For Sunday, January 07, 2018
The Epiphany of the Lord
Ephesians 3:2-3A, 5-6
“We Three Kings of Orient are bearing gifts, we traverse afar…”. So goes the popular song we’ll likely hear this Sunday. Each verse highlights one of the gifts the Magi bring. Homilies sometimes include a symbolic breakdown of each of the gifts and how they point to Christ’s kingship, priestly role, and his death. Most of us won’t see much gold in our lifetime, and we probably need to Google “frankincense ” and “myrrh”. At Epiphany, we often focus on what the wise men brought. All too rarely do we reflect on what brought them.
For Sunday, December 31, 2017
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 OR Genesis 15:1-6, 21:1-3
Colossians 3:12-21 OR Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19
Does the “typical” family really exist? Families come in so many shapes and sizes and there is nothing “typical” about them. Our family of origin, our family of association, the family of our church, the family of humanity and the family of creation are all different types of families. Even our work and school associations are often referred to as “families.” They vary in expression and style as much as human beings vary one to the other. As much as we are different, our families are different. All require tolerance, patience and freedom of expression. We are more connected to each other and to all of creation than we think. We are hard-wired to be connected with God, one another and our world. We cannot be our best selves in isolation.
The Holy Family was not typical either. (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, December 17, 2017
Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 60:1-2A, 10-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28
No other season of the year has inspired as much music as the Christmas season has. From Thanksgiving Day on, travelers and shoppers are serenaded with carols both new and old in shopping centers, airports and restaurants. Many radio stations dedicate 24 hours of programming to Christmas music.
This loop of Christmas music includes not only classic holiday favorites such as Bing Crosby’s I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas or Burl Ives’ Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, but to more contemporary songs such as Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You and Wham’s Last Christmas. And younger musicians continue to release new holiday albums in hopes of scoring the next Christmas classic.
For Sunday, December 10, 2017
Second Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
2 Peter 3:8-14
Before I entered the monastery, I enjoyed hosting dinner parties at my house. I enjoyed planning the entire evening – from choosing the dinner and dessert menu, to selecting a good bottle of wine, to shopping, cooking and cleaning, and setting the table. I would prepare topics for conversation and even readied a board game if the mood felt right! By late afternoon, I had freshened up and the last minute food prep underway. As the appointed time drew nearer, I put the flowers in the vase, lit the pine-scented candles, and vacuumed the rug one last time! I would feel a nervous excitement. Then “ding dong” went the doorbell and the party was on!
The Advent season takes on this same anticipatory sense. (more…)
For Sunday, December 03, 2017
First Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B: 64:2-7
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
We hosted two other families for Thanksgiving this year, which means I spent the week of Thanksgiving like many of you – cleaning, cooking, and preparing. After the pomp and chaos, I settled in for a long weekend ready to rest (and eat more turkey). I stumbled upon a Hallmark-type Christmas movie centered on the predictable worldly pair falling in love as the snow flurries around them. At one part in the film, the lead female missed a warning sign on the banks of a lake not fully frozen and found herself stranded in the middle, ice skating, as the lake began to crack around her. As expected, the leading male arrived just in time to help her off the ice, admonishing her for missing the warning sign.
In an unexpected way, that scene in the low-budget film has me reflecting a lot on the connection between Advent and the stern warning our Lord gives us in the Gospel. “Be watchful! Be alert! … What I say to you all: ‘Watch!’”
For Sunday, November 26, 2017
Solemnity of Christ the King
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
In his encyclical Laudato Si Pope Francis writes: “The creation accounts in the book of Genesis contain, in their own symbolic and narrative language, profound teachings about human existence and its historical reality. They suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbor and with the earth itself.” In other words, we are designed by God to keep these fundamental relationships in proper perspective and order. With our reading from Ezekiel and Matthew’s Gospel front and center on this Feast of Christ the King, we are able to give these primary relationships some much needed reflection. Also, assessing these relationships is a wonderful way to end one liturgical year and begin another.
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, November 12, 2017
32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The first time I considered this question seriously was after the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. Up to that point, it had seemed as though every other terrorist attack happened far away. However, we live only 45 minutes south of Boston and 20 minutes west of where one of the perpetrators attended college.
For Sunday, November 05, 2017
31st Sunday of Ordinary Time
Malachi 1:14B-2:2B, 8-10
1 Thessalonians 2:7B-9, 13
These words may be familiar to you. We hear them in Mary’s Magnificat, as she sings the praises of God, who acts in a way counterintuitive to the plans of the world. They aren’t in this Sunday’s readings, but they perfectly capture the theme of the Gospel and the latest stream of current events.
In the era of the 24 hour news cycle, it seems like anyone and anything are up for grabs. As much as we thrive on thrusting people into the limelight, we seem to be equally—if not more so, fascinated by their demise. Entertainment icons Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey have received just opprobrium. Former strategists for President Trump have been indicted for pre-campaign white-collar crime. And who can miss the ongoing controversy in the NFL? These events raise the age-old questions: “what does it mean to have power?” and “how do we exercise it with integrity?”