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Anchored In The Lord

Weekly homilies of Father David Neuschwander
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Anchored In The Lord
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Now displaying: Category: Advent
Dec 21, 2020

4th Sunday of Advent

On this 4th Sunday of Advent, Deacon Brian gives an incredible homily on Mary's fiat to God ("may it be done to me according to your word") which lays the groundwork of the vision for our parishes in the coming year.  In it he uses the analogy of a NASCAR race to portray God's first call and primary challenge for all the lay faithful to be drivers for Christ in the great Christian race of missionary discipleship, with the clergy being your pit crew and the fans being the whole world!

As we, lay parishioners and ministers alike, discern in this coming year how to transform our parishes of St. Joseph and St. Ann into communities that welcome the Lord's call to "go and make disciples of all nations", we ask for your prayers and support, that together we all might echo back to God Mary's fiat: "may it be done to me according to your word," and that we might draw many more to echo those word along with us!

Dec 14, 2020

3rd Sunday of Advent

People started following and listening to Jesus in large part because of the signs that accompanied his message - the miracles he was performing. December 12th was the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  In 1531 Mary appeared to an Aztec peasant named Juan Diego asking that a Church be built on the spot.  Accompanying these apparitions were three miracles - the miracle of the roses, the miracle of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appearing on Juan Diego's cloak/tilma (which can still be seen today in Mexico and which defies all modern explanation), and the miracle of over 9 million people converting to Christianity in a matter of years and following Christ because of this apparition and image.  In our Gospel today John the Baptist is preparing the way for our Lord; Mary has prepared the way for our Lord Jesus in so many ways, both through her life on this earth and her continued apparitions to God's children.  Inspired by the miracles that God has done, let's ask God to continue to work miracles in our lives and in this world, that we may follow Him with more conviction and that others may be opened to hearing the message of Jesus Christ!

Nov 30, 2020

1st Sunday of Advent

We humans change one step at a time - it's just the way we're wired.  And once we've made a change that tends to become the new normal and we stick to it,  for better or for worse.  This Advent season God wants to work in your life in new and powerful ways!  But for that change to occur, there is a requirement: DAILY prayer and reflection.  To give Jesus the space He needs in our lives and minds and hearts to work out His grace within us requires the daily practice of openness to God in prayer and reflection.  One day a week is okay, 2 days is all right, 3 is getting better...but if we're wondering why we've plateaued and not much seems to be changing or growing in our spiritual life, it's because God needs our daily permission to work His good grace in us, one step at a time!

Dec 16, 2019

3rd Sunday of Advent

This weekend we encounter a powerful New Testament figure, John the Baptist, in a difficult and dark time - literally and figuratively.  John has been imprisoned, he probably knows he is not getting out anytime soon, and he (who proclaimed Jesus as the Lamb of God and prepared for Jesus' coming by his preaching and teaching) is now questioning whether or not Jesus is the promised one of God.  We can all take two important lessons away from John's experience, lessons useful for our everyday life of prayer, but especially in our own times of darkness: 1) John is honest with his doubts 2) John lays his doubts at the feet of Jesus.  When we are raw with our thoughts and emotions, when we lay them at the feet of our Lord without any filter, then we finally give God permission to enter into the most important areas of our life.  Try it (I dare you) and God will bring great things out of it!

Dec 9, 2019

2nd Sunday of Advent

I had the privilege of spending this weekend with 50 inspiring high-school-aged young men and women from throughout our diocese!  This fulfilled no Confirmation requirements for them, neither were any of them forced to come to this retreat - they generously set aside this time to step away from their busy lives and focus on growing closer to Jesus Christ through prayer, learning, sacraments, and community.  They are making God a priority in their lives, and they inspire me to want to make God more of a priority in mine as well.  Please continue to pray for the incredible youth of our diocese and the good work that God is doing in their lives!

