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…

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…

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…

Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

As religious belief is increasingly trivialized in our secular world, we priests sometimes get caricatured as being too fixated on the “rules” of Catholicism. It’s not uncommon these days, even within the walls of our own parishes, for someone to remind us that we live in 2017 and times are a-changing, that some of the Scriptures just don’t really apply anymore, and that Jesus would indiscriminately accept all people without judgment and so should we….

Homily for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

As Christians, I think we’ve all heard the expression, “live in the world, but be not of the world.” I think the gospel for this Sunday is a perfect example of that. Jesus is being tested yet again by the Pharisees, trying, once again, to “trap him in his words.” They are very cunning and deceitful. In fact, the beginning of this gospel reminds me of another gospel passage, the very passage on which St….

Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

Jesus was always comparing his Kingdom to many human images — from the mustard seed to the return of the prodigal son; yet, his parable of the wedding feast illustrates God and our relationship to Him with perhaps unmatched clarity. Notwithstanding the scholastic caveat of any human analogy to fully express divine realities (i.e., that God is always more “unlike”than “like” our human attributes), the Kingdom of heaven is overwhelmingly akin “to a King who…