Appleton, WI

December 5 Homily Connect

Watching for the Light – Week 2: Here Comes Everybody

My Life in the 80’s – A Scientist and Wanna be Theologian

  • Sitting with a diocesan board waiting to be vetted for graduate studies for priesthood. This board is tasked with responsibility of judging my responsibility for priestly ministry
  • Some struggled with my strong background in biochemistry as a graduate of UWM
  • They thought my science background would be incompatible with theology
  • OF COURSE, science and theology are not incompatible. BOTH help us to grow in understanding of God and faith

One Clash Between Religious People and Scientists – Creation

  • Fundamentalist Christians – Bible literally – God created in six days – rested seventh
  • Scientists – Charles Darwin – life was created over billions of years – natural selection assured the survival of the fittest
  • POPE JOHN PAUL II – the Church endorsed the concept of evolution – Creator God – watched over entire process and was the First Cause of life


Darwin Image of an Entangled Bank (from The Origin of the Species)

  • Place your yourself along gentle stream/mighty river
  • Darwin writes this: It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing in the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.

The Beauty of Creation – The Interconnectedness of All Life

  • Human beings connected to each other and will all of creation
  • We are part of diversity of species – biodiversity beautiful – needs to be preserved
  • We are one with each other and all of creation- All creation gives glory to God

The Notion of Being One with Each Other is the Beginning

  • Though we are many parts, we are one body
  • Our communion with the Lord is only as real as our communion with each other
  • Our strength is our diversity – no person left out

Israelites’ Hearts Needed to be Stretched

  • God loved Chosen People – His heart was spacious to include people from all nations
  • Isaiah: Look to the east and see your children gathered from the east and the west and the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
  • Look and see. Here comes everybody!

On the Banks of the Jordan – John the Baptist Welcomed Everyone

  • From North, South, East, West – No turnstile or screening process
  • Imagine who showed up looking for something more- rich, poor, hurting, healthy, refugee, immigrant, sainted sinner, sinful saint, gay, straight, Jew, Muslim, black, brown, Asian, free, imprisoned, Republican, Democrat, Independent, vaccinated, unvaccinated, pro-life and pro-choice, happy and sad people
  • No one is bumped from the line to John the Baptist and Jesus
  • No one is shunned -No one is worthy – All have sinned

Every person needs to hear John the Baptist’s message. No one excluded and no one superior to anyone else. We are all interconnected. We are all part of the entangled bank.

John the Baptist’s Call to Honesty – Conversion

  • In the area of our lives that need repentance – conversion
  • Conversion is deeper than repentance – It’s more than saying I’m sorry
  • Conversion – a radical adjustment of our perspectives – letting go of things tightly held
  • Our hearts are closed while Jesus’ heart is spacious – His heart is warm and welcoming
  • Is my heart as spacious and filled with interconnectedness?
  • Is my heart hopeful and can agree to disagree with great respect for others?

Wrapping Up with Pope Francis

  • If we are to share our lives with others and generously give of ourselves, we also have to realize that every person is worthy of our giving. Not for their physical appearance, their abilities, their language, their way of thinking or any satisfaction that we might receive, but rather they are God’s handiwork, his creation, God created that person in God’s image, and he or she reflects something of God’s glory. Every human being is the object of God’s infinite tenderness, and God is present in their lives … Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love. (Fratelli Tutti, an Encyclical)

Questions for Reflection

  • What impacted you from the readings/homily?
  • How do you understand the connection between science and theology?
  • Have you experienced the interconnectedness of humanity and nature in your life?
  • What is your experience of the interconnectedness of all people?
  • Is my heart as spacious and filled with interconnectedness as Jesus’?
  • Is my heart hopeful? Can I agree to disagree with others?
  • Comment on Pope Francis’s statement

LIVE CONNECTED Consider three ideas that you might help you live more interconnected with the earth and with others this Advent. Pray for strength and courage to act upon your ideas.