Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Come see me at the Fest!


TPFP Logo with black background

The Prodigal Father Productions will have a table at the FEST.  You can find us by coming to the PNC booth.


We'll show you how to download the free "Examen Prayer" app, get a frisbee, and enter you in to win $100 PNC Bank Card.


You can also make a Donation and get exclusive medals I brought back from Rome Blessed by Pope Francis on Divine Mercy Sunday during the Canonization mass for John Paul II and John XXIII.  (Medals are: Divine Mercy, The Prodigal Father, and John Paul II/John XXIII).


We will also have "The Holy Family Prayer Medal" as well as the full line of CDs and DVDs! 

Sign up for our latest venture:

Deeper Prayer Widget

Hope to see you at The Fest!!!!!!

FEST13 The Shot

FEST14 AD 7x5in

Homily Seeds shot out with a Confetti Cannon

confetti cannona

So this is one of those homilies where I might get in the trouble with Father Martello unless I have your help. So I need about 10 people afterwards that can stay for 15 minutes and help me clean up. So if there are 10 of you that could raise your hands and volunteer, I can do the homily. If not, I can't do it. Okay, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Please stay after mass and help me clean up after this.

Now, one of the things people always ask me is do I repeat my homily. And the answer is no. I always try to come up with a new homily every Sunday. This is the first time I am ever going to kind of repeat a homily, but I'm going to make it bigger and better. Okay. So that's the hope.

So the Gospel is the sower went out to sow seeds, and when he did, as he was sowing the seed, he came to some and he dropped it on the ground, but it was hard ground. So the birds came and they quickly ate up the seed and left. And then he came and dropped it on some other soil, and it was thorny soil. So the thorns choked it up and it would not grow. And then he came and he dropped some of the seed on soil, but the soil was too thin. And so as the seed grew and the plant grew, the sun scorched it and it withered away. But some seed he dropped on moist soil, and when he dropped the seed on moist soil, it took root and it grew and produced a hundredfold and thirtyfold and sixtyfold.

When we come to mass, God's seed is being poured on us. So from the very beginning of mass, even moments before the mass starts, if you come here and your heart is open, even in the silence, by being before the blessed sacrament, God's seed already starts before mass.

And then you have the first, the song. All of the songs used are based on Scripture. So you if you listen to the Word of God, you get some of God's seed right there at the beginning of Scripture. And then at the opening prayers, all the opening prayers and all the prayers of the mass are based on Scripture. So when the priest says, "Let us pray" and he begins the opening prayer, what happens? Seed falls on you.

And then after the opening prayer we have the first reading. We hear the Word of God. And as we hear the first reading, God's seed is poured out upon us. And after we hear the responsorial psalm, the responsorial psalm is the reading. And so what happens during the responsorial psalm? More of God's seed comes upon us. And then we hear, after the responsorial psalm, another reading. We hear a second reading, and God's seed all over us. And then we hear the Gospel. And the Gospel is like, you know, the Word of Jesus that we hear. And during the Gospel, God's seed is just poured on us, all over us.

Now, sometimes people people say to me, "Father, I don't get anything out of mass." And I think like, really, you don't get anything out of mass? Because He pours His seed all over us. His Word is coming to us from every part of the mass poured on us, and all it takes is one seed to catch root.

What makes it different about this homily is two years ago I gave this homily on the seeds, and two years ago somebody was sitting in the pew and she hadn't been to mass in years. And she finally came to mass this Sunday, and that Sunday with the seed homily, she grabbed some of that seed and she didn't let go. Two years later she has not missed one mass. That seed fell on rich soil. Right here is Celine. She is here after two years. She's been coming to mass every Sunday.

So maybe there is somebody here right now that is kind of indifferent and maybe you have been away, and maybe from this mass on, you know, that seed will take root and come to mass.

You know, the best part is that even after the readings, as Catholics, we actually receive the body of Christ into us. We receive God's seed into us in the Eucharist. That's when it takes most full effect in us. So just in a few moments, as I consecrate the body and blood of Christ, we will receive God's Word. And when we do, talk about an abundance, it's the source and summit, the mystery of our faith.

Now, the Doslaks, one of the daughters came all the way from Strongsville just because she saw this homily on Facebook. So I thought that she could be symbolic for receiving the Eucharist. So this is what happens when we receive the Eucharist. When we receive the body and blood of Christ, it's the source and summit of our faith, okay. So when we receive the Eucharist, God's seed is literally all over us.

You promised to clean up.

