Come Holy Spirit

Pentecost Year A homily May 28 2023

Today is Pentecost Sunday, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the beginning of the missionary Church. Next Sunday we can talk about the Trinity, but today, let’s talk about the Holy Spirit because he has descended today to be with us.

Jesus left Earth nine days ago at the Feast of the Ascension, rising by his own power to his throne in Heaven, where he reigns in glory surrounded by the Apostles and Martyrs and Seraphim and Cherubim. We get a beautiful image of the company of Heaven with the Lamb on his throne from St. John’s Revelation.

That means that Jesus has left us. He does not leave us alone, however. He promised he would send a helper, a comforter, a friend to be with us where we dwell. That is the Holy Spirit. Jesus is with us, really present in the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of the Eucharist, where we receive his body, blood, soul, and divinity into our earthly bodies at Holy Communion in the Mass.

Our understanding of that sacramental presence is why we should try to receive him in the most reverent way possible. If every particle of the blessed sacrament contains the divinity of Jesus, then we want – or we should want – to ensure that no particle is lost or dropped. The safest way to do this is to receive Him directly into our mouths, which we call reception on the tongue. As the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament grew through the centuries, reception on the tongue became the norm – the established way – to receive Holy Communion. There certainly is evidence that people have received Holy Communion in the hand, but that practice gave way to the other practice over the centuries. It recently came back as one of the changes coming out of the Second Vatican Council. Everyone here should consider spending time in prayer thinking about what it means to receive Jesus into our mortal bodies and how we should reflect our beliefs in our actions at Mass. However we receive Him, we really should do so with the greatest reverence possible.

Other than at Mass or in Adoration, the presence of God we feel is really the Holy Spirit. We know with our intellect that we receive the grace of God – that sanctifying grace that he gives us to grow more holy and closer to Him – through the Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, and the sacraments of Healing. And we get that grace whether we feel Him or not. The sacramental life is a life of God’s mercy, for it does not depend on us but is a pure gift from Him.

So while we know that we receive Grace objectively in the sacraments, our loving God knows that our feelings are a big part of what makes us who we are. God gave us our feelings because he wants us to feel. We are not robots; we are human persons with emotions, passions, intellect, and will. All those can be used for good, if we choose the good.

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RCA Commencement

Commencement Address May 14 2023

Graduating seniors, parents, and teachers, congratulations on completing your high school education and formation at Regina Coeli Academy. By now you will have deduced that I am not Fr. Brian Baker, who was supposed to be the commencement speaker today. Father Baker is ill, so please keep him in your prayers.

My name is Brad Young. I am an ordained deacon, serving at St. Catherine of Siena in Kennesaw, Georgia. So while I am not as smart and talented as Fr. Baker — but really, who is? — I am a father of three children and therefore quite familiar with the challenges of high school both from the perspective of a student and the perspective of a parent. I went to a secular boarding school in New England for my high school years, and my three children went to St. Pius X, the diocesan high school in Chamblee. My day job as an investment manager means I have one foot in the worldly camp by virtue of my finance job, and I have one foot in the “churchy” camp by virtue of my diaconal ministry.

Today, I intend to speak primarily to the graduating seniors, but I hope that what I have to say resonates with their parents and their teachers.

Graduates, you are today making the first step out of the protective confines of an educational arrangement that is steeped in Catholic principles. The secular world is profoundly uncomfortable with Catholic principles, and it seeks either to cancel those principles or co-opt those principles. Your challenge as young adults is to see through the lies of secularism and keep sight of the truths of Catholicism.

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Mystagogy and Apologetics

Happy Easter to you all. I say that to you here on the third Sunday of Easter to remind you that there are 50 days of Easter. Thus the church calendar gives us more days in the season of Easter than it did in the season of Lent. We spent 40 days of Lenten discipline preparing for the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in the three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter resurrection. And we are given 50 days — so 10 more — to unpack that glorious event.

So let’s go back and take a moment to think about those three days and what they might mean for us three weeks later. If you took up Father Neil’s invitation to participate in the liturgies of the Triduum, then you were there for the Mass on Holy Thursday. And from the gospel that night we read about how our Lord gave his disciples a mandate to serve, and he gave them the instruction on how to celebrate the memorial of his sacrifice. So, in many ways, the night of Holy Thursday was a very compressed seminary to prepare his apostles for their priesthood.

Good Friday was the day of the sacrifice for which they had been prepared the night before. On the Cross on Good Friday, Christ was both the priest making the sacrificial offering and the victim being offered in the sacrifice. And the sacrifice was made to save us from the sentence of eternal death that we inherited from Adam and Eve when they turned away from their heavenly father and chose to follow Satan.

