Walking With The Father: 2019

September 8, 2019

Is God 1st in my life (Luke 14 25-33)


  • Today's Gospel uses some really strong language, and it would be disturbing if we took these words literally. We wonder why God would say that we need to hate our family, our posessions, and even ourselves in order to follow him. The Gospel is about what it takes to be a disciple of Christ. Jesus uses the word "hate" to show how much more we are to love God more than our own family. He knows that we love our family deeply, but He wants us to love Him even more. God is so much higher, and so the disciples are to put God first. The comparison of God to our families is meant to shock us, and to challenge us. We need to give up our attachments to people and things. God is not tangible to us the way our family members are, and so gradually we may start to love God less. We need to remember that it was God who gave us all things and our families. He gave us the love that we enjoy, and He is the source of all of the joy we have in the world. Disciples are people who are deeply in love with God, and they know who it is who gave them everything that they have. Let's remember to thank God for everything that we have received, and the love we have been given in this life. Amen.

September 1, 2019

To Whom Shall We Go? Lessons from the Apostle Peter

By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan

This book was recommended to me by a good friend who told me that he has read this book several times and considers it one of his all-time favourites. With such high praise, I decided to pick it up and read through it this summer. And what a gem it is!

Dolan, now Cardinal of New York City, shares 10 reflections on different events or words of Saint Peter from sacred scripture. His level of depth in these reflections are profound to say the least, and very practical when applied to our spiritual life. I must admit that his charismatic personality and high energy comes through in his writing, which makes it fun to read. I thoroughly enjoyed his life lessons that he gleaned from Saint Peter’s words and actions in the New Testament.

It seems to me that Dolan’s closeness to Saint Peter comes from his many years as the Rector of the North American College Seminary in Rome. His experience in the formation of priests and proximity to the Vatican make some of his stories and insights particularly interesting given his inside perspective of the Catholic Church.

In this book, Dolan suggests that many of Saint Peter’s words are powerful prayers we can use personally. Some examples include: “Lord, it’s good to be here.” “Save me Lord, I’m drowning!” “Lord if it is really you, tell me to come to you across the water.” “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” These are just some of the words of Saint Peter that Dolan reflects upon in this book.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a new love for Saint Peter. Reading Dolan’s book gave me greater insight into why Jesus chose him as leader of the early Church, and how much God loves us in spite of our human frailty. I pray that you will find this book as enjoyable and helpful to your spiritual life as I have.

August 25, 2019

Remember all the good things God has done for you (Genesis 15 1-18) June 26 homily


  • Father Matthew provides us with a reflection on how God answers our prayers. While Abram was blessed, he was still perplexed, and wondered who would inherit all that he had because he had no children. Abram's prayer was to have children. He couldn't believe God's response, and after his dialogue with God, Abram follows through on God's request by presenting his complete offering before God. Abram then waits, and God gives him a sign by burning the offering as an acceptance.

August 18, 2019

Are you going through the motions in prayer (Matt 6 7-15) June 20th homily


  • Advice from Jesus: When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases like the gentiles do. We need to avoid the trap of just going through the motions when we are praying. Father Matthew recounts a humourous time when he witnessed and participated in a "warp speed" Rosary prayer. We need to take our time, and we need to listen to the Lord in prayer. Let's avoid the immature "Santa Claus" prayer of simply asking for what we want. While there is nothing wrong with petitionary prayer, there also needs to be a relationship. Let's remember who we are speaking to, "Our Father, who art in heaven...". We praise God in our prayer, and that His will be done. We also ask for forgiveness and mercy. We ask that our prayers be authentic, and with words that we truly understand.

August 11, 2019

God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9 6-11) June 19th homily


  • Whoever sows sparringly, will also reap sparringly. Whoever sows abundantly, will also reap undoubtedly. The level of our dedication will be comparable to what we get out of it. Think of an athlete wanting to compete at a high level. Think of students doing their homework. It applies to our friendships, and it applies to our faith. Our faith will either dwindle or blossom depending on the measure that we give. In the Our Father prayer, we think of the measure of mercy our Father gives to us being comparable to the mercy we show to those who trespass against us. Let us give gratitude and thanks to our Lord for His generosity towards us.

August 4, 2019

Greed and the abundance of possessions (Luke 12 13-21)


  • Your life does not consist of an abundance of possessions. We are to guard ourselves against all kinds of greed, and Jesus' advice is to not attach ourselves to things, but rather to detach ourselves, and to focus on generosity instead. It's not about what we can get out of it, but what we can give back to God, simply because it is right and just. God wants our hearts to be in love with Him above all things, and this is what our hearts were made for. Let's be generous and rich towards God.