So God's seed is all over us. And when we receive the Eucharist, we receive His seed, His Word into us. Now, just imagine if just a part of you, a part of your soil is rich. All it takes is one seed to take root. All it takes is one. And if you come to mass every Sunday and you don't get anything out of it, it's not because God's Word isn't being poured down upon you. Maybe your soil isn't ready. Maybe your soil isn't deep. Maybe your soil isn't rich. Maybe your heart hasn't been prepared. But the wonderful thing is, even if we're not prepared, God still pours his seed on us. And sometimes, even if our heart's hard and our minds are tuned out and we're bored, He still has the ability to get through to us.

And so to symbolize us, that's why I have the seed bazooka cannon. Justin, can you bring it out?

So God's Word even has ability to get to us when we're not paying attention. So maybe you even come to mass and you're not ready for it. Who wants it? You're not ready for it. You're not paying attention. God still has the ability to get His seed through you. So when you come up and you receive the body of Christ and the priest says "The body of Christ," the minister says, "The body of Christ," and you say "Amen," what happens? You receive God, right?

So let's hear a great Amen. Ready?


Good, it worked.

Here's the point. God's Word is effective, okay. God does speak to us at mass. We hear Him in the readings. We hear Him in the homily. We receive Him in the body of Christ. No matter what we do, even if we're not ready to receive it, God hits us when we least expect it. His word is effective.

My hope and my prayer is that that seed will penetrate into some soil in your heart, that each and every Sunday you come here, you do receive Him in Word and in sacrament. ​

(The video was at the mass in Church but her battery died and missed the "explosion"!)


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Come to me all you who are burdened...


“Come to me, 
all you who labor and are burdened, 
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you
 and learn from me,
 for I am meek and humble of heart;
 and you will find rest for yourselves. 
For my yoke is easy, 
and my burden light.”

