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Deacon Hough

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 10, 2019

Deacon Bill Hough


The new liturgical year starts December 1, the first Sunday of Advent. As we leave Cycle C and the year of the Gospel writer, Luke, these last few weeks focus on the last things and the hope of the resurrection and eternal life with Jesus.

In the month of November, our mortality is placed before us, literally, as we display the books of our deceased relatives, and we contemplate our own hope for the life of the world to come.

For us Christians, the word hope does not mean that we wish for something, like “hoping” to win the lottery. With faith in Jesus, our hope is the absolute belief that what He tells us is the truth.

We are resurrection people who will share eternal life.

Our first reading from 2Maccabees stresses the doctrine of the resurrection of the just. Though this earthly king is depriving the brothers of their present life, they have the hope that the King of the world will raise them up to eternal life.

Not only that, the third brother professes the hope that God will also restore his body at the Resurrection.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church confirms all this. In addition, it adds that our hope is in the person of Jesus Himself who said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life”. The Catechism states that, “It is Jesus Himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in Him, who have eaten His Body and drunk His Blood”.

We profess this belief in the Creed every Sunday at Mass – “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”

In our Gospel reading, Jesus has finally completed His journey to Jerusalem. There He encounters the Sadducees, who do not believe in the Resurrection, but believe that living a just life is more for the benefit of our descendants. The Sadducees, unlike the Pharisees, believed only in the written Scriptures, particularly the Torah – the first five books of the Bible – and did not accept oral tradition.

With their complex story about the seven brothers who marry the same woman, Jesus recognizes the Sadducees’ attempt to ridicule the Resurrection. He takes the opportunity to make a distinction between how we live in the midst of human history and how things will be in the next life.

Although we cannot know exactly what our life in heaven will be, Jesus does give us a few clues in the Gospels. Today He is teaching us that for people reborn in the Resurrection, life and relationships are comparable to that of angels – our lives will not be a continuation of our material lives on earth.

Furthermore, we also cannot view the Resurrection in temporal terms as something that will happen in the future. The life of the world to come exists now, as we pray for those who have gone before us. Jesus tells us today that God “is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive”.

We have great cause for hope. The one who has risen from the dead has given us His word – that He is the God of the living, that when we awake from the sleep of death, we will behold His face and be content in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We can only imagine the incredible peace when that moment comes.

But we can a glimpse of it now. If you’ve been to a Catholic funeral, you know what I mean. It is not uncommon for the words of that Mass to lead someone to our faith, to share the hope we have for eternal life.

In every Mass, we profess our hope to one day share in the heavenly banquet.

The greatest fear most of us have is death. But by professing and living the words of Jesus and trusting in the life He offers; we can live here and now in the light of the Resurrection. If we are willing to give ourselves to Jesus, even in the details of our life, He will change our hearts and give us the courage to confront whatever comes in this life, so that we will be ready to rise with Him in the next.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (Deacon Hough)

June 16, 2019

Deacon Bill Hough


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… This is how Father starts every Mass and is a perfect start today for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

My wife, Geri, and I were in the same Catholic school when we were young. We were talking about how the nuns taught us from the Baltimore Catechism – a book that was in a question and answer format. We would have to learn the answers for our religion class.

Of course, there were the questions about the Trinity – for instance, “What do we mean by the Trinity? By the Blessed Trinity we mean one and the same God in three Divine Persons”. It would go on to ask if the three Divine Persons are distinct from one another and if they are equal to one another – The answer, of course, is “Yes”.

Then came the best question, “Can we fully understand the Trinity?” The answer is no, it is a supernatural mystery, a truth which we cannot fully understand, but which we firmly believe because we have God’s word for it.

The Church struggled with the theology of the Trinity from the beginning. But with the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, held in the fourth century, the Church affirmed the doctrine of the Trinity. This is where we get the Nicene Creed, the profession of faith we recite at every Sunday Mass.

Human words will never be enough to describe the Trinity – we have words like “consubstantial with the Father” (de la misma naturaleza del Padre) and the Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son”. We need a theologian to really explain these words and even then, we might not fully understand.

But we can come to know the Trinity by the actions of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The mystery of Christ coming into the world is a perfect example. Bishop Robert Barron reminds us that this could only happen if Jesus were sent by the Father as an act of (perfect) love.

He writes that, “The Father and the Son are united in love, and this love is itself the divine life. And thus, there is a spirit, co-equal to the Father and the Son, which is the love shared between them”.

The readings for today were chosen to reveal this love and unity.

In our first reading from Proverbs, we find the wisdom of God – there at the creation of the world – who was the witness of the creative power of God at work.

St. Paul tells the Romans that we Christians can even boast of our afflictions. He explains our source of hope. The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus makes it clear that everything that the Father has is His. The Spirit then will take from Christ all that is His and will declare to His disciples the things that are coming. The Spirit will invite the disciples into this community of divine relationship – the community of the love and unity of the one God in three persons.

Jesus invites us into that same relationship today.

The word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture but is one of the most important words for us Christians. It is the word the Church uses to describe God Himself. But it is much more than just a single word. It does three things for us.

First it tells us who God is – God the creator of all things, God the Redeemer who gave us His Body and Blood to save us, and God the Advocate who is with us today to guide us to the truth.

Second it tells us what God is – merciful, gracious, slow to anger, rich in kindness and fidelity, and most importantly, a God of unbroken and eternal love.

Third it tells us who we are and how we are required to act. Each of us – every woman and man – is made in the image of God and each of us is called to be like God – to live the divine life. Our relationship with all our brothers and sisters is to be the unconditional love and unity of the Trinity.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…