The Ache of Advent and What Mother Mary Can Teach Us

It’s a blessing to live in a climate where the seasons of the liturgical year clasp hands in prayer with that of the natural world. We’re in the middle of Advent, and in the northeastern USA, the dark and shorter days leave us yearning for more Light. The bare bones of tree branches reach achingly into grey snow clouds, desperately longing for the warmth of the Sun. Advent just feels like this fallow time, this…

St. Ambrose

ST. AMBROSE December 7 What makes a priest fruitful? Some may say, “Great preaching” or “advanced degrees” or “hard work.” Even among priests, the answer varies from generation to generation. While some of this variation is healthy and good, often what is identified and praised as fruitful ministry revolves around unique gifts or certain charisms particular to an individual. And while each priest has his own gifts and talents that may contribute to his fruitfulness,…

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 2nd Sunday of Advent – Year B

I would imagine that in our lives we hear numerous voices. Some voices are ones that we welcome — these would be the voices that we hear in the call of the sacraments of Matrimony or Holy Orders. “I., N., take you N. to be my husband/wife.” Or in Holy Orders: “Have you found these men worthy?” This voice is not only calling us to a vocation, but this voice is also calling us to…

Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

What Jesus actually means Sometimes a very small word can make a very large difference. We hear the word “talent” in today’s gospel, and we probably assume that Jesus meant specific gifts. Athletic ability is a talent. Beauty is a talent. Intelligence is a talent. Charisma is a talent. Cooking is a talent. But what if we don’t possess these talents? What if I feel like I’m the person who only received one talent? We…

Making Sense Out of the Senseless

Americans are reeling again from yet another horrific mass shooting, this time in the hallowed space of a church in southern Texas. Twenty-six people lost their lives (several of them were children). In just the past few months we’ve witnessed terror strikes at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, a Maryland bank, a park in Manhattan. As the attacks are becoming more common in these most ordinary of places, Americans are feeling more and more…

Homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

Self-gratification or self-giving, that is the question. And which is nobler? The choice is ours and each of us must make the decision. In the Gospel Jesus explains to us the proper end of each choice in the parable of the ten virgins. “Five of them were foolish and five were wise.” The first reading together with the Gospel reflects the urgency of living a selfless life. The only difference between the wise and foolish…

Sex: Talking to Your Little Ones

Talking to Your Little Ones About the Big Topic of Sex A much repeated sentence we hear at our Theology of the Body retreats and courses is, “I wish I heard this when I was younger!” or “I wish my parents were able to give me such a positive and beautiful message about the gift of sexuality!” Well, we can’t change the past, but by His grace we can certainly affect the present and hopefully…

St. Paul of the Cross

ST. PAUL OF THE CROSS October 20 “I have been crucified with Christ.” (Gal 2:19) Suffering, whether it is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, seems to be an inevitable part of life. Some flee from suffering seeking relief and escape. Others, disillusioned by pain, become confused about the meaning of life and some, troubled by evil in the world, question the existence of God.1 Whether someone is fighting against injustice, enduring the consequences of one’s…