The company, U-Haul, has been along -- has been around since 1945, believe it or not. So since 1945, we have been able to haul everything that we want by ourselves. It really is a great idea, you know, because back in the day you used to have to rent a truck and rent a driver as well and rent movers, and now you can save money and do it yourself. 
We've kind of gotten this whole concept down of U-Haul. The idea is we can haul out anything -- and for those of you that know me, I have a truck, and I love having a truck because I have a truck bed, I have a trailer hitch from U-Haul, actually, and I can haul just about anything I want to. I can throw it in the back, and I can take care of it. It's a wonderful thing. It's a blessing, but it's also a curse. So every blessing is said to come with a curse. 
The curse of U-Haul is, guess what? We haul everything. And sometimes that can get kind of burdensome. And I think that's part of our mentality is we have this notion or this idea that we have to carry everything ourselves. U-Haul. 
So I put a thing on Facebook, and I just wanted to see what are some of the burdens that people carry. I wanted to find out what are the burdens that we all carry. And one of the things that actually came up pretty early on in the post was a little thing called this. One of our greatest burdens that we have now is the cell phone. Why? Because we are always connected. We can get our e-mail on this, we can get our work on this. It's never away from us. 
And then if cell phones are not enough, we have laptops. So in my black backpack we have a laptop. We carry our laptops around and we can do work now outside of the office. We can even get work done on the weekends. We can get work down late at night. We can continue to do that. 
When we don't have our laptops, what else do we have? Our iPads, right? So now we have our iPads, and we can use these all the time to even work late at night, like even if we're sleeping in our bed, you know. If you can't sit up and type, now we've got a laptop and I can work on that. 
Let me have my backpack. 
So these are some of the things that we carry around with us. You know, I have continued to ask other people what were some of the things that they carried, and I found that one of the heavy burdens was medicine. You know, so people, I think especially as you age, begin to have to take more and more medicine. How about that little bag there. So you got like this medicine bag. And it starts off with, like, one little bottle, right, and then the next thing you know you are taking another little bottle, and then the next thing you know you are taking a bigger bottle. And before you know it, you've got like one of those old people cases, those pill cases where you put all of your pills for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, all the days of the week. So that's like a burden that we carry. 
One of the things that -- how about the binder under that box there. Sometimes people, even in summer, have to take class work or summer school or, you know, continue to study for their work. So this is a binder I have, and this is spiritual reading I do even during the summer. So that becomes sometimes a burden.
How about that box now. The biggest burden I have is my files. So if you've ever been in my office, it is horrible. There's bills, there's marriage files, there's annulment files, there's paperwork all over. Another burden that we have are our files and our folders and our bills and all of the paperwork that we have to do to keep up with. 
How about that, like, grocery bag? There's like a freezer bag. That definitely is not it. It's the red bag on the bottom there. So then you got a grocery shop. And sometimes that can be a burden, the grocery shopping. It's the red bag on the right, all the way over. 
They don't know what a grocery bag is. Don't you make these kids shop Reicherts?
So this is one of those freezer bags that you carry around with you. Maybe you are burdened by the shopping and the chores and the work that you have to do. 
And it's summertime. The landscaping has to be done, the yard work and the grass has to be cut. That could be a burden. So what do we try to do in the summer? We try to take a vacations, right? So we try to take a break. So vacations are a big break. 
How about my swimming trunks in the bag over there. So swimming trunks, bag. Thank you.
So then we go on vacation, right? And you go on vacation and you've got to pack all your stuff. You get your stuff packed up. You come back from vacation and you think you're all rested up, and then you need a vacation from vacation. Right? And then you come back and you got all of your office work and your work to do. 
And summertime is a great time for sports, too, right? So there's all these sports going on with the kids, especially baseball. So the kids are all playing baseball and they have got their games now and their tournaments. 
I have a good friend who went to his grandson's game, and he's in seventh grade. The game had a few rain delays, so they didn't start until 9:30, and the game ended at midnight. Now, this was a Tuesday night, and the father had to work at five o'clock the next morning. So even sports can be a burden. So how about my gym bag. So even out sporting activities, things that are supposed to be fun in the summertime, those kind of become a burden, and we carry that burden. 
Before you know it, things start to get really heavy, and so we try to find other things to do to unburden ourselves. And one of the things I know that guys do a lot, and ladies during the summer, is golfing. So we try to get on the golf course. Can I have my golf bag? Now, golfing I find to be more of a burden than a joy. I love to be out in nature, but I spend more time looking for my balls than I do anything else. So then we got our golf bag. We got to try to make time for golfing. And that's another burden that we carry. 
Now, I normally -- one of the perks of being a priest is I have someone that does my laundry for me and cooks for me sometimes, but when I take my days off for vacation, guess who has to do the laundry? I do. So how about the laundry. That's actually dirty sheets. Stack it up there. Thank you. So we have the burden of laundry. 
We have all of these burdens that we carry around. You know, it's the whole idea of U-Haul. You can haul it all. You can do it all, right? And we have this whole mentality that we need to carry everything. And when we do that all by yourselves, U-Haul, we become terribly burdened, and the load is heavy. It is really heavy. And we become exhausted. 
Then we hear in the gospel message "Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for yourselves." 
So are any of you burdened now this summer? What I invite you to do is, instead of having the mentality of U-Haul, I want you to change that mentality and change it to God-Haul. Because the idea is we're not supposed to carry everything by ourselves. When we try to, when we try to be U-Hauls, we end up getting burdened and exhausted. And the Lord knows that we do this. So what does he invite us to do? He says, "Come to me." That's what I invite you to do. Whatever your burdens are right now, whatever you're carrying, whatever heavy load you may be burdened by, come to the Lord and he will give you rest. It no longer has to be U-Haul. It's supposed to be God-Haul.

How to escape from your Chains... Addiction, attachments, and sin

Today we celebrate the great Feast of Saint Peter and Paul. Two of the foundations of our church. Peter, literally, the rock of our church; and Paul, the one that helped spread and evangelized our faith to every continent. So two thousand years later we have a strong, holy Catholic and apostolic church because of these wonderful saints, Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

Part of their struggle, they both, for a time in their life, ended up in chains because of their faith. So we heard in the first reading today that Peter was bound and chained. So his hands were tied double chained together. And Paul at one point in his, life too, was imprisoned and bound with chains.

This whole idea of in the some of the founders of our church being bound in chains really kind of grabbed my attention because -- Peter especially, was double bound by his chains. And as we heard in the first reading, "While he was sleeping, an angel came to him, tapped him on the shoulder, he stood up, and his chains were released." He was freed from chains.

And so I've been thinking about this. What it means to be bound by chains and how to be freed from them. And so something came to mind. Actually, we have a master magician who is in the parish. And I've always wanted to do the straight jacket routine. You know, where they hang you from a crane, like, 20 feet up and you have to escape from the straight jacket. I couldn't figure out how to do that one in church, so better yet, he gave me his chains. And so these are actually -- he told me these are real chains, real padlocks that he got from Home Depot. And I'm going to tie myself up in chains and try to release myself. And the whole time I want you to focus on whatever the chains are in your life.

