Sermon Notes – September 18, 2022 – “You are Rich Beyond Measure”

“You are Rich Beyond Measure”

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

 September 17 – 18, 2022

Gospel:  Luke 16:10-13

Jesus said to His disciples: “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?  If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours?  No servant can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

In all 12 step programs, the same steps are used from the original 12 Step Program for how to get sober.  The fourth step is to take a fearless, moral inventory of ourselves.  That is the fourth step in every 12 Step Program, and you must do it to get sober, clean, or recover from whatever the addiction.  When people take a moral inventory, it’s usually an immoral inventory.  The next step is to tell someone, and I’ve heard a number of them recount all the bad things they’ve done.  And that’s good so they don’t have to use whatever they are addicted to kill their conscience. 

So, where did this idea originate?  They got it from the Catholic Church.  We make an examination of conscience before going to Confession.  I was taught in Catholic school to make an examination of conscience at the end of each day.  In our nightly prayers, we said the Act of Contrition.  And that’s so important to do.   Also, make a moral inventory.   Why are you are saying that you are sorry?   Because of the great gift that you have, the gift of Catholic Faith that was given to you by God.  Perhaps because of the auspices of your parents, family, others who came later, or free will, you have the gift of God.  You have the beautiful gift of the Catholic Faith that brings hope and joy to this life.  This is the reason for rejoicing.  He gives you joy, and no matter how much you have in your bank account, you are rich beyond all imagination. 

The gifts offered to you can bring happiness and peace.   It’s not found in a bottle.  It’s not
found in a big bank account.  It’s found in a Person.  If I had a big bank account, I would know where to shop.  I know where the Bentley dealer is. . .it’s over in High Point.  I know a good real estate agent and if I were rich, I could buy a house in Martha’s Vineyard for about $4.5 million.  But that doesn’t buy happiness.  Once you have a Bentley, you worry about keeping people away from your car.  If you have a house at the beach, you’ve got to take care of it and pay taxes on it.  Then there are the relatives who want to come stay with you.  It ain’t worth it!  The happiness you have is the hope in following the precise steps for how to get to Heaven.  You come here to participate and to offer yourselves in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  And if you are able, to receive the Most Precious Body of our Lord Jesus Christ in Holy Communion by the hand of Christ which is the priest. 

What did we do to deserve that?  When we fall from the weight of our crosses, due to our imprecision in following the steps of Christ, what do we have?  We have the Sacrament of Penance in which He forgives and forgets all our sins.   We have the Sacrament of Confirmation which strengthens us in carrying our cross and fulfilling our primary vocation which is to become saints.  Did you know that?  I have given the Last Rites twice in the last two days.  When we are raised up onto our final cross to endure our own Passion and death with Christ – during the last three hours or so of our lives – Christ’s consoling love, strength, and forgiveness is granted to us.  The Apostolic Pardon is a full pardon for all of your sins and a plenary indulgence that wipes it all away and gives you a totally clean slate.  I hope you get it.  There are things in my 201 file that may be a little sketchy.  But we have hope.  Plus, we have the gift of faith, and we are never alone. 

People ask me to pray for them, and I do.  But you have to realize that the whole Catholic Church is praying for you 24/7.  That’s over one billion people.  Listen to the words of the Mass.  They are always in the plural.  The whole Church is praying for you during the Sacrifice of the Mass.  Not only the entire Church on Earth, but the entire Church in Heaven, which is countless, is always praying for you.  You belong to the Body of Christ which is present throughout the world.  This is not just some little church or faith community.  You belong to the Body of Christ present throughout the world.  If you wanted to get married at the Vatican in Rome, and you have the money and the time, I could give you the paperwork to do that.  That is your church.  It belongs to you.  Italians in white robes are just caretakers of it for you. You are not alone.  By the gift of Catholic Faith, you are united with all God’s people who are praying for you. 

Such are the great treasures we have, and too often we forget to say, “thank you.”  We reduce them to something almost like play-acting in church.  This is not playacting.   We have lost the sense of wonder and awe.  This great prayer you have come to offer is one in which you come to offer yourselves in the sacrifice of Christ.  How wonderful is our Faith.  That is the greatest gift.  People ask for forgiveness of their sins, and that’s what we should do.  But we should also say, “thank you.”  Thanksgiving is one of the ends of the Mass.  So, realize how rich you are.  You are rich beyond your wildest dreams.  Embrace that richness, as clear as your bank account, and everything else will find its proper place.

