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

We may muse about "the end of the world," but our God is calling us to consider how he is pleased to re-create us and preserve in us the love which alone endures.

Direct download: KML_2011-12-04_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:18pm CDT

"Advent" denotes an arrival -- but how often do we protest that God is absent from human existence?  We can consider the ways in which we have been inattentive to God's presence.

Direct download: KML_2011-11-27_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:08pm CDT

What do we seek when we are powerless?  We hope that someone will exercise personal kindness toward us.  This is the very tenor of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, who is united with all who are cast down.

Direct download: KML_2011-11-20_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:01pm CDT

God is demanding.  He did not create us idly.  He created us for a purpose.  Are we willing to find out this purpose?

Direct download: KML_2011-11-13_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43am CDT

We must keep sufficient oil with our lamps so that we can keep peering into what seems to us to be obscurity, and thus to welcome the clarity which emerges.

Direct download: KML_2011-11-06_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:37am CDT

In light of the scriptural expression of tension regarding religious leadership, a reflection on the sexual-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

Direct download: KML_2011-10-30_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:41pm CDT

I was on vacation for two weekends.

What is our principle for conducting our lives?  We may be stuck in a childhood mode, assuming that "good behavior" or "conformity" is equivalent to living the great commandments, which call for an entrance into relationship when the childhood carry-over essentially has us saying, "I'm good; now leave me alone!"

Direct download: KML_2011-10-23_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:03pm CDT

The focus is on the word "anxiety" as we find it in Philippians, so we can find our way through the vineyard of life's challenges and appreciate the Savior who willilngly entered it on our behalf.

Direct download: KML_2011-10-02_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm CDT

The Scriptures today call us to take seriously the need of all of us to undergo ongoing conversion to the God who emptied himself for the sake of our salvation.

Direct download: KML_2011-09-25_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:46pm CDT

There's a lot going on: Catechetical Sunday, Appeal Sunday for our diocesan services assessment, and so on.  Only at the end of a litany of "business" did I comment on "the parable that drives everyone crazy."  The challenge of this tale of the workers in the vineyard can be met only if we drop our tendency to analyze every element of the story (allegorizing) and focus on the gift of the day's wage as expressive of the Kingdom of God, offered in its wholeness to people who can't earn it.

Direct download: KML_2011-09-18_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:22pm CDT

In case we are tempted to harbor resentment on this tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Sirach warns against holding on to an embittered spirit, and Jesus asks us to consider to what extent we act as the unforgiving debtor does.

Direct download: KML_2011-09-11_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:59am CDT

We take a look at a geometric figure in order to consider the ways in which we communicate -- or fail to communicate -- about difficult matters.

Direct download: KML_2011-09-04_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:15pm CDT

What does it mean to be a fulfilled person?  Is it enough to have the esteem of others?  Do fame, wealth, or accomplishment fulfill us?  Jesus bids Peter to look at the Cross and to see that the suffering and death of the chosen one of God is the way to fulfillment.

Direct download: KML_2011-08-28_945am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:16pm CDT

No homily for the 20th Sunday; it was our Mission Co-op weekend.

The Church is not a completed institution but rather a work in progress.  We still must strive for the unity Jesus intends for his people, especially since we are in the midst of the challenges of disunity and misunderstanding.

Direct download: KML_2011-08-21_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:10pm CDT

Something on a computer telling you to turn off the computer?  That's exactly what this is.  We must move out of a world of distraction and "noise" (and information can be "noise" even if it's silent) and into a sea which the Lord has calmed.

Direct download: KML_2011-08-07_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:06pm CDT

"Nothing can separate us from the love of God."  We have this pledge in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  The Son of God becomes our very food and drink.

Direct download: KML_2011-07-31_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:01pm CDT

The homilist was away on July 17.  Solomon's prayer for wisdom in governing could not have come at a more apt time, given the pathetic posturing going on in Washington.  We pray that lawmakers will recognize the common good of our country and the world as the treasure buried in the field, the pearl of great price.

