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Monthly Archives: June 2020

Homily for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 28, 2020

Fr. Joseph Jacobi

Throughout the present discourse in Chapter 10 of Matthew’s Gospel on missionary discipleship, Jesus has been striving to detach us from everything not of Him. He has been inviting us to participate in the only life that really matters—His own life. By doing so, we confront and challenge the narcissism, individualism, and secularism of our age.

So, Jesus has been challenging us to detach from every material possession, project, and person that we have made more important than our relationship with Him.

This is the context of his challenging teaching today on loving Him more than any family member. He is not saying, “Don’t love your father or mother or son or daughter.” Rather, what he is saying is love Him the most, make him #1 in our life.

What is very important to understand is how this works. We are not being invited by Jesus to bring him into our life. The Christian life is not about making room for Jesus in our life, so that He occupies a small corner of our heart. No! Rather, Jesus is opening the doors into His life and granting each of us a share in His Heart. We are being called to enter into life with him, into His life.

That’s what St. Paul is teaching about the transformative nature of baptism. Baptism means dying with Christ Jesus to everything that is not of Him and rising with him to newness of life now, to share in His life now.

This is why the life of the disciple is about more than simply going to church once a week. What we are reminded of at Mass is that the Lord Jesus desires to be part of everything we say and do every day, at every moment. So that eventually we can say with St. Paul, “I live no longer I, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

The way this happens is following Him on the way to Calvary. The way we enter into life with the One who comes to give us abundant life is by taking up our cross and following Him.

Many Christians think that taking up one’s cross means to passively “suffer” whatever sorrows come our way in life. That the cross is something we have to put up with or endure. But this is not the teaching of Jesus. He uses two vigorous verbs—“take” and “follow”—to emphasize that the cross is something we choose, not something that happens to us.

With Jesus, we make sacrifices of love for others, we give ourselves away in love for others, We “forget” ourselves, we lose our very selves in order to find ourselves in Him. The way of the Christian is the Way of the Cross because that is the road to redemption.

Since we are daily dying with Him in order to rise with Him to a more generous loving of others, then we begin understand that the Cross we carry is His Cross, and he carries it with us. We are not imitating Him by carrying around our own little cross. No! There is only one Cross, and it is the cross of the Savior of the world. There is not His big cross and my little cross. No!

We are invited into vigorous, energetic, passionate participation in the carrying of the one, glorious, redemptive Cross, of which there is no other. To be ONE with Christ Jesus in this way is an invitation into deep, life-giving intimacy with Him, to plunge into His Heart from which all Love flows.

Whatever we are doing, wherever we are, as Christians we are meant to always carry the Cross of Jesus in obedience and love. What slowly dawns on us that at the center of the Way of the Cross are not so much specific actions but rather a deepening Communion with Jesus, from which all our actions then flow.

As we live for God in Christ Jesus, we begin to understand freedom differently. We have been set free by Christ to live for others, not to do whatever we want.

When we die with Christ to self-centeredness, we rise up to new life, a life lived for others. We begin to see how our choices impact the lives of others.

I may have the right to do something, but with every right comes a responsibility toward others.

Where the Lord Jesus is, there is freedom, not necessarily to do what we selfishly want to do, but the freedom to do what we ought to do.

Homily for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 21, 2020

Fr. Joseph Jacobi

I still remember the encounter as if it happened yesterday, but it occurred a little over 8 years ago. It was the night of April 20, 2012, and the Mass of Dedication for the new church building at St. Eugene had just finished. The people were greeting me after Mass, all of them so excited to finally have a new church building after so many years of sweat and tears & sacrifice.

But then a little girl came up to me, her eyes glistening with tears. She asked me, “Father Jacobi, do you know about the bird?” I replied, “No. Tell me.” She said, a sob in her voice, “There’s a dead bird in our front yard.”

In the midst of a great celebration, in the midst of so much joy, this little one was concerned about one seemingly small thing—a bird had fallen from the sky and lay lifeless in her front yard.

I think about that little girl as I hear Jesus’ words that not one sparrow falls to the ground without our Heavenly Father’s knowledge. For that little girl gave voice to the concern of God for all of God’s creation, to the way God’s heart breaks over the broken body of a sparrow. For every single living creature, no matter how small, comes from the heart of God and receives its life from the God of all life.

You are worth more than many sparrows, so do not be afraid. Fear not! If God knows when a seemingly worthless sparrow falls to the ground, how much more will God be concerned about your well-being & be with you when you fall.

The context of this teaching of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel is the sending of his disciples out on mission: to proclaim the Gospel, to do his work, to be his presence in the world. He warns his disciples of every time and place that they will face hardship, rejection, and persecution But they are not to be afraid, because if they are cut down, the Father of Jesus will not only be aware of their plight but will raise them up to new life.

If a sparrow, which is of no worth in the eyes of the world, is worth so much to God and commands so much of God’s care and concern, then how much more are you worth in God’s eyes. Human beings are of infinite worth in the eyes of God. Not only because God has given us life and made us in God’s image. but also because God’s Son became fully human, became one of us, one with us, and gave his life for us, every human person is of infinite value in the eyes of God. Not one human being falls to the ground without the Father noticing and His heart breaking.

