The Longing: 5th Week of Lent

United With Love: Pledged With love in his eyes, we’ve reached the end of the aisle – our forty-day pilgrimage culminates with Holy Week, which, for Eastern Catholics, is celebrated as the Week of the Bridegroom.  It’s the week in which the Church, fertile with longing, aches to receive the gift of redemption poured out from the heart of the Bridegroom who gives himself away, not in pleasure but in agony. Like the grain of…

The Longing: 4th Week of Lent

Forgiven in Love: Adored Is there not a limit beyond which the Lord’s patience and mercy are exhausted, when we’ve used up our “one last chance”? Does He not get exasperated? Is it not reasonable to think that, at some point, the scales of Divine Justice reach a tipping point that cannot be rectified? Yes, that is reasonable! But that also isn’t how the Lord deals with us. It just isn’t, and thank God! As…

The Longing: 2nd Week of Lent

Staying in Love: Practicing Last week, we reflected on the invitation that comes to us at the start of Lent from the heart of the Bridegroom – I invite you to trust me and disrobe your heart – to take off the costume of the “self-perfected disciple”, and to stand before me in vulnerability so that you may experience the profound tsunami of my love, that it may wash over and into you, and that…

The Longing: Ash Wednesday

The Encounter with Love: Pierced Have you ever noticed at weddings, when the bride is coming down the aisle, looking radiant and joyful…have you noticed how people’s heads turn back and forth, like they’re watching a tennis match? They look at her, then up at the groom, then back at her, then back to him. She is, objectively speaking, the most beautiful one there, commanding our attention, and yet, for some reason we turn our…

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent – Year B

On the Second Sunday of Lent, as we progress toward the sacrifice of the Cross, the Church turns our focus to Jesus as He blazes with Resurrection glory in his Transfiguration. We journey with the three Apostles to the top of the mountain, which signifies a particular closeness to God. We see the Kingdom of God has appeared in power in Jesus of Nazareth. We are all terrified at this unusual sight, at this Theophany….

Homily for the Chair of St. Peter

Do you have a problem with authority? It seems that many people do. It may not be outright rebellion, but at least skepticism. Do those in charge really have my best interests in mind? So much of what following a leader depends on is trusting that what is prescribed is really good for us. With so many examples of bad leadership, whether political, social, or religious, it is no wonder that many people, especially those…

Homily for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

Leprosy was a dangerous disease that has been associated with social taboo in the past history, especially in Israel and today’s first reading is a good witness to it. Once the priest declared that a person was leprous, the person was to be considered unclean and had to live apart from the society. At the beginning, it was just for a practical reason that the lepers were asked to live apart from the society, because…

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year B

I’m sure that most people have received some type of mail with “URGENT” stamped on it. Today the prophet Jonah speaks an urgent message to the people of the city of Nineveh. “Forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed.” And the people heard it, repented of their sins and their city was spared. In the Gospel, Jesus presents an urgent message and calls his Apostles to share in spreading the news: “This is the…

Homily for the Baptism of the Lord – Year B

Water is probably to most important substances on Earth. Most of the planet and our bodies are made up of water. Water can be destructive like flash floods and tsunamis, but it also can be very beautiful and therapeutic like quiet babbling brooks, streams,and gentle waterfalls. The serenity produced by a quiet lake or pond can be healing or the awesome power of the ocean can produce great wonder and awe in the Creator. A…

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent – Year B

The moment is almost here. “The mystery kept secret for long ages… [is soon to be] manifested” (Rom 16:25). Before we race ahead, though, let us linger a bit more on today’s mystery. If we are not careful, we can overlook it. Yes, one of the greatest mysteries is that the Word became flesh. But we just heard the account of the Annunciation, the moment when this Word became flesh. Today, we’re nine months from…

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent – Year B

The Advent Season — and the 3rd Sunday of Advent, or Rejoicing Sunday, in particular! — is both a joyful and a difficult season, a season of preparing for the Coming of the Lord. “Prepare the way of the Lord!” St. John the Baptist cries out in today’s Gospel. “Prepare for His Coming!” What is difficult about Advent is that the Church is asking us to prepare for ALL THREE of the Lord’s Comings. Two…

Homily for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

This passage is a parable for the Kingdom of God. The hearers of this Gospel passage would have been Jews who had been faithful (to some degree or another) throughout their whole lives.  They were proud of their Jewish heritage, their traditions, their worship, and their status.  They could not imagine that the Messiah would invite gentiles to his flock.  After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he told his disciples to go out to the…