July 28, 2019

I still have many things to say to you (John 16 12-15)


  • Jesus said, "I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." He knows that the Apostles won't fully understand Him now, and so in today's reading we are preparing for the descending of the Truth who will teach the Apostles. The image is similar to young parents who have been waiting for their young child about to arrive. At that moment the only communication is baby talk, even though we are bursting with joy to share with them everything that we want to tell them. Jesus also has that same feeling for us, his children. Father Matthew also has so much that he wants to share with us regarding the spreading the Gospel to others. It takes time, and there are bumps along the journey, and people may wonder why we are doing this, but we need to support one another if we are to experience the goodness that God has in store for us. The Alpha program is a support system to bring forward an encounter with Jesus Christ.

July 21, 2019

Two-edged sword (John 14 1-6)


  • The is one of the most popular funeral readings ever heard. It can give tremendous comfort, but the Word of God is known as a two-edged sword because it cuts to the heart with deep, profound, and tremendous inspiration. The inspiration of the Word of God causes us to change, and leads us to perfection, leaving us transformed. It is comforting for us to know that the Lord has created a dwelling place for us, but Jesus tells us that no one comes to the Father except through Him. This is what causes us to react, and to change, so that we can follow the Lord, who is the Way the Truth, and the Life.

July 14, 2019

Go and do likewise (Luke 10 25-37)


  • Jesus tells us that we must act like the Good Samaritan. We must know and live out our faith. We need to be reminded of this lesson over and over in our lives. We are to move away from being comfortable, and to be doers of the Word, taking action. Knowing is not enough, and the real challenge is to "go and do it". It's not just about information and rules and guidelines. It is about how we should act every day. "Do I act when I see someone in need?". "Do I ignore the person's plea for help?". Like the priest and the Levite, although considered to be good people, they make a critical mistake by not acting to help the person in need. Their knowledge was disconnected from their behaviours. How often are we like the priest and the Levite? They failed through the sin of omission because they did nothing. The Good Samaritan turns out to be the real hero. Jesus reminds us that everyone is our neighbour to love and to care for, even if we don't get along with each other.

July 7, 2019

Overwhelmed and amazed (Luke 10)


  • The disciples have returned home, and they were overwhelmed with joy, boasting about the power of the Holy Spirit, and the power they now had. Jesus warns them; however, not to boast, and not to be too prideful about this. We need to be reminded that we have also have power. God wants to do great things through all of us, but we need to make time, and allow Him to do so. We are called to be Christ to others. St. Isidore's welcomed 125 newly registered parishoners in the last 11 months, which is something to celebrate. Let us be filled with hope and joy, overwhelmed with what God has done for us over the past year. We thank God for the blessings he has bestowed upon all of us.

June 30, 2019

God says strange things (Gen 17 & John 8)


  • Sometimes we hear shocking things from God, that we don't fully understand, but we also know that whatever God says is true, and he is faithful in what he says. As an example, Father Matthew explains how the covenant God made with Abraham, no matter how hilarious and improbable, actually became true. Sometimes things happen in our lives, that we don't fully understand, but later on we do, and we realize that it was for our own good.

June 23, 2019

All ate and were filled (Luke 9 11-17)


  • Are you hungry or are you full? Father Matthew explains the depth, wonder, and goodness of the Lord who feeds us. Thousands of people around us sit in an existential hunger, and whether they know it or not, they are seeking Jesus to fill them with love and divine joy. Christ is the answer, and it's up to us to bring the spiritually hungry here to the table where they will get the food that they need.

June 16, 2019

First Communion Homily (May 5th)


  • On May 5th Father Matthew gives advice to the boys and girls receiving their very first Holy Communion. He also has some words of encouragement and advice to parents, calling them to support their children, and to bring them to church weekly, for their souls would ache if they went without Holy Communion for too long.

June 9, 2019

Pentecost


  • Why didn't Jesus just stay with us and lead the church himself instead of ascending to heaven? Today's Feast of Pentecost provides the answer to this question. For the Jews, pentecost is the celebration of the anniversary of Moses climbing Mount Sinai and encountering God, and where he receiving the Ten Commandments. For us, Pentecost is that moment when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, and which was witnessed by many people. The Holy Spirit also impacts us, moving us to action when we receive God's spirit (but this can only happen if our hearts are open, and we give God permission). So the answer to the original question is that, Jesus is always leading His church, and we are called to be active participants in helping to lead His church. Jesus ascended because the time of courtship is over. God wants us to take the next step to commitment. Do we love Jesus, and do we say yes to Him?