So I could use a couple of volunteers to help me out with this. And could I have the black bag from the servers. I was practicing this in the office. I had a wedding on Friday and I was practicing. I actually couldn't get myself out of the chains. I had to have the secretary let me out. I need two volunteers that can open up a padlock and close it. And anybody from your family want to do it? Don't be shy. You want to, can somebody help me out, the two of you? Or do you two want to do it? I think you to can do it. Why don't you come up here. You can help me out. Let's have the 50th anniversary couple do this. Here, why don't you walk up right here. You can come up here, too, but I want you to come over here. I'll just be in the middle of you two for a while. I won't keep you apart for long. Good.

Okay. Now, last time they thought I hid a key in the black bag. I'm going to make sure to show you that it was empty. I would not do that. Here's the key. Here's one padlock. Make sure it's real and you can't open it. And then here is the key to open up the padlock. I'm just trying to show you that I'm not, like -- this is the real thing here.

Okay, that's one padlock. Click, open. Good. Here's the other one. Hold on to this, too. Thank you. I'm going to show you guys all of this because they thought I hid a key in the bag. So this is empty. Okay, put this here for now. Thank you. All right, hang on. Okay, so here is the chains. These are real chains, right? Feel them.

Yeah, those are real.

Real chains. It's all metal. So what I'm going to do is you're going to padlock me first here. So I will hold the key. You can hold the key, here. Thank you. Now, I am never going to touch that key again, okay. I don't want people accusing me of using the key. There's one end.

Snap it?

Yeah, go ahead and snap it, lock it shut. You got it? Good. Tug on that. Is it really shut?


Okay, good. You did a good job. Can you hand him the other one?

Here's the other one. 

You guys have been chained together for 50 years, so you should be familiar with this.

Okay. Go ahead and snap that one together. All right, good. Tug on it. Is it locked? Keep that key away from me.

All right. Okay. Now, what I want you to do, can you stand here for a minute? Are you okay? Because I'm going to talk for a little bit with the chains on my hands.

So the idea is, all right, these are real. I can't get them out. You know, I can try and tug all I want. I can't get you to pull me out of them. They're real chains, okay, real chains and real locks. So the deal is, we heard in the first reading that Saint Peter was locked in chains and they were double wrapped around his wrist. So he had double chains on his wrist. He was locked. They were real, okay.

We all have chains in our lives. So I want you to think about the chains that you're bound by. You know, maybe, maybe it's your chains or maybe it's your loved one, maybe it's your spouse or your child or a good friend or somebody that you love, and you just know they are bound by these chains and they haven't been able to get free from them.

Or maybe it's something you've been trying to quit. Maybe it's a bad behavior or something that you've been trying to give up, and no matter how much you try, you haven't been able to do it. That's your chains. So I just want you to think about that.

It could be some kind of addiction. Maybe it's an addiction to some kind of drug or alcohol or maybe even prescription drugs or pot, or maybe it's alcohol. You know, maybe you're just chained to alcohol and you haven't been able to break free.

Maybe it's some kind of sexual sin, like pornography or masterbation, or something that's really bad and you haven't been able to break free from it.

Maybe it's an emotional thing. Maybe you've been struggling for years with depression and you haven't been able to break free from those chains or anxiety or some other kind of mental illness.

Maybe your chains are physical. You know, maybe you have found yourself chained by some kind of physical ailment and you haven't been able to get free from it and you're frustrated.

Maybe your chains are sins, some kind of sin that you struggle with. Maybe it's anger. Maybe it's impatience. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's a bad relationship you've been in and you've been bound to that.

Whatever your chains are, you cannot free yourself from them. And maybe you've tried and you've tried and you've tried and you've given it up for lent and you've given it up for New Year's Eve and you made it your New Year's -- and you can't give it up, you can't break yourself free from these chains. I want you to think about whatever that is right now. Because there is only one person that can free you from the chains. Who is that person? God, right? Only God can free you from the chains.

And we heard about that in the first reading. Peter was bound by chains. Did Peter free himself from the chains? No. The church was praying fervently for Peter. They knew he was arrested, they knew that they were going to kill him. They found him and they were going to kill him like John and his brother. They knew it was coming soon.

So the church began praying fervently for Peter. In the middle of the night, while Peter was sleeping, he didn't even know what was going on, an angel of the Lord came into the dark room, and there were two guards sleeping next to him. So remember there were two guards beside him, there were four sets of four guards outside of him. He was sleeping. In the middle of the night, the angel came to him, tapped him on the shoulder, woke him up. Peter stood up and the chains dropped from his hands and he was free. He didn't even know what was going on. He thought it was a dream. He walked past the two guards, he walked past the other guards outside the door. He got out of there and he was free. And it was only when he looked back that he realized that it was an angel that saved him. And it was actually the prayer of the faithful people that saved him.

