Getting more than you bargained for: Homily for Sunday, October 29, 2017

Readings for Today

There are moments when we think we are asking about one thing, and we get an answer to the question that we did not expect.  Today’s gospel is just one such occasion. The question asked of Jesus concerns the greatest commandment.  Namely, we should love the Lord our God with everything we have.  But what the person asking the question did not expect was to be given the second commandment.  We are also to love our neighbors as ourselves.

When Jesus identifies the second commandment, he makes the first commandment clearer.  If we are to love God with all we have, we must love our neighbors as ourselves. Loving God means loving neighbor. We cannot say we love God if we do not love our neighbor.  So when you ask Jesus a question, be careful.  You too might get more in the answer than you bargained for.


Jesus meant EVERYBODY: Homily for Monday, October 9, 2017

Readings for Today

I want a loophole.  I want to exclude some people from being my neighbor.  Some people might hurt me.  Some people might take advantage of me.  Why must I love them? Why must I include them in my list of neighbors? These are not easy questions.  But this gospel today is radical.  It is tough.  When Jesus tells us to love our neighbor, and then tells this story, he means everybody is our neighbor.  We have to love everybody.

And this is not easy.  Because I do not want to love everybody.  I want to love those people who are easy to love.  I do not want to love the stranger.  I do not want to love the prisoner.  And if I can suggest they are unworthy of love, then all the better.  If I can say they are lazy, or mean, or evil, then I can feel better not loving them.  But that misses the answer given by Jesus.  Loving our neighbor means loving everyone.

Becoming Beautiful Grapes: Homily for Sunday, October 8, 2017

Readings for Today

My aunt and uncle had a vineyard behind their house.  It was not very big, but it produced tasty grapes.  I really liked them.  And while my childhood memory may not be great, I do not remember sour grapes. To be clear, there was care for the grapes that I did not see.  They required care.  They needed to be tended to in order to be tasty.

I cannot imagine what would have happened if in spite of the hard work there were no grapes to be had.  Or, worse, if despite hard work the grapes were sour. And yet that is what we hear in the readings.  Despite the loving self-gift of Jesus to save us, we do not always bear good fruit. We turn away.  We disrupt. And sometimes even, we kill.  The call today is to be the disciple that does not disrupt, but bears fruit.

The lowly: Homily for Saturday, September 9, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for today

Saint Peter Claver was known for his tremendous care for the poor.  The office of readings today, part of the prayers priests and deacons pray each day comes from his description of his care for the slaves. He reminds us that before one can speak of faith, it is important to provide trust and care.  The description of his care and the later catechesis is beautiful.

In such a fractured country, we are reminded of the need to express care and concern for one another.  Without care and trust, not much else is possible.  And we do not trust each other.  We argue and we are divided. Perhaps we can heal and come together through the intercession of Saint Peter Claver.

Love Neighbor: Homily for Saturday, August 26, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for today

Which commandment is the greatest? That was yesterday’s question.  Remember the answer.  Not just the greatest commandment, but Jesus mentioned the second greatest commandment too.  Today it is clear why Jesus felt compelled to say this.  He discusses the difference between the knowledge of the law, which the Pharisees have, and the application of that knowledge, which they do not have.

Too often this is applied to mean Jesus did not care about the Law.  That was not the case.  Jesus says other times that he has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not do away with them.  So just what does he mean?  He clarifies by his words and actions the purpose of the Law.  The Law is always meant to bring a person closer to God.  So to preach is not just about knowing the Law, but helping others to understand it, to apply it, to live it.  And, it is about accompanying others when they fall, and seeking their forgiveness and understanding when we fall.

Mercy: Homily for Friday, August 18, 2017

To listen to the entire homily click here.

Readings for Today

Once again I am focused on the response to the psalm.  His mercy endures for ever.  This response is so comforting to me.  But packed into this response, especially when considered against the backdrop of the gospel readings of the past few days, is also a challenge.  It will always be true that God’s mercy will last. But it may not be true that I am able to receive it, because of my closed heart.

The readings of the past few days remind us that we must forgive.  It is not that God withholds forgiveness.  Rather, it is the case that our hearts, when we choose not to forgive, are closed to God’s mercy.  To open our hearts, we must seek to be like God.  Even though God’s hatred of sin is just, God’s mercy is given to those who repent.  It can be the case that we do not forgive the actions of others because we find those actions in our own lives.  We commit these sins.  By forgiving, and prayer for the grace to forgive, we open our hearts wider to receive God.


Daily prayer for July 8, 2017

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.

Life: Homily for Monday, January 23, 2017

Readings for Today

Today is the prayer for the legal protection of the unborn.  Life.  Surely there are not many more divisive issues than abortion.  Those on both sides can feel passionate about the issue.  Sometimes, this passion is misplaced in the ways we talk about each other.  We can use very hostile words that prevent any discussion.  But what struck me in watching the women’s march were some of the horrible signs people carried.  One said, “If Mary had had an abortion we would not have this problem.” Another said, “A Baby should not be the punishment for sex.”  I was stunned at the level of vitriol in these two signs.

What surprises me is how this is the tenor of a march for women.  What was clear is organisers saw no place for women who did not believe in abortion.  Sad.  Certainly, there are issues to be addressed.  Women do often face many issues in society that make things difficult.

But what if it were more known what the Catholic Church does on behalf of women who need assistance when their baby is born? After all, despite the often repeated false claim, people that are truly pro-life do care about the baby after he or she is born.  The Catholic Church is the largest provider of social services after the federal government.

Today, let us pray for those women faced with the difficult decisions that come with pregnancy.  And let us pray that by our efforts, they may see the support we provide for them in our actions.