6th Sunday of Easter: Three Mom Saints who Loved like God Loves

May 9th, 2021

Our readings for the Mother's Day remind us of the truth that "God is love." Three mom saints help us to discover how we can lose ourselves in love... and find ourselves in the process!

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5th Sunday of Easter: Loving in Deed and Truth (a.k.a. Love is not a Feeling!)

May 3rd, 2021

Today's second reading from the John's first letter opens like this: "Children, let us love not in word and speech but in deed and truth." St. John is telling us not so much that we shouldn't express love with our words, but that, for our love to be authentic, it must be backed up by deeds. This is hugely important in a culture where to "love" someone is thought to mean to have warm feelings for them. It follows then that if someone makes me feel bad there cannot be love there. What John puts into focus for us is that our love is proven when we do for each other what is best for each other (through actions), which is consistent with Aquinas's definition of love: "Willing (choosing) the good for the other".

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4th Sunday of Easter: Unless You Become Like Children…

April 25th, 2021

Today's second reading from the 1st Letter of St. John begins like this: "Beloved, see what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God." We are God's children through baptism, although, while we were children, we often heard from the adults in our life, "Grow up!" Or, "Stop acting like a child!" Yet Jesus says in the Gospels, "Unless you become like a child you will not enter the Kingdom of God." We are children on God in fact through our baptism. But how are we to be like children? What qualities does Jesus see in children that He wants us to emulate?

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3rd Sunday of Easter: How do we know the disciples weren’t making it up?

April 18th, 2021

As we continue to reflect on the event of the Resurrection, as we do hearing today's account of Jesus appearing to the Eleven in Luke, one of the things we notice is how different the details of the different accounts are. Do the discrepancies between the accounts make the fact of the Resurrection more or less plausible? As a man once questioned me after leaving Easter Mass, "How do we know the disciples weren't making it up?" In this homily we'll explore why Pope Benedict XVI claimed that the differences between the accounts supported their veracity: We should be more certain of the Truth of the Resurrection because of the difference in details than if the accounts were carefully edited to be in perfect agreement.

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2nd Sunday of Easter: God is Merciful

April 11th, 2021

Today's powerful Gospel has Jesus walking through the locked doors of the Upper Room to meet the men who were his friends and disciples but most recently had abandoned him in his hour of need. He has one word for them: Peace. This is Divine Mercy. Having received divine mercy, the disciples are then sent (after having been strengthened for the task with the Holy Spirit) to share divine mercy with others. Let us receive divine mercy and share divine mercy!

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Easter 2021: Beginning Again

April 4th, 2021

A couple signs that Easter Sunday is an opportunity to "begin again": (1) The young man from Mark's Gospel who (figuratively) loses his baptismal garment in the Garden of Gethsemane reappears with a fresh, white garment in the Garden of Golgotha; and (2), Jesus tells his disciples that He will precede them to Galilee. Pope Francis says that this is an opportunity to ricominciare -- to begin again -- to go back to the place of their first encounter with Jesus, of their first love. Let us receive Easter 2021 as a time to ricominciare, to be reconciled and renewed in our following of the Lord!

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Good Friday 2021: When All is Said and Done, Jesus Thirsts

April 2nd, 2021

It's fascinating to compare the passion accounts of St. John to the synoptic Gospel writers. While the main story is the same, the emphasis is quite different. The synoptic gospels spare no details of the brutal sufferings that Jesus experienced during his passion: psychological, physical, even spiritual. But John presents almost none of that. In his passion he depicts Jesus as a totally free man who is in control of his destiny and who allows everything to happen to him with knowledge, freedom, and choice. We see no weakness nor hear any cry or complaint until after the Scriptures had been fulfilled, when, just before breathing his last, he finally admits, "I thirst." For water or wine? No. Jesus thirsts for the only thing that He doesn't control -- which is how you and I respond to his gift of love. In response to his love, he thirsts for our love. Will we quench his thirst? 

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Holy Thursday 2021: Eucharist, Priesthood, and the Agony

April 1st, 2021

Today's Liturgy of Holy Thursday inaugurates the sacred Pascal Triduum and itself marks three specific moments of Jesus's ministry: His institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper; his command to the Twelve to "do this in memory" of Him, by which He establishes the New Covenant priesthood; and His Agony in the Garden, in which He allows the weight of the sins of the world -- including mine and yours -- to press down upon Him. Mystery of mysteries! Let us do tonight as He commands: To wait, watch, and pray.

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Passion Sunday 2021:The Woman with the Alabaster Jar

March 28th, 2021

St. Mark begins his Passion narrative in a curious way. Instead of beginning it with the Last Supper, he begins it with a different meal, in which Jesus dines at the home of Simon the leper in Bethany. A woman enters and does something that catches everyone's attention. She takes a super-expensive jar of perfumed oil, breaks it, and pours out the liquid on Jesus's head. The aroma of this loving act wafts over the whole passion narrative and helps us to see that Jesus is the one who allows himself to be broken and his blood poured out for us -- out of devotion and love for us. What kind of gift will we give him in return?

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5th Sunday of Lent: Our Need to be Broken Open

March 21st, 2021

Today's homily is from our confirmation Mass, and the focus is Jesus's image of a seed: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it shall bear much fruit." Like a seed needs to be broken open in a death to self so that new life can come from within it, so it goes for us.

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