Pilgrim Priest

Pilgrim Priest

(formerly Brother Priest Preaching Podcast) Have you thought sermons were boring? Think again as Fr. Joel unpacks the word of God for today's audience. Fresh, local, and live takes on the Gospel for our world. A new homily every Sunday.... Show More

Episodes

September 13, 2020 17 min

Ordinary Time, 24th Sunday (A) Why do we come to Sunday Mass? We might come out of habit, obligation, guilt, or because it makes us feel good. A farmer named Leroy gave me the best reason I've ever heard: "Honestly, Father, I come to say Thank You." What do we have to be thankful for? God has created a beautiful world for us and loved us into existence. He died to forgive us our sins and call us back into a relationship...

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Ordinary Time, 23rd Sunday (A) Will God really give us anything we ask for, if we just get someone else to pray along with us? Probably not. But like so many parents, God just wants his children to get along. We are called to love our brothers and sisters. It seems easy until I realize that Donald Trump is my brother, and that Kamala Harris is my sister. Loving all people is basically impossible. Even loving my siblings can be hard...
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Ordinary Time, 22nd Sunday (A) My first year as a new pastor was filled with frustrations, sufferings, and feeling overwhelmed. But now I have ten years of experience and things are going to be different. So why do I keep struggling with the same old failings? No matter how hard you try, you will never be the perfect parent, Christian, or human being you are trying to be. That's because God did not call you to be the perfect Ch...
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Ordinary Time, 21st Sunday (A) My top 'strengths' are: Strategic, Woo, Connectedness, Developer, and Responsibility. Everyone has different gifts. No one has all the gifts. You are a masterpiece, made to glorify God. Only in God and through God will you discover who you really are. Shebna, master of the palace, has been using his gifts to build up himself. God will replace him with a steward who will build up the pe...
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Ordinary Time, 20th Sunday. What do we do when God doesn't answer our prayers? We have all had the experience of not seeing prayers answered. Our Gospel shows us how to respond. The Canaanite woman wants Jesus to cure her tormented daughter. First Jesus doesn't seem to be listening. Then Jesus doesn't seem to care. The woman responds by drawing closer to Jesus with humor and humility. God answers prayer one of two ways....
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Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary • This feast answers the two great questions of life. First, Where are we going? Modern western society is based on ignoring that question. Instead, we try to make our time on earth as long and as comfortable as possible. But what is the point of a long or a short journey if it doesn’t have a happy ending? Mary teaches us that we have an eternal destiny. We need to be moving to...
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Ordinary Time, 19th Sunday (A) Today I get to introduce myself to my new parishes. It’s always hard to make a transition to a new assignment. It is particularly hard for me after 10 years in the same place. I know it’s a challenge for you to have your last pastor leave after just 2 years. On top of the normal challenges, the covid situation has made everything difficult and stressful and weird. Covid caused us a cancel all kinds of...
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Ordinary Time, 17th Sunday (A) Life can often feel like a merry-go-round. We go up and down and around and around; too much to do and not enough time. How do we keep from getting dizzy? King Solomon turns to the Lord. He doesn’t ask God to change all the things around him. He asks God to change his heart. All my assignments have been too much for me to handle. After trying everything, and feeling overwhelmed and angry, I finally we...
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Ordinary Time, 16th Sunday (A) Last week’s Gospel was about the Word of God bearing good fruit. Now wheat and weeds are growing side-by-side. We might think God is paying no attention, but there will be a harvest. All who cause others to sin and all evildoers will be gathered up and burned like weeds, but the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. God is patiently waiting for the evildoers to repent and b...
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Ordinary Time, 15th Sunday (A) Seeds of faith and vocation were planted in the hearts of Fr. Benjamin Johnson and Fr. Kevin Ripley. Now they will plant seeds in the hearts of others. As your pastor, I have planted many seeds of faith, hope, and charity. I have watered seeds that were planted by others. I have uprooted many weeds that were growing in souls. What is growing in your heart? If you want a good crop, you must plant God’s...
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Ordinary Time, 14th Sunday (A) The United States of America threw off the yoke of King George III and became an independent nation. But today Jesus invites us to accept his yoke and be subject to his Kingship. Paradoxically, accepting the Kingship of Jesus makes us more free. In a similar way, it was only because of the interdependence of the 13 colonies that they were able to win their independence from England. The Kingship of Je...
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Ordinary Time, 13th Sunday (A) In the stranger-danger world of social distancing, hospitality has become a lost art. Hospitality tells a person, “I may have never met you before, but it is a good that you exist.” All of our best friends were once strangers. Even our spouse used to be a stranger until you welcomed them into your life and they welcomed you. This is why St. Benedict instructed his monks to welcome every guest as Chris...
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Ordinary Time, 12th Sunday (A) We just finished our 10th annual walking pilgrimage from Oconto to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, WI. Eleven people, five days, 56 miles, 150,000 steps and a load of blessings. We experienced the loving providence of God along the road in water, weather, and BOGO pints of custard. God is not a deadbeat Dad too busy running the universe to pay attention to His children. He is a loving...
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Corpus Christi (A) For the last twelve weeks we have been in this together, even though we haven’t been able to physically be together. Finally we can be together as a parish community. Digital communication helps us stay connected but it’s not the same as actually being together in flesh and blood. God is always with us. But he wanted to be together, “in the flesh.” So the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, as a man and in the ...
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The Diocese is evaluating the feasibility of linking Oconto with Sobieski and having Oconto Falls and Stiles get a separate priest. Two issues have emerged that would need to be addresses: Oconto and Sobieski have 5 weekend Masses between them, and Sobieski for sure would need to drop a Mass. We would need a rectory for the priest in Oconto Falls. The Diocese has held listening sessions with staff and parish leadership regarding th...
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Pentecost (A) Through the Holy Spirit we receive the forgiveness of sins that welcomes us back into the family of God our Father. The Holy Spirit incorporates us into the Body of Christ and brings out our individual gifts for the good of all. The Holy Spirit makes us His temples and bids us carry His presence into the whole world. Today will be the first day since March 20th that many of you were able to receive Communion. Open you...
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Easter, Ascension of the Lord (A) I have accomplished many things in my 9+ years of service in these three parishes. But one of my finest achievements was putting new tabs on the Roman Missal. I did that all by myself without any help from anyone. The rest of my achievements were really our achievements, things that we did together, with me as the head and you the members of our parish. In a similar way, Jesus is our head. When...
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Easter 6 - Today I have to tell my parishioners that my journey with them will end in August, when I will begin a new journey with the three parishes in Antigo as their pastor. I am grateful for the blessings of this assignment. I bow to the Jesus in you.
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National Day of Prayer - What do we have to repent of? We are guilty of valuing things more than people. Do we use the first day of the week to honor God or do we spend it on ourselves? God will bless America when America blesses God.
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