YOU MAKE THE CALL: Hinting at the Need for Homily Help!

At the time of this writing, I am aware that the next Packer Mass will take place on Sunday, 20 January 2008 at 1:00 PM -- in anticipation of a 5:30 PM kick off. What is yet to be determined is whether that Mass will take place at 1265 Lombardi Avenue or at a hotel in Dallas. We'll find out later today!

The last time I offered a Mass on the occasion of the National Football Conference Championship Game was at the Hyatt Regency -- San Francisco Airport Hotel in Burlingame, California on Sunday, 11 January 1998 -- the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. Next week the liturgical celebration will be the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.

At that Mass, the Green Bay Packers will hear the same prayers and readings as will the faithful of Old Saint Joe's as well as the faithful around the world. Here's the Good News that will guide the team next Sunday:

First Reading
The Prophet Isaiah 49, 5-6
I will make you the light of all nations
so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth!

Psalm 40
Here am I, Lord,
I come to do your will!

Second Reading
First Corinthians 1, 1-3
The grace and peace of God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

The Holy Gospel
Saint John the Evangelist 1, 29-34
This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

Given all that is on the line next Sunday, I'll need a few different perspectives -- a few different voices -- to help me with the homily that reflects both the Word of God for next Sunday as well as the situation at hand. Here's your opportunity to be heard!

If you have any ideas of what I should include or address in the homily, feel free to write back. Don't be shy in doing so! In fact, I am sure that my Mom will fill me with plenty of ideas for homiletic assistance. Because we tend to be of "one mind and heart," she may not be adding a new perspective to what I already have in mind. So, again, feel free to offer your ideas here or at my SNC address. Just remember, I prefer to have my Sunday homily finished by Thursday, because: "A bird that's hatched on Saturday does not fly very far on Sunday!"

Good luck -- and thank you in advance!

Father James Baraniak, O. Praem.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm ... will have to give this some serious thought.

As of now, all I can think of is ..."We Shall Overcome"!


Anonymous said...

Hey Fr. Jim,

Here's an idea.

You might remind the Packers that
it is not what the football can do for them, it's what they can do with the football!

Go Packers!!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it all about "leadership"?

You show us the pathway to God and it's up to us to follow that path to the best of our ability, despite "detours" we encounter.

So Mike McCarthy shows the Packers the pathway to follow, whether it's a win or a loss, they too must perform to the best of their ability.

No matter your goal (no pun intended), "Christ is with us every step of the way".


Anonymous said...

Fr. Jim--

When I watch the Packers play, I see a team that works as just that-- a team. Brett Farve would not have broken all those records this season without his teammates, just as his teammates would not be playing on Saturday without his leadership and the talent and leadership of many other players and coaches, plus the support of the Green Bay community. This is what is most inspiring to me about the Packers. As they work together on the gridiron, they must also work together to support one another in faith-- through the good times and bad. Faith is not a one-man sport-- it's a full-contact, team- driven way of life.

Hope this helps! Go Packers, and thanks for the great season so far!

Anonymous said...

When our will is to do God's will, the human spirit is at its strongest. It is unconquerable. As Isaiah states, when God becomes the source of our strength, "It is too little... for you to be my servant... I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." We are able to go farther than what we thought we were capable of, to reach beyond what we thought were our limitations. The words of the Psalmist (Here I am Lord, I come to do your will) also tell us to make God's will our will. St. Paul proclaims that God wishes us to be holy, and in the Gospel of John, John the Baptist reveals why he has been baptizing with water- so that Jesus in His Holiness might be made known to Israel. In all four passages, the running theme is for us to do God's will for His Glory. When we do that with all of our hearts, nothing can stand against us.

I'm not saying God wills that the Packers win on Sunday (despite whatever this incredibly biased fan may think), but he does will this team to play as hard as it can to the best of its ability. And there is definitely victory in that.

Go Pack Go

P. Carkhuff

Katie Culotta said...

