Pilgrim Priest

Pilgrim Priest

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.


June 17, 2024 16 mins

Ordinary Time, 11th Sunday (B) What would you wish for if you only had one wish? I know exactly what I would wish for: that men would be good fathers. About 90% of the issues that wander in my office can be traced back to men who failed to be good fathers. We have a severe crisis of childhood, which is rooted in a crisis of fatherhood and motherhood.

The crisis of fatherhood came from a rejection of God's fatherhood. Men will only ...

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Ordinary Time, 10th Sunday (B) We are the only critter in creation not comfortable in it's own skin. Why do humans wear clothes? The Bible says we started with original innocence. But then we rejected God's Fatherly authority and all started playing the Blame and Shame Game.

Jesus refuses to play the game. He lives a life of simplicity, innocence, and honesty. His lifestyle is so unexpected that people think he is crazy. If you fol...

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June 3, 2024 14 mins

Corpus Christi (Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ-B) This weekend the Diocese of Green Bay implements Bishop Ricken's pastoral instruction that allows the common cup on select feast days. We receive the whole Jesus no matter how we receive Communion, but Communion under both species is a fuller symbol of Jesus giving himself completely to us.

Jews don't eat blood because it was seen as the life force of an animal....

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (B) God created everything, but nothing created God. God simply is. There is no other God but him. The Trinity means that God is love and he is always pouring himself out in love.

Made in the image and likeness of God, we are made for a community of love. We can only truly fulfill our calling if we learn to live from within the love of the Trinity. We need to draw life from within the Trinity and ...

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Pentecost Sunday • God wants to breathe life into us so he sends the Holy Spirit. We may not realize that when we desire true love, community, peace, and guidance, we are really desiring the Holy Spirit. We can always draw more life from God, so our prayer each day should be, "Come, Holy Spirit!"

This weekend, Bishop Ricken ordained six men to the permanent deaconate. Next week, two men will be ordained to the priesthood. The Holy ...

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Easter, Ascension (B) Jesus ascends into heaven. The ancients understood that he is now seated at the vantage point, from which he can see all things and direct his servants to victory. He has made our captivity his captive and has given gifts to men. These "gifts" are the prophets, Apostles, teachers and Evangelists that serve God's people and build them up.

Today, I particularly want to highlight the gift of motherhood. Mothers n...

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Easter, 6th Sunday (B) Twelve of the last 14 years I have made a walking pilgrimage to Champion Shrine, the only approved Marian apparition site in Canada and the USA. This year I was hoping to join the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage for a few miles, but they are doing very few miles. I got my walking fix by completing my first ever Walk to Mary, a 22 mile hike.

Is devotion to Mary idolatry? No one was bowing down to the statue of...

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Easter, 5th Sunday (B) Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We were grafted onto Jesus at our Baptism. We must remain in Him and draw much life from Jesus.

The branches need pruning. The gardener must get rid of overgrowth so the energy from the vine can go to making good fruits. Fathers need to be good pruners of their family. They need so start by pruning themselves. Prune your words, your actions, and your activities, and ...

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Easter, 4th Sunday (B) Turkey hunting in the state of Wisconsin opened this week. A turkey hunter is pretty much the opposite of the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd knows us personally and loves us so much that he lays down his life for us.

The Good Shepherd calls his sheep. The first call or "vocation" that every Christian receives is the call of Baptism. I had the privilege of Baptizing a woman in the nursing home last week.

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Easter, 3rd Sunday (B) "Peace be with you," says the Risen Jesus! Here are five places Jesus wants to give peace: 1) Your past. The gift of new life means we no longer have to worry about our past. 2) Our future. The Risen Jesus will meet us at the end of our time and lead us to eternal life. 3) Our sufferings. We will have the strength to endure whatever God wills, and it will be fruitful. 4) Within us. When our spirits are obedie...

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April 8, 2024 12 mins

Easter, 2nd (Divine Mercy) Sunday • At the resurrection of the dead on the last day, our wounds will all be healed. So why does the Risen Jesus still have wounds?

He is the healer, the medicine for all of us. The seal must be broken so his life can flow into us. Jesus lives his whole life without wounds. But in his passion he experiences all our woundedness and he takes it into himself, into his very body. His body heals our wounds...

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April 4, 2024 14 mins

Easter Sunday Morning • Little children need lots of help and support. As we grow up, we become more independent. We move from needing our mom and dad for everything to needing them almost never. We seem to think the spiritual world works the same way: we "grow up" from praying all the time to only calling God when we are really, really desperate.

But we were never built to be independent in the spiritual world. Trying to be indepe...

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March 30, 2024 8 mins

Good Friday of the Lord's Passion • An item is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Something that is rare, unique, or has special value might fetch more than you would imagine.

What am I worth? If we let the world set our value, we will always find ourselves being cheated. Imagining bringing yourself into the Antiques Roadshow. Jesus looks you over and says, "Now this one is a special piece, a one-of-a-kind with a unique h...

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March 30, 2024 14 mins

Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord's Supper • We often think of the past and the future as a straight line. Jesus is seen as an historic figure. Easter is a re-enactment of Jesus' death and resurrection. We might also conceptualize Jesus as a future event, his second coming in judgement. Meanwhile, we try to follow his example of a sin-free life until our judgement day.

However, it's much more accurate to think of time as a spiral, mo...

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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (B) The people of Jerusalem are rolling out the red carpet for Jesus. By laying down their cloaks, they show their willingness to lay down their lives for Christ. In the Garden of Gethsemane, a young man leaves his linen cloth behind and runs off naked into the night. How many of us willing follow Jesus when Christianity is popular, but as soon as we see the cross coming, we run away into the night...

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Lent, 5th Sunday (B) Being a priest in the modern world is very challenging. You need to live celibacy in a culture soaked in sex, convince Catholics to come back to Mass, teach the next generation not to abandon the faith like their parents did, save all the marriages, win the culture war, keep the buildings open, convince young men that this is a great career choice.... Did I miss anything? But what if all that is just the missio...

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Lent, 3rd Sunday (B) The first three commandments are all about love of God and the last 7 are about love of neighbor. They all make perfect sense, with the exception of the third commandment. Why would God command his people to take a day off, especially people who were living hand-to-mouth?

God rested on the 7th day. We, who are made in the image and likeness of God, are co-creators for six days, and then rest with the Master on ...

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Lent, 2nd Sunday (B) There are a number of disturbing passages in the Bible. This might be the most disturbing of all: God commands a father to sacrifice his son. In a kind of reverse psychology, he is teaching us not to engage in human sacrifice.

There are people that live life with radical trust in God. They believe that God is good, and that they are his beloved children. They believe in the power of redemptive suffering and har...

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February 19, 2024 14 mins

Lent, 1st Sunday (B) Creation reveals a sacred order (hierarchy), with God at the top and human beings above the rest of creation but below God. We are part of a sacred order and we also have a sacred order within us.

Man is a unity of body and soul. Except that we don't often experience ourselves as a unity. We tend to experience the body and soul at odds with each other. Our physical side needs to be ordered by our spirit towards...

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February 18, 2024 10 mins

Ash Wednesday • Anyone can say, "I love you." How do we know if someone really loves us? Real love is when someone wants what is best for the beloved. And true love is when the lover is willing to put his beloved first. We know that Jesus is True Love because he sacrifices himself for us.

If we truly love Jesus, than we will not just say, "I love you," but we also have to sacrifice for Him. Prayer, fasting, and alms-giving are all ...

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