June 2, 2019

Ascension


  • Father Matthew discusses two points in this homily. Firstly, Jesus shows us where we belong by coming down to us, and showing us how to live. We now celebrate Jesus' ascension into heaven. Jesus is the head and the leader of the Church, and we, as members of his body, follow the head. We learn that death is not the end, but the beginning of a greater life that is to come. Secondly, Jesus asks us to continue his work of making disciples. He tells us to "feed my sheep".

May 26, 2019

Servants are not greater than their Master (John 13 16-20)


  • No slave is greater than his master. Never before has a rabbi washed the feet of his students or his followers. Is Jesus stepping down by washing their feet? No, Jesus does not step aside, rather he shows them how to love each other, and to remain humble. He reminds them where they have come from.

May 19, 2019

Love one another (John 13) - welcome centre introduced


  • The commandment to love one another is not that easy. We tend to judge others when we don't really know them. We as Christians are called to do better. Our discomfort is a reminder that this is an opportunity to show love, and to share our faith. How...the way Jesus taught us how to love one another.

May 12, 2019

Dignity of work (St Joseph the Worker)


  • Today's readings are about the theme of work, and we celebrate and honour St. Joseph the worker, the foster father and husband of Jesus and Mary. Work is good for us, and we were made for it. God leads by example in His work of creation. Sometimes the work we do is silent and hidden, just as much of the life of Jesus was hidden. Think of today's liturgy, which means the work of the people.

May 2, 2019

Come alive in your faith this Easter season (Acts 5 27-33)


  • Watch the Apostles come alive in their faith through the Holy Spirit!

April 27, 2019

God protects his faithful (Daniel 3 13-95)


  • This is a memorable reading about a king who makes a golden image, and who wants the people to worship it. There were; however, the three who dared not to worship the image, and so their fate was to face certain death in the fiery furnace. Everyone watched and witnessed in wonder and in awe how the three were protected by God.

April 21, 2019

The Resurrection is a game changer (Easter Homily 2019)


  • Christ Is Risen. He Is Truly Risen! Jesus' act of love for us has given us access to heaven! Pause to consider the depth of this reality, the greatest moment in history, and how important the Resurrection is in our lives. If there was no Resurrection, then Jesus gets downgraded to a simple teacher who was innocent, and who died a brutal death. If that's the case, then we might as well go home. "When we die, then toss me in the ground, that's it, it's over!". There would be no hope and no lasting joy. But there is hope. Jesus rose from the dead, and by doing that we now know that it's not over when we die. We too will be raised from the dead and have hope for eternal life. As baptised Christians, we are moved to share the news of the Resurrection with others. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

April 17, 2019

Don't throw away your Lenten gains (Matthew 26 14-26)


  • Father Matthew looked into how much the 30 pieces of silver was really worth, which tempted Judas to betray Jesus. On the low end it was worth around 2 days of wages, and on the high end it was worth 48 days of wages for a Roman centurion. Looking back at these 40 days of Lent, let's not get too prideful of what we have accomplished, and let's not be tempted to fall back into the same attachments we gave up during Lent, such as those temptations that come through the senses. We need to know what our areas of temptation are, so that we don't "let it all go" just because it will be Easter.

April 4, 2019

Saint Isidore of Seville


  • Father Matthew provides us with an interesting homily about St. Isidore of Seville, one of the most learned people of his time, and today he is known as the patron saint of the Internet and computers. His passion was to document all known knowledge of his time.

April 3, 2019

The Father and I are one (John 5 16-30)


  • Jesus heals a paralyzed man, and tells him to stand up, take up his mat, and walk. This upsets the Pharisees because Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath, which goes against the belief to rest on the Sabbath. Jesus challenges this belief, and says that God is still working, and there is a need to act today regardless of the day of the week. On top of that, the Pharisees were particularly angry with Jesus because He called God, Father. After this, Jesus goes on the offensive in a direct manner (without the use of parables). Father Matthew describes the moment in more detail, and what it means to us today.

March 31, 2019

Let the mud touch your eyes (John 9 1-41)


  • 1. Jesus wants to heal us, but we have to let him.
    2. Growing in faith requires courage and perserverence.

