for the sake of growth, not shame.

Direct download: KML_2010-08-22_945am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 4:10pm CDT

The Diocesan Adult Enrichment Conference will be held in Decatur on November 7 and 8.  For the upcoming edition of this biennial conference, I especially recommend the presentations by Father Paul Turner on the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 11:47am CDT

It amazes us to think that the strange imagery of Revelation and other apocalyptic literature was part of the purpose of encouraging people!  But in fact, this writing is for the sake of comforting people under persecution.  They are invited to recognize the cosmic significance of their own sufferings.  The woman was given a place of refuge in the desert; this is a fitting image of Mary's assumption into heaven.  Recorded at Sacred Heart, Franklin.

Direct download: KML_2010-08-15_800am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 11:38am CDT

The Assumption of the Mother of God calls to mind the presence of the Son of God in this world.  Awareness of the presence of God focused, among the people of Israel, upon the Ark of the Covenant.  The title "Mother of God" is literally translated "God-bearer."  Recorded at St. Sebastian, Waverly.

Direct download: KML_2010-08-14_605pm.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 11:34am CDT

I already noted Alveda King's visit to Springfield.  There is another event to tell you about.  Alveda King will be the featured speaker at Springfield Right to Life's annual benefit dinner, to be held this year on Friday, September 24, 6:30 pm, at Northfield Center, 3280 Northfield Drive, Springfield.  Reservations: adults $50, students $25.  Anyone who is interested in attending may contact me by Thursday, September 2.

The feeling dimension of our lives is of the greatest importance.  I invite you to take a look at some materials I've prepared:

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 3:11pm CDT

Effective Sunday, August 22, the Sunday Mass schedule will be: 8:00 am at Sacred Heart; 9:45 am at St. Mary.  Again, my thanks to all parishioners who offered ideas.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 12:15pm CDT

A consideration of the concrete experience of faith.  This was recorded at the end of my current weekend schedule, at New Berlin St. Mary.

Direct download: KML_2010-08-08_930am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 12:09pm CDT

Thanks again to all Sacred Heart parishioners who worked at Vacation Bible School.  Franklin can be very proud of its ecumenical spirit.  Next year is Sacred Heart's turn to provide a director for VBS.

Here is more complete information on the Franklin Christmas musical.  An initial meeting will be held this Wednesday, August 11, 7:30 pm, at Franklin Christian Church.  The contact for further info. is Nita Reese, 675-2221.

Our diocesan Social Concerns Office has helped to organize a couple of pro-life events involving Dr. Alveda King, a niece of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  More info.:

Recently I was captivated by an image connected with an ecumenical event in Germany.  You can see it too.  Go to my home page,, and click on "Walking on Water."

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 12:41pm CDT

I can now announce my decision regarding the Saturday Masses.

Effective Saturday, August 14, Mass will be at Visitation at 4:20 pm, and at St. Sebastian at 6:05 pm.

I want to take one more week to consider two possibilities for the Sunday schedule.  We could have 8:00 am at Sacred Heart and 9:45 am at St. Mary; or, we could flip the schedule, with the earlier Mass being at St. Mary.

With thanks to all who have offered their ideas.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 10:18pm CDT

I recorded this homily at the beginning of my weekend schedule, at Visitation BVM Church in Alexander, an unincorporated community on Old U.S. 36 between Springfield and Jacksonville.  We hear from Ecclesiastes the word "vanity," which perhaps for you and me is better rendered "foolishness."

Direct download: KML_2010-07-31_430pm.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 11:24am CDT

Last Saturday at Visitation, parishioners experienced a "Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest."  It happens that we have ritual books for leading this sort of service; I am leaving them in the sacristies this weekend.  In weeks to come I will plan for one or more training sessions for parishioners willing to be designated to lead a "SCAP."  If it is at all possible, we want to avoid having to resort to SCAP; but, as Saturday proved, we need to be prepared for emergency situations.

The Region 12 (ourselves, Chatham, Auburn, Virden, Girard) planning group met on Wednesday; we will meet again on Wednesday, September 15, 6:30 pm, at our parish office building in New Berlin.  Before too long, you will begin to see in the bulletin a number of regular communications regarding shared activities and ministries, including coordinated schedules for Christmas and other holy days of obligation.