How will you apply this message to your life?  _______________________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories”

Sermon Notes – September 11, 2022 – “God Loves Them More Than You Do”

“God Loves Them More Than You Do”

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

 September 10 – 11, 2022

Gospel:  Luke 15: 1-32

The other day I was making my rounds at the VA hospital, and one of the nurses told me that there was a new addition to Hospice.  I said “Okay” and I went in to the patient’s room.  He didn’t look good at all and won’t make it through the weekend Although they gave him two years in the original diagnosis, his doctors helped him get six years beyond that.  He got eight years when he was supposed to have two.  That shows you how well medicine works.  But now he was on his way to see the Savior.  I was talking to his wife and his sister-in-law was also there.  Very nice and sweet people.  I told them that I needed to ask them some questions because I have to do a Chaplain’s Spiritual Assessment for every patient who comes in.  Mostly, it’s creative writing on my part.  One of the questions is “Do you have any end-of-life issues?”   So how long have you had this chaplain gig?  End-of-life issue means end of life.  Yeah, I’ve got a real issue with that!  Are you crazy?   But they want something in the file, so I create a narrative of what’s happening with the patient to make the hospital happy.  If they don’t see it, they get a little antsy.   So, I asked his wife if he had any particular religion.  She said no.   Did he go to church when he was able?”   No.  He was a very interesting man, and I wish I had met him before he became so ill.  I may have crossed paths with him in the first Gulf War.  His job was explosive ordinance disposal and he disassembled mines and bombs.  He wasn’t exactly the nervous type before that – maybe afterward – but not before.  He was pretty good at his job because he survived it.  And he was blessed because he got a disease – none of us know when we will contract one – and he lived well beyond the original diagnosis.  You never know.  I told him and his family that I would come back to visit on my afternoon rounds.   So, I continued my rounds, visiting other patients.  I ran into the nurse practitioner for Hospice, and she asked me if I had seen the new Hospice patient and given him Last Rites.  I said, “No, he’s not Catholic.  His wife said he is Christian.”    She said, “Well, according to our records, he’s Catholic.”   Okay.  So, after lunch I went on my afternoon rounds, and the wife and sister-in-law were not in the room.  I looked around to make sure the coast was clear and gave the man the Last Rites.  And just as I was finishing, his wife and sister-in-law walked in.  Whew!  I snuck that one in!  I accomplished the mission. . .by any means necessary.  I told the nurse manager what I did, but it was never written down because we didn’t want to cause any more problems.  I’m a real certified weasel, but I’m a weasel for Christ.   

This is how much God loves us.  I have people come up to me all the time, and rightly so, asking for prayers for family members, loved one, needs, worries, fears, and all sorts of troubles we are prone to.  I’m happy to pray for them, but I try to tell them, if I remember, that no matter how much you love this person, God loves him or her much more.  That’s why God created them in His image and likeness.  That’s why He suffered and died for them.  That’s why He is constantly running after them to beg them to embrace Him and His love.  God never gives up.  Read the “Hounds of Heaven,” a poem by Francis Thompson.  God is always running after us, so much is His great love, that even at the moment of death if we say we are sorry for our sins just because we are afraid of dying and the eternal fires of hell and not because we are particularly sorry for them, God forgives us.  That is sufficient and God will forgive us.  Remember the 6th prayer from the Cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  One of the greatest experiences of God’s love is His mercy.

Saint John Vianney, known as the Curé d’Ars, is the patron saint for parish priests.  God’s gift to him was that he could read souls.  One day, he was walking along a road in France in an area where his parish was located.  A woman approached him and said, “Curé, you know my husband died.”  Father Vianney said, “Yes.” The woman said, “He fell off a bridge and drowned.  He’s in hell, isn’t he?”  Saint Vianney said, “I don’t know.”   The woman yelled, “You can read souls!  Why don’t you know?  He beat me, he drank, he gambled. . .“  She had a whole laundry list of how bad her husband had been.  “So, he’s in hell, isn’t he?”  Saint Vianney replied, “I don’t know.  There’s a long time from when he left the bridge and when he hit the water.”

Even in that short span of time, he could have said, “I’m sorry,” and that would have been sufficient.  Perfect contrition is if you say “I’m sorry” because you love God.   Imperfect contrition is if you said it because you don’t want to go to hell.  Even so, that is sufficient to receive God’s forgiveness.  So much does He love us.   He sees all our trials, worries, and concerns about those who are near and dear to us.  But remember, God loves them more than you do, and He will never, ever give up on them as long as they have a breath in them.

Father’s Afterthoughts. . .
My day is never dull.  There is always something interesting going on here.  Today, I had a wedding, and the bride came up in a carriage drawn by horses.  I got to pet the horses.  I love horses!  I’m still six years old.  Quoting Sir Winston Churchill, Doctor Eddins, a local physician, said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

How will you apply this message to your life?  ________________________________________


You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories”

Sermon Notes – September 4, 2022 – “Three Points”

“Three Points”

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

 September 3 – 4, 2022

Gospel:  Luke 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and He turned and addressed them, “If anyone
comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.  Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?  Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’  Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?  But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.  In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be My disciple.”

In our preaching course at seminary, we were told that we should have at least three major points in our sermons, or what they call “homilies” these days.  My first point is that if a man cannot renounce all of his possession, he cannot be Christ’s disciple.  What is our greatest possession?  Ourselves.  When we renounce ourselves, instead of just living for self, we live for God.  Our greatest purpose is to live in this world and to love and serve Him and reign with Him in the next.  So, all of this “stuff” we have from our hard work, efforts, and studies, we can enjoy because it is a principle of self-ownership and fulfillment. We are supposed to enjoy our possessions especially on Sunday according to Church tradition.   But we should use the stuff that God has given us for our own work.  What work?  The works of justice.  First of all, providing for ourselves, providing for our families, and providing for those in need.  We have an obligation to give to others that which is above and beyond our needs.

