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 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…