Vacation Bible School in Franklin will take place Sunday, August 1, through Thursday, August 5, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, at Franklin Christian Church.  Franklin is only the second town I've pastored (the first was Girard) where several churches collaborated on VBS.  This is a very powerful sign of willingness to seek unity among Christians.  In 2011 it will be Sacred Heart's responsibility to designate a VBS coordinator.  Thanks to all Sacred Heart parishioners who are working to make the 2010 VBS possible.

The weekly confession schedule has now been implemented.  The bulletin will always state explicitly whether or not I will be available on the coming Saturday.  Whenever there is a visiting priest, there are no scheduled confessions times.  The schedule is: 8:00 - 8:30 am at Visitation; 8:45 - 9:45 am at Sacred Heart; 9:30 - 10:00 am at St. Sebastian; 10:20 - 11:00 am at St. Mary.

An initial meeting in preparation for the Franklin Christmas Musical will be held Wednesday, August 11, 7:30 pm, at Franklin Christian Church.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 12:51pm CDT

After a couple of head-scratching sessions with my recording device, I have succeeded in getting the thing to work again.  I'll post my August 1 homily and we'll be back in business!

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 12:48pm CDT

Paragraph 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the right of society to make use of the death penalty; it mentions qualifications which render almost nonexistent the situations in which capital punishment is necessary.  We must stress this teaching as our state legislators consider the possibility of abolition of the death penalty.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 2:58pm CDT

Last evening I attended the Songfest of the Franklin Area Service Association at the United Methodist Church.  Sacred Heart parishioners can be proud of the fact that our parish participates in this organization.  I'm interested in learning more about the activity of this organization.

I have learned that members of the Christian Church are attempting to organize Vacation Bible School for the week of August 2.  If you have worked on VBS in the past, you will probably be hearing from someone.  We must remember that it will most likely be our responsibility to provide a director for the 2011 VBS.

Feedback: I would advise emailing me at, instead of leaving a comment on this blog.  I am being deluged with dozens of apparently automated comments per day.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 10:26am CDT

This morning I found that my recording device was completely unresponsive, not giving any sign of life, even after a battery change.  I'll work on finding alternate means for recording my Sunday homilies.

I am receiving comments regarding changes in the weekend Mass schedule.  So far I have not received much feedback on the prospect of moving Saturday Mass at Visitation from 4:30 pm to 4:00 pm.  There seems to be a good deal of contention, however, over the Sunday schedule.  Thus far I have received numerous communications attesting to the difficulty of getting young families ready for 8:00 am Mass, and the aggravated difficulty if Mass should be scheduled earlier.  I have not heard many compelling arguments against changing 9:30 at St. Mary.  I will be publishing my decisions on Wednesday, August 4.  Until then, please give me your ideas. is an online resource which all of us can use to familiarize ourselves with the new English translation of the Order of Mass, which will go into effect the weekend of the First Sunday of Advent, November 26-27, 2011.  In May I attended one of the workshops on the new Roman Missal offered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  In weeks to come I will take a little time before the homily to focus on some of the changes in language and the reason for these changes.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 4:50pm CDT

Hello parishioners of the four parishes, 

I am going to use this blog ( as the fastest and most convenient way to put my thoughts in writing.  I welcome parishioners' email addresses; please send your addresses to me at

On this blog I post not only text, but also recordings of Sunday homilies.  If you want to set up an RSS feed so that you know when I've updated the blog, the address is

I have become aware of an immediate need in Franklin regarding Christian initiation for a young lady seeking to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church.  I would like to develop a team whose purpose will be to work with such persons and prepare them to become Catholic Christians.  I am interested in receiving word from parishioners who are interested in engaging in this activity.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:13am CDT

I am afraid that I could not readily put my hands on the iRiver in order to record this weekend's homily.  (I still have a lot of organization to do in my new rectory.)  I talked about how the word religion has shrunk in esteem, about the importance of the distinction when people say "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual" (religion as being bound to some practice -- one might say "stuck," vs. spirituality as spontaneous response to the presence of God in our lives), how Moses and Jesus today call us to a natural, spontaneous exercise of religion/spirituality; and I also threw in the controversy (Arians asserting that Jesus is not God) facilitated by St. Paul's expression today of Jesus being "the first-born of all creatures."

