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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: Feast
May 23, 2021

Pentecost

Unlike so many other religions, Christianity makes the incredibly bold claim that the God who created all things desires a personal relationship with each one of us.  Our God is anything but impersonal; our God, as revealed through Scripture and especially in the Person of Jesus Christ, is incredibly personal!  But it's easier for us as humans to be impersonal in all kinds of different matters, and that tendency to lean toward the easy and impersonal can sneak its way into our faith as well.  But God desires a close, deep, rich, personal relationship with each or us.  So this week are you willing to let your relationship with God get personal?! 

Apr 4, 2021

Easter Sunday

Our faith is not primarily a set of rules and obligations, nor is it a moral code.  Our faith is not a collection of beliefs for a good life or that help us merit heaven.  Our faith is in a person - Jesus Christ! - and the relationship He offers to us!  Without that relationship, all we're left with is a bunch of rules and obligations that don't seem to connect or make sense.  In light of that relationship, everything begins to fall into place and make perfect sense because it's all in light of growing in a relationship with Him!  God is relationship (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and God in Jesus Christ invites us into this relationship.  So how do you see our faith?  How do you experience the expectations of our faith?  Do you see it as about something or some things...or do you see it as about SomeONE?!

Jan 10, 2021

The Baptism of the Lord

Today Jesus is baptized, not to be washed by the water but to wash the water; not to be cleansed by the waters but to cleanse the waters.  Today Jesus isn't baptized by water - water is baptized by Jesus.  So when we go down into the water in baptism, we no longer just get wet, we get Jesus Christ!  At our baptism we were set free from the hold of sin, worry and anxiety in our life, brought into God's family, and given the power of the Holy Spirit to live this new life in God.  The challenge this week: how are we doing?  How are we living out the graces of our baptism?  Have we in some ways forgotten the power and strength God gave us on our baptism day and settled for a less than full and vibrant life of faith?  This week, let's ask for a renewal of that strength of our baptism!  

Dec 27, 2020

Feast of the Holy Family

Jesus not only came as a baby at Christmas, He also entered into a human family - with all the joys and frustrations that go with it.  We are challenged in all relationships, but especially in the family, to put the wants and needs of others before our own, to stretch our hearts, to learn how to love more, to sacrifice for each other.  Our readings today all challenge us to put others first, "Children, obey your parents in everything...Wives, be subordinate to your husbands...Husbands, love your wives."  Jesus loved us, and so He subordinated Himself to our needs, even to the point of death.  We can practice this kind of love every day, especially in the family!

Nov 22, 2020

Feast of Christ the King

We've been so concerned recently with who's going to be our president, have we stopped to ask ourselves how concerned we've been with Who's going to be our King?  This weekend, as we near the end of our liturgical year, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King as we we look ahead to the end of time - when Jesus Christ will come in glory to rule all of creation forever.  If politics can get us passionate and worked up about a man who will run our country for a handful of years and then go into the history books, then our faith and relationship with Jesus Christ should inspire us to incredible passion for sharing Who is going to be our King for all eternity!  As citizens of God's kingdom, we're not called only to live personally as disciples of Jesus Christ, but we're also expected to reach out call others to join this incredible kingdom.  How do we do that?  Start listening to find out!

Jun 15, 2020

Corpus Christi

As a freshman in high school I remember the day it hit me: that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist!  How many times had I heard that in religion class or at Church?  And yet it seemed to always go in one ear and out the other.  But this particular day it finally hit me - what looks like bread and what looks like wine is actually changed entirely into Jesus!  If the Eucharist is a nice symbol of Jesus...so what?  There are lots of nice symbols of Jesus in our world.  But if the Eucharist IS Jesus Christ...then that changes everything!  That was the start of my reconversion to the faith, and that was the start of my call to the priesthood.  So what does it mean for you that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist (vs. symbolically present)?  What difference does that make in your life?  For me it's made all the difference!

May 24, 2020

Ascension Sunday

This weekend we celebrate Jesus' Ascension into heaven - that after rising from the dead and appearing to His disciples for a number of days, Jesus ascends to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.  The ascension is not just a one-and-done event of history, though: creation is called to follow where its Master has gone before.  The ascension is still happening - heaven is waiting for it to be complete in three distinct ways!  Can you name them?   

Jan 5, 2020

Epiphany

Today three wise men/three kings/three magi arrive at the place where Jesus was born after following the sign of a star.  The presence of these three non-Jewish kings shows that God is calling not only the Jewish people but ALL people of the world to believe in and follow His Son Jesus.  God’s sign was a star; everyone can see the stars.  So why is it only these three wise men who followed that star?  Was everyone else just too busy?  Were they so caught up in life that they didn’t even notice the sign?  We encounter three different kinds of people in the Gospel today: those who don’t notice the sign, those who notice the sign but don’t follow it, and those who notice the sign AND follow it.  This week: What are the signs God is placing in your life (what are the stars)? And when you see a sign, do you follow it?