The second point is that this past week the Church marked the martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist.  Saint Bede the Venerable wrote about the martyrdom and said that Herod did not want John to deny Christ.  He just wanted John to stop talking about the reign of God which would have been the same as denying Christ.   Now, if you haven’t noticed, the World wants us to do that too.  It does not want the Church to proclaim the truth.  Some may say, “Well it’s  not the most loving thing to do.”  Well, it is because our Savior said it.  Are you saying that our Savior didn’t tell us what the most loving thing to do is?   We are to proclaim the truth and live the truth.  We cannot stop proclaiming the truth, otherwise we would be denying our Faith.   

Remember, last week I told you last about Saint Francis who said to preach the Gospel, whether in-season or out-of-season, convenient or inconvenient, and to use words if necessary.  You are constantly preaching by your good works because people will see them.  And as Peter said, He will see your good works and give praise and thanks to the Father.  This is the evangelization we are all called to do.   Sometimes when we do, we will get a rather harsh reaction from people.  This has happened to me several times.   People will say, “Are you a Catholic priest?”  Yeah. . . I’m not Johnny Cash with a funny collar.  Others say, “I used to be Catholic.”  Really?  They don’t know how insulting that is.  In response, I’ll say, “Well, I still am.. . what happened to you?”  I don’t take that garbage from anybody.  Apparently, they don’t know my background.  My next question to them is one that I’m not expecting an answer to because they aren’t going to give me one.  But I ask them, “What have you done or what has been done to you?”  They hurt from their sins or what has been done to them.    

When I’m sick, eventually I will go to the doctor.  Or the people around me will make me go to the doctor like what happened when I got Covid.  But people are angry at and afraid of the source of all healing, and they rebel against it.   They run from the One who can bring peace to their soul which is Jesus Christ.  It is not a bad thing if we have sinned. . .yes, it’s not the best thing, and we’d rather not have sin, but the worse thing is to stay away from the Savior who can heal it.  He will heal and fulfill our souls and give us peace no matter what we have done or what has been done to us.  He can bring peace to a troubled soul.  Usually, people are happy to hear the message – even non-Catholics because they can see that scandal is from the sins they have committed and the sins of others committed against them.  But if Catholics are poor teachers, they may drive them away from the source of all love and healing.

The third and final point is that I heard this week about mothers taking their kids to school and leading them by the hand.  Some of the kids were going very much against their will, because school is strange and disturbing to them, and they would rather be at home.   It made me think of another situation in which a woman was hastening to another place.  One night I was at the house of a woman who had cancer and who was rapidly leaving this world.  I gave her the Last Rites, and she said, “Father, I say my rosary all the time.”  And I said to her, “That’s wonderful.  Keep it up as long as you can.  And you know what will happen?  Soon, the Blessed Mother will come take you by the hand and lead you to her Son.”

How will you apply this message to your life?  ____________________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories”

Sermon Notes – August 28, 2022 – “The Most Loving Thing”

“The Most Loving Thing”

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

 August 27 – 28, 2022

Gospel:  Luke 14:1, 7-14

1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day He had gone to share a meal in the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched Him closely.  7 He then told the guests a parable, because He had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this, 8 ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, 9 and the person who invited you both may come and say, “Give up your place to this man.” And then, to your embarrassment, you will have to go and take the lowest place.  10 No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, you’re your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.”  Then, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured.  11 For everyone who raises himself up will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be raised up.’  12 Then He said to his host, ‘When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relations or rich neighbours, in case they invite you back and so repay you.  13 No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14 then you will be blessed, for they have no means to repay you and so you will be repaid when the upright rise again.’

What is the most loving thing we can do for those we love and those we meet?  To tell them the truth.  And what is the truth?  Okay, that was kind of a trick question.  The truth is not an “it”.  It’s a “Who.”  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  When we tell people the truth, we tell them about the Lord.  The fullness of His message is found in the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church is our Lord as Paul discovered in the Book of Acts.  We teach people the Faith.  We show them His message which will sometimes infuriate them, but it will bring us peace, and that is exactly what our soul needs.  The message to that person is one that will heal their soul and fulfill it. One day they will be united with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven if they have been faithful.   So, how do we pass on His message?   Saint Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel always, whether convenient or inconvenient, and if necessary, use words.”   You may talk about our Good Lord, and you may have a fine religious education, but the best teaching is one of action out of love and forgiveness. 

An odd thing happened a while ago, and one that I may have already told you about – I’m old and I repeat my stories – I’m near the end of my priesthood, and I don’t have many stories left to tell.  Anyway, I was on duty at hospice, and we had a patient come in on a stretcher.  The ambulance drivers came in and asked where we wanted him.  All the nurses were busy, so I told the guys that we are going to put him in room 3.  There were only two of them, and it takes three people to move a patient.  One guy was at the head and shoulders, the other took the sheet, I took his legs, and 1-2-3 BOOM.  Because I hadn’t been gloved and touched the man’s bare skin, I went over to the sink and washed my hands.  One of the ambulance drivers came up to me and said, “thank you, Father.”   And just by that…a small act of kindness.  Done day in and day out, we are teaching about our Good Lord. 

