16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 20, 2014


You have heard me say many times before that, for those who believe, there is always a resurrection.  Suffering is never without meaning; pain is never without healing; mistakes are never without redemption.

In today’s first reading, Wisdom tells us that we have “good ground for hope:  for God gave us the ability to repent from our sins.”

But some would ask, why did God give us the ability to sin at all?    Or to put the question in the context of the Gospel, why does God allow for the weeds?  After all, God is God – why wouldn’t God just create a world with only wheat?  Why must we struggle and toil?  Why must good struggle against evil?

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Wisdom 12:13, 16-19; Psalm 86; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43).


15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 13, 2014


Usually, when I think about this Gospel, I ask myself about the seeds I am sowing in my own life? Are they seeds that produce fruit and food for nourishment? Or do they grow into weeds that choke off what would otherwise give life? When these seeds mature, what kind of harvest will they produce?

These are. . . good, necessary, provocative questions; but they are not my focus today. Today, I would like to talk about the soil. If the Word of God is the seed, then we become the soil – not just me or you – but WE. All of us. Individually, we have enough soil for A seed to live; but together, we have enough soil to produce an abundant harvest. And indeed this parish community is upon very, very fertile ground. Which means that we have a responsibility to plant well so that the Lord may reap an abundant harvest.

Over the past year, I have been planting seeds here and there – asking questions about what kind of parish community we want to be. By now we are all aware that our community is growing – new condo developments are getting higher all the time and more people are coming to this parish to feed on the word of God and Bread of Life. Where many parishes are getting older and slowing dying, St. Basil’s is getting younger and thriving.

This Sunday, you are given an invitation.   I don’t believe in burdening you with unnecessary pressure, but I do want to raise your awareness through the invitation of the Gospel today.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 65; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23).


14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 6, 2014


As you listen to our first reading today, I want you to hear it in your own time and circumstances. Think about the headlines in the news – threats of war, collapsing infrastructure, population growth, tensions within families, etc. . . Because this is how Zechariah understood his circumstances, and yet he was given a promise that peace would come – the promise we hear in our first reading.

So take a moment and take a deep breath – go ahead – take a deep breath and hold it.

Jesus tells us, “Come to me all you who labour and are weary, for I will give you rest. ”

Now Exhale.  Exhale and let go of the burdens – for you live according to the spirit, not of the flesh. This is the message of the scriptures today.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalm 145; Romans 8:9, 11-13; Matthew 11:25-30).


Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

June 29, 2014


Who do you say that I am? It is the question isn’t it? Notice that he didn’t ask what do I teach or what do you think of my ideas? Jesus didn’t ask anything about what he said or did – he asked his disciples about himself.

Unlike other great teachers of the world, Jesus demands that we love – not a set of teachings or ideas – but him. Thus, our faith is not simply about a set of doctrines or ideas, but about who YOU confess that Jesus is – for you?

Perhaps he is a historical figure? Perhaps a Sunday companion? Perhaps he is the one you go to when you are in need? Perhaps an inspiring teacher or activist? Perhaps a healer? Whatever you say, the question demands an answer – and it is worth reflection on.

Both Peter and Paul have their own answers. For Peter, Jesus is the Messiah. For Paul, Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. Today we are blessed to celebrate these two men who represent the two archetypes of the church: structure and mission.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul (Acts 12:1-11; Psalm 34; 2 Timothy 4:4-8, 17-18; Matthew 16:13-19).


Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

June 22, 2014


Last October, I offered a sermon series on the Eucharist to all those who come for daily Mass. You might recall that I based it on Our One Great Act of Fidelity by Ronald Rolheiser.

As a priest, I have obviously given a fair amount of thought to the Eucharist and having been quite inspired by Rolheiser’s book, I set out to teach those in the Congregation what I knew and what I had learned. I was naïve.

I have given A LOT of presentations and more homilies than I could count, but those five days were some of the most challenging I have ever given. I simply didn’t understand how personal the Eucharist is. And I certainly didn’t appreciate its power to bring unity from so much diversity.

There is no single theology of the Eucharist – not anywhere – not in scripture or in our tradition. But Christians argue a lot about it. What does it mean? How often should it be celebrated? Who should be allowed to participate?

Today, we are unified in what we cannot understand – nor can we ever really understand.  We are unified not by what we know – but by who we encounter.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Corpus Christi (Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16, Psalm 147; 1 Corinthians 10-16-17; John 6:51-58).


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

June 14, 2014


To understand the nature of God is to understand our own nature. So what do we know about the nature of God?

When Benedict XVI was Ratzinger, he said that the Trinity states the absoluteness of the relative.  That is to say that relationship belongs to the very nature of God.

We are told through the scriptures that God is love. God is a verb – not a person or a thing – not a noun or an adjective. God is a VERB. God is love; thus God’s nature is the dynamic between a lover, a beloved and the love between them.

Thus God is a relationship – more like a community or a family.  On this Father’s Day, it is not a bad analogy.

Today’s Solemnity reminds us that the best relationships are the ones that don’t simply fulfill ourselves, but more important draw us out of ourselves.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Trinity (Exodus 34:4-6,8-9; Deuteronomy 3:52-56; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18).


The Solemnity of Pentecost

June 8, 2014


Today we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, but how do we receive it?  It happens when we lose.  It is born in anxiety and fear, because only then are we ready to receive help – when we are no longer capable of the task on our own accord.  That IS what happens in the upper room is it not – what we hear about in our readings today?

And this is uncomfortable.  We prefer self-reliance and independence.  We want to believe we can win, be in control.  But the fact that we are wearing red reminds us that we are not.

Pentecost celebrates the birth of the Church, which means that our existence comes out of our ability to receive what we do not have.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23).


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