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 5:52pm CDT

Dear parishioners, 

My name is pronounced LOFF-ree or LAW-free (this last is an apt pun, since I am a church lawyer who sometimes would like to find a law-free zone, if such exists).  I answer to Fr. Kevin.


Before and after Masses seems to me a bit too casual, and could keep me from plain old visiting with parishioners after Mass.  I propose the following schedule for Saturday mornings:

8:00 to 8:30 am at Alexander Visitation BVM; 8:45 to 9:15 am at Franklin Sacred Heart; 9:30 to 10:00 am at Waverly St. Sebastian; 10:15 to 11:00 am at New Berlin St. Mary.  

It appears that I will have to wait until Saturday, July 31 to put this into effect.  Mission Co-op is July 24-25.  Whenever there is a visiting priest, I announce in the bulletin that there are no scheduled confession times that Saturday, but of course individuals always have the right to ask the priest to hear one's confession.  I may not offer the schedule every Saturday; the bulletin will say definitely whether the schedule will be in effect for the coming Saturday.

Weekend Mass schedule: 

An hour and a half between Mass start times makes for far too tight a schedule.  It is my plan, effective Saturday, August 14, to set the schedule as follows: 

Sat. 4:00 pm at Visitation; 6:00 pm at St. Sebastian; Sun. 8:00 am at Sacred Heart; 10:00 am at St. Mary.  

Please let me know your thoughts on these proposals.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 12:37pm CDT

Hello to my new parishioners!  The task of moving was accomplished on Monday and Tuesday, June 28 and 29.  As of Thursday, July 1, I am taking a little vacation.  I look forward to presiding at Eucharists on the weekend of July 10 and 11 as well as to a new schedule of weekday Eucharists.  

On the evening of Wednesday, June 30, a number of representatives of our parishes attended the pastoral planning meeting for Region 12 (ourselves, Chatham, Auburn, Virden, Girard) to keep discussing how we will be in collaboration in our region.  From one point of view, the region has already accomplished its task.  With Fr. Angel's move from the parishes, my arrival, and Fr. Daren Zehnle's taking on Auburn in addition to Virden and Girard, we have reached the goal of having three priests in the region instead of four.  Now, however, we must continue our discussions about how to collaborate.  It was noted that the "Quad Parishes" already have a history of self-understanding as a pastoral unit.  This history is something we can build upon.  The next meeting of Region 12 is set for Wednesday, July 28, 6:30 pm, at the Holy Cross Parish Center, 125 East Washington, Auburn.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:50am CDT

For the last time at Holy Cross, a summary of the strangeness of the Christian faith, and its power to shatter all distinctions among human beings.

Direct download: KML_2010-06-20_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 1:32pm CDT

Walking in on the second act of "David and Bathsheba," as we do today, is proof that our appreciation of our worship depends on our taking time to be more familiar with the Bible.  The second reading and Gospel make abundantly clear the gratuitous nature of mercy, forgiveness, and salvation.

Direct download: KML_2010-06-13_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 1:26pm CDT

When I tried to record this, I failed to turn it off until it had been recording for about four hours.  So here's a summary.  "Eating helps."  This was my discovery in the midst of the pain of facing up to a move.  The eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ keeps sustaining us.

Direct download: KML_2010-06-06_Summary.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 1:18pm CDT

Aspects of God as Trinity may be reflected upon when we say the Profession of Faith.  The new English translation highlights the "consubstantiality" of Father and Son, and the incarnation of the eternal Word of God.

Direct download: KML_2010-05-30_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:27am CDT

The flesh is not evil.  We must understand Saint Paul's use of the term "the flesh."  Perhaps a contemporary equivalent is the modern concept of "addiction."

Direct download: KML_2010-05-23_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:25am CDT

"What's up, Doc?"  What is the meaning of "up" when we consider the Ascension of the risen Jesus?  Clues may be found in the Hebrews passage, about Jesus' entrance into the heavenly sanctuary, and in the Gospel passage, about the Apostles frequenting the Temple of Jerusalem.

Direct download: KML_2010-05-16_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:56am CDT

Of all the things that promise to unite people, jokes have a lot of promise -- although we have to be careful that the humor is not in mere ridicule but in a common sense of absurdity in human life.