Do not be dissuaded by loud people, people who are drinking, people who walk away, people who text that our church is wrong and that the teachings of Christ are outdated.  Why?  Because the devil is always very loud, and everything he tells you is a lie.   I know a priest at one of the hospitals in the VA system.  He is the chief chaplain, so he has to go to all these meetings.  I’d rather have a colonoscopy.  There was this one meeting he had with the social worker.  The social worker lectured this priest on the proper use of personal pronouns.   The priest said, “We cannot as Catholics acknowledge that because it denies God’s creation and His creative Will.”  Male and female is all there is.  Christ said that marriage is between a male and female.  We cannot undo God’s creative Will.  It is obvious, and it would be denying our faith.  If you deny an article of faith, you deny it all.  So, this priest looked at the adjectives in which people are identified.  To the social worker, He said, “May I ask you a question?  Why don’t you call me by my own personal pronoun?  By the way, it’s “Father.”   And the social worker couldn’t answer him.  That tells you it’s from satan. 

Do not be discouraged by teaching the truth.  Persevere.  By doing so, the apostles said it will save your immortal souls.  Do not cower to loud voices.   Their voices are like little children whistling past the cemetery.  I go into cemeteries at night…I don’t care.  I know who I work for.  Am I afraid?  No, I’m not.  Are you kidding me?  Bring it!   They are just like little children afraid of the dark.  If you scream long enough and loud enough, you will believe all the evil propaganda the world has ever had. 

So, do not be disheartened.  Preach the truth.  The truth is a Person and the fullness we have in the Catholic Church.  I was reading the newspaper recently about the movie on the life of Saint Padre Pio.  Know what happened to the actor who is portraying Saint Pio?  Even though this actor had a colorful past, he became Catholic.  What happened to the head of the Gestapo in Rome, Italy during WWII?  A priest came to visit him, and he became Catholic.  So do not be discouraged.  Continue to proclaim the Gospel by words and actions. Proclaim your faith.  That is the most loving thing to do.

How will you apply this message to your life?  ____________________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories”

Sermon Notes – August 21, 2022 – “It Depends”

“It Depends”

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

 August 20 – 21, 2022

Gospel:  Luke 13:22-30

22 Through towns and villages He went teaching, making His way to Jerusalem.  23 Someone said to Him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, 24 ‘Try your hardest to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.  25 ‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself standing outside knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us,” but He will answer, “I do not know where you come from.”  26 Then you will start saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets,” 27 but He will reply, “I do not know where you come from; away from Me, all evil doers!” 28 ‘Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, and yourselves thrown out.  29 And people from east and west, from north and south, will come and sit down at the feast in the Kingdom of God.  30 ‘Look, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’ 

Let me ask you a theological question.  Is it hard to enter the Kingdom of God?  The best answer is “it depends.”  And I don’t mean old people’s garments.  It depends on the condition of your soul.  The condition of your soul depends on who you love more.  Do you love God or do you love you?  There is a saying in counseling: “I’m not much but I’m all I think about.”  God will ask, “Do you love me?”  It’s a requirement to get into Heaven.  And it’s not the emotional, frothy “Oh I love you!” kind of love.  There are people in the “Nut Hut” who do that, and they aren’t quite well.  To love God is to do the works of God.  What are the works of God?  They are works of love.  Our Lord said, “If you love me keep My Commandments.”  That is His commandment.  It is also the commandment of the Church as Paul found out in the Book of Acts.  You cannot separate the two.  Some ecclesiastical jailhouse lawyers might say, “Well, I love Christ but not the Church.”  You cannot do that.  It’s contrary to scripture from the very earliest time in 34 ad.  Christ died in 33 ad. 

So, how do we see the Commandments?  Our Lord said, “If you love Me keep My Commandments.  My Commandments are not burdensome.”  It’s how much you love.  If you love, there is no act that is burdensome.   Saint Augustine said, “There is no labor involved in works of love and if so, even the labor itself is love.”   Love becomes burdensome when we focus on ourselves.  We want what we want when we want it.  Spiritually, we call that “king baby.”  “I want what I want and if I don’t get it, I won’t come to church.”  Shut up.  God help us. 

