The reign of God is not so much about the menu as it about the guest list. Who can argue with the menu of juicy, rich foods and pure, choice wines? The first reading from the prophet Isaiah is a description of God’s great dream and hope...
As you probably have observed, there is a striking resemblance between our first reading today from the Prophet Isaiah and the parable Jesus tells in the gospel. In both cases, the audiences are “set up.”
Some years back, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, Ed, about the joys and struggles of fatherhood. He has seven children, and thus a great deal of experience and wisdom. So when I have questions about raising children–or if I am simply looking for a homily idea–Ed is often a good source.
This parable may sound as if it described an imaginary situation, but that is far from the case. Apart from the terms of payment, the parable describes the kind of thing that frequently happened in Palestine, when the grape harvest ripened towards the end of September, and close on its heels the rains came. Any worker was welcome...
Who hasn’t become acutely aware lately how angry, aggressive and abusive our interactions have become? This is not a sudden occurrence, as some would have it, that began only with the most recent presidential election cycle. It has been moving in this ugly direction for quite some time. Who doesn’t get angry sometimes?
New York Story: A Second Chance - Many years ago, during my first assignment at St. Nicholas of Tolentine parish in Queens, New York, I served on a clergy panel for a program called second chance. The second chance program was established by the Queens County district attorney’s office.
Almost daily we receive solicitations in the press and social media “to get behind” some movement or cause, asking us to sign a petition or to volunteer to further a work of justice, peace, and charity. In today’s gospel we hear Jesus rather sharply say to his friend Peter to “get behind” him but in a very different sense.
Jesus was a teacher who taught many types of people in many different ways. Today he teaches by asking questions. He is with his disciples and asks them the question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
A Japanese parishioner of mine went on a tour of the Holy Land. His pilgrimage took him to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, where he was gazing with admiration at the people praying there so devoutly. Overcoming his shyness, my friend approached a man and asked politely if he came here often to pray before the holy stones. “I sure do,” replied the man.
It happened 30 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. I was visiting my family in the States after a 5-year stint in Japan. But now the holiday was over, tomorrow I would be returning to Nagasaki. We were having a farewell party with parents, brother and sister, and ten little nephews and nieces running about the house.
Great things can happen on mountain tops. And great things can happen on the plains below as well. Today’s gospel has great things happening in both places.
First, the mountain top. In a totally unexpected gesture, Jesus gives a brief glimpse of his full person to three of his disciples, Peter, James and John.
We live in a consumer-driven society. Happiness and life satisfaction are associated with having the latest device, seeing the latest movie, being the most popular on the various social media sites. All too often, though, when we attain these “status symbols,” we find that we are not quite as fulfilled as we thought we would be. Satisfaction and happiness still elude us until the next greatest thing comes our way.
One of the most extraordinary experiences of being a prayerful Christian is our engagement with the Holy Scriptures. Each of us has had that moment, whether sitting in church during a Sunday liturgy or weekday mass or praying with our personal Bibles, where the Scripture speaks a word to the very heart of our personal concerns.
The word of God is like a seed that falls on good ground that will yield a fruitful harvest. By using the imagery of a farmer whose seed falls on good and bad soil, Jesus offers us a meditation that can help us examine our consciences to see and understand what might be the condition of our receptivity to God’s word growing within us.
I try to listen intently whenever I listen to the Gospel being proclaimed. But whenever I hear the Carpenter of Nazareth telling a story about building a house on rock or making farm tools out of wood, my ears always perk up.
Who among us does not recognize the celebrated phrase of St Augustine from the opening paragraph of his Confessions: “You made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” (Confessions, I.1.1)?
Visiting the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., is a moving event. The magnitude and gravity of this disgrace against human dignity is symbolized by several displays that help the visitor understand the immensity of the horror...
In his encyclical on the Church as Mother and Teacher (Mater et Magistra), Pope St. Juan XXIII asked us to look at the world, to judge the circumstances in the light of the values of the gospel, and then to act so that the world is transformed into something closer to the reality of God’s plan. This process of See-Judge-Act is especially helpful as we celebrate today one of the great solemnities of the Church, the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi.
I have often heard priests say that Trinity Sunday is the most difficult Sunday of the year on which to preach! That has not been my experience at all during my 47 years of priestly ministry. I think that the problem is that many preachers focus on what the theologian Karl Rahner calls the immanent Trinity, that is the mystery of Godhead that God in Godself is. This mystery is excellent fodder for the ruminations of theologians but is not truly helpful “for us and for our salvation.”
Today we celebrate Pentecost. The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles describes the event for us: there was a noise like a strong diving wind and it filled the entire house. Tongues as of fire appeared and came to rest on those in the house. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak as the Spirit enabled them.