And so what I'd like to do now is just show you how simple it is. And so I'm going to show you a magic act. But our faith is not a magic trick. The only trick is you can't do it. You can't get yourself out of these chains no matter how hard you try or pull or push or tug or bite on them or beg, you know, to get out of them. The only one that can get you out is God. And when God does it, it's so simple. It's so quick. It's so miraculously easy that you can't even believe how it happened.

So to symbolize that mystery of God in our faith, we have the black bag. So can you hold the black bag out now? You're probably better at this anyway. Here. It's inside out. Put it -- could you -- yeah, whatever. I just have to show you guys there's no key. Everybody accuses me of hiding the key in the black bag. Okay, get rid of that key. So she's got the key.

Now, what I'd like you to do is hold, if you can hold one end and your husband hold the other end like that, and just kind of -- I'm going to put my hands in here.

Now, just to show you how simple and easy this is, if I can do it right. All right. Now, Houdini didn't have to wear a chasuble when he did this. I have to wear all of these priest clothing that makes it harder, okay. What you're going to do is count down from ten and see if I can get out of the chains in ten seconds or less, okay?

Ready. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.

How about that? Where are the keys? I never touched them, right?


So the idea is, we all have our chains, and right now God can free you from them. Through the prayers of the church, we gather here to pray together as a church. When we come as a church and pray fervently, our prayers are powerful, and they can be answered. And I guarantee you that a year from now someone from this mass today is going to walk up to me and say, Father, ever since that mass I gave up this, or I quit that and never did it again. It was a miracle. It was a grace ever since then because of the prayers, of the faith. Or someone is going to come up to me and say, Father, my son was struggling with addiction for so long, and ever since that mass, when I prayed for him, it never happened again.

It's because of the prayer of the church that Christ works these miracles in our lives. And through that prayer, he can free us from our sins.

So what I want you to do now is just take a moment and call to mind whatever sin that is, whatever chain you are bound by, and I want you to offer that mass and ask God to free it. Or if it's not you, if it's someone that you love and you know they are so bound by some chain of fear or anger or lust, or whatever it is, addiction, pray for them, offer this mass for them and ask God to free them. And we find that when we do pray fervently as a church, God hears our prayer, and in an instant, miraculously, we are freed from our chains.




Peter thus was being kept in prison,

but prayer by the Church was fervently being made

to God on his behalf.

It is the prayer of the Church that will free us from our prison.

You cannot free yourself. No one else can free you.

Only Christ working through the prayers of the Church can free you.

What are your chains?

Or if not your chains, who is that person you know is in chains? Bring them as your intention when we pray together at mass.

The Chains

Is it an addiction to drugs? Is it being caught in lust, pornography or masturbation? Is it substance abuse or alcoholism? Is it being tied into an unhealthy or unholy relationship? Is it allowing yourself to remain with an abusive partner? Is it your anger? Is it depression? Anxiety? Mental Illness? Your unforgiveness? or even a disability or any other illness or sin.

What are the chains that you have not been able to free yourself from?

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial,

Peter, secured by double chains,

was sleeping between two soldiers,

while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.

Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him

and a light shone in the cell.

He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying,

“Get up quickly.”

The chains fell from his wrists.

The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.”

He did so.

Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”

So he followed him out,

not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real;

he thought he was seeing a vision.

They passed the first guard, then the second,

and came to the iron gate leading out to the city,

which opened for them by itself.

They emerged and made their way down an alley,

and suddenly the angel left him.

Then Peter recovered his senses and said,

“Now I know for certain

that the Lord sent his angel

and rescued me from the hand of Herod

and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”

"The chains fell from his wrists"

It truly is amazing that when God frees us from our chains, it is effortless. It is beyond what we can fathom, imagine, or expect.

Part of what keeps us in our chains is trying to figure out how to get out of the or how God is going to get us out of them.

Sometimes like the chain release act we just have to place ourselves into the darkness. It is often when we place ourselves into the darkest faith, the hope where there doesn't seem to be hope, that God works his mysteries.

God's word and the prayer of the Church is effective. Some of you just by reading these words may be freed at this very moment by the grace of God.

Like St. Peter you may not even realize what is happening or has happened and before you know it you to can say like St. Peter: "Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me."