Dec 29, 2019

Feast of the Holy Family

Jesus not only came as a baby at Christmas, He also entered into a human family - with all the joys and frustrations that go with it.  We are challenged in all relationships, but especially in the family, to put the wants and needs of others before our own, to stretch our hearts, to learn how to love more, to sacrifice for each other.  Our readings today all challenge us to put others first, "Children, obey your parents in everything...Wives, be subordinate to your husbands...Husbands, love your wives."  Jesus loved us, and so He subordinated Himself to our needs, even to the point of death.  We can practice this kind of love every day, especially in the family!

Nov 25, 2019

Solemnity of Christ the King

As Americans we are naturally weary of anything having to do with a "king", we also don't like the word "authority" all that much - it was the abuse of power by some oppressive authority, even some kings, that brought many of our ancestors to America in the first place.  Scripture, however, has no problem with the idea of a king or authority; in fact, Scripture makes it very clear that all authority has been given to Jesus Christ, that Jesus came to this earth to bring a kingdom, and that He is the King of that kingdom!  As Christians we proclaim that we are followers first and foremost of Christ, our true King, and that we are committed to bringing His kingdom more fully onto this earth.  His kingdom started in us at our baptism and is meant to grow in us throughout our lives.  Can you invite Jesus to reign in your heart for a little bit longer each day this week?  Think, if we each did that for a few more minutes every day, how much more of a reality the words we pray in the Our Father would become - thy kingdom come!  

Jun 25, 2019

Corpus Christi

We believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  But what do we mean by that?  Is it really possible that bread and wine literally become Jesus' flesh and blood? Do we chew on Jesus' flesh and touch our lips to His blood at every Mass?  Let me share a couple stories with you...

Jun 16, 2019

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

In the new parishes I am serving - St. Joseph in Hayward and St. Ann in Cable - we have three gifted deacons.  It is the custom in this cluster that the deacons preach every 1st and 3rd weekend of the month.  As a result, I will be preaching less often.  Lucky for you, I have homilies from previous years that I will continue to share ; ).  This is last year's homily from Trinity Sunday: (Enjoy!)

Jun 10, 2019

Pentecost Sunday

The coming of the Holy Spirit CHANGED the first followers of Jesus.  We received the Holy Spirit in baptism, we were sealed by the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus at every Mass...but how much are we CHANGED by these experiences?  Do you ever long for more in your faith but just don't know why you aren't getting it?  If that's ever been you, listen to this homily, and most importantly - remember to breathe (spiritually)!

Jan 14, 2019

The Baptism of the Lord

Today Jesus is baptized, not to be washed by the water but to wash the water; not to be cleansed by the waters but to cleanse the waters.  Today Jesus isn't baptized by water - water is baptized by Jesus.  So when we go down into the water in baptism, we no longer just get wet, we get Jesus Christ!  At our baptism we were set free from the hold of sin, worry and anxiety in our life, brought into God's family, and given the power of the Holy Spirit to live this new life in God.  The challenge this week: how are we doing?  How are we living out the gift of our baptism?  Have we in some ways forgotten the power and strength God gave us on our baptism day and settled for a less than full and vibrant life of faith?  This week, let's ask for a renewal of that strength of our baptism!  

Jan 6, 2019

Epiphany

Today three wise men/three kings/three magi arrive at the place where Jesus was born after following the sign of a star.  The presence of these three non-Jewish kings shows that God is calling not only the Jewish people but ALL people of the world to believe in and follow His Son Jesus.  God’s sign was a star; everyone can see the stars.  So why is it only these three wise men who followed that star?  Was everyone else just too busy?  Were they so caught up in life that they didn’t even notice the sign?  We encounter three different kinds of people in the Gospel today: those who don’t notice the sign, those who notice the sign but don’t follow it, and those who notice the sign AND follow it.  This week: What are the signs God is placing in your life (what are the stars)? And when you see a sign, do you follow it?

Dec 30, 2018

Feast of the Holy Family

Jesus was born into a human family, with everything that entails.  He learned to live with an immediate and extended family (and based on the lineage we hear in other Bible passages, his relations were far from perfect).  In an imperfect world, with imperfect people and imperfect families, today's readings give us some very practical advice on how we can live more fulfilling lives: put the wants and needs of others before your own...as Christ did. 