Every time our Lord asked the apostles a question, guess what happened.  They got it wrong.  How can we love?  It’s not hard.  I saw it as a soldier all the time.  If some schmuck got hurt for whatever reason, other soldiers would go over and help the injured soldier.  They didn’t expect thanks for carrying the soldier’s stuff.  They didn’t even ask…they just did.  They helped take care of business.  At Christmas time, young soldiers who got married and had three or four kids right away needed money for gifts for their kids.  We had various funds that could help, but my sergeant-major said, “No.  We take care of our own.  We don’t go to strangers.”   So, everybody donated money, and we made sure that all those children had a good Christmas.  There was this one child who had leukemia and was being treated at an Air Force base.  His father wanted to see him, but it was expensive to travel.  So, the colonel came up with a “training mission.”  They put the father on a bird and flew him out to the Air Force base.  They left to do something else, flew back, sat there for a while, and eventually picked the father up.  After that, they flew back home.  I once met a Vietnam Veteran who extended for second year in Vietnam.  I said, “Dude! Why did you extend for another year?”  He said so that his younger brother who had just been drafted wouldn’t have to go. That’s what we do.  That’s exactly what we do. Those are acts of love.  Were they all Catholic who did that?   No, and I know that for sure.  I was with them for three years and knew all of the Catholics.  Did they all go to church?  I don’t think so.  Will they get into the Kingdom of Heaven?  They’ve got a shot because they loved and thought of others before themselves.   They responded to God’s calling even when it wasn’t convenient.  I hear this from some of the Spanish: “I will come to Mass if I don’t have something else to do that day.”  Really?  We have Mass on Saturday night and twice on Sunday.  Really?  Our Lord invited you to Supper.  You want to spend eternity with Him but you can’t find the time to come to church.

It’s all in how you love. Heaven is not hard to get into, but it’s harder than you think because it requires action on your part.  And that action is to die unto self, to live for others, and to love others.  That’s the hard part.  We have to die to selfish love to be able to live a total and Christ-like life.   

Father’s Afterthoughts. . .
Something else seminary didn’t prepare me for, and one for which I’m going to kill the nurses in Hospice.  They told me that we had a new admission, and he was Catholic.  I said Okay.  I’ll give him Last Rites.  So, I went into his room.  He was a Vietnam Vet with Agent Orange poisoning and was pretty far along in his journey.  Usually when a veteran is far along in their journey, the nurses put on the Care Channel on television.  It’s nice soothing music, nature scenes, waterfalls, and things like that.  It was tough for me to give him the Last Rites.  As I was saying the prayers to absolve him, you know what they had on television?  “Animal House.”  Really!

How will you apply this message to your life?  ______________________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  Cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories”

Sermon Notes – August 14, 2022 – History is Not Destiny

“History is Not Destiny”

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

 August 13 – 14, 2022

Gospel:  Luke 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples:

49 “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!  50 There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!  51 Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.  52 From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

That last sentence in the Gospel made me think of the movie, “The Quiet Man.”  There were two women in one house, and one was a red head.  Not good thing.  There can be only one dominate mare and that’s it.  Go to any pasture, and if there is more than one mare, they will settle the score and determine who is boss. 

When a person tries to grow in holiness, a lot of things will happen.  They will begin to change by taking up their cross every day and participating in the Sacraments frequently.   As we strive for holiness, we will make progress if we never give up our cross.  We may fall a lot, but we never stop trying to practice our faith.  We are not perfect and won’t be until after we die and are in Heaven.  The good part about that and the bad part about that is you probably won’t notice.  You will probably notice that you are doing all this stuff and don’t feel any better and things aren’t going any better.  “So, what’s the point?  Am I really making progress?”  It can be very disheartening. 

I’ll tell you how you will know when you are making progress because you won’t notice it yourself.  Two will happen to you.   As you grow in holiness, you realize that you have a lot more room in which to grow.  You won’t become inflated; in fact, you will become more humble.  “Whoa!  I’ve got a lot more work to do.  This is God’s gift and not my doing.”   Also, you will have someone notice the change in you.  “Wow.  What’s the change in you?  I don’t know what it is, but it’s a nice change.”  Some may notice and not say anything.  Others, who do not accept His word, will hang around to make your life miserable and crucify you.   They will bring up all this nasty stuff.  “You know you had a booze problem.”  They may call you a jerk.  “You darn Catholic! You used to blah blah blah!”  Really?  That’s the past, and I am more than my past.  History is not destiny.  They will do this because the person who is trying to grow in holiness is bringing the light of Christ that is within them to others.  You are not consciously “witnessing” or evangelizing, but because of Who is in your soul, you are bringing Him to others.  Our Lord has forgiven and forgotten all our sins.  And we are grateful for God’s gift to us. 

This is the division that Christ comes for.  We try to practice our faith.  We let His light shine through our conduct and how we treat others.  Some do not wish to grow in the light.  I remember walking into the Iredell hospital and this woman approached me. She asked me if I was a Catholic priest.  I said, “Yes.”  And then she let loose on all these nasty words.  I said, “Mom, stop!  What is wrong with you?”   I’ve been cursed out many times, and I probably deserved it many more times when I wasn’t.  But it wasn’t me who offended them.  It was what I represented.  When people do that, it hurts, because we always like to be commended and encouraged.   So, when they do that, and they will, be glad because they are affirming your growth in holiness.  They see someone inside you that they have rejected.  So, keep that lamp burning brightly and eventually they may see that light and place that light into their own souls. 

