We’re starting fresh in 2018 on a bit of a unique note around here, which we hope everyone will find edifying and transformative. As brothers in ministry, Fr. Chas and I take about 45 minutes each day to pray together for our parish and for all the endeavors that we believe the Holy Spirit is inspiring. We pray by name for the folks we have or will meet that day and for anyone who has requested prayers. Throughout the week we also will confer with each other on various thoughts or ideas that come up in personal prayer.


Several months back, Fr. Chas and I discovered that we were both praying about the possibility of preaching a series of continuous homilies across several weekends on a single topic. “No way! You were thinking about doing that? So was I!”


One of our goals for the parish is that ‘the Sunday experience’ — a parishioner’s personal encounter with Mass each Sunday — would be consistently felt as a unified whole. We want everything, from the greeters to the music to the preaching, to fit together as one mosaic or as a beautiful stained glass window. That’s both a weekly goal and a long-term continuous improvement kind of thing.


But the unity of the Mass isn’t supposed to stop at the church door. Sunday Mass is meant to be a benchmark that begins the unity of each week for us, so that everything we experience throughout our days would relate back to the graces we’ve received on Sunday. We want to be able to have those ‘aha’ moments that remind us of how the Lord moved in us and spoke to us at Mass.


One way the Holy Spirit is inspiring your priests to encourage this awareness — the awareness that God’s thread of grace imbues and connects all things in my life — is to take several ‘Sunday experiences’ and connect them to each other through a single, multi-part homily.


We are pleased, therefore, for these next few weeks to be offering a four-part homily series on the Holy Mass.


Which is not only a good idea but also great timing, if we do say so ourselves. The New Year is, after all, the proverbial moment of new resolutions, or else old resolutions reheated in the microwave. So if you’ve been away from church for a while, and have made the new year decision to start coming back:
welcome back, my friend. The Lord brought you here and wants to meet you here. Consider yourself personally invited to stick around for the remainder of this four-part saga, which is not to be missed!


All kidding aside, for newcomers and for old comers, Fr. Chas and I believe the Holy Spirit desires a fresh awakening and a deepening awareness of what God offers us in this precious hour each Sunday. We enter into a cosmic reality whose majesty and transformative power are opened before us to the extent that we have trained our eyes of faith to discern and receive the gift.


As I said in my homily last week, are we listening to the greatest of symphonies with the ears and attention-span of a child, or with the appreciation and knowledge of a master musician? It makes a big difference, our ability to discern and respond to grace. May this New Year gift from God be for all of us a new outpouring of divine life that draws us into a deeper commitment in our journey of faith.


Happy Sunday!