For Sunday, February 4, 2018
Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Job 7:1-4, 6-7
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Part of the genius of Saint Benedict of Nursia was his emphasis on a balance of work and prayer. Saint Benedict, who founded 12 monasteries in Italy in the 6th century, brought together the wisdom of generations of monks before him but re-shaped those teachings in the light of his own understanding of the human psyche. This is part of the reason that the way of life he established remains a vital part of the Church today. (more…)
For Sunday, December 24, 2017
Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-15, 8B-12, 14A, 16
The Gospels do not relate a single word spoken by Joseph, the husband of Mary. He is a silent, loving figure standing in the shadows during Advent, coming into view only in the final days of this season of watching and waiting. And, while we do hear from Mary in the gospels of Luke and John, few of her words have come down to us.
Despite the fact that we hear so little from the parents of Jesus, we can nevertheless recognize one particular virtue that both shared: obedience.
For Sunday, November 19, 2017
33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
What is the purpose of the Christian life? Or, to ask the question in a simpler way, what’s the point of all this?
As the Church Year comes to an end, this essential question is brought into sharp focus. The answer is as simple as it might be unpopular: we’re waiting for the fulfillment of time and of hope-filled promises of an untold future. We are awaiting the return of Christ. I would go so far as to say that if we’re not watching and waiting in hopeful expectation, then something vital is missing from our individual faith.
For Sunday, October 1, 2017
26th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Philippians 2:1-11 or 2:1-5
Graham Greene was a British novelist who has come to be regarded as one of the greatest English-language writers of the last century. Greene (who passed away in 1991) wrote more than two dozen novels as well as several plays, screenplays, and collections of short stories. Woven throughout his writings are religious themes, especially about the themes of forgiveness and redemption. Anyone who has read the story of the nameless “Whiskey Priest” in The Power and the Glory, of the adulterous Sarah in The End of the Affair, or of the Cervantes-inspired Monsignor Quixote knows Greene, who was also Roman Catholic, artfully weaves together questions of God and faith with the complexities—and darkness—of life and love.
For Sunday, June 18, 2017
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
In 1928, Myles Connolly published a small novel entitled Mr. Blue, which tells the story of a young man who decides to live out the Christian faith in a serious, transforming way. The book was intended to serve as a Christian response to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic work, The Great Gatsby. Blue lives a life of extremes, we might even say of excess, but it is a far cry from the extravagance of the Roaring Twenties.
Mr. Blue has much to say to us about how faith in Christ can shape a life, transforming a person’s very existence into an act of eucharistia—an act of thanksgiving—that by its very nature draws others into communion. (more…)
For Sunday, May 07, 2017,
4th Sunday of Easter
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
1 Peter 2:20b-25
Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”
In 2013 in his message for the 50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations (which is celebrated each year on the Fourth Sunday of Easter), Pope Benedict XVI observed, “Hope is the expectation of something positive in the future, yet at the same time it must sustain our present existence, which is often marked by dissatisfaction and failures… To have hope, therefore, is the equivalent of trusting in God who is faithful, who keeps the promises of the covenant.”
This sense of hope is at the heart of this Sunday’s Gospel, which places before us one of the greatest biblical images of God’s faithful care and mercy: the Good Shepherd. The Evangelist John uses the image of the Good Shepherd (cf. chapter 10) to illustrate the intimate way Christ knows each of us—the flock entrusted to his care—and how, like a faithful shepherd, he constantly watches over us and lifts us up. (more…)
For Sunday, March 19, 2017, 3rd Sunday of Lent
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
John 4:5-42 or 5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42
As Ash Wednesday approaches each year, one of the first questions we Catholics ask is, “What should I give up for Lent?” And it’s a fair question because, as we know, penance is a traditional part of our Lenten observance.
So, how do you or your family and friends answer this question? Do you give up social media? Television? Chocolate or another favorite food? Soft drinks, coffee, or alcohol? While it’s true that taking a break from any of those can be good for us, we also have to ask ourselves if these sacrifices are really helping us to grow in our lives as Christians.
It’s important to remember that our word “Lent” comes from the Old English word for “springtime.” This gives us a wonderful insight into what the days between Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday are all about: a season when faith and the virtues of the Christian life grow and flower within our hearts and souls. (more…)
For Sunday, January 29, 2017, 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
—Matthew 5:1-2 (more…)
For Sunday, December 11, 2016, 3rd Sunday of Advent
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.
Indeed, the Lord is near.
—Philippians 4:4-5 (Entrance antiphon for the Third Sunday of Advent)
On this Third Sunday of Advent, the Church gives us a very specific mandate: rejoice! And, during these pre-Christmas days, it seems that there is joy all around us. Actually, there has been for a while. Businesses, public spaces, and homes are filled with the sights and sounds of Christmas and the dark hues and somber tones of Advent seem to be largely confined to our churches and chapels. (more…)
For Sunday, October 23, 2016, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Several days ago I had the privilege of presenting a series of workshops for the diocesan congress of the Diocese of Fresno. This annual event brings together clergy and religious, professional and volunteer ministers, and young adults from around that diocese for a time of formation, catechesis, and renewal. It was a wonderful event and one that I hope more dioceses will plan in the coming years, especially because it gave the participants an opportunity to engage new ideas and develop new skills for ministry. (more…)