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March 15th 2015 AD - Third Sunday in Lent

Catholic Homilies

March 15th 2015 A.D.

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Jn 3:14-21

“God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son”

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Like Last Sunday’s Gospel, this is a story with a strong theological overlay. However, Jesus surely had an experience of his Father in heaven at some point in his public life in which he perceived that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and like the prophets die for the good news he had come to preach. The disciples did not understand this experience then. Nor is it clear that we understand it now. Jesus saw that, like all humans, he had to die. He also perceived that is death, like all deaths, would be horrible, though more horrible than most. Nonetheless because he was confident of His Father’s love for him, we went to Jerusalem bravely because he knew that ultimately God would vindicate the good news with his powerful love.

So we must understand that God too will vindicate us eventually and that Jesus will accompany us down into the valley of death. Lent, in a way, is more about our own deaths and resurrections than it is about Jesus’s.

Fr. Greeley's Last Book:Chicago Catholics and the Struggle with Their Church

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Once there was a scientist who believed in nothing at all. He enjoyed especially putting down those who had near death experiences (NDE) in which they were revived after they clinically died. It was all brain chemistry, he insisted, an evolutionary adjustment for a species that was conscious of its own mortality. There was no tunnel, no figure in white at the end of it, no choice about whether to stay or come back. It was all an illusion caused by the brain chemicals that were released at the moment of death.

Then he had a heart attack and was clinically dead when they got him to the hospital. However, the doctors revived him and he reported that he had indeed gone through an NDE. It was an illusion, he insisted, caused by brain chemicals. I still do not believe in anything at all except science. When we are dead, we are dead and that’s that.

However, he seemed less afraid of death than most of his atheist colleagues. One of them asked him if he was not afraid that he might be wrong. Promise you won’t quote me? Yes. Well, I figure that if the NDE was all an illusion then I have nothing to lose by saying it was an illusion. On the other hand, if the person in white that the brain chemicals made me imagine is real, well there’s so much love there, I have nothing to lose either because I will be forgiven.

So it’s a good gamble. Oh, said his colleague.

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On the other hand, if the person in white that the brain chemicals made me imagine is real, well there’s so much love there, I have nothing to lose either because I will be forgiven. So it’s a good gamble
March Homilies: 1st | 8th | 15th | 22nd | 29th
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Psalm 137:1-6

1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres.
3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
4 How shall we sing the L
ORD's song in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither!
6 Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem  above my highest joy!


Gospel    Jn 3:14-21

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.


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Chicago Catholics and the Struggle with Their Church
The survey of the archdiocese, which Father Greeley describes as "a very complicated place" demographically, asks some difficult questions, and finds some interesting truths.
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Why Stay Catholic?
Catholic publishing eminence Leach asks, and answers, a good question that the nation’s second largest non-congregation – the church of ex-Catholics poses.
This book has a chapter about Fr. Greeley and is dedicated to him. Great read!
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