Weekly homilies of Father David Neuschwander
Weekly homilies of Father David Neuschwander
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
This weekend our readings center on forgiveness, especially on how we will NOT be forgiven unless we first forgive others. While Jesus in the Gospel responds to a question by Peter saying he must forgive seventy-seven times (which seems very magnanimous), Jesus also goes on to give a parable in which a man is punished and condemned because that man does not forgive others and treat them with mercy (which seems quite harsh to our ears). Jesus ends the parable by saying our Heavenly Father will do the same to us if we don't forgive others. The Scriptures make it clear that in order for us to be forgiven, we must forgive others...ALL others. So what does that have to do with politics?! Listen to find out, and no matter where you stand on whatever issue, be prepared to feel the Lord challenging you to more!
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Authority is a theme in our readings today - in both our first reading and Gospel "keys" are spoken of, symbolic of a position of authority. This time of Coronavirus has led to a lot of discussion about who has authority: who's in charge of what, to what extent can a governor proclaim a state of emergency, what rulings and content are under the authority of state Supreme Courts , what authority does the CDC have, how much authority does a governor have to mandate action, who has the authority to enforce those mandates? For as much as we like to talk about all these things and weigh in with our opinion, the truth is that we individually have almost no authority in changing overall societal response to Covid. I think that we as humans (me included) really enjoy talking about how others should use their authority and what decisions they should be making, but we really don't enjoy confronting how we are neglecting to use OUR God-given authority! So what exactly is the authority that God has given to each of us? Listen to find out!
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
It's proven that certain practices make for a happier and healthier person - prayer and generosity being two of those practices. Why is that? God made us to live in relationship with Him, Jesus lived a life of intense moments of prayer and generosity, and the more we live that prayer and generosity the more we become like Jesus Christ and enter into the only relationship that can truly make us happier and healthier in all senses of those words!
This weekend is the kickoff for our annual diocesan Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). The CSA provides incredible opportunities to spread the faith of Jesus Christ in northwestern Wisconsin - for our seminarians, for our youth, for our schools, for our parishes - opportunities that I witness and see the fruits of firsthand! I'm challenging you this year to stretch yourself in prayerful generosity to all of your favorite organizations and non-profits. I challenge you particularly this week to think what you might be able to sacrifice monetarily to support the CSA for your parish this coming year.
From Big Moments to Small Moments
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus comes to the disciples today walking on the water - that's a Big Moment, a miraculous moment, one that's hard to miss, and it strengthens their faith. Elijah is told in our 1st reading that the Lord will be passing by: there is a great wind, a tremendous earthquake, a blazing fire, and yet, Scripture says, God was in none of those seemingly big moments. Rather, God was in a tiny, whispering voice - a Small Moment, so small it could be easily missed, but just as real as a Big Moment...and I would say even more important! God's ordinary language is in Small Moments, countless little whispers to us throughout the day. He gives us a few privileged Big Moments precisely so that we will continue looking and listening for Him in the hundreds of Small Moments every day.
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
There are two movements in the Christian life - one is a turning away from sin, the other is a stepping towards God. The readings this weekend are more focused on the latter - stepping towards God. The individuals in our parables find something of great value to them! To get it, however, they have to sell everything else. It's a question of priorities and re-prioritizing things in their lives. There are so many good things we can focus on in life, so many good actions and decisions we can pursue...but only one can be our top priority, and only one our second priority, and only one our third. All of these good things can't be our top priority, which means that much of the Christian life is deciding which priorities God is calling us to put first, and which ones (however good they may be) the Lord is asking us to put further down the list. Following God isn't just doing good things; following God is doing the good things God has planned for us to do!
As a second installment I invited Dan Tracy, a seminarian for our Diocese, to say a few words at the end of Mass. He spent part of the summer here with us at St. Joseph and St. Ann parishes and will be heading back to seminary in the weeks ahead - he is a good man and will be greatly missed!
The Lost Art of Argument
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
With all of the polarization in the media and the emotionally driven statements part of me wonders what happened to true, honest, good ol' arguments. In this sermon, building off of my last sermon on judgment, I explore why I think our country has lost the art of argument (which we used to possess) and what steps we as individuals can take to bring that art back. It won't be easy, but bringing God back into the public sphere (which then brings respect for every life back into the public sphere) is part of the answer!
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Fr. David has a winsome way about sharing the beauty, truth and goodness of the Catholic faith. He uses memorable illustrations and is so good-humored and upbeat; a tireless evangelist. His homilies inspire me to pursue my role in Jesus' Great Commission.
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