Homily for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

Many of our parishioners may have heard of Saint John Paul II’s teaching on the Theology of the Body. If we were to ask them what that means, what would they say? I am guessing that many would say, “Oh, that’s about chastity, right?” Or, “I think that’s for married people.” Well, that is partly true. But, John Paul II also wrote at the end of this four-year long series on the meaning of our…

Homily for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

In Rembrandt’s painting of the father embracing the prodigal son, we see the father, elderly and blind, drawing his son close to his heart in a warm, merciful embrace. The son, on his knees, his head shaven and his clothing torn, receives the embrace, and is welcomed back into full communion with his father. The son’s head is turned sideways and his ear is pressed against his father’s chest, where, I imagine, he can hear…

Homily for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

I recently went camping in Glacier Park in Montana. At night, my friend and I spent hours watching the stars. In the northern United States, free from light pollution, the night sky is crystal clear. Satellites pass silently overhead. Comets shoot across the sky. Planes full of travelers move through the starscape. Jupiter and Saturn appear for a time before dipping below the horizon. In a large city, we perceive these stars to be absent…

Homily for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

The readings for this Sunday feature two things that help to define every priest: his clothing and his keys. Our first reading mentions clothing as a sign of authority. Due in part to his self-seeking political ambition and his ostentatious display, Shebna is thrust from the office of the king’s prime minster. (Let us priests beware!) Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord tells Shebna that he will clothe his successor Eliakim with Shebna’s own robe….

Homily for the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Back in the 1600’s Jesus Christ appeared to Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque in a series of visions. In the apparitions that lasted over a year and half, Jesus Christ revealed His Sacred Heart to Sister Margaret Mary and invited her to help spread the message of the Sacred Heart to the world. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is now one of…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

“This is my body, which is given up for you.” How many of us even pay attention when we hear those words, week in and week out?  Are we really conscious of what we are hearing proclaimed to us not just by the priest who utters those words but also by Christ himself?  Or have we become so desensitized to the meaning of the spoken word that those words—words which evoke the power of life…

Homily for The Fifth Sunday of Easter – Year A

Jesus the Bridegroom Wants to Bring Us Home to Perfect Communion This week’s Gospel comes from John 14.  Early on, the passage focuses on an image of Heaven, an eternal house with many dwelling places where the inhabitants enjoy communion with God. “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and…

Coming into the Light of Christ: Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

    In this Sunday’s readings we hear the great story of the man born blind – a man who goes through a transformation in the story. This transformation is all about coming into the light of Christ. My own faith story seems to be like the man born blind. The man born blind does not know who Jesus is or why He asks him if he wants to be healed. The man just wants…

Quenching the Thirst of Our Lord: Reflection for the Third Sunday of Lent

  Shortly before my ordination, I made my canonically-required retreat and began the first day by praying with the Gospel account of the Samaritan woman at the well. It seemed to me that reflecting upon this very personal encounter of one person with our Lord would make for a good start to the retreat, and I was not disappointed. For four one-hour periods of prayer, the Lord spoke to me in various ways through this…

Transfiguration Prepares the Way for the Cross: Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent

In the Gospel account of the Transfiguration Jesus takes three of his closest friends with him up the mountain. The event is miraculous!  Their savior is speaking with the representatives of the entire faith of Israel – Moses and Elijah.  Moses was believed to have single handedly written the Law; Elijah represented all the Prophets.  His disciples must have remembered Jesus saying that he came not to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill. …

Jesus and the Whistling Gypsy Rover

  Not long ago I was driving my wide-eyed and wonder-filled six-year old daughter Clare to school and we decided to listen to the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem’s rendition of The Whistlin’ Gypsy Rover. (I start priming my kiddos for St. Patrick’s Day in February. Actually, we’re always celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at our house). If you’re Irish, you might know this tune, which has been covered by a bunch of singers over the years, slightly tweaked…

Advent and the Surrender of Almighty God

The word Islam has often been translated as peace, similar to the word shalom. The Arabic root for the word Islam, however, gives a fuller understanding; it means surrender or submission. This is the goal of Islam; the surrender and submission of everything to Allah, the One Who is All-Powerful and All-Knowing. Allah, the absolute Master and Ruler of the universe. It’s believed that peace will come to the one who completely submits to Him. There is a clarity…

Risky Business – A Man’s Take on Risk & Relationships

To start, let’s have a basic lesson in risk and investing. Keeping it simple – when you make an investment, the rate of return is usually based on a mathematical formula with a key factor being calculated risk. Why invest? Because we seek some sort of gain or growth on what we put in. You start a business to make money, you buy stocks to be paid dividends, etc. etc.   You give something with the…