Monday, May 21, 2012

The Upper Room-A Homily by Fr. Dan Murphy

Some days I wake up feeling discouraged before I even get out of bed, and I pray, "Oh Lord, how am I going to get through this day?"  Today was one of those days and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly He answered that prayer.  As my children and I stepped into church we were greeted by Fr. Dan Murphy, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, who recently celebrated his 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.  He called each of us by name, embraced us and said "Peace be with you."  Then, during Mass, Fr. Dan gave a beautifully consoling homily. After Mass I had the church to myself for a full hour; I was in my upper room of prayer which always fills me with the peace of Christ and breaks through any frustration that I may be carrying in my soul.  So how am I going to get through this day?  With the courage and peace that comes from Christ, and is found in a friendly greeting from a holy priest and silent prayer in His Eucharistic presence!

Enjoy Fr. Dan's homily below and please keep him in your prayers!

“Take courage! I have overcome the world.”
-John 16:33

These days between Ascension and Pentecost are days of prayer; days of prayer and days of waiting. We have a picture of the apostles and Mary in the upper room for 9 days. They're all praying and waiting, and waiting and then praying some more. And they’re back in that upper room.

What was the first thing the apostles did after they received the great commission to spread the good news to the entire world? They did exactly what Jesus did when he started his mission. They withdrew from the busy world. They went to the silent upper room to pray and wait for the Holy Spirit. They’d learned well from their master. Prayer—regular, faithful prayer; that was the high octane gas that gave energy to their work. You and I also need to carve out regular time for prayer. We also need to withdraw to our upper room.

Everyone needs an upper room. Everyone needs a special place where it’s possible to relax and pray; sometimes alone, sometimes with others. Every day there’s some obligation to be met. Tomorrow morning when you wake up from a good night's sleep what's the one of the first things that comes into your mind? What do I have to do today? There are problems to solve, appointments to keep, bills to pay. Life isn’t easy. Even ordinary days can be demanding. Jesus was no stranger to pressure. People were always seeking his help. There were days when he didn’t have enough time to eat or to rest.

Jesus lived with pressure every day. The supreme crisis of his life was the cross. On the night before his died, on the eve of the worst day of his life, Jesus called on strength greater than his own. When life became hard, too hard even for him, Jesus prayed.

 The gift of Jesus to the disciples and to you is the gift of courage and peace. And it all starts and continues with prayer.

A business person who admired Mother Teresa of Calcutta offered to make a set of business cards for her work. Printed on the small yellow cards were 5 lines which outline what Mother Teresa called her simple path. The cards read: "The fruit of silence is PRAYER. The fruit of prayer is FAITH. The fruit of faith is LOVE. The fruit of love is SERVICE. The fruit of service is PEACE. This simple path led Mother Teresa to live her life in union with God and to give herself in loving service to the poorest of the poor. It all starts with silence and prayer.

“Take courage! I have overcome the world.”

Q. Where is your upper room?


  1. Anne, I think the enemy works hard to discourage us before we put our feet to the Lord in the morning. How beautiful that the Lord met you in the upper room through His word and Father's message...+

    1. Thank you for your kind remarks Caroline! It is a blessing that God is always with us through prayer and the presence of kind and loving souls like you!