Happy New Year everyone!! Happy return to Ordinary Time!! Last weekend, with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord, we ended the Christmas season and have returned to Ordinary Time seeking ways to grow as faithful disciples in our daily lives. This may include some New Year’s resolutions and increased opportunities to pray, reflect and embrace new ways to serve others. A new year brings new beginnings and new hopes. This optimism, joy and hope is always welcome and needed!!!

With the new year and a return to Ordinary Time, I embark preaching a new 3 week message series to help all of us deepen our faith so that it can make a large impact on our lives and world. This is the third series I have preached here in Chatham (THE COMEBACK in September 2021 & BACK TO THE BASICS in November 2021—please go to www.revjj.ca and click on “Message Series” to find all the series I have preached) as a way to explore topics of faith rooted in the weekend readings while being relevant for our faith journey today.

I will be preaching Week #1 of the series at St. Joseph and St. Ursula the weekend of January 15/16, Week #2 at Blessed Sacrament & St. Agnes the weekend of January 22/23 and conclude with Week #3 at St. Joseph and St. Ursula the weekend of February 5/6. Each week of the series will include a special article in the bulletin and each homily will be posted via a link at www.chathamcatholic.ca so that those who miss any part of the series can stay connected.

I have been preaching in a message series format for the last few years. It allows me to dig deeper into major themes over a few homilies trying in a unique way to make the Word of God relevant for our faith journey today and has increased my prayerful reflection of the scriptures. Preaching in this format has helped me preach better—although I know I need a lot more work!!


All of us love stories. We all have our favourite movies and novels that share a journey of hope, joy, challenge or struggle. We are moved by the characters and situations people experience. Some of my favourite movies include Hoosiers (a great basketball movie starring Gene Hackman), THE UNTOUCHABLES (starring Kevin Costner and Sean Connery), LES MISERABLES (I saw this in Toronto many years ago), COME FROM AWAY to the new STAR TREK:PICARD series (Season 2 is coming in February). I can list so many more!!


Our own lives are also a story filled with joys, struggles, sorrows and inspiration. All of us love to connect with one another sharing stories of our own personal experiences that can help us get to know one another but also help us in our journey of life. Our own personal journey is important but not necessarily the way we might think. We are not the central figures of our own story—our faith reminds us that our personal life story is part of the bigger story of God’s love in our world. We can only understand our own personal journey most fully in the light of God’s larger story of salvation.


As we gather each weekend for Mass and listen to the readings, participate in bible studies or read the scriptures on our own—we learn about the story of salvation. This story of God’s eternal love is not separate or distant from our own journey. In fact, by diving into the Word of God we can make much more sense of our own lives and our own story which helps us make the right choices as faithful disciples.

Realizing that our own lives are part of the bigger picture of salvation—we can find more meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives. This journey is not one we do alone. The more we make God the centre of our story and are willing to share our experiences with those around us, the more we all draw closer to God.


This new message series called “THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE” will hopefully help all of us understand God’s story of love for us and how we today continue to share in that story.

What are my most favourite movies/novels/stories?
What personal stories do I like to share with others?
How does my life fit into the story of salvation?
How does my perspective change by placing God at the centre of my life?