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…

St. Peter Claver

ST. PETER CLAVER September 9 Saint Peter Claver dedicated 40 years of his life to ministering to the African slaves that were being sold in the Kingdom of New Granada (present day Colombia). When he made his final profession as a member of the Society of Jesus in 1622, by which time he had been ministering to the slaves for 12 years, he declared himself, “slave of the Africans forever.” He made himself all things…

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….