Diaconate Ordination At St. John The Baptist Cathedral, 20120526

Click on the link below to watch the ordination:

http://diosav.org/news-diaconateordination-20120521  Video and photos from Southern Cross –  May 26th Ordination

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Pentecost Homily, 2012

HOMILY –  May 26th Vigil and Pentecost Sunday May 27th , 2012              Deacon Greg Smilski

Have you ever really thirsted? Where your mouth has been so parched and dry, but you were unable to quench your thirst with a drink?  It’s hard to imagine this, when all we have to do is turn on a faucet and water flows. (PAUSE)

I remember pushing my mower on a hot summer day when I felt I just couldn’t get though the entire lawn.  I sweated so much that my shirt & shorts were drenched and I thought I would have to finish on another day. Taking a break, I went inside and fixed a glass of ice water.  How absolutely delicious did that water taste; refreshing and renewing me?  Instead of waiting another day, I was able to return and complete the lawn.

On the final day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood up at the Temple steps and proclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts, come to me and drink, “Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.”

The Jews that heard Jesus couldn’t understand him. They remembered the Prophet Ezekiel’s vision of water flowing from the Temple and creating rivers flooding the land to create a new Garden of Eden, but what was Jesus really proclaiming, “Let anyone who thirsts, come to me and drink”

Many of us experience a different type of dryness, in our spirit that we try to fill, but can’t quench our thirst.  We try to fill the emptiness of our soul with new computer games, iPads, iPods, or Droids. (PAUSE)

I recall my quest for the perfect TV set – I moved from a 25 “ to a 32” to a the ultimate “Man Cave special – a 52” Samsung Flat Screen – now I understand that the largest LED is  a 152”.  Things we buy bring joy to our lives for a brief moment, but then the emptiness returns, and we try desperately to fill it with more things that don’t satisfy. How many celebrities have we known who we thought had everything, actually lived lonely and sad, dry lives and turned to drugs or alcohol to quench their emptiness?

We remember the living waters that Jesus gave the Samaritan woman at the well so she would never be thirsty and how the living waters renewed and refreshed her and gave her new life, where she too, became a well-spring of the living waters.

On the cross, one of Jesus’ last words in the Gospel of John are,      (Pause)   “I thirst.”  Jesus, the source of the living waters had taken on all of the sins of the world, all our dryness, all of our emptiness and our brokenness was nailed on that Cross with Him. When his human body could bear no more, he said, “I thirst,” and “it is finished,” and the spirit left his body.

Last Sunday, we celebrated the Ascension of Christ. When Jesus left them, His disciples were empty, thirsty and lost in that Upper Room.  Jesus promised to return and be with them always, but they weren’t sure how or when.  The day of Pentecost is considered by many to be the birthday of the Church. These lost and forsaken disciples had gathered together 50 days after Passover at the Festival of Weeks, or Pentecost.

A noise like the wind came down from the sky and filled the house, and tongues of fire rested on them.  They were renewed, strengthened and refreshed and empowered by the living waters, the Holy Spirit of God, they proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ and 3000 people received the living waters and believed in Christ.  They too, became a source – a well-spring of the Holy Spirit.

We come here today to renew ourselves through our fellowship, worship, hearing God’s Word of love and receiving the Eucharist. This is where we renew the living waters, the Holy Spirit.

On this Pentecost Sunday, remember that you also have received this gift of the Holy Spirit, this same living water of Christ.  The spirit is alive in our Church, here today, just as alive as it was in Jerusalem.  We have a world that is so in need — thirsting for renewal.

My challenge to all of us is to take the love and gifts that God has given us through His Holy Spirit and become a wellspring of the living waters by sharing our gifts and love with others in our life.  Just like you have shared your prayers and encouragement for me these last five years, through my Diaconate Formation.

I would like to thank Monsignor John and Deacon George for their encouragement and support and especially Father George Greenway for his spiritual direction. Finally, I would like to thank my family who have traveled from Texas, NJ, PA, and MD

Finally, my Saint William’s Family. Thank you.

And, I better not forget to thank my wife Laurie who has been with me on this journey, loved and supported me throughout these five years.

 

http://diosav.org/news-diaconateordination-20120521  video and photos from Southern Cross –  May 26th Ordination

To Be Broken For God, by Nicholas

Lord, it is wonderfully glorious to be broken:

To have no knowledge of what is ahead but – know everything we need;

To have nothing but – to behold everything;

To have and know fear but – to have everlasting joy;

To be completely and utterly helpless but – to have the power to endure all things;

To be empty but – to have the fullness of life;

To have chaos but – to have everlasting peace.

It is indeed wonderful to be broken because You are broken to share Your compassion from Your Eucharistic Heart. For this is the reason You have come into the world, to come in the form of bread to be broken as we are broken, to come in the form of the wine of compassion, so that in our brokenness we may pour forth compassion from our hearts to others.

Mother’s Day Homily, 20120513

Homily, May 12&13, Cyc B, 6th Sun of Easter(Mother’s)

On behalf of Msgr. Kenneally and the Parish Staff, I’d like to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers, Grandmothers, Godmothers, Stepmothers or anyone offering maternal love to families all over.

