Homily

What’s a homily series? It’s one message that develops over the course of several weeks. It’s an opportunity for each of us to dive deeper into scripture without having to join a separate study or group. We hope it is something worth inviting a friend to, worth inviting your children, your neighbors, or your parents to.

Is happiness just a description of a feeling or could it be something more?  Could it be our purpose or our goal?  Could it be the state of our lives rather than a feeling that comes and goes?

Over the next few week’s we’ll be exploring our desire for happiness, our misconceptions of what it means to be happy, and the path God sets for us to be truly happy.

Part 1: Jan. 29 - That doesn’t sound very happy.

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Howe's Homily

Fr. Steve's Homily

Beatitude literally means happiness, but not everyone Jesus describes in today’s gospel sounds happy - at least in our modern understanding.  So what does Jesus really mean when he talks about happiness?

The following reflection questions were crafted after hearing the weekend's homilies. They can be used for personal reflection or Small Group discussion.

  • What struck you from the homily you heard? 
  • What stood out to you from the video at the beginning of the homily?
  • What does it mean to be happy?
  • When was the last time you were happy?
  • Who is the happiest person you know?
  • What is lasting happiness?
  • What is the connection between happiness and holiness?

Feb. 5 - Today we took a break from our homily series, “Happiness” to make room for the Catholic Services Appeal. 

However, if you’d like know how today’s scripture fits into finding true and lasting happiness, Fr Steve and Fr. Howe have a short video below.  An audio version is available as well for those who prefer to listen in the car.  Next week our series continues with a look at the guidelines that lead us to happiness

Part 2: Feb. 12 - What’s with all these rules?

This Week's Scripture 

Fr. Steve's Homily

Fr. Howe's Homily

We often think of rules or laws as restrictive of our freedom, even as impediments to our happiness.  But good rules and laws lead us to more freedom and happiness.  Consider our traffic laws: it’s because we can generally expect other drivers to drive on the right side, stop at red lights, and drive at an appropriate speed that we are able to drive across town in a reasonable amount of time.  It’s because of these laws that we have the freedom to go where we want.  In the same ways the laws in today’s gospel give us the freedom to pursue what we really want.  Jesus even takes this further, inviting us not only to obey the letter of the law but to go beyond it, to know the heart of the law.  Every rule and every law in all of holy scripture and church teaching is intended to provide freedom and happiness to the person who follows it.

Part 3: Feb. 19 - Be perfect, really?

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Steve's Homily

Fr. Howe's Homily

Jesus continues to invite his disciples to go beyond the law.  Yet his final command in this chapter of Matthew seems impossible, “Be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect.”  Similarly today’s first ready asks us to “Be Holy, as I the Lord your God as Holy.”  When did we come to think that those who are holy don’t have any fun, that they aren’t really happy?  The truth is that holiness is happiness.

The following reflection questions were crafted after hearing the weekend's homilies. They can be used for personal reflection or Small Group discussion.

1. What is the relationship between Holiness and Happiness?

2. How does our society paint someone who is Holy? What do you believe is correct or incorrect about this vision of Holiness?

3. What are the longterm effects of seeking to be close to God? What are the longterm effects of turning away from Him?

4. Is Happiness something worth seeking? Why or Why not?

5. What should be our goal in life? For what were we made?



Change your preparations. Change your expectations.

Change your experience.

Whenever we find ourselves stuck in a routine, whether it’s the routine of preparing for Christmas, the routine of our daily lives, the routine of the seasons of the year, or really anything, we often seek something new, something different to help break the routine.  Sometimes this leads us to add more things to our already busy schedules, or to overload our senses with new stimulating experiences.  But, how can we find something that is sustainably new?  How can we live in such a way that we’re not searching for the next new experience, but rather that we’re experiencing the newness of life every day?

Dec. 4 - Preparations and Expectations - 2nd Sunday of Advent

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Steve's Homily

Fr. Howe's Homily

The following reflection questions were crafted after hearing the weekend's homilies. They can be used for personal reflection or Small Group discussion.

  1. How are you preparing for Christmas?
  2. How are you spiritually preparing for Christmas?
  3. What are your expectations for God at Christmas this year?
  4. How is Advent different now than when you grew up?
  5. In Advent we add things to our life, what have you taken away?
  6. What happens if you don’t eliminate something while adding new practices, responsibilities, and activities?
  7. Where is God present in your Advent preparations?

Dec. 11  - "Things always stay the same" - 3rd Sunday of Advent

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Steve's Homily 

Dec. 18 - Unchanging and New (at the same time) - 4th Sunday of Advent

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Howe's Homily

The following reflection questions were crafted after hearing the weekend's homilies. They can be used for personal reflection or Small Group discussion.

  1. On a scale of 1-10 how open are you to God doing something new for you this Christmas season? Why not higher? Lower?
  2. Do you bring your needs to God in prayer? If no, what keeps you from turning to him?
  3. Do you believe God is active in your life? Explain.
  4. What does your name mean? Why did your parents name you your name? 
  5. How does Jesus’ name help us to understand his mission?

