The Answer to Unanswered Prayer (#637, 17th Sunday)

Fr. Joel Homilies 0 Comments

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) · God is perfectly transcendent (above and beyond) and also totally imminent (right in front of us). We must be persistent in our prayer, just like Abraham was persistent. What about when we don’t get what we want? Our Father knows what is best, and wants what is best for us. Sometimes we are the ones standing in the way. But beyond the things we need, the greatest gift God can give is the gift of himself. “The answered prayer was that they knew God was there.”Read More


The Mysterious Mary Magdalene

Fr. Joel Being Catholic 0 Comments

After the Blessed Virgin Mary herself, there is perhaps no woman in the New Testament more intriguing than Mary Magdalene. She has figured prominently in art, the naming of churches, and even popular fiction. Pope Francis just elevated her feast day, July 22, to greater importance. Church holy days have three ranks: Memorial, Feast, and Solemnity. Mary Magdalene is moving from a Memorial to a Feast. The official decree explains why:

Given that in our time the Church is called to reflect in a more profound way on the dignity of Woman, on the New Evangelisation and on the greatness of the Mystery of Divine Mercy, it seemed right that the example of Saint Mary Magdalene might also fittingly be proposed to the faithful. In fact this woman, known as the one who loved Christ and who was greatly loved by Christ, and was called a “witness of Divine Mercy” by Saint Gregory the Great and an “apostle of the apostles” by Saint Thomas Aquinas, can now rightly be taken by the faithful as a model of women’s role in the Church.

Just what do we know about Mary Magdalene, and what can we learn from her?Read More

Jesus is the One Thing (#636, 16th Sunday)

Fr. Joel Homilies 0 Comments

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) · What if instead of “so much going on” you had only one thing to worry about? Abraham only worries about making his visitors feel welcome. Martha has Jesus in her home but is too anxious and worried to actually listen to Him. We need to look at Jesus and through him simplify our lives. Jesus doesn’t want to be just one more thing in your busy schedule; Jesus is the One Thing.Read More


Steubenville: Like Real Life, Only Better

Fr. Joel Being Catholic, God & Faith 2 Comments

What do get when you pack 111 adults and young people into busses and drive them to Eastern Ohio for worship, service, and roller coasters?

  • Open Hearts
  • The Holy Spirit
  • A new family of brothers and sisters
  • Joy. Hope. Peace. Love. Healing. Smiles.
  • A broken ankle
  • Broken stereotypes & prejudices
  • The Holy Spirit
  • Sweet t-shirts
  • 1844
  • Jesus. Lots of Jesus.
  • Hope for the future of the Church
  • Did I mention the Holy Spirit?

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His Will is the Way (#635, 14th Sunday)

Fr. Joel Homilies 1 Comment

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) · Jesus sends out 72 disciples on the King’s business. St. Paul wants nothing more than to accomplish God’s will. And this will of God leads his people to abundant blessings. Are we really doing the will of God? Or does God need to tell us, “Get out of my way.”

Holy Trinity Parish just celebrated 20 years. Our congregation has shrunk and our church building no longer serves our needs. Where is God leading our community? We know God has a beautiful future prepared for us. Doing the will of God is how we get there.Read More


Grateful for Nine Years of Priesthood

Fr. Joel Being Catholic 2 Comments

Flipping through pictures from my ordination nine years ago, I couldn’t help but think: I look so young! I started to marvel that I survived my first few years as a newly ordained priest. In 5 years I had served 8 different parishes, moved three times, been involved in sacking two employees, and survived a school fire. I became pastor of three parishes and master of none. Priesthood has been a very challenging life. But I can honestly say I have never regretted being ordained a priest. At dinner recently someone raised the question, “What would you do if you didn’t have to work?” Um… I don’t have to work.Read More


Nine Years of Priesthood: Serving as Jesus Served (#634, 13th Sunday)

Fr. Joel Homilies

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) · Nine years ago I celebrated my first Mass and preached on these same readings. I hear Jesus reminding his priests: you won’t always be welcome, you can’t count on having a home, I am more important than family, and don’t look back.

I thought priesthood would be about knowing what to do and telling people what to do. But our first reading tells us that priesthood is really about listening to God and teaching others to listen to Him. The voice of God always reminds us to serve others instead of serving ourselves. He who gives of himself receives Jesus in return. And Jesus is worth more than what was left behind.Read More

A Blood Transfusion for my Brother Omar (#633, 12th Sunday)

Fr. Joel Homilies

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) · My brother Omar killed my brothers and sisters in the Pulse nightclub. We need more than a change of law; we need a change of heart. Jesus offers us a blood transfusion. Jesus lives and dies on the firm foundation of His Father’s love. If you have the blood of Jesus in your veins, you too can respond to evil with the Works of Mercy.Read More