    Note that Jesus never asked permission before healing the blind man with mud. He saw the need, and healed him. Jesus wants to heal us too, but we need to give him permission to do so. The blind man didn't resist, and he submitted himself not knowing what was happening. It doesn't make sense to put mud onto someone's eyes, and then commanded to go wash. It didn't make sense, but even so, the blind man surrendered. We need to let Jesus put his hands into our own wounds, and heal us, so we should not pull away, but rather we need to pass through it, and be healed by God. Let the mud touch our eyes! We need pray each day.

    The blind man's journey was quick, it all happened within twenty-four hours. The blind man originally did not know Jesus, and once healed, others were upset because he was healed on the sabbath day. There was then a mock trial, and the man's parents were also put on trial. The man was kicked out of the community for believing that Jesus must have been sent by God. As witnesses we need to continue to tell the world who Jesus is. Let us pray for courage to have perserverence like the blind man.

March 25, 2019

Woe to me if I do not share the Gospel (Luke 16 19-31) March 21st homily


  • Being blessed with wealth doesn't mean we are all damned. Fr. Matthew clarifies that the Gospel today has nothing to do with wealth. It is tempting to let our faith become secondary and nothing but an interest. Like the rich man, he could feast everyday, and yet not share it with others. We are feasting too around the treasures of the Church, and we are called to share the goodness of our faith with others in abundance. Woe to us if we do not preach the Gospel and do not share the goodness of our faith. Many who do not know Christ are starving, and they have no idea what they are missing. We are fed and nourished and our bellies are full, and we believe in the hope of eternal life. Father Matthew encourages us to share our faith with those who do not yet know Christ, or who have rejected Him. Let's pray for their conversion because we love them. It's our responsibility!

March 17, 2019

Unique healing (Mark 8 22-26) Feb 20 homily


  • Father Matthew draws a connection between Jesus healing a blind man and the healing of all healings in the sacrament of confession.

February 22, 2019

What kind of soil do you give God - Mark 4 1-20 (Jan 30 homily)


  • Are you giving God good soil in your heart? There's a lifetime worth of wisdom in this parable of the seed, the Word of God, yielding our response to the Word of God and the life of faith. The dispostion of our heart makes all the difference. Father Matthew elaborates on the four groups of people. There are those who have no soil at all, there are those who are open, and receive with joy and sprout quickly yet challenges arise and all is lost, those who are open, and also receive with joy (yet there are thorns and cares of the world which prevent them from continuing on), and those receive with good soil and yield good harvest. This parable helps us to understand the power of our free will, and how faith grows in some, yet not in others. We are responsible to receive the gift of faith and to grow (as we are responsible for our own soul), and also to help others.

February 17, 2019

Beatitudes as pep-talk for the disciples


  • Father Matthew explains that it is important to not over spiritualize the beatitudes. Jesus chooses twelve of his followers to form his team of disciples. He instructs them about what it will be like today and in the future: poverty, persecution, and loss. Jesus explains to them that they will face hards times, but that there will be greater things in store for them later. It's really a pep talk. There will be sacrifice, tears, and ridicule, but it will all be worth it in the end. Families will be left behind to follow Him as one of His disciples. If we experience suffering on the account of being a disciple of Jesus, then it will all be worth it in the end. There is great hope in this, and we are to leap for joy in the midst of hardship while we are trying to spread the Gospel to others.

February 3, 2019

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you


  • How well do you know your Bible? Most Catholics know the life of Jesus very well, but not so much when it comes to the Old Testament. Through today's reading from Jeremiah we can see how relevant the Old Testament can be for us. God tells us that before we were born, God consecrated us. He delcared that we are sacred, holy, and precious in His eyes. Think about the weeks leading up to the birth of your own child, and how exciting it was. Each one of us, like Jeremiah, has the role of being a prophet in our modern community. Father Matthew unpacks the meaning of this in more detail.

January 27, 2019

I Am He - Jesus drops the mic (Luke 4 14-21)


  • This has to be the most memorable mic drop experience ever, two thousand years ago. The one who is the Messiah says clearly, I am He, and now what are you going to do about it? While we know how the story ends, and that Jesus was telling the truth, to say these words at that time was punishable by death. It was so scandalous and shocking, yet he just sat down after saying it. His words and actions demand a dramatic and life changing response from all of us as disciples of Jesus. You and I believe that He is who He says that He is. He is the one who brought us the gift of freedom. Today let us renew our commitment as disciples of Jesus.