Dec 1, 2019

1st Sunday of Advent

We invest in the things that are important to us - we invest time, energy, emotions, intellect, mental space, money, resources.  The more we invest in something, the more important it is to us, and the more returns it will yield; the less we invest in something, the less important it is to us and the less returns it will yield.  As we begin this Advent season, we are preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ at Christmas, and the more we invest in that preparation the more of a return this experience will yield for us.  While we prepare in a general sense for Christ's coming, I'd like us to focus this Advent specifically on the Mass: how invested are we in the Mass?  How much more could we bring to the table?  What are the ways that others invest themselves in the experience of the Mass?  What can I learn from them and how can I come back next week ready to invest a little more in the weekend Mass experience?  God comes to us at every Mass, He has a word to speak to each one of us that pertains to this exact moment in our life, and the the more I'm investing, the more I'll experience God at work in my life at every weekend Mass!

Dec 23, 2018

4th Sunday of Advent

We’ve looked at the light of Christ in our thoughts and actions.  Now, in this final week of Advent, we look at the light of Christ in our words.  In my experience, people WANT to talk about God and faith in their lives…they’re just afraid of what others will think and uncertain where others stand on the issue — so they don’t say anything.  Our words have the power to give people that opportunity to speak about God's presence in their life.  Our words have the power to invite God into a conversation.  Our words have the power to crack open the door to God’s presence.  Others don’t have to walk through that door; they can pass by our invitation.  But for those who want to go there and just don’t know how, we can give them that opportunity.  Something as simple as, “I’ll pray for you,” can be enough.  This week: use your words to invite God into a conversation! (I think you'll be surprised by how positive responses can be!)

Dec 17, 2018

3rd Sunday of Advent

Last week it was spending time at the manger, allowing the Light of Christ to settle in our thoughts and minds.  This week it's allowing the Light of Christ into our actions.  Little kids are so good at giving presents: at first glance their artwork  might not be a Van Gogh or Monet, but their intention in making these various works as gifts turns them into masterpieces!  Intention and generosity can transform something mediocre into something truly beautiful.  As we prepare for Jesus's Birthday, let's make some presents for Him this week, let's make some works of art for Him - an extra act of generosity, an extra prayer, a task of holiday preparation or an hour of ordinary work, intentionally offered up to God as a gift: these actions might not be perfect in themselves, but given as a gift to the Lord they are transformed into something that He sees as beautiful and worthy of going up on the heavenly frig.  Let the Light of Christ into your actions this week: "God, I made this for You!"

Dec 10, 2018

2nd Sunday of Advent

Have you ever put yourself in the manger scene?  Have you ever experienced the birth of Jesus or the time after His birth, with Mary and Joseph, or the shepherds, or the wise men?  Lectio Divina (Latin for "Divine Reading") is a form of Christian prayer where we read a passage of Scripture and then use our imagination to place ourselves in the scene: then we see, hear, touch, taste and feel everything as if we were there!  We interact with others in the story.  We take on different roles.  And through this form of imaginative prayer the Scriptures come alive!  At Christmas we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world, the coming of clear Light into a sometimes foggy and murky world, into our sometimes foggy and murky lives.  This week, find some time to let the Light of Christ enter your mind - spend some time in that manger scene.  (Then next week we'll talk about the Light of Christ shining in our actions, and the final week of Advent how the Light of Christ can shine in our words.)

Dec 24, 2017

4th Sunday of Advent

God made a promise to King David, that He would establish a house and kingdom for him that would last forever, and that an heir of his would rule in this kingdom.  1,000 years later, that promise came true in a little baby born on Christmas - Jesus.  God gave us, in Jesus, the greatest present of all: a savior to be present with us always, so that we would never be separated from God.  This Christmas our Father wants a special present from us (in fact, the only thing He ever wants from us) - our presence with Him!

