First Sunday of Advent

December 4, 2017


This past Thanksgiving was my first Thanksgiving that did not involve a plane trip in a very long time.  I must confess that it is still a bit strange for me – being back home.  The places are familiar, and yet my life is life is very different than anything I could have ever imagined it would be.

I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up – I considered all the normal boyhood careers:  firefighting, astronaut – and since my father was/is an engineer – that was also a possibility.

Be Prepared is the scout motto and it has stayed with me ever since those early teenage days.  It is also the motto of Advent in many respects.  Today’s readings tell us to be prepared for surprises – we don’t know the hour or how God will come into our lives.


Solemnity of Christ the King

November 26, 2017


What you hear in today’s readings are the qualifications for Christ the King.  You could think about this like his campaign promise, which is also a rather brutal commentary on the incumbent party.

If you were to read the section of Ezekiel just before what we hear today, you will understand Ezekiel tells them, “Woe to you who feed yourselves.  For you consume the milk, cover yourself with wool and kill what was fattened.  You did not feed my flock.  You did not strengthen the weak, heal the sick and because you did not lead them, they were dispersed and killed.”

And so we hear today, what the leaders would not do, God will do on his own.  Through Ezekiel, God promises to save Israel – not just to send a Messiah, a savior, but to be the savior.  God promises to come down and save us from ourselves.


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 20, 2017


I have always been intrigued by the reaction of the third slave, whom I consider to be the “cautious” or “careful” slave. He seems to be an upright, honest man.

He was not the smartest of the three, for he got the least amount of money, but if he weren’t a decent person, his master would have hardly entrusted him with a share of his money at all. The first and second slaves were shrewd operators; they knew how to play the market and doubled their investment.

The third slave lived in fear because his master was a greedy, demanding man who liked his money and did not look kindly upon the foolishness and failure of those in his employ.

I know many people who behave like this third slave.

The problem with this third slave is that he refused to take risks; he would not step out into the unknown.  But life is a risk.  Using your talents is a risk, because it typically means we are working outside of comfort zone, but I also think that is why we hear from Proverbs today:  specifically, the proverb of the “Good Wife”.

I say this because it is the women in my life who have helped me develop my talents the most.  And more and more I am convinced that our world will not be the place it is supposed to be until it more fully embraces the feminine side of our humanity.  The is true of our politics, our church, our streets and our homes.

As Referenced in the Homily:  “A Woman’s Place” by Kathryn Beaty, Howard Books, 2016.



32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 6, 2017


Unless you have been to a Jewish wedding, the idea of waiting for the Bridegroom may seem a bit strange.  For us, the focus is the bride, but Jewish customs focus on the bridegroom.

In the first century, the high point of the wedding was not the entrance of the bride but when the groom, accompanied by his attendants, went to the family house of the bride to transfer her to his home.

In his home the rest of the ceremony would occur and in his home the groom’s sisters and cousins would wait.  These are the “bridesmaids” that would have been waiting – not as we understand them, but those who had been asked to prepare the home for the great union of love.

And so what does this parable say about us?  We are likened to those bridesmaids who have been asked to prepare the earth for the great union of love between God and the Church.  And just like the parable, some of us have prepared well, some of us have not.


30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 29, 2017


Over the years, one of top searches in Google, if not the top depending on the year, is “What is love?”  In fact, throughout all of human existence, Love is undoubtedly the single most thought about topic of all time.  Though it is at the heart of our being and essential to the greatest commandment, this idea – noun – verb – seems to cause us the greatest difficulty.

Think for just a moment:  how would you answer the question:  What is love?

A few years ago, The Guardian took on this question from various perspectives.

Some explain love as a neurological condition or a survival tool used for safety and security.  It can be blind, one-sided, tragic, misguided, fickle and unconditional – though not usually all at once.

In a sense, love depends on you.  If you are secure in love – it can seem as easy as breathing.  If you are deprived of love, it can literally become a physical pain.

I think love is subtle and very personal.  You cannot just define it or explain it – you can only really experience it.  For most, love is most easily described in the embodiment of another – a person, a pet, a God.

Thus, it seems impossible to love God and not love your neighbor; and when considered that way – to love your neighbor is to love God, because love after all is God, and God is love – not as a noun, so much as a verb.


29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 28, 2017


The question of belonging is also present in our first and second readings.  Cyrus, whom Isaiah describes as anointed in our first reading, was the King of Persia.  Though he was not an Israelite, he was an “agent of the Lord” and permitted Israel to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple.  He was a pagan, but also anointed.  He did not know God, but was called by God.

And so we ask ourselves, in what category did Cyrus belong?  The answer is both;  as do we.

The reality is that everything belongs.  We live according to both Caeser and God for we must live in a world governed by laws of human making and those of God, but we keep trying to choose one or put them in competition with each other.


24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 17, 2017


You cannot rush forgiveness.  It is a process and so if you want to know why it is so difficult to forgive each other, it is because it is synonymous with being patient with each other.

Henri Nouwen writes that, “The great challenge is living your wounds through instead of thinking through them.”

It is better to cry than to worry; better to feel your wounds deeply, than to understand them; better to let them enter into your silence than to talk about them.

The choice you constantly face is whether you are taking your hurts to your head or to your heart.

In your head, you can analyze them, find their causes and consequences, and coin words to speak and write about them.  But no final healing is likely to come from that source.   You have to let your wounds enter your heart.[i]

[i] Jonas, Robert A.  Henri Nouwen.  New York:  Orbis Books, 1998., pg. 39

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sirach 27:30-28:7; Psalm 103; Romans 14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35)