Direct download: KML_2010-05-09_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:54am CDT

On the occasion of First Holy Communion, a reflection on "love one another" and the fact that we can concretely love one another if we engage in the small act of listening.

Direct download: KML_2010-05-02_1015am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 5:55pm CDT

On April 18, the Third Sunday of Easter, I had to catch a plane right after the last Mass, and I just didn't want to mess around with recording.  On the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday, I took a look (again) at the unrelenting aftershocks of the clergy sexual abuse crisis.  Crises can make us stronger if we give up our denial and confront the dysfunction in our midst.

Direct download: KML_2010-04-25_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 5:50pm CDT

Even though I have spoken about the issue of clergy sexual abuse many times in the past, I had a hard time with this homily, and its length (16 minutes plus) reflects my difficulty.  My RSS feed of The Tablet has just reported that the Vatican has published on its website, in English, norms for handling such cases; there is stress upon the requirement that police be contacted.

Direct download: KML_2010-04-11_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 1:54pm CDT

The apostles and the other witnesses of Jesus' resurrection found this event to be an inner as well as an outer experience.  His resurrection meant that so many things which they did not understand beforehand made sense now.

Direct download: KML_2010-04-04_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 1:51pm CDT

Our anxiety about whether "things are going to be OK" hangs on the meaning of the death of the man in whose Passion we participate today.

Direct download: KML_2010-03-28_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 1:48pm CDT

On my tenth anniversary in Divernon and Auburn, a consideration of the fact that we would like God and his people to respond to us with mercy rather than harshness.

Direct download: KML_2010-03-21_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:46am CDT

We say we see.  Do we have insight as well as sight?

Direct download: KML_2010-03-14_1015am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:44am CDT

Grow or die.  Bear fruit or be rejected.  We know that our God is not the rejecting type; nevertheless, we need to be attentive to the spiritual imperative before each of us.

Direct download: KML_2010-03-07_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:41am CDT

It is difficult for us to hold in our minds any thought which would embrace the wholeness of any person.  We use mental shorthand and categorize people into "like us" and "not like us."  The transfiguration of Jesus is a response to the tremendous difficulty the disciples would undergo when it seemed to them that their master was utterly isolated from all human society.

Direct download: KML_2010-02-28_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 12:39pm CDT

This is about a guy who takes a funny-looking stick and hits a tiny little ball and people pay him lots and lots of money for doing this.

Direct download: KML_2010-02-21_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:25am CDT

Every one of us has need of God as a tree needs to be rooted in a place with an unfailing supply of water.  We must not behave with presumption, as if we could casually postpone a bond with God until the time that suits us.

Direct download: KML_2010-02-14_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:46am CDT

Our call from God makes itself felt when we are caught up in wonder and awe.  Our sense of awe may well be connected with a sense of unworthiness, as in the case of Isaiah, Paul, and Peter.  We are aware of our absolute need for God, and thus God can take command of our life.

Direct download: KML_2010-02-07_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:37am CDT

Our feelings, including feelings of love, must become integrated with our sense of values and of relationship to God and the world.  We must move from the "childish" reaction of the crowd in Nazareth to a realistic sense of our limits and our call to love.

Direct download: KML_2010-01-31_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 5:14pm CDT

We consider the strong feelings surrounding the reading from these scrolls in the books of Nehemiah and Luke. Awareness of our feelings keeps us in touch with our full humanity and our relationship with the Creator. Our being subject to our feelings is a fact which we can carry to our sense of wonder over Jesus, God become human.
Direct download: KML_2010-01-24_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:38am CDT

"Jesus approved of marriage" -- this is like saying "Jesus approved of sunshine." In the analogy of the Church as the Body of Christ, all Christians in their various states of life contribute to the well-being of the whole body.
Direct download: KML_2010-01-17_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:36am CDT

Solidarity with the human race is what Jesus expresses, both in his birth at the beginning of the Christmas season, and in his baptism on its last day. We are called to exercise solidarity with one another as well, for the sake of securing justice.
Direct download: KML_2010-01-10_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:16am CDT

Making your child a public figure in infancy is probably not what you want to do. The Christ Child, on the other hand, was a public figure from birth, because of his identity as the unique Savior of all the nations of the earth.
Direct download: KML_2010-01-03_8am.MP3
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 9:28am CDT