Dec 17, 2017

3rd Sunday of Advent

Christ is Coming!  Amidst all the preparations for Christmas - food, shopping, cleaning, gifts, cards, travel plans - it's all because Christ is coming!  The most important preparations we make, then, aren't the externals of the beautifully cleaned and decorated house or the delicious food we've prepared, but the internals of how we've cleaned and made room in our heart for Jesus, how we've prepared a meal for Him in our souls - through prayers and actions - when He comes at Christmas.  All the preparations are necessary, but the most necessary ones are the preparations that no one else can see but God.

Dec 18, 2016

4th Sunday of Advent

In our 3rd and final installment of this homily series "Invested" (I know it was supposed to be 4, but I wasn't able to preach last weekend - I apologize), I encourage you to consider this question: do you come to Mass as a spectator or as a player?  The Second Vatican Council encourages us to "full, conscious and active participation" in the Mass.  The interaction in Mass that we have as Catholics is a great gift meant to keep us fully engaged as we worship God together.  So what do you consider your role to be in Mass - spectator or player? 

Dec 4, 2016

2nd Sunday of Advent

Investing means we're putting something down in hopes that the return will be worth the investment.  So what's the return of investing your time, attention and energy in Mass?  That God wants to speak a word to you that will empower you to engage all of next week with strength, confidence and faith (instead of being tired out and worn down come Tuesday evening).  The Mass is heaven come down to earth and God has something special to say just to you.  The more you invest, the louder His voice will sound.

Nov 27, 2016

1st Week of Advent

This is the first of a 4-part Advent homily series on the Mass.  The title of this series is "Invested".  Nothing in our lives can grow unless we are invested in it.  Investing in what is important to us takes many different forms: time, energy, effort, attention, money, care, thoughtfulness (to name a few).  The more we invest, the more we see results.  Our participation in and experience of the Mass is no different: the more we invest, the more we see results.  As we begin this Advent journey, I invite you to take an honest look at how invested you are in the Mass on a typical weekend.  Mark it down as a starting point, so that come Christmas you will be able to look back and count some ways you've grown in your investment in the Mass.

Dec 21, 2015

4th Sunday in Advent

The sacrifices and offerings God asks for in the Old Testament are meant to show forth the interior reality that God's people desire to do His will before their own.  Jesus came physically into the world on Christmas day so that He could live not just next to us, but, ultimately, IN us - in the Eucharist and through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Amidst the busy-ness of Christmas preparation this year, take time to remember why we do all these external things: to invite and celebrate Jesus' coming into us again this Christmas!

Dec 13, 2015

3rd Sunday of Advent

We celebrate Gaudete Sunday - "Rejoice" Sunday - this weekend.  What are we joyful about?  That Jesus came and gave us something we could never get on our own, a gift of supernatural power that brings us beyond even the strongest human ability, the gift of the Holy Spirit.  It is only in the Holy Spirit that we find a joy, a peace, a thankfulness that surpasses anything this world can offer.  That's why we rejoice this Sunday, that we already have this gift.  Have you unwrapped it yet?  Come, Holy Spirit!

Dec 6, 2015

2nd Sunday of Advent

John the Baptist challenges us in this second week of Advent to be prepared for Christ's coming, to make straight a highway for our God.  God came to this earth because He wanted our hearts, and He'll keep coming until He gets them.  When Jesus comes, will He find the road to your heart smooth-sailing for His holiday travel...or is it going to be a bumpy and windy ride?  What needs to be cleared away?  What needs to be added?  "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths" this Advent season!

Nov 29, 2015

1st Sunday of Advent

Happy New Year!  Today we begin, in the Church, a new liturgical year with Advent - the season of waiting, watching, and praying for the coming of the Lord at Christmas.  Pope Francis has also proclaimed this coming year a Jubilee Year of Mercy, wherein the Holy Door of St. Peter's basilica will be opened.  We are all invited, in spirit, to step through that door  from a life of sin into a life of grace, to recommit ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ, and, in a special way, to both receive God's mercy in our own lives and to be agents of that mercy in the lives of those around us.  

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