Sparrows are worth hardly anything in the marketplace but are priceless in God’s eyes. In our market economy, where economists even put a price on human life in order to calculate the damage done by deaths caused by the coronavirus, Jesus reminds us of the infinite value of every human life. In world where human beings are trafficked and sold, Jesus proclaims that every human person must be treated with dignity and respect.

To drive home this point Jesus uses another image— that God is so intimately involved in the life of every single person God has created that God has counted the hairs on every human head. Notice Jesus does not say His Father knows how many hairs are on your head or mine. Rather, Jesus states emphatically that His Father has counted the hairs on each of our heads. God can only do this by reaching out to touch us, to caress the hairs on our heads. After all, how is it possible to count the strands of hair on someone’s head without running your fingers through their hair?

The tender care of God is like a mother running her hand through the hairs on the head of her small child, tenderly caressing her loved one. The all-powerful God expresses His power in mercy and compassion, lifting up those who fall.

There are 3 “fear not” statements by Jesus in this instruction from Matthew’s Gospel, and there is one “Be afraid” statement. Be afraid, Jesus says, of the One who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna. Fear the all-powerful God who is the source of your life and the judge of your life.

The Christian can be defined, not foolishly as the person who never fears, but rather as the person who strives to fear only what he or she ought to fear.

If God is to be feared, it is quite simply because, as the Creator of both body and soul, he has actual jurisdiction over both body and soul. The Greek text refers not so much to the brute power to destroy as to the actual power that is God’s as absolute origin of man and woman’s whole being. It’s like the psalmist sang, “He made us, we belong to him, because he is our God and we are his people.” (Psalm 94: 6f)

How can the God of Jesus Christ, who knows when a single sparrow falls and loves each of us intimately enough to have counted the hairs on our head be the source of fear to the believer? Jesus’ command here to fear God aims at awakening the disciple to the truth that human life and its deepest choices are of lasting importance. To fear God is, in fact, to choose what is of eternal consequence over that which is passing. Or better said, to fear God is to choose that which is temporary within and in the light of the eternal. Such holy fear makes us attend to the welfare of the soul—our soul— as the place where the crucial drama of life is enacted.

So that in every choice we make, we are ask the question— is this choice drawing me closer to God or pushing me away from God? Is this choice, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, empowering me to love God more and love my neighbor or is it diminishing my capacity to love? There are consequences to going against the grain of love, causing shards of self-inflicted suffering. The wisdom that acknowledges this truth is what we can call, “fear of God.”

Yet, when we fail to love God or others, we need remember Jesus’ exact words. He said be afraid of the one who CAN destroy both soul and body. He did not say WILL destroy….

For the God who falls to earth with each dying sparrow and who numbers the hairs on every head, the God who is love and has loved us into life and sustains our life by His love and offers us eternal life through His love enfleshed in His Son, burns with a passionate desire that we respond to His love by loving Him and others.

We should be fearful of wasting our lives unaware of how much we are loved. We should be afraid of turning away from such a Lover who longs for us to receive even more of His love.

Reanudar las Actividades Parroquiales

Iglesia Católica del Espíritu Santo es la reanudación inicial de las actividades parroquiales.


Enfermedad del coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) ha enfermado a miles y matado a cientos en Oklahoma. Hay evidencia sustancial de la propagación de la comunidad de COVID-19 en todo Oklahoma y la mayoría de los otros estados. Iglesia Católica del Espíritu Santo está siguiendo las instrucciones de los EE.UU.. Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, el Departamento de Salud del Estado de Oklahoma y otras agencias, y ha implementado medidas de distanciamiento social, aumento del lavado de manos y otras prácticas higiénicas, y limpieza frecuente de superficies comunes.

A pesar de estas precauciones, los riesgos asociados con la transmisión de COVID-19 siguen siendo elevados. Las personas que participan en una actividad pueden haber viajado desde otras ciudades o estados para participar. Además, la naturaleza de algunas actividades hace imposible observar todas las precauciones recomendadas todo el tiempo; por ejemplo, los individuos no siempre estarán separados a seis pies, las superficies no siempre estarán libres de virus y otros infectantes, etc. Incluso cuando la actividad permita el distanciamiento social, será imposible para la parroquia asegurarse de que todos los participantes estén observando todas las precauciones recomendadas. Como resultado de la participación en las actividades parroquiales, usted o su hijo estarán expuestos al riesgo de infección de enfermedades transmisibles, incluyendo COVID-19.

Los síntomas asociados con COVID-19 varían de leves a graves, e incluyen tos de fiebre, dificultad para respirar, dolor de cabeza, náuseas, dificultad respiratoria grave y muerte.

Al participar en actividades parroquiales o permitir que su hijo participe, usted asume a sabiendas y voluntariamente el riesgo asociado con la participación.

Resuming Parish Activities

Holy Spirit Catholic Church is beginning the resumption of some parish activities.