Paul gives us a very concrete example of how this looks in one of the most fundamental sets of relationships we find ourselves in: the family.  Before getting up-in-arms about how Paul could write, "Wives, be subordinate to your husbands," let's look at the reading in context and see how Paul is challenging everyone to stretch their hearts and love others the way Christ loved us.

Dec 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

Nov 26, 2018

Feast of Christ the King

We as Americans don't always like the idea of authority, a king, a ruler.  We pride ourselves on democracy, equality, independence and standing on our own two feet.  But as Christians we claim that God is God and we are not, as Christians we claim to submit ourselves to Jesus Christ, as Christians we claim to bring about the reign of God's kingdom on earth - beginning with our own lives: minds, hearts, words and actions.  So what am I?  Am I more of a modern American with a mind of independence?  Or am I more of a Christian with the mind of being entirely dependent on my God?  This feast is a challenge for us as a Church and as individuals to ask ourselves, "Where in my life do I still try to be independent?  What in my life have I not offered to God?  Do I allow Christ to be the King of my life?  Is He King of all of it, or just some of it?"  We will always feel like something is missing in life, like there must be something more, like something in us is just not quite filled, until we give our God every aspect of our life, total control: until Jesus Christ is truly our King!

Jun 24, 2018

Nativity of John the Baptist

This weekend we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist.  John was a crucial figure, bridging the gap between the Old and New Testaments and preparing people for the coming of the Lord.  He spent most of his life in quiet preparation in the desert, and even though his role was crucial when he stepped out of the desert and into the spotlight, his time "on stage" was very short.  Maybe in your life you don't feel like you're on the front lines; maybe parts of your life seem un-amazing and un-eventful; maybe you don't feel like God is using you often for a special purpose.  Perhaps, like John, this is your time in the desert, when God is preparing you for the time when He wants you to step on stage and play a crucial role in the life of someone else.

May 20, 2018

Pentecost

The coming of the Holy Spirit CHANGED the first followers of Jesus.  We received the Holy Spirit in baptism, we were sealed by the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus at every Mass...but how much are we CHANGED by these experiences?  Do you ever feel like you're in a spiritual rut?  Do you ever long for more in your faith but just not know why you aren't getting it?  If that's ever been you, listen to this homily, and most importantly - remember to breathe (spiritually)!

Dec 31, 2017

Feast of the Holy Family

In today's readings we get some very practical advice about how to live as Christians: put the wants and needs of others before your own...as Christ did.  Paul gives us a very concrete example of how this looks in one of the most fundamental sets of relationships we find ourselves in: the family.  Before getting up-in-arms about how Paul could write, "Wives, be subordinate to your husbands," let's look at the reading in context and see how Paul is challenging everyone to stretch their hearts and love others the way Christ loved us.

Nov 26, 2017

Feast of Christ the King

God's judgment is totally different than ours.  Our judgment of people and situations is narrow and subjective - concluded based on our limited perception.  God's judgment, on the other hand, takes into account every thought, every inclination, every factor, every pressure, every influence - God's judgment is absolutely fair.  After our own particular judgment at the end of our life, and after the final judgment at the end of time when everyone's life will be completely laid open for all to see and we will understand how our life fit into God's great story, we will know ourselves (and others) as God knows us (which is fully and entirely, nothing hidden)...and we will end up in exactly the place we belong in God's love: no shame, no pride, just an honest acknowledgment of the decisions we freely chose to make in this life, whether for God, others, or ourselves.  God is absolutely fair, and we will end up exactly where we've chosen to be.

Jun 11, 2017

Most Holy Trinity

Every time we say, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," we are proclaiming that our God is a Trinity - that from all time our God has been a relationship of love: 3 distinct Persons, fully united as 1 God.  And this God made us - humanity - to share in His love!  But to know God as Trinity is not something we can describe with words alone, it is something that has to be experienced to be believed!

May 31, 2016

Corpus Christi

At the Mass we celebrate each weekend, when the priest says those words in the name of Jesus - "This is my body...this is my blood...." - bread and wine are transformed entirely into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  How might your daily life be different if you experienced Jesus Christ with you, in you, next to you every hour of every day of your week?  When we receive Communion, Jesus is physically with us, in us, next to us...and He stays with us every hour of every day, even if we don't realize it.  How will this change your week?

May 22, 2016

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

From all eternity God has existed in a relationship of love - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  These Three Persons of the Trinity are so united in love that they are actually 1 God.  This is the amazing faith we proclaim every time we make the sign of the cross.  And we have personally experienced this life of God: every single time we experience love, we taste for a moment the Trinity - for 'God is love' (1 John 4:8).  That's what we look forward to in heaven.  That's why, when we don't feel like we have anymore love, patience, kindness or compassion to give during the daily grind, we ask for strength from God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Then we start loving with Trinitarian love.

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