January 23, 2019

You are a priest forever (Hebrews 8 17, Psalm 110)


  • How's your priesthood going? We are all priests forever thanks to our baptism. Making prayers and sacrifices for others regularly is the point of this homily.

January 13, 2019

Baptism calls us to mission - Alpha introduced


  • This weekend we celebrate the historic event of the baptism of Jesus. Two things should come to our minds: our identity and our mission. In our own baptism we became sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, heirs to the kingdom of heaven, and our bodies became temples of the Holy Spirit. When we touch the holy water when entering church, it reminds of us of our baptism, and of our identities as loved children of God. We are redeemed by Jesus so that we may have eternal life. Baptism is the doorway into our life of faith, and we are forever changed, washed and forgiven. Like a married couple that hopes to grow as a family, God wants all people to grow in number, and to receive the gift of baptism. It gives us our identity and purpose in life. Our mission is to go and to make disciples of all people and nations, just as the Apostles did. The disciples before us taught about Jesus, and if we want people to follow Him, then we too must live out our mission, and to make new disciples among the people around us. Jesus commands us not to be satisfied, and not to be comfortable, but to go out there, and teach people everything that He taught us. Let's help others to come back to the faith, and let's introduce our faith to others who are not Catholic. The Alpha program is a tool that can help to welcome people to our parish family at St. Isidore. We know there are many people who no longer practice their faith, and so the Alpha program is the bridge between where these people are today, and where they could be tomorrow. Father Matthew calls upon parishoners to consider volunteering this coming fall to help make the Alpha program a success.

January 6, 2019

Never stop searching for Jesus - Epiphany


  • King Herod commanded his men to search diligently for the child so that he too could pay Him homage, but we know his command was out of fear and deception. He feared this new king so much, that he commanded all newborn children to be killed in order to eradicate any threat to King Herod's power. He is also lazy and gets others to do the work. His command is prophetic, and it reminds us to be like the wise men instead, to search diligently for Jesus, and to find Him. Are we more like Herod or more like the wise men? Am I passive like Herod? Or am I active like the wise men? We are to worship together diligently like the wise men did. It's easier to be like King Herod, and expect others to do the work, but we are responsbile for our own souls. King Herod never found Jesus.
  • People search for God in all of the wrong places. Many have even stopped searching for Jesus for a variety of reasons. Thirty percent of the people in Ottawa are not religious at all, which means they are not searching for God. This is a serious crisis, and so you and I must help them to find true peace and true joy. Like the wise men, we kneel down and pay homage to Jesus every Sunday at Mass. We have encountered Him, and we have been transformed. The wise men returned home by another route. Each time we encounter the Lord in the Ecuharist we are transformed and healed, and moved to become a better son or daughter of God. We are never the same. Each week we are called to walk the path of righteousness, and make changes in small steps in our search for holiness. We must return home a changed person every week.

January 1, 2019

Mary Mother of God


  • Father Matthew does a recap of our spiritual journey throughout the new ligurgical year. We prepared for four weeks during Advent, and then on December 25th we celebrated the highest point so far, followed by the Feast of the Holy Family. Today is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Before imitating the Holy Family we need to first be disciples of Jesus Christ. Mary said yes to the Angel Gabriel, and so we too, should renew our "yes" to Jesus by understanding the Nicene Creed and what we believe. It also means knowing the person we are saying yes to. We can read about Jesus in the New Testament, perhaps by reading one chapter daily. Mary not only showed us how to say yes, but she had a deep prayer life, and she treasured all of Jesus words and pondered them in her heart. We too can have a personal conversation with God. Good communication is essential in all relationships, and the ability to listen. Let's speak and listen to Christ regularly. There are may ways to pray. Even by listening quietly to God. This New Year, let's set up a routine to ponder God's words in our hearts. Mary was in tune with the Holy Spirit, and she was full of grace. We too are called to pray regularly so that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. At the wedding feast of Cana, Mary teaches us to trust Jesus completely in our time of need. We can't expect things immediately, but the important thing to know is that God does act, and He will be there for us in the long run. We need patience and trust especially in times of suffering. Mary knew and allowed the suffering of her Son because she trusted and knew that there was some purpose to it. Let's resolve to trust God more with our life, and to be more like Mary. The homily ends with a scripture passage from Jermiah 29:11 and the Hail Mary prayer.