Archive for January, 2015

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 25, 2015

A KINGDOM OF FORGIVENESS

What does the Kingdom of God look like?  It is when we allow ourselves to be forgiven. Not when God forgives us, but when we allow God to forgive us. When we forgive ourselves.

Can you imagine what the world would look like if everyone lived with forgiveness? Now we understand why it is called the Kingdom of God.

But forgiveness is a difficult thing. Most of us are so comfortable carrying our guilt and shame that it has become a part of our identity.  Have you ever been in a relationship and confessed something that you considered to be a stumbling block only to have the person to whom you are confessing tell you that it isn’t a stumbling block for them?  It is much the same with God.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 25; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20).

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Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

January 18, 2015

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

It really is a very simple question, isn’t it? “What are you looking for?” “Why are you here?” . . . we all have a reason. . . and then we have to ask ourselves if we are REALLY here? Present to all that is happening? Actively engaged?

Later this year will mark my 10th anniversary of vows with the Basilian Fathers. Last year, I celebrated 5 years of priestly ministry. I am not the same man I was 10 and 5 years ago (thanks be to God). Those many years ago I was haunted by the idea that there was something more – I was looking. But I did not know what for. The call was not specific. I later realized that the urge to follow the question was in fact the call. A call I could not answer until I found the Basilians. It is much like people saying they want to get married before they meet their spouse. At that point, all you can like is the idea of marriage, which is actually rather misleading and I dare say even dangerous.

You cannot discern marriage without someone to discern with; just like you cannot discern priesthood without a relationship with God and the Church. Nor can you discern Religious Life without a relationship with a community.

But sometimes, often actually, it takes someone doing exactly what Jesus did – it takes someone asking the question: “What are you looking for?”

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (I Samuel 3:3-10,19; Psalm 40; 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20; John 1:35-42).

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The Baptism of the Lord

January 10, 2015

WITH YOU I AM WELL PLEASED

Every time I read that Gospel, I get goosebumps. . . because there is nothing I want to hear more that those words from the heavens.

In my heart and mind, I have this idea that, at the end of my days, I will stand before God and God will say, “You are my beloved, and with you I am well pleased.”

At one level, I don’t know why I react so strongly to those words, but on another level, I know exactly why. Because all of this – everything I do is because it is the only response I feel that is appropriate for what I have received.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Baptism of the Lord (Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29; 1 John 5:1-9; Mark 1:7-11).

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Epiphany of the Lord

January 4, 2015

ARRIVING

Only a few days ago, we celebrated Christmas – Word made flesh – the birth of our savior. On that holy night, angels appeared to the shepherds telling them not to be afraid, for there is good news of great joy for all peoples.

What did they have to be afraid of? If you recall, that was a question I asked in my Christmas homily. Perhaps they were afraid because they had nothing much to offer. They came with only themselves – and that was enough.

Today, we celebrate another arrival – the kings from the East who brought quite the opposite of nothing. Their journey and presents is quite different from the humble shepherds who appeared at the crib of Jesus the night of his birth.

As I reflect on this feast, I cannot help but wonder if one is more important than the other? If we are honest, I think we probably all wonder that. . .

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Epiphany of the Lord (Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72; Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12).

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Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

January 1, 2015

AS WE PONDER

Mary is the woman of 1000 names and 1000 images. She is everything and nothing all at once. The mother of God and mother of humanity.

She is hope for the hopeless and strength for the sinner. She is the Queen of Peace and the inspirational heroine of revolutions and revolutionaries.

No matter where you travel or what you believe, Mary is there taking on the form of the children who venerate her. Perhaps no where is this more striking than at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth – there countries across the world have gifted mosaics of Mary as she is known in their own country – so many that they fill a walls around the church itself.

And for all that Mary is for so many others, she herself is, on the surface, so very simple. She did not perform any grand miracles or give dramatic speeches. Her actions are few and her presence is quiet.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 67; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21).