Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year C

It seems easy to judge and target James and John, as well as the other apostles upset at them, for they all wanted the same thing: to stand out and be “on top” with a sense of success and superiority. After all, hadn’t they learned anything about discipleship and self-giving? Jesus journeyed at length with them and had just told them for the third time that in his mission, he was going up to Jerusalem where he would suffer, die and be raised on the third day. But the apostles never seemed to get it! Their energy was taken up-as it can be for any of us-in the business of comparison and climbing.

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time • Year C

In general, there are three sorts of questions we encounter daily. First, there are things that sound like questions, but really aren’t. Second, things that don’t sound like questions, but really are. Third, there are real questions.

For instance, when we walk by someone we know in an office hallway or on campus or at the store, one of us says, “Hi! How are you?” Usually, we don’t want a real answer. If the person we have greeted stops and starts telling us about his recent medical exam, or about her mother in Altoona, generally we aren’t happy about it. It wasn’t a real question.

Third Sunday of Ordinary Time • Year C

Can you imagine what those final words of Jesus that we hear today might have meant to the people gathered in the little synagogue of Nazareth on that Sabbath day two thousand years ago! In fact, if we were to have continued reading we would have heard that initially their reaction was very positive. They spoke highly of Jesus and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. But they were also a little puzzled, for these were his neighbors; they had watched him grow up; he had played with their children; they knew him well and so wondered what this carpenter, the son of Joseph and Mary, could mean by “this passage is now fulfilled!”

The Baptism of the Lord

There was a popular movie released several years ago called Finding Nemo. One scene in it was when Nemo, a young clown fish, ends up in someone’s aquarium. As the “new fish on the block,” he had to prove himself worthy of living in the tank with the other community of fishes. To do so, during his first night, he was awakened by the other fishes and told that he had to go through the ritual that would initiate him into the group. This ritual required him to have the strength and courage to pass through a difficult part of the tank that had a strong current and forceful air bubbles. Determined to be a member of the group, he collected himself, thrust himself forward, went through the strong waters, and successfully passed the test.

The Epiphany of the Lord

Whatever else the feast of the Epiphany may be, whatever role it plays in the life of Jesus, and whatever place of honor it holds in the calendar of the Church, every child knows its true meaning: Christmas vacation is over, and school is back. As a kid, just hearing the word “epiphany” used to make my stomach scrunch and my pulse jump, as I felt the primal nausea shared by all students when, after a long and happy break, school once again closed its claws and snatched us away from our sleds and snowballs and, more importantly, our televisions.

The Nativity of the Lord

In some of your homes under your Christmas tree, you might find one example of the recent spate of novels and biographies that seek to examine the founding fathers of our nation. It all started with the biography of John Adams and has created a cottage industry of research authors. You can now find out everything you wanted to know about Ben Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. These are the names of the men we think of whenever we see the tableaux of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Fourth Sunday of Advent - Year C

The year 1809 was a part of a period of history not greatly different from our own time. Military might was the dominant theme of the day. Napoleon and his armies held the upper hand and seemed destined to rule the world. Battles and victories made newspaper headlines. And most people thought that these were the truly important events of the day. This was naturally so because the armies were enormous and the battles were cataclysmic. This size and intensity fooled the world.

Third Sunday of Advent - Year C

This Friday, December 21, 2018 at 5:23 p.m. EST, the winter solstice occurs. This is the day we have the shortest amount of sunlight and the most amount of darkness for the year. It also marks the beginning of the day to lengthen. In a poetic sense, it marks the conquest of light over darkness, the victory of good over evil, of life over death. It promises that beyond the cold of winter there will be another spring. It invites us to be people of hope, patience, and trust. It invites us to be encouraged in spite of and in the midst of everything that would rob us of hopes, dreams and the faith and the promise that all things are possible with God.

Second Sunday of Advent - Year C

Our Gospel for today begins with a litany of names and titles. Homilists do not like lists! Proclaiming these tongue-twisting names seems unnecessary and an awkward preface to the meat of the passage. Perhaps Luke was a history buff, but is it important to anyone else? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” Luke, by setting the preparation for the advent of Jesus Christ in the context of world history and the universal purpose of God, says that the gospel belongs to all people. The gospel is for the world. This is God’s gift to God’s creation.

Solemnity of Christ the King - Year B

We celebrate today the Feast of Christ the King, as the Church concludes the liturgical cycle and begins again with Advent next week. Even though we are celebrating, the readings of this Sunday offer plenty of opportunity to reflect on the more serious aspects of life. As we enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend with the familiar comfort of family, friends, food and football, we should remember to include those much less fortunate than ourselves in our thoughts and prayers.

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

In this day and age of mistrust in the Church, the priesthood, bishops, and even Pope Francis, in light of the recent sex abuse scandals, it is crucial for us Christians to keep up our faith, hope and love for God, also expressed in our love for our neighbors. I have heard of the saying, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” And that main thing is our relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. Why do we need to keep up this relationship with our Lord? Because God loves us very much, even despite our sins. Like any reciprocal relationship, we honor God and give thanks to him for the countless gifts and blessings we receive.

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

Today’s responsorial Psalm invites us to “Praise the Lord, my soul!” And the first verse of the psalm tells us the reason for this joyous praise. It is because “the Lord keeps faith forever.” “The Lord keeps faith forever.” That’s an interesting thought – an unusual approach todescribing God’s relationship with us. Life often presents the challenge of reflecting on our faith in God.

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

It seems easy to judge and target James and John, as well as the other apostles upset at them, for they all wanted the same thing: to stand out and be “on top” with a sense of success and superiority. After all, hadn’t they learned anything about discipleship and self-giving? Jesus journeyed at length with them and had just told them for the third time that in his mission, he was going up to Jerusalem where he would suffer, die and be raised on the third day. But the apostles never seemed to get it! Their energy was taken up-as it can be for any of us-in the business of comparison and climbing.