In the midst of a society, becoming more and more secular as time goes by, even the hardest hearts still gratefully remember mom and all she did for them over their lifetime.  Therefore, it is appropriate to have a day to Honor our Mothers.

The actual holiday has its roots back in the late 1800’s following the Civil War.

The first attempts to establish a “Mother’s Day” in the U.S. were mostly by women’s peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought &/or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War.

Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for a mom to try to pull her family back together?

So they were support groups for those mothers who had endured the worst kinds of pain in trying to be faithful to each of their children no matter on which side they fought.  Finally, On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Mothers have that unique gift of love that enables them to love us, no matter what – Warts & all, as the saying goes.

Love is a big topic. The Greeks had several different words describing different forms of love.

There is Philos love, which is brotherly love.

There is Eros, which is the physical love between husbands & wives.

There is Storge’, the love of the unlovable, grumpy old man always hollowing at the kids, moves, we miss him.

There is Agape love that is the unselfish God love,    most notably seen in Christ dying on the cross for us.

Women seem to be adept at all forms but are especially known for their ability to love in the unselfish, Agape, God-like love.  Mothers will lay down their lives in loving their children.

Oh, sure they are the Patron Saints of keeping a clean room and picking up your clothes, but let a perceived threat come against their children & the momma grizzly syndrome rises within her.  Wise dads vacate the scene.

Mothers are expected to do many different things. Have you ever thought about all of the roles that your mother filled while you were growing up?  Nurse, counselor, spiritual advisor, educator, nutritionist, accountant, transportation director, house cleaner, peacemaker, entertainer.

Mothers can be the purveyors of irrefutable logic, with comments like, “Because I said so, I’m your mother, that’s why”.  Who can argue with that?

Mothers are molders of vocabularies, manners, & the shapers of attitudes, prayers, & ethics. Mothers are soft voices saying, “I love you.” And, mothers are a link to God, a child’s first impression of God’s love.

One of my favorite columns by Erma Bombeck tells of God in the act of creating mothers. She says that on the day God created mothers He worked long hours overtime. And, an angel said to Him, “Lord, you sure are spending a lot of time on this particular creation.”

The Lord turned & said, “Have you read the specs on this model?  She is supposed to be completely washable, but not plastic. She is to have 180 moving parts, all of them replaceable.

She is to have a kiss that will heal everything from a broken leg to a broken heart. She is to have a lap to hold us on that will magically disappear whenever she stands up. She is to be able to function on black coffee & leftovers. And she is supposed to have six pairs of hands to do everything expected of her.”

“Six pairs of hands,” said the angel, “that’s impossible.” “It’s not the six pairs of hands that bother me,” said the Lord, “It’s the three pairs of eyes. She is supposed to have one pair that sees through closed doors so that whenever she says, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ she already knows what they’re doing in there.”

“She has another pair of eyes in the back of her head to see all the things she is not supposed to see behind her back, but must see. Then she has one pair right in front that can look at a child that just goofed terribly & feels miserable, and communicate to him love & understanding without saying a word.”

Wow, when you look at all of that, moms are really something else aren’t they?

So, it is surely appropriate that our scripture readings today are about love.

In our Gospel, from St. John, we hear Jesus telling His disciples, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.  Remain in My love.  If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.”

Jesus is saying we will not be able to remain close to Him if we do not love.

He continues, “No one has greater love than this, then to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

The Gospel ends with the words, “This I command you: love one another.” It isn’t a suggestion…

These are not just good thoughts from Jesus on how to live, it is His commandment to us, love one another.  And, He is calling us to decision love, where we decide to be for one another.  Even if we don’t like them…love them anyway.

We may or may not feel the warm fuzzy type of love, but we can always decide to be for another to the point of laying down our lives, doing good for them even if it costs us.

The Second Reading from 1st John, carries even more serious words for us… “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

So, let me see if I have this straight, if I think I have a pretty good relationship with the Lord, and think I know what He is about and what He is calling me to; yet, I am not able to love others to the point of serving them, even at expense to me – then I’m kidding myself.

Interestingly, the word for love used in both readings is the Agape love, God-love, laying down our lives for others, type love, and that my friends is the same love that we received from our mothers.  They laid down their lives for us, over and over and over.

So, on this Mother’s day let us be grateful for the early lessons we received from her on the very love to which God is calling us.  When we leave here today, if you haven’t already, CALL YOUR MOTHER.

Love Others, A Commandment?

In the Gospel of St. John, chapter 15, and in the 1st Letter of John, chapter 4, we hear Jesus calling us to love one another.  More clearly, He commanded us to love one another as He loved us.  He died on the cross for all of us.  Must we also die for others?  Humm.

That’s pretty strong language, love others as He has loved us, by laying down our life for them.  What if I don’t even like them?  Love them anyway.  What if they don’t like me?  Love them anyway.  What if they hate me?  Love them anyway.  How can that be?  We love others by deciding to be for them and their good.  We’re not talking about the warm fuzzy emotional love; we’re talking about deciding to be for them; doing things for them even if it costs us to do those things.

With that kind of decision love we find ourselves able to love our friends and our enemies.  If it helps, find something positive in the other to focus on and overlook the negative things that make us not like them.  After all, we’re not supposed to be judging others anyway.  Direct random acts of kindness toward them.  Who knows, if we begin to see them more positively, maybe they will return the favor.