Boy I could have a lot of fun with this and make lots of rude comments like how they made their sacrifice in soldier field, a greater team has come before them (da Bears), taking away the sins (Bear bashing)of Cheeseheads,etc. So many wisecracks come to mind. I was really hoping there was going to be something on conversion in one of these readings because I had a good story for you. As you know we love living here but have tried to raise Mary as a good Chicago sports fan. She even has her own Bears jersey and I will send you a beautiful picture momentarily. We have tried so so hard to raise our daughter properly. And then we put her in pre-school. A good, wholesome Catholic pre-school. We thought she would learn wonderful lessons in a loving environment. But then it happened. I always worried about the day she would learn about things we have tried to shield her from. She came home and started happily yelling about Packers winning and "Three Cheers for the Packers". I almost dropped dead. Once I regained my composure, I asked her where she learned that from. She said her teacher said it. I called Jim. I told her to tell him what she just said to me. You can imagine the horror as he heard the words: "Three Cheers for the Packers". Today I mentioned my concerns to one of her teachers who has now promised to work even harder on brainwashing Mary. We can't escape. Hey maybe this is a good lesson on spreading the Word? Keep doing it and you can convert even the toughest cases!
While this is a true story I hope you know I love you even though you are the Packers chaplain. And I am trying to "change my heart".
Love Katie C

Anonymous said...

What does it mean to do God's will on a football field anyway? As opposed to in one's daily life?

Is it looking out for your "neighbors"? Is it all for one and one for all? Or is it doing everything you do for God's glory and not for our own? How do we separate that? I cannot imagine how some of the players do this. It's easy if you are shy, not too outspoken in the midst of strangers and acquaintances, and somewhat insignificant (like I am).
But that is even wrong, because we are all significant in God's eyes, because Jesus offered us salvation. The only way to truly thank God for such a gift as giving us his son is to honor each other, whether foe or friend.

This is just some rambling thoughts, so if something sparks along these lines, feel free to go for it!

Anonymous said...

"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone...
I can see all obstacles in my way"

"Was blind, but now I see."

Anonymous said...

If Jesus came to my house....and He is, in the form of the Giants. What would you do? You'd give him your best!

The Cheesehead Family in Georgia said...

God's will (that is to say, our understanding of this mystery),is to be the "Best Version of Yourself" in the daily tasks that God places before you each day. As Jesus demonstated in the events of His Passion, as well as through the unmentioned menial tasks of His 'hidden life,' we are called to turn to Our Heavenly Father in prayer knowing our strength and the source of all gifts and life come from Him.
So regardless of whether we are wearing the Green and Gold on Lambeau Field on Sunday, in the stands as a spectator, or as far away as Marietta, Georgia - we are called to be the best we can be, the "best version of ourselves" - utilizing our God given talents in a way that honors Him - playing tough and playing fairly, with respect to our fellow teammates and also to our opponents ... on Sunday, and every day of our life.
This is our call as followers of Christ - this is God's will.

We love you in Green Bay! GO PACK GO!!!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could tie in Psalm 144, since a lot of the reading have a theme of peace. Psalm 144 asks for the Lord for strength to fight, so that there may be peace in the end.

Donna Boucher said...

Man Fully Alive is the Glory of God - St. Irenaeus

sky pilot said...

Good Morning,

You asked for some homily thoughts, I'll share a couple from my message this Sunday. I will be using the Gospel Lesson from John 1:29-42

Both are illustrations. The first you probably have read already.

Giants fan Giuliani won't sign Packers cap

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. -- Rudy Giuliani badly needs to win Florida -- but that doesn't mean he'll risk jinxing his hometown team.

At a campaign stop in this southwest Florida town on Monday, the Republican presidential candidate refused to autograph a white Green Bay Packers cap. The New York Giants face the Packers in the NFC championship game on Sunday night in Green Bay.

"No, I won't sign that," the former New York City mayor says as he scribbles his name on a series of placards and papers. He has been spending almost every day here before Florida's Jan. 29 primary as it's his best chance to win a state before the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests.

