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…

The Assumption: What We Can Assume

Why the Assumption? Today is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. This can be a difficult teaching of the Catholic Church for some to grasp or even see the relevance of in today’s world. Catholics are called to believe that the body and soul of the Mother of Jesus was taken up into heaven a few decades perhaps after her son was crucified, to be reunited with Him, to share fully in the blessed…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption

  In 1275 the great Mongol ruler Kublai Khan said to Niccolo and Marco Polo that “yours is the only religion that has turned a symbol of death (the Cross) into an object of beauty and power.” Kublai probably never realized just how correct he truly was. Even though death is the most feared thing in the U.S., thanks to the rise of secularism and the decrease in faith, it truly has no power over…

Theology of the Body and the Role of Our Lady in Discernment

THEOLOGY OF THE BODY & PRIESTLY VOCATIONAL DISCERNMENT: PART 4 St. John Paul II had a great relationship with Mary, the Mother of God.  It is said that when his earthly mother passed away when he was 9; he went to Our Lady of Czestochowa and proclaimed her to be his mother now.  This relationship grew to be one of the most important relationships in John Paul’s life.  His papal motto of Totus Tuus (Total…

Fill This Womb

As we reflect on Mary as Mother of God we are naturally invited to reflect on the first home that she offered to the Incarnate Word, namely her own body. To be more precise, she offered her womb. The Motherhood of Mary invites us to reflect on the meaning of a womb and normally when we reflect on the Motherhood of Mary, we reflect on this womb, which is full of God. But Mary’s full…

Immaculate Conception and the Theology of the Body

Dec. 8 is one of my favorite feast days. Why? Because Mary’s Immaculate Conception is the certainty that what Christ did on the Cross worked. It is the living hope of humanity’s redemption. For redemption to be complete it not only has to be perfectly given, it also has to be perfectly received. It has been perfectly given in Christ, and perfectly received in Mary, who, through “a singular grace and privilege” was “redeemed from…

Homily for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

  Today we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Mary, Our Mother.  Mary, who was to become the mother of the Savior of the whole world, was conceived without the stain of original sin.  She was preserved in a particular way to prepare an acceptable place for the Messiah. The first reading today is the story of the fall of Adam and Eve.  Adam and Eve were created without sin, in what we can call…

Advent and the Surrender of Almighty God

The word Islam has often been translated as peace, similar to the word shalom. The Arabic root for the word Islam, however, gives a fuller understanding; it means surrender or submission. This is the goal of Islam; the surrender and submission of everything to Allah, the One Who is All-Powerful and All-Knowing. Allah, the absolute Master and Ruler of the universe. It’s believed that peace will come to the one who completely submits to Him. There is a clarity…