Tag Archives: Rev. Joseph Cebula

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE! 

Our first reading today from Genesis is part of the creation stories, and today we hear about the creation of man… man and woman… created in the image and likeness of God.

Man and woman who continue to be dependent on God’s blessings, no matter our age.  We are, if you will, both child and adult, both creation and creator, partners in bringing the Kingdom  of God to fruition.

As one article I read this week shared, what can I do?  What can my family do? What can my parish do? … to create a holier home, neighborhood, parish… world?

This week, I read a story about two brothers, Cole who is 10 and Blake who is 8, from the Washington Post, August 17, 2021 entitled: Turtle Patrol:

Two brothers – Cole, 10, and Blake, 8 – were riding their bikes to go fishing near their Ventura, Iowa, home when they discovered a horrible site: a group of dead baby turtles crushed by cars as they tried to cross the busy road.  Cole and Blake climbed off their bikes and began helping other small turtles cross the busy thoroughfare.  The brothers recruited their friends Kasen, Keygan and Zacaious to come and help the turtles make it across.

The boys returned to the crossing every day this summer to help the Western painted turtles cross the road between the marsh and the lake where the turtles looked for new nesting spots.  The five were at the crossing for a couple of hours every day.

“They seem okay with us moving them but they usually tuck their heads inside as soon as we pick them up,” nine-year-old Keygan explained.  “We’re helping the turtles see a lot of extra days, and that makes me feel happy.”:

Biologist Scott Grummer of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said, “what these kids are doing is wonderful, and I hope their love of conservation stays with them throughout their lives.  It’s heartwarming that they’re using their summer break to help nature and protect turtles from getting hit by cars.”

The boys would watch for the turtles from the safety of a nearby bike path and crossed the road themselves only if there was no traffic – but on occasion, they held up their arms to stop a car if the turtles were on the move.

The boys estimated that they have saved more than 200 turtles.  The five didn’t mind that their “turtle watch” cut into their fishing time.

Keygan said, “We do it because they’re living things – we don’t want to see them run over and killed.”

These boys, in recognizing the danger these poor turtles faced and realizing their ability to do something about it… these children mirrored the “child-like” faith Jesus asks all of us to embrace.  Faith that does not separate words from action.  Faith that is centered in loving God in loving others (loving creation) without condition or expectation.

The power of such simple child-like faith is the ability to overcome every rationalization, fear, complication, and agenda in order to mirror the selfless generosity of Jesus Christ.

Whether they realized it or not, these children were advancing, were building up the Kingdom of God here on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

May we seize the moments, ever before us, big and small, to do the same today and every day, that build up the Kingdom of God, here on Earth as it is in Heaven.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: CLICK HERE!

Today’s Feast of the Assumption of Mary is the belief that “at the end of her earthly life, Mary was taken up body and soul into Heavenly Glory”.

It goes without saying that our faith is centered in Jesus Christ, but our faith also teaches us that we can learn much from people of faith over the centuries.

So today we reflect upon how Mary has led the way for us as she gave her YES to God’s desire to dwell among us at the Annunciation.

Mary led the way in being the first to be raised, the first to share in her Son’s Resurrection.

Mary led the way as the Church’s best expression of full acceptance of the feminine.  No Mary did not push for Woman’s Rights, rather it was God who wanted all to know that all are equal, all have value, all have gifts and talents and abilities to bring to the others in every aspect of life.

The Song of Mary we hear in the Gospel today, the Magnificat, is much more than Mary proclaiming God’s goodness to her.  Rather, the Magnificat is Mary’s song of faith.  A song that praises God’s actions in all our lives and world.

Just maybe Mary’s song urges us to see God’s activity in the everydayness of our world.

Just maybe Mary’s song urges us to raise people up regardless of gender, race, color, or creed.

Just maybe Mary’s song urges us to continue to look for God among us in the times and places where we are living and working and interacting with people daily.

Like Mary, may our souls proclaim the goodness of the Lord not only for ourselves, but for ALL persons!

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!

Today’s Gospel snippet from Mark is a prelude to the miraculous feeding of the 5000, which we will be hearing more about next week. Mark’s Gospel focuses on how Jesus’ awareness of people’s needs led him to respond as a good shepherd who would reveal God’s generosity.

As we listen to St. Mark and the Prophet Jeremiah’s message and Psalm 23, we are led to discern how we are called to respond to the needs of our time…

St. Mark asks us to look at our world the way Jesus looked at his, to feel the needs of our people and respond in whatever way we are able.

Just maybe that is the question of today and of every day:  How can we, how will we, as a person, a family, a community of faith, a people, respond to the needs of those around us and even beyond, in whatever way we are able, during our daily “walking tour” of life?

Or to use the imagery of today’s readings, how will we be good shepherds to others every day in word and in deed?

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!

Our Scripture Readings this weekend provide us with a reminder about how we are called to continue Jesus’s Mission and Ministry.  Each weekend we are not only summoned by the Lord to gather to hear God’s Word in the Scriptures and to be nourished by the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus…

But we are also then sent out into the world as present day disciples to bring healing, comfort and encouragement to all we interact with in the hours and days to come.

Do take some time today, this week, to see the ever present opportunities around us to make the Good News of God’s Son, Jesus, real to others.

One author, in a column she wrote recently, spoke about some of the characters she met during the Pandemic while walking around her neighborhood.

  • There was the postal worker, Archimedes, whom she never met but now they talk every day, even though Archimedes never remembers her name.
  • Then there is Kenny, the superintendent of a nearby building.  A lovely man with a beautiful spirit, who knows everything that is happening in the neighborhood and doesn’t hesitate to tell you how he feels about a given issue.
  • Then there is Elijah, who lives in the building next door, but is in a world different than the author.  Elijah is a survivor of abandonment, addiction, divorce, incarceration, and an arrhythmia that could kill him at any time.
  • But the most unexpected rapport that the author developed during the Pandemic was with “this interesting young woman who lived in her house”.  The author already knew her a bit, since she gave birth to her two decades ago.  The moody, sullen teenager had moved away for college, but came back when the campus closed.  “The child who had moved out was perpetually indignant about something, usually me” said the author, but the individual who moved back was a “reasonable and charming” young woman who “astonishingly, sometimes laughed at my jokes,” said the Author.

Summing it all up, the author of the article shared, “the weird thing about the people I met during the pandemic was that they’ve been there the whole time.”

Our lives are, if you will, a walking tour of sorts during which we encounter God in the people we meet along the way,  and if we do it right, they encounter something of the love of God in us; they encounter healing, comfort and encouragement.

So my friends, let’s enjoy the “walking tour” of our lives as person, family and Parish.  As we experience God’s grace and peace in the wisdom and insights of God’s sons and daughters that we meet along the way of life.