Direct download: KML_2011-07-24_945am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09pm CDT

God provides that human freedom is always in play, so that we may accept or reject his invitation to enter into his life.  It is easy for us to resist the invitations coming from our God.  Let's consider how we can grow and flourish through an acceptance of the invitations.

Direct download: KML_2011-07-10_945am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:05pm CDT

What does it mean to be "in the flesh"?  How can I not be "in the flesh"?  We find some answers as we consider how our God wishes to establish peace within us.

Direct download: KML_2011-07-03_945am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:26pm CDT

The idea of eating and drinking someone's flesh and blood is utterly offensive.  But the anxieties of those who feel they must sacrifice something to God are likewise quite raw.  In the Eucharist we encounter a God who pays attention to our bewilderment.

Direct download: KML_2011-06-26_945am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:25pm CDT

"God so loved the world ..."  We understand that God, within himself, is relationship, is dynamism.  It is in keeping with who God is that he immerses himself in human existence.

Direct download: KML_2011-06-19_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:58pm CDT

Catholics, obviously, are quite focused on the mystery of "the Church."  On the "birthday of the Church," the homilist rambles on for 15 minutes!  Presumably we are captivated by our own experience of this mystery!

Direct download: KML_2011-06-12_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:22pm CDT

After the Springfield Young Adult Mass on the evening of June 5, a congregant confirmed for me (on the basis of her Holy Land pilgrimage earlier this year) that there are tour guides who point out a "pushing-off" place on the Mount of Olives.

Direct download: KML_2011-06-05_945am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:17pm CDT

We consider today's words from the First Letter of Peter about how to witness to our faith -- not by proselytizing, but by being in touch with our own experience and the ways in which God has changed us.

Direct download: KML_2011-05-29_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08pm CDT

A bit of housekeeping, having to do with the just-published diocesan pastoral plan.  "No one comes to the Father except through me" -- what does this imply for non-Christians?

Direct download: KML_2011-05-22_945am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:24am CDT

The homilist was away from the parish on May 8; therefore, no homily.  The sentiments expressed herein were influenced by the strange weather being experienced at that time: cool and rainy and seemingly unending.

Direct download: KML_2011-05-15_945am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:21am CDT

Thomas speaks for all of us who rely upon the testimony of a few witnesses to the Resurrection of Jesus.  Keeping in mind the validity of our own religious experience (as alluded to at Easter), we understand that we are part of the immense majority of believers who rely on the privileged witness of a few close associates of Jesus.

Direct download: KML_2011-05-01_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:20am CDT

The resurrection accounts in the Gospels differ from the passion narratives; the former emphasize the personal experience of individuals.  We can come to understand that our own personal experience of the mysteries of life opens us to encounter with the Resurrected One.

Direct download: KML_2011-04-24_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16am CDT

"His blood be upon us and upon our children."  Can this line from the Passion of St. Matthew be understood as a blessing rather than as a curse?

Direct download: KML_2011-04-17_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:13am CDT

God has revealed to us that he intends his people to live forever and glorify him.  Jesus, proclaiming this truth in the raising of Lazarus, moves deliberately toward the death which secures human salvation.

Direct download: KML_2011-04-10_945am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:44pm CDT

The themes of "the man born blind" are rather obvious.  I took this opportunity to advance our sight into the future, and especially to consider the needs of our worshiping communities to have a presider at Eucharist.

Direct download: KML_2011-04-03_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07pm CDT

Imagine lugging all the water you need for your household purposes.  Then consider the woman's longing for a spring to which she did not have to travel.  With all who are preparing for baptism, we meditate on water and we recognize that Jesus establishes a fountain of life within us.

Direct download: KML_2011-03-27_945am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:05pm CDT

Life as a journey with a variety of experiences, and our need to make sense of these varied elements in light of our truest identity.

Direct download: KML_2011-03-20_800am.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:01pm CDT

The temptations Jesus experienced were real and appealing.  He wasn't play-acting; he entered fully into the human experience and the tensions we know all too well.

Direct download: KML_2011-03-13_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:25pm CDT

I'm afraid I did not make a recording of the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time homily.  I waited until the Young Adult Mass (Sunday at 8 pm) and then discovered the dead battery.

