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…

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…

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 Epiphany

  I guess my favorite time of the year is Christmas, because of the immense beauty and awe-inspiring humility of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Not surprisingly, that’s probably the case for many people, as well. However, I also love the celebration, theology, and whole tradition surrounding the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, which used to be celebrated as an octave or celebration for 8 days, as is the case…

Homily for Christmas Eve

  I remember growing up as a little boy in Staten Island, New York and someone gave us a small, inexpensive electric keyboard. My family may very well be the most unskilled family when it comes to playing musical instruments. I equate our family having an organ with a penguin being in the North Pole, both are completely lost. But, the organ also came with a very simply playbook of simple songs. One of those…

Christmas Smells

For some people, the smells of Christmas are chestnuts roasting over an open fire (has anyone actually tried this?) or gingerbread cookies. Maybe it’s a peppermint hot chocolate, or that fresh scent of pine needles from a Christmas tree that puts you in the Christmas spirit. For me it’s the smell of manure. The smell of fodder, of earth, a dank cave or wet sheep’s wool. That smell you pick up from being with the…