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has sickened thousands and killed hundreds in Oklahoma. There is substantial evidence of community spread of COVID- 19 throughout Oklahoma and most other states. Holy Spirit Catholic Church is following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Oklahoma State Department of Health and other agencies, and has implemented social distancing measures, increased hand-washing and other hygienic practices, and frequent cleaning of common surfaces.

Despite such precautions, the risks associated with transmission of COVID-19 remain high. Individuals participating in an activity may have traveled from other cities or states to participate. In addition, the nature of some activities makes it impossible to observe all of the recommended precautions all of the time; for example, individuals will not always be six feet apart, surfaces will not always be free of viruses and other infectants, etc. Even where the activity allows social distancing, it will be impossible for the parish to ensure that all participants are observing all the recommended precautions. As a result of participation in parish activities, you or your child will be exposed to the risk of infection of communicable diseases, including COVID-19.

Symptoms associated with COVID-19 range from mild to severe, and include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, nausea, severe respiratory distress and death.

By participating in parish activities or allowing your child to participate you knowingly and voluntarily assume the risk associated with participation.

Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

June 14, 2020

Fr. Joseph Jacobi

Moses addresses the people of Israel as they prepare to enter the Promised Land. For forty years they have wandered through the desert, being shaped and formed into the People of God by the many tests and trials they have endured. The first word out of Moses’ mouth is “remember.” Remember how when you were hungry God provided food that you had never eaten before—manna. Remember how when you were thirsty God provided water from an unexpected source, from the rock.

Moses could have just as easily have said, “Remember how you complained that there was no food to be found in the desert nor water to drink and how you wanted to return to being slaves in Egypt in order to eat from the fleshpots there.” Remember how you wanted to exchange the “uncomfortable” freedom of being dependent on the hand of God to feed you for the “comfort” of slavery.

This kind of remembering is dynamic. It calls forth a response from those who remember. To remember and do nothing is to forget. Holy remembering s to act in trust and obedience: To trust that God will provide our daily bread and obey the commands of the Lord, by loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

What do we remember every time we gather around the table of the Lord? After the priests says the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, the words of consecration, we sing: “Every time we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.”

What we remember every time we celebrate the Eucharist is the saving death of the Son of God, how he gives his flesh for the life of the world. He offers his body, broken by the ultimate sacrifice of love, to be our saving food. He dies that we might live. He rises from the dead that we might rise with him to new life. He sends His Spirit that He might remain with us always, feeding our hunger for God, deepening our thirst for God.

To “do this in memory of him”, to celebrate worthily this most holy Sacrament, means that we more fully entrust our lives to him, and with him, offer our lives to the Father in loving obedience to the Father’s will. So, to worthily receive this living bread come down from heaven, we are to live in Him and do everything with Him.

Which means we will be constantly challenged to grow in love, to see more clearly how we are being called to change our minds to align more with the mind of Christ, to change our hearts so they might beat more readily as one with the heart of Christ.

If we receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist and refuse to recognize him living in others, then we have received him unworthily. If we adore Him present in the Blessed Sacrament but turn our backs on him present in the suffering ones of this world, then we have not really adored him at all. If we leave this celebration of the Eucharist unchanged, then we have forgotten who we have become by the gift of the life of the Son of God shared with us.

The Son of God gives himself to us in the Eucharist as a source of peace but also “holy unrest,” because we are being challenged by him to grow in love. This Holy Sacrament is a source of joy as we taste heaven come to earth, but also stirs up sorrow in our hearts as we realize we still have a ways to go on our journey home. We are fed by the Lord of Life, yet we also hunger to receive Him more fully.

So, as a Eucharistic people, we will suffer from “discomfort,” because we are a pilgrim people traveling through the desert of this life constantly learning and being taught by God.

Sadly, too many settle for far less than the abundant life Jesus longs to share. He is the Living Bread of the Truth of God’s love for us, yet too many try to sustain their lives on lies.

One such lie in America is: “You have to be comfortable in order to be happy.” Anything that makes us uncomfortable we try to avoid at all costs. So, there is a pain pill for every ailment. Now, for those with chronic pain, medicine is necessary, but the message from our “comfort culture” is that any kind of discomfort has to be erased immediately. However, we who worship the Crucified One, who receive his body broken for us and his blood poured out for us, know the real loving is often uncomfortable.

To wear a mask for the well being of others is a source of discomfort but an act of love.

Or as a black priest friend of mine says, “White people do not want to look at the structures of racism in our society because it makes them uncomfortable. But why is that discomfort a bad thing?”

A living and true relationship with Jesus takes us beyond a “me and Jesus” spiritual world to a concrete relationship with Him in his suffering body all around us. Thus, the Eucharist is more verb than noun, more an action than an object: the action of receiving Christ and then giving our lives away in love with Jesus Christ to Him living in others.

The Eucharist is not something we receive but someone we receive. At every celebration of the Eucharist we become what we receive—the Body of Christ. At the Eucharist, we do not come to take something but to become Someone— to become other Christ’s in this world by allowing his life to take root and grow in us.

The Eucharist is not a thing but a person, the very person of the Crucified One now Risen, who shares his life with us, so that we might share his life and love with others.