About This Site

Recent Homilies

Reflections on Faith

Conversion Stories

Ask the Deacon

Suggested Links

Deacon Tom's Website: Homiletically Challenging -- Passionately Catholic.
(With apologies to my friends at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH)

NEW! NEW!.... Look for Deacon Tom on the wonderful Catholic Family Website hosted by David and Allyson Sweeney. You can find them at www.catholicfamilypodcast.com -- and be sure to listen to David and Allyson on your computer, or your IPOD, or MP3 player. The Sweeneys offer a view of Catholic Family living as seen from the right....

Now read Deacon Tom at CatholicMom.com!

Reflections on Catholic Faith - May-June 2010

Looking for more reflections? Click on any of the links below.


May-June 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010


December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009

December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008

December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006

June 2, 2010
I want to start today’s reflection by saying that I am still back at Pentecost in my mind and in my heart. The Church -- perhaps many of you have moved into greener-times... all the hours past are gone... but as for me... I had a wonderful Lent -- I’m still thinking about it. I had an equally moving Easter. And when Pentecost came, I was saying yes, yes, yes. This is what Christ’s life, death and resurrection was about: to prepare his people and his Church for the coming of the Holy Spirit.. to set people on fire in their faith practice.

If we go back to the late Holy Father’s Paul VI, John XXIII and John Paul II, -- we see leaders praying for and actually using words asking for a New Pentecost. Vatican II proved itself to be a new pentecost, producing great documents such as Lumen Gentium.

The document Lumen Gentium talked of a Holy Spirit who works through the Church and its sacraments and that the Spirit also distributes special gifts among the faithful of every rank. The Vatican II document on the laity says that special charisms or charisma -- even elementary ones give rise for each believer to the right and duty to use their gifts or charisms in the Church and in the world for the good of men and building up of the Church. The document says that the exercise of these charisms need be done in concert with our brothers and sisters of the parish and with the pastor...

So some may be sitting here this morning saying what in the world is the deacon talking about? I came here, I did the rosary -- I’m here for Mass... maybe I’m here to clean the church... I’ve done these things for years. what more is Deacon Tom talking about?

It may well be that you are doing exactly what God would have you do, given your age and talents... but we must always be listening to and attentive to the will of God. The very act of resisting the topic I am talking about challenges the openness of heart that we are called to.

I have certain things... possible tasks that are being put on my heart for me to discern about. I’m trying to pray about them and to consider if what I’m thinking about is from the Holy Spirit. And what I did a year ago may not be the current will of the Father as found in the guidance of the Holy Spirit who ‘breathes where He wills.’ I may be called to do jail work. You may be called to form a widow’s ministry. Another may be called to work on developing a history project for the parish. Another’s heart may feel called to reach out to those who have separated themselves from the Body of Christ.

There is a beautiful meditation, later converted so music. It was written by an Anglican priest, Fr. Edwin Hatch during the late 1800’s. It’s so beautiful that I would urge you to get a copy and pray it often before quiet time spent in openness and receptivity. This song is called Breathe on Me, Breath of God. It goes like this:


BREATHE ON ME, BREATH OF GOD - by Edwin Hatch (1835-1889)
                                   Public Domain

           Breathe on me, Breath of God,
           Fill me with life anew,
           That I may love what Thou dost love,
           And do what Thou wouldst do.

           Breathe on me, Breath of God,
           Until my heart is pure,
           Until my will is one with Thine,
           To do and to endure.

           Breathe on me, Breath of God,
           Till I am wholly Thine,
           Until this earthly part of me
           Glows with Thy fire divine.

           Breathe on me, Breath of God,
           So shall I never die,
           But live with Thee the perfect life
           Of Thine eternity.


Reading 1
2 Tm 1:1-3, 6-12
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the Gospel,
for which I was appointed preacher and Apostle and teacher.
On this account I am suffering these things;
but I am not ashamed,
for I know him in whom I have believed
and am confident that he is able to guard
what has been entrusted to me until that day.

Ps 123:1b-2ab, 2cdef
Responsorial Psalm
R.     (1) To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.
To you I lift up my eyes
who are enthroned in heaven.
Behold, as the eyes of servants
are on the hands of their masters.
R.     To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.
As the eyes of a maid
are on the hands of her mistress,
So are our eyes on the LORD, our God,
till he have pity on us.
R.     To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.

Mk 12:18-27
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection,
came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers.
The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants.
So the second brother married her and died, leaving no descendants,
and the third likewise.
And the seven left no descendants.
Last of all the woman also died.
At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled
because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
When they rise from the dead,
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but they are like the angels in heaven.
As for the dead being raised,
have you not read in the Book of Moses,
in the passage about the bush, how God told him,
I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob?
He is not God of the dead but of the living.
You are greatly misled.”

May 24, 2010

When a priest dies...

Paul's farewell address to the Ephesian elders is a kind of writing prevalent in those days...  a summons of the elders, discussion of his mission and example, allusions to his immanent death, prophesies of false teachers and apostates to come after him... and in general -- a ways of saying Do this in memory of me just as Jesus said such words at the Last Supper in His farewell address to those closest to him. This reading ends with a description of hugs and kissing and unrestrained emotions from those that he had spiritually fathered...

This topic reminds me to share something with you... we are coming to the end of the year of the priest.... and during this year, I've sent notes to priests who have especially touched me... and it is my sincere wish that you have or will do some similar actions for any living priest to let them know of the special and loving bond you have had...

I recently did a column on the worldwide web. It is written as a sort of memorial statement -- a vision of my wish for priests that have touched me or helped me or my wife... It is a tribute to deceased priests.... I have sent this to Bishop Kicanas and offered it to him for use as a tribute to any deceased priests...

Here are the words I wrote in my internet column... we can use them today in memory of St. Paul in his farewell address... and in memory of all deceased priests.

When a priest dies.... this is what happens....

At the entrance to heaven, the priest is welcomed not by St. Peter, but by Mary, the Mother of priests who puts her arm in his and leads him and she says to him, “Thank you for doing what my Son asked you to do. He couldn’t wait to see you. Let me take you to meet Him.”

When a priest dies.... this is what happens...

as the priest enters the Royal Court to the pomp and circumstance of music and applause --  Jesus rises and points to the priest so that all may know whom to honor.... Jesus points to the priest as the beginning of an eternal recognition and thank you for the priest who spent his life pointing others to Christ

When a priest dies... this is what happens....

A long receiving line stretches on and on.... but there is no reason to hurry. The receiving line is peopled with 1,000’s of souls whose lives were changed by the actions of the priest back on earth.

When a priest dies.... this is what happens...

He will find time to be with those he served for decades -- and now they become a family the priest doesn’t have to leave to go back to the rectory.

When a priest dies.... this is what happens...

He is seated at the royal banquet table replete with choicest of foods and drink -- and God the Father rises from His royal chair to make the opening toast, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Let us eat and honor the countless times you fed my Son to your flock.”

And another priest makes this reminder toast: the priesthood was worth  it. It was worth every pain ever suffered and every tear ever cried. The  priesthood was worth all of  it.

And here on earth, if there is any unfinished music of the symphony started by the priest who has died, he leaves it to us to complete in his memory... in his honor and for his Lord and Savior.

That is what happens when a priest dies...

Thank you Jesus our eternal high priest -- for the gift of each and every priest...

© 2006 - Deacon Tom Online

Site Map      Reflections on the Catholic Faith    Home