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Good Friday 4th Word – 2023

When noon came, darkness fell on the whole countryside and lasted until midafternoon. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:45-46
Fourth Word 2023

Jesus hanging on the cross, is still an observant Jew. He is reciting the 22nd Psalm; the Son of David is reciting a Psalm of David as his life slowly slips away. The Psalms were the hymn book and the prayer book at the time of Jesus. And so Jesus is praying to his God the prayers of the persecuted, the one suffering at the hands of others.

Jesus is the Suffering Servant prophesied by Isaiah. Good Friday is a day of suffering. After the Agony in the Garden, after the Scourging at the Pillar, after the Crowning of Thorns, Jesus suffers on the Cross for three hours so that we can be freed from the chains of death through his sacrifice.

He suffers so we know that our suffering is not in vain. However much we suffer, Jesus has suffered even more, and he suffers our suffering with us. He gives us a model of suffering that honors the pain but also promises a victorious end to the pain.

Psalm 22 does not dismiss the suffering that we endure. The Psalm speaks to that sense of frustration we feel when we are suffering, for in our hearts we seem to know that suffering is an injustice of some sort. It’s not fair, it’s not right. Jesus knows. Jesus understands because he suffered in exactly the same way. He is not nailed to the Cross because of anything he did; he’s there because of our sins. He’s dying for our sins because he loves us.

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RCIA Talk on Prayer

What is Prayer?

  • The raising of one’s mind and heart to God – St. John Damascene 
  • A surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”  – St. Therese of Lisieux
  • Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading.  – St. Isidore of Seville

We were made by Love, made for Love


  • God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created him (1:27)
  • the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being (2:7)


  • Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you (1:5)

Action of Prayer

Prayer is a call

  • It is a call from God to us.
  • From the Trinity to relationship with the eternal communion of love
  • For a holy purpose (1st & 2nd Great Commandment, Balt Cat Q #1)

Prayer is a response.

  • Triggers are usually the transcendentals: truth, goodness, and beauty.
  • We experience something truly worth our time and effort.
  • It is awareness, it is conversation and communion

Prayer produces results

  • Holiness, serenity, joy, peace that passes understanding, infused virtues
  • Often leads to a mission or resolution or some determination to take some kind of action.

Types of prayer



  • do the red, say the black
  • church militant, church suffering, church triumphant
  • the order of the mass shows awareness, conversation, communion, and mission

The Divine office

  • is a shared mission of awareness and conversation

Pious devotions

  • Rosary, Adoration
  • Community & Individual

Mental prayer

  • Personal, subjective
  • Intellectual, Will
  • awareness, conversation, communion, and mission
  • Sister is going to focus on mental prayer and what is called divine reading.

Simple Plan of Personal Prayer

1. Act of Presence

“Jesus, I trust that you are real, that you see me and hear me, that you love me and that you are good. I trust that you want to communicate to me more than I want to talk to you.”

2. Bring to Jesus anything you have on your heart or mind

Thoughts, feelings, fears, desires? A particular circumstance or issue you are facing?

3. Scripture

Daily Gospel, a book from the Bible you are reading in sequence, a passage related to your situation,

Read the scripture slowly a couple of times, noting any verse that sticks out/sticks with you.

4. Converse

Speak with Jesus about particular verses or details, consider their meaning in your life.

Return to the scripture passage as needed.

5. Listen

Recollection – resting in God’s love with a collected mind, open to what you might hear

6. Resolution and Thanksgiving

Action steps might result; thanking God is always appropriate

Mortal Death and Eternal Life

Homily Fifth Sunday Lent 2023

The theme of the readings today is the power of God over life and death. Ezekiel, speaking for the Lord, says, “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people!” In the Gospel story, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead after four days in the tomb.

Jesus is the author of life and death. Not us. If we live for this world, when we die we are truly dead. But God made us for life with him forever. At the dawn of creation he breathed into us our eternal souls. In the fullness of time, he sent his son, his only begotten, to save us from eternal death and open for us the door to eternal life. If we live not for this world but for his kingdom, then when we die we are not eternally dead but heading home to be with our loving father.

Lazarus, who is four days dead – so dead that his body is already decomposing and is going to stink – and that dead body is raised to life. Our bodies are going to be so dead they are going to have decomposed all the way back to dust. That’s how we started Lent on Ash Wednesday:  “Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” Our bodies are going to be so dead that we are going to be dust, and yet we will be raised to eternal life with glorified bodies.

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