2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Grace takes the Naturally Good and Elevates It

January 16th, 2022

In the miracle of the wedding feast at Cana, Jesus changes the water into wine. There are two levels of symbol working here. On the religious level, the water changed into wine signifies the Old Covenant with Israel being elevated and brought to perfection in Christ's New Covenant with the Church. But this is true on the natural level as well. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that grace presupposes nature and elevates it. If we invite Christ into every aspect of our lives -- our work, our leisure, our relationships -- He will elevate and perfect the naturally good so that the natural good now becomes a vehicle for the supernatural.

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Epiphany Sunday: Jesus Came to His Own, But His Own did Not Receive Him

January 3rd, 2022

In the shocking account of the Epiphany, in which the Lordship of the Newborn Christ is manifested to the Gentiles, represented by these "wise men" from the East, we see the joy of these foreigners upon finding the child Jesus, and we see how the newborn King was received by his own people. King Herod, the King of Israel, and "all of Jerusalem with him", were troubled at the announcement of the new King's birth. We see a similar theme in the other Gospels: As John puts it in his prologue, "Jesus came to his own, but his own did not receive him." May we be like the Magi, who joyfully encounter Jesus who comes to bring us life in abundance.

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Feast of the Holy Family: Teaching our Children to Seek God’s Will

December 26th, 2021

Jesus says something very mysterious to his mother in today's Gospel. As a young man of 12 years old, he goes missing for three days and is found by his parents teaching the religious authorities in the Temple. His parents, understandably, are beside themselves with distress. "Why did you do this to us?", asks his mother. "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I would be in my Father's house?", he laconically replied. Here we have a glimpse of the immense cavern that lies between Mary and Joseph and their divine Son. Jesus, first and foremost, must be obedient to his heavenly Father, and the Father's divine will lead through the cross for Jesus and his parents before it leads to the Resurrection. May we always teach our children to seek God's will, even when God's will is different than our own!

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Christmas 2021: God is not Intimidated by Messiness

December 25th, 2021

When we look at the Nativity Scene, we look at the Father's will that His only Son -- God the Son -- be born into a dysfunctional and disordered world and in the messiness of a barn. How can we not see that God is not intimidated by our own disorder and dysfunction -- but He wants to come into the messiness of our lives and hearts in order to bring light to the darkness, healing to the brokenness, and hope to our despair. Merry Christmas!

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4th Sunday of Advent: Bearing Jesus to Others

December 21st, 2021

A reflection on the Gospel scene of the Visitation.

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3rd Sunday of Advent: What is Joy?

December 12th, 2021

The 3rd Sunday of Advent is known in the Church as "Gaudete" Sunday, which translates, "Rejoice!" Our readings today definitely have this theme of joy -- not as a suggestion or an invitation but rather as a command: "Rejoice!" Paul says, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice!" Since Paul writes these words from prison, we should understand that he is telling us to rejoice at all times, whether we are having a good or bad day, whether we are flourishing or struggling. How do we distinguish true joy from happy feelings? And can we live with authentic, Christian joy, even when experiencing the hardships of life?

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End of the Year of St. Joseph: What it means to be Husband and Father

December 5th, 2021

In this reflection for men at the end of the Year of St. Joseph, we explore his two vocations of husband and father.

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1st Sunday of Advent: When the Sun and Stars of our Life is Shaken…

November 29th, 2021

We might be surprised by the Gospel reading for the first Sunday of Advent, which has very little to do with the birth of Jesus (the 1st Coming) and everything to do with the Last Judgment (the 2nd Coming). This homily explores how Jesus's dramatic words apply to our lives here and now.

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Solemnity of Christ the King: Jesus, King and Center of Hearts

November