Archives - Fall Series

What immediately comes to mind when you hear the word unexpected?  Many of us recall tragedies and uncertainties; however, something unexpected isn’t necessarily something bad.  Our introduction video combines the unexpected love of God the Father with negative, unexpected news from this past summer.  Remember the prodigal son’s expectations were to be treated as a hired worker, not as a son.

Holy Name has three homily series this fall.  All of these fall under the umbrella of Unexpected: finding meaning and purpose in uncertain times.  The first series begins Sept 25 - Unexpected Generosity, followed by Mercy Revisited beginning October 22, the last series of the fall is I Am Not Afraid beginning Nov 6.

Listen to Fr. Steve's Sept. 11 Homily

Listen to Fr. Howe's Sept. 11 Homily


September 25 - Unexpected: Generosity -

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Steve's Homily

Fr. Howe's Homily

The following reflection questions were crafted after hearing the weekend's homilies. They can be used for personal reflection or Small Group discussion.

  1. Who is Lazarus in your life?
  2. What does our culture expect you to do when you encounter someone in need?
  3. What do you do when you encounter someone in need? What happened last time you encountered someone in need?
  4. What is your plan for being generous? What is your plan for next time you encounter someone in need?
  5. What are 2 things you can do, differently than you are doing now, when you encounter someone in need?
  6. What does it mean to know the poor?  Who do you know that is poor?
  7. What do you think Jesus asks of us based on Sunday’s gospel?
  8. When was a time you needed help and received it? How did you react? What did you feel?

 

October 2 - Unexpected: Generosity - 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Steve's Homily

Fr. Howe's Homily

The following reflection questions were crafted after hearing the weekend's homilies. They can be used for personal reflection or Small Group discussion.

  1. When you are generous, why?
  2. With the size and scope of poverty, turmoil, unrest, and violence, why do our small acts of generosity still matter?
  3. Describe a time you were the recipient of a small act of unexpected generosity. How did you feel? How did you react?
  4. What is the connection between “increasing faith” and “unexpected generosity”?
  5. Why is generosity an essential characteristic of disciples of Jesus, then and now?
  6. What is one way you can be generous between now and next Sunday?
 

October 9 - Unexpected: Generosity - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Steve's Homily to be posted after the homily

Fr. Howe's Homily to be posted after the homily

Watch for Reflection Questions after the homily

 

 

October 23 - Mercy Revisited - 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Week's Scripture

http://www.fisheaters.com/stdominic9ways.html

Fr. Steve's Homily

Fr. Howe's Homily

The following reflection questions were crafted after hearing the weekend's homilies. They can be used for personal reflection or Small Group discussion.

  1. When was the last time you asked for forgiveness/mercy?
  2. What does someone who is asking for mercy look like? Do you ever look like that?
  3. What keeps you from asking for or receiving mercy from others or from God?
  4. When was the last time you went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation? 
  5. Who in your life helps you seek forgiveness?
  6. What is your posture when you pray?
  7. How would others describe your general posture? Are you open or closed off?

October 30 - Mercy Revisited Part II - 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Steve's Homily

Fr. Howe's Homily

The following reflection questions were crafted after hearing the weekend's homilies. They can be used for personal reflection or Small Group discussion.

  1. What keeps you from seeking God to receive his mercy?
  2. Have you ever “avoided” God because you felt like you weren’t good enough?
  3. Do you think it is true that the very sins that we think keep us from God are the very things that could draw us closer if we asked for forgiveness for them? Explain your answer. 
  4. When was a time you were shown mercy? How did you react?
  5. When was the last time you showed someone mercy?
  6. Who in your life needs mercy the most? Do you show them mercy? Explain.

November 6 - Our Hope - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Nothing of this world will last forever, yet we too often put our hope here.  Only in Christ can we find hope that will not disappoint us.  Heaven is more than a prize or a reward; heaven is the purpose, the goal of every Christian life.  

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Steve's Homily

Fr. Howe's Homily

The following reflection questions were crafted after hearing the weekend's homilies. They can be used for personal reflection or Small Group discussion.

  1. Most of the time, day to day, where do you put your focus? Here or heaven? Explain.
  2. Why should we have hope even in the midst of great suffering or troubles?
  3. What does it mean to put our hope in heaven?
  4. Describe someone who puts their hope in heaven? What are they like?
  5. Describe someone who is focused on only the things of here and now? How does that influence their behavior?

November 13 - Our Fear - 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

What does it mean to fear God?  What does it mean to fear death?  Today’s scripture focuses on the end of the world.  Is all fear bad?

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Howe's Homily

November 20 - Two Thieves, Two Paths - Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

In today’s gospel Christ, hangs on a cross between two thieves, each with a different path.  What role does our hope and our fear play in the path we choose?

This Week's Scripture

Fr. Steve's Homily

Fr. Howe's Homily

 

 

 

Looking for the 2015-2016 series of Homilies?  They can be found at www.hnoj.org/homily2015.