First Sunday of Advent

November 29, 2015


In our Gospel today, Jesus warns us not to let the anxieties of daily life catch us by surprise.

And thus Advent begins.

We are told that there will be signs – that people will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world.

And thus Advent begins.

We are told to be vigilant.

And thus Advent begins.

And we are told to stand erect, to strengthen our hearts and to trust in the promises of God.

And thus Advent begins.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the First Sunday of Advent (Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36)


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 15, 2015


Our readings today speak of great tribulation – in fact they do so with great poetry and imagery. We hear the sun will be darkened; the moon will no longer give off light, stars will fall from the sky. Some who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake and live forever; others will live in everlasting horror and disgrace.

Every year about this time, when our days begin to get darker and colder, we hear these apocalyptic readings about the end days. They almost seem to reflect the advancing barrenness of our trees and environment. The beauty and pageantry of fall has faded and now we prepare ourselves for winter and a new year for Advent is only two weeks from now.

However, this is not a time for fear or dread; rather that of hope, for we are also told that God’s elect will be gathered and will not pass away.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Deuteronomy 12:1-3; Psalm 16; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; Mark 13:24-32)


32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 8, 2015


There is a question inherent in our readings today as we encounter two widows, both of whom are extremely poor and are praised for giving away the little they had.

Our first widow story is about a nameless woman from Zaraphath, whose life is about as low as one can go. In our story, she is visited by Elijah who rather than help her, makes a request.

Our second story is almost as strange. We encounter the second widow in the Gospel learning that she gave all that she had to the temple – and Jesus praises her for this, leaving anyone who reads this today to wonder where the priorities of Jesus are – is he really suggesting that giving our last remaining funds to the church is more important than feeding ourselves?

It can seem at times, that Christianity has a rather strange affinity for the poor. We are told that the poor are blessed and most recently, Pope Francis has even proclaimed that he wishes us to be a poor church. Are we to conclude that it is good to be poor? Is poverty something that leads us to holiness?

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (1 Kings 17:10-16; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44)


Solemnity of All Saints

November 1, 2015


GK Chesterton wrote that the saints are the ones who exaggerate what the world has forgotten. Though many believe them to be nearly flawless, their only consistent perfection lies in their determination to begin again – day after day without worrying about the failures of yesterday or the obstacles of the next.

There are literally thousands of saints named by the church, but the scriptures tell us that there are millions of them in the heavens. There are those we know by name because the church highlights their lives as examples of discipleship and selflessness; and there are those we know by their face and their touch because WE highlight them for the same reason.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Solemnity of All Saints (Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12)


30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 25, 2015


Notice what happens in today’s Gospel: Jesus is with his disciples in a crowd. A beggar cries out to him, but not just any beggar: he has a name – Bartimaeus, Son of Timaeus.

Likewise, this beggar doesn’t just cry help to anyone on the street. He too recognizes and addresses Jesus by name.

As a result, Bartimaeus was healed – his faith in Jesus saved him. And from this story, we learn that mercy has a name.

In fact, you might say this is one of the great lessons of the Gospel – for Jesus continually challenged followers of the law to realize that while it was (and is) important – it alone will not save you. We are saved by a relationship – a belief in the saving power of Christ.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52)


29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 18, 2015


“Teacher, we want you do to do for us whatever we ask of you.” The hutzpah! Can you imagine going up to Jesus and asking him to grant whatever you wish??? But then again . . . I wonder how many of us have prayers like this?

One of my favourite lines from a Basilian comes from Fr. Edmund McCorkell who said, “The secret to getting what you desire, is to desire the right things.”

Most us pray for some kind of result, I think. We pray for a conclusion of some kind: a job, healing for a loved one, a child to return to the faith, acceptance into a degree program. We want answers, but I have learned that in hindsight, I wasn’t ready for the answers when I thought I was, and so God gave me grace and power instead.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 33; 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45)


28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 11, 2015


I want you take just a moment and consider the following questions: When you go to bed at night and get up in the morning, what do you think about? When you have coffee with a friend, what do you talk about? When you have free time (and we all do!), who or what gets your attention? After you have paid all your bills, where does the money go?

This is to ask: what or who do you love? Not by the words off your lips, but by your actions?

I ask this, because this Gospel is not about wealth; rather it is about love. What must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus answers, you must love God and your neighbor above all else.

Money wasn’t the rich man’s problem because money is bad. Believe me – money is good and necessary. But for this man – it was what he loved most.

What do you love most? And do your actions support that?

CLICK HERE for the readings for 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Wisdom 7:7-11; Psalm 90; Hebrews 4:12-13; Mark 10:17-30)


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