In 12 stop programs, people admit to being alcoholics, drug addicts or whatever.  Therapeutically that is true.  Spiritually, it is not.  Spiritually, I am a person with that cross.   But we are not our crosses.  Our crosses are God’s gift to us to keep us humble.  Many times, those who have been given great gifts have great crosses to keep them humble.  For those who are striving in holiness, fair warning. . .some people won’t approve.  I will give you a personal example.  My Aunt Teresa died, and so I was at the wake in Massachusetts at what was a French funeral home but is now owned by an Irishman. . .we are taking over.  My cousin came up to me and said, “You still believe all that stuff?”  Sweetheart…check the collar.  I get clergy rates at the airlines.  Your mother went to Mass every day.  What’s wrong with you?  So do not be disheartened.  Know that they treated our Lord the same way.  Remember the reproaches of our Lord on Good Friday:  “My people, what have I done to you?  How have I offended you?  Answer Me!” 

So, we try to grow in holiness.  We may become the temptations of others who do not appreciate our growing closer to the Lord so that we can love better and love them better.  One side effect is knowing our salvation.  Another is passing that love and openness onto others.  So don’t be despondent.  Instead, we pray for them.  And we take their sufferings upon ourselves.  This is the division which comes from those who refuse His love.

How will you apply this message to your life?  _______________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  Cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories”

Sermon Notes – August 7, 2022 – “None of Us Are Getting Out of Here Alive”

“None of Us Are Getting Out of Here Alive”

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

 August 6 – 7, 2022

Gospel:  Luke 12:32-48

32 ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.  33 ‘Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it.  34 For wherever your treasure is, that is where your heart will be too.  35 ‘See that you have your belts done up and your lamps lit.  36 Be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks.  37 Blessed those servants whom the Master finds awake when he comes. In truth I tell you, he will do up his belt, sit them down at table and wait on them.  38 It may be in the second watch that He comes, or in the third, but blessed are those servants if He finds them ready.  39 You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house.  40 You too must stand ready, because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’  41 Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’  42 The Lord replied, ‘Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy steward whom the master will place over his household to give them at the proper time their allowance of food?  43 Blessed that servant if his master’s arrival finds him doing exactly that.  44 I tell you truly, he will put him in charge of everything that he owns.  45 But if the servant says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the servant-girls, and eating and drinking and getting drunk,  46 his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.  47 ‘The servant who knows what his master wants, but has got nothing ready and done nothing in accord with those wishes, will be given a great many strokes of the lash.  48 The one who did not know, but has acted in such a way that he deserves a beating, will be given fewer strokes. When someone is given a great deal, a great deal will be demanded of that person; when someone is entrusted with a great deal, of that person even more will be expected.

Now, I have some good news for you.  Do you want some good news?  You are all going to die.  How do you like my bedside manner?  I was battle-trained in the Army.  It may not be today, but we are all going to die because that is the only way we can get to Heaven.  You are here at Mass preparing for your death.  Our Good Lord is the object of our love, and we wish to possess Him.  You are here so that you can possess Him and be possessed by Him in Holy Communion.  We want to be possessed by Him eternally in Heaven.  But, unfortunately for us, after the sins of our first parents and the sins we have committed after our Baptism, we have to die in order to be with our Lord forever.  We love the destination, but we are not too happy about the trip details. 

I’ve seen a lot of things I don’t want to die from, but it’s not our choice.  “Can’t we be like the Blessed Mother and be whisked up to Heaven?”  No.  We all have to suffer.  We all follow the way of the Cross, and at some point in our life, we don’t know the day…it could be 40 or 50 years from now, we will ascend the Cross.  Which Cross we ascend is up to us.  It could be the Cross on Christ’s left or the Cross on His right.  I would suggest the Cross on His right because that is the one the Good Thief was on when Christ told him, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  The other one not so much. 

Our Lord will come for us.  You may be thinking, “But He is coming in judgement.”  Judgement is not that bad. First of all, let me explain something about Jewish weddings.  Jewish weddings occur after sundown. So, our Lord comes in the middle of the night.  You never know.  You may be tired, and you may be dozing.  We don’t know the time when our Lord will come.  And for those who look forward to His coming, it’s a great thing.  Don’t you look forward to your family, not my family, but your family and friends coming to visit?  You look out the window, and you look at your watch.  Or, if you are a ghoul, you have a tracker on your phone.  Why?  Because you want them there.  You want your love to be complete with your loved ones.  We look forward to our love finally being rewarded and possessing the object of our love. 

So, our Lord’s coming is not a threat.  It is a motivator and an encouragement for us to take up our cross each day and follow Him.   “Wake up!  I am coming for you, and I don’t want to be separated from you.  Please do not separate yourself from Me.”   Our Lord does not threaten.  How we condition our souls is how we respond.  “He’s coming to judge me!”  What’s wrong with you?   What have you done?  “Oh, He’s coming!  I’m going to get it!”  He’s going to look at that permanent record of yours.  He is coming because He wants us.  That’s why He made us.  Why did He make us?  To know Him, serve Him, and love Him in this life and to share eternity with Him.  The only one who can thwart that plan is us. 