It has always been my conviction that it is unnecessary and morally questionable to apply capital punishment.  Catholic social teaching, while holding that in principle a body of civil society has the right to exact the ultimate sanction, affirms that the circumscribed situations in which the death penalty would be called for do not exist in society today.  We in Illinois can be proud of joining a number of U.S. states and many, many countries in affirming that alternatives to capital punishment are called for by a developing morality which looks beyond vengeance in applying sanctions.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:34pm CDT

Alfred E. Neuman as an example of Christian living?  Yes, at least insofar as freedom from worry is concerned.  "Seeking first the Kingdom of God" does, however, require some explicit concentration.

Direct download: KML_2011-02-27_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:13am CDT

Our Christian faith does not call us to be doormats.  Every one of the challenges Jesus describes is an opportunity to stress the reciprocity implied in every social situation.

Direct download: KML_2011-02-20_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:59pm CDT

The church was cold, so we moved to the parish hall -- hence my nostalgia for my childhood worship environments.  Today's Gospel gives a good opportunity to consider our feeling life, and how to be at peace in the presence of God as feeling people.

Direct download: KML_2011-02-13_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm CDT

Salt and light are familiar substances.  As we consider how Jesus is applying these images to ourselves, we may ponder their servant quality. 

Direct download: KML_2011-02-06_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:18pm CDT

The Mass scheduled for Thursday, February 3, 7:15 am, at Waverly, will not take place.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:50am CDT

All parish activities for Tuesday, February 1, and Wednesday, February 2, are cancelled.  This includes the adult-education event scheduled for Tuesday; also Wednesday's Mass, PSR, and liturgical-minister trainings.

Category:general -- posted at: 8:33am CDT

I have received word that the Franklin Area Service Association meeting scheduled for this evening has been cancelled.

Category:general -- posted at: 12:23pm CDT

What are the qualities of the individuals who make up Christian communion?  They are people who are hungry, and who have learned what is worth being hungry for.

Direct download: KML_2011-01-30_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:21pm CDT

Today's readings suggest an emphasis on the concept of communion: the goal of all members of the Body of Christ; something achieved with difficulty; something far from complete.

Direct download: KML_2011-01-23_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:19pm CDT

My message changed a little bit because at this Mass I was particularly moved by the setting of Psalm 40, "Here I Am, Lord," by Rory Cooney.

Direct download: KML_2011-01-16_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:12pm CDT

Themes of Christmas are restated upon the inaugural of the ministry of Jesus.

Direct download: KML_2011-01-16_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:09pm CDT

I have decided to cancel the Mass and pastoral council meeting scheduled for this evening.  I am rescheduling the pastoral council meeting for Thursday, February 17, 2011, 7:00 pm, at the New Berlin office building.

Category:general -- posted at: 10:54am CDT

Given the worsening weather conditions, I have decided not to hold any of the scheduled liturgical ministers' training sessions this evening.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am CDT

I have decided to cancel the 6:30 pm lector training at Waverly.  I will still do server training at 4:00 pm and SCAP training at 8:00 pm (both at New Berlin) for any who may come.

Category:general -- posted at: 9:11am CDT

Baptism is an immersion into all human concerns.  The baptism of Jesus is the promise to us (if his birth does not already signify this!) that, for the sake of our salvation, he does not shy away from any of the griefs of humankind.

Direct download: KML_2011-01-09_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:08am CDT

This was the Young Adult Mass in Springfield.  In this homily I mention my niece Erin, who is currently doing volunteer work in Guatemala.

Direct download: KML_2011-01-02_800pm.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm CDT

"That thing in our brain" -- Why is it that we make such a sharp distinction between "my people" and "not my people"?  Recorded at New Berlin.

Direct download: KML_2011-01-02_945am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:55pm CDT

Christmas on Saturday followed by Sunday Masses proved too crazy even to do any recording.  Today I present three homilies from one day.  This first one may suffer from some audio competition.  Recorded at Franklin.

Direct download: KML_2011-01-02_800am.MP3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:39pm CDT