"Oh, please," a man is heard pleading in the videotaped encounter posted on Fox News' Web site

.” No, no, no. That would be bad luck right now," Giuliani insists, almost recoiling from the green-emblazoned cap. "I'll sign it afterward."

A man barks back: "Sign it now."

But Giuliani wouldn't budge. "No."

Smiling, he kept signing everything else.

The second is:

All morning an instructor had been explaining leadership to a class of police recruits. Calling a man to the front of the class, he handed him a piece of paper on which was written: “You are in charge. Get everyone out of the room without causing a panic.” The recruit was at a loss for words and returned to his seat. The second man summoned tried: “Everybody outside. Go!” No one moved. A third man glanced at the instructions, smiled and said, “All right, men. Break for lunch.” The room emptied in seconds.

I won't use up much more space.

I used the first to illustrate that we are faced with choices in how we relate to one another. Look at how Jesus relates to us as the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world".

The second illustrated following a true leader - The Lamb of God. Jesus calls us & we follow, Philip shared his call from his Savior (leader) & brought others to him.


P.S. A Lutheran (LCMS)& Catholic sharing sermon ideas, interesting. But then the Packers are worth it ;)

Brian said...

Today's Gospel makes clear that Jesus is not some exalted human or merely a prophet (as some today would have us believe). Rather, He is the Son of God, and He takes away our sins. Thus we should repose all our confidence in Him. As He sought to do (and did) the Father's will perfectly, He knows what's best for us for His will is perfect. So we should pray to know that will and repose in it. As the Psalm today says, "Here I am, Lord. I come to do your will."

But as Fr. Walter Ciszek, author of "He Leadeth Me" and "With God in Russia" wrote, the will of God is not some inscrutable thing. We find it in the ordinary situations that life gives us, the situations God places before us here and now. The baby crying and needing a stinky diaper change when we want to surf the Internet or watch TV, the wife reminding us we forgot to take out the trash when we're already in our PJs and its -10 outside, and so on.

What is God's will for you today, gentleman? We get a hint in the first reading: "I will make you the light of all nations
so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth!"

He wills you to be the light of all nations. How will He do that in you? With your cooperation, He will do that by your going out there today and showing them what a Christian athelete is all about. And you do that by doing your best. By giving your all. By leaving every inch of yourself on the battlefield. It is what St. Josemaria Escriva said: Give glory to God by doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.

St. Charles Borromeo is known as patron saint of bishops for the incredible effort he exerted in carrying out his duties. He exhausted himself in carrying out his vocation. In the end, it's what led to his death, frankly. But he left everything of himself on the battlefield, the battlefield for souls.

You wage battle today on a different battlefield than St. Charles, but your duty is the same. It is to give of yourself so that your light may shine before the nations and that all may see the good that you do and give glory to God. And besides, if you do that today, you'll keep a lot warmer.

Anonymous said...


Tell them the story of Super Bowl 31 and Isaiah 40:31 .

Here's the Mil Journal Sentinel's account:

Reggie White was feeling
tired and troubled at halftime, the 35-year-old White gathered inspiration from the Bible and teammate Eugene Robinson and became the first player to record three sacks in a Super Bowl.

“I thank God I was able to step up when I did,” White said. “Eugene kept coming to me and saying, ‘Isaiah 40:31 says we must mount up with wings of an eagle, run and not get weary, walk and not get tired.’ ”

Please bring the peace of Christ to the team and ask them to do their best.

God will take of the rest!

Psalm 27:2
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.

Psalm 25:2 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

2 in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

We are praying for you and the team!

Anonymous said...

Please post your homily so we can read it.

reporter said...

Jan. 19

Dear Father Baraniak,

You are really a good guy! And I should know.

I want to share a great quote from Yogi Berra (a good Catholic). "Every game is 90 percent in your mind, and the other 50 percent in your body."

Vince Lombardi would love that quote.

Father Guy Gurath
Milwaukee Archdiocese

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