Never get discouraged.  That is one of the greatest temptations we suffer.   We pray, we work hard, we come to Mass, we set a good example, and we become discouraged when we don’t see a difference in ourselves and others.  Actually, there is a big difference – we just can’t see it.  The devil says, “You know, you need to stop that garbage. . . you are making yourself sick.  Go out and have a good time.  Get a double order of bacon and live it up.”  That is the sin of discouragement.  “I keep falling with my cross!”  Do you keep getting up?  “Yes.”  That’s what you are supposed to do.  The only time you don’t need to carry your cross is when you are dead.  So, don’t be discouraged.  Our lord is coming.  He is coming at the end of time which we don’t know when that will be.  More likely, it will be at the time of our passing from this world to the next.  You are all here, so I’m sure you are looking forward to that moment.  But if you are like me, you are trying to negotiate the details.  “You know, Lord, if you could, I’d like to die this way…just asking.”

I visited with one gentleman who I would be surprised if he is still alive.  I said, “Mr. H., I have other rounds to make, but I’ll be back next Thursday.  Will I see you?”  He said, “No, I don’t think so.”  I said, “When you see Jesus, would you put in a good word for me?”  He said he would.  He knew he was going to pass, and he was ready to go.  Not all of us will have that opportunity – I hope we all do.   And in the words of Saint John Henry Newman, “to have the holy oil sign and seal us and absolving words said over us.”  This is encouragement.  Do not give in to the temptations of the devil.  Do not be discouraged by your labors, sacrifices, crosses, or seemingly lack of advancement on the way to sanctity.  As long as you don’t quit, you are always advancing.  And do not lose heart.  His plan for us is happiness.  At some point, and we don’t know when that point will be, the Lord will come and say, “You have graduated.  Come into the Kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.”  So be encouraged.  Our Lord is coming. 

How will you apply this message to your life?  _________________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  Cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories”

Sermon Notes – July 31, 2022 – “Make Room!”

“Make Room!”

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

 July 30 -31, 2022

Gospel: Luke 12:13-21

13 A man in the crowd said to Him, ‘Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.’  14 He said to him, ‘My friend, who appointed Me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?’  15 Then He said to them, ‘Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for life does not consist in possessions, even when someone has more than he needs.’ 16 Then He told them a parable, ‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, 17 thought to himself, “What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.”  18 Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, 19 and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.”  20 But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?”  21 So it is when someone stores up treasure for himself instead of becoming rich in the sight of God.’

In the last verses of the 12th chapter of Saint Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, the saint earnestly desires higher gifts.  He wrote:

“First, I seek the higher gifts and I will show you a more excellent way.  If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” 

And that’s true.  Saint Paul continues with the theme of love in the 13th chapter.  Love is the one thing we should desire above all else.   God is love itself.  He wants to make us wealthy in His love, and He teaches us how to grow in that love.  The one thing we can be truly rich in is to always possess Him and to be possessed by Him. 

The more you experience the love of God, the more you want.  With God you can never get enough.  We are inspired and motivated to make more room for Him in our souls through our works, prayer, and self-sacrifice to possess Him and be possessed by Him.  Doing so will enlarge and beautify our souls for a proper dwelling place for Him.  And when we have that possession, we have an ever-increasing wealth.  Then all the other things we have will assume their proper role. 

But it’s never enough.  It’s like being in an Irish family. . .there’s always room for one more.  There is always room for more love. 

Did you know that you can go to Mass more than once a week?  You can receive Holy Communion up to three times a day. . .did you know that?  You can go to Confession once a day. . .twice, if you’ve done something really bad.  If you want to drive over to the Catholic church in Concord so you don’t have to see me, that’s okay – I get it, as long as you go.  There is no limit on God’s desire to be a part of your soul.  And when we are possessed by Him what happens?  We are transformed, and all the things we have find their proper place. 

Sometimes, every now and again, we realize how truly rich we are.  “Well, Father, I’m not really rich. Have you seen my bank statement?”   I’m not talking about that.  “Father, I don’t live in a nice house.”  I’m not talking about that.  “Father, I don’t have a nice car.”  I’m not talking about that either.  Look at all the sufferings you have.  Look at how rich you are.   Even with the worse things in your life, you are chosen.  You have much to offer God for the sanctification of souls.  You are truly rich, because it is in that pain and suffering we have all endured or are enduring that we share in the suffering of Christ for the redemption of the world.

How will you apply this message to your life?  _______________________________________


You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  Cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories”

Sermon Notes – July 23-24, 2022 – “Love You More!”

July 23 – 24, 2022

“Love You More!”

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

 GospelLuke 11:1-13

1 Now it happened that He was in a certain place praying, and when He had finished, one of His disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ 2 He said to them, ‘When you pray, this is what to say: Father, may your name be held holy, your kingdom come; 3 give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, 4 for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us. And do not put us to the test.’ 5 He also said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, 6 because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him;” 7 and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up to give it to you.” 8 I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it to him for friendship’s sake, persistence will make him get up and give his friend all he wants.  9 ‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.  10 For everyone who asks receives; everyone who searches finds; everyone who knocks will have the door opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asked for a fish, would hand him a snake? 12 Or if he asked for an egg, hand him a scorpion?  13 If you then, evil as you are, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!’

Why must God give us good things?  Because, as Saint John tells us, God is love.  What is God’s nature?  His nature is love itself.  Love seeks to diffuse itself by spreading that love.  So, to not give us good things would be a denial of His very nature.  He gives us good things whether we deserve them or not because He loves us.  The first question in the Catechism is “Why did God make us?”  Because He loves us.  God gives us good things not because we pray the “right” way, or because we tithe to the Church, or because we do this, that, and the other thing.  That would be like a business deal. . .you give me this, and I’ll give you that.  He offers these gifts to us, both temporal and spiritual, to show His love for us and to draw us ever closer.  Or, if we have wandered away, to call us back and to remind those souls, including ours, that He wants us to be with Him.   

We are called to pray.  Most of us have prayed for things very hard and valiantly.   We’ve used the right words and claimed the things we have prayed for in the name of Jesus.  We have asked for the intercession of Saint Jude who is the patron saint of the impossible and the intercession of other saints who are patrons of particular causes.  But we have been disappointed because sometimes those answers have not come, and we have not gotten what we wanted.  That doesn’t mean that God has stopped loving us.  It means that He has other plans for us and that, in itself, is a gift of love.  We are called to have trust in the Lord.  Trust Him even though the answer to our immediate need, want, desire, plea, threat, is “No.”   He has something far better in mind for you or that person you have been praying for.  You must trust Him. 

Now I have been 38 years a priest, and I am not yet a monsignor.  Wait a moment while I tear up.  Sorry; I got a little misty-eyed there.  But I have been the pastor for the past 18 years of the greatest parish in the diocese.  I don’t tell anyone that because they might boot my butt out of here.  But I’ll take that trade all day long.  You have to remember that God loves us and sees more than we can see for ourselves.   Sometimes what we want is not good for us as anyone who has children knows.  The crosses He allows us to carry, He gives us for the sake of others.  God constantly offers us these gifts to keep us encouraged, to remind us of His love for us, and to draw us ever closer to Him. 

God gives us all these gifts because He loves us.  Sometimes that love is hard to see because of the gift wrapping.  Some of His gifts we never see.  We never see all the temporal and spiritual evils He protects us from.  Remember that when you thank Him at the end of the day.  So, pray.  And as Saint Augustine once said, “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”   God will give you the most wondrous gifts along with all the other gifts including the good stuff like apple pie and the bad stuff like Covid.  But whatever the gifts may be, they all point to His love for us.  He is love itself, and He wants us to love Him back more and more in this life. . . all of us, both good and bad.  He wants to turn them back to Him too.  He takes no delight in the death of a sinner.  That’s not why He sent His Son.  He wants to draw us ever closer to Him in this life so that we may have life with Him united in perfect love in Heaven.

How will you apply this message to your life?  ______________________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  Cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories”

Sermon Notes – July 10, 2022 – “There are Heroes and Saints in Our Midst”

There are Heroes and Saints in Our Midst

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

 July 9 – 10, 2022

Gospel: Luke 10:25-37 

You’ve heard me say that if you study scripture, you need to study with a rabbi or take some Jewish courses, because you need to read scripture in the proper context.  I took two courses with a rabbi, and it was fascinating.  In today’s gospel, the priest and the Levite were clergy, and they did not take care of someone who laid hurt on the side of the road.  You know what?  They didn’t have to.  According to the law at the time, if a hurt person was on your side of the road, you had to take care of them.   However, if the hurt person was on the other side of the road, the law said that you didn’t have to help them.  So, the priest and the Levite were justified in not caring for the hurt person according to the law.   But Jesus said, “My love goes beyond the law.”  People say, “Father, I’m a good Catholic…I go to Mass every Sunday.”  Being a good Catholic goes beyond not robbing banks and not committing murder.  Okay?

We tend to see people without really seeing them.  We see them as they are now and not in the way they were.  By the way, I watch all of you.  That’s why I was a good Battalion Chaplain.  I got to know my troops, and I could look at their faces and tell if something was wrong.  Our small parish is about the size of a battalion.  At church, people tend to sit in the same seat.  And if someone happens to sit in your seat, you stand there and stare at them.  “Hey! I always sit there, and I am not moving!”  It happens all the time.  So, when you are not here, I know it.  You can’t pull a fast one on the old man. 

Over the past few Saturdays, I have noticed that someone was not here.  He was a little guy who you wouldn’t give a second look at on the street.  His name was Ray Mikol, and I always called him by his first name.  Know what his first name was?  Sergeant Major.  He earned that.  He was in the Knights of Columbus.  He spent 29 years in Uncle Sam’s Army.  Ray suffered from a heart attack and went on to his rest.  Ray was an overachiever.  He earned the award that nobody wants to get – the Purple Heart.   They usually give that one to dead people.  He got the Bronze Star for valor.  He did a couple of tours in Vietnam.  He had all these good conduct medals and a Paratrooper Badge.  That’s like a Marine getting a Good Conduct medal.  It just doesn’t happen!  A paratrooper with a Good Conduct medal flies in the face of everything I know about paratroopers.  But think of all the sacrifices he made.  He loved God, and he loved his family.   He did the right thing and sacrificed for them.  And I am sure there are a lot of soldiers who have families and grandchildren because of him and his teaching by example.   That just goes to show you there are heroes and saints in our midst. 

How will you apply this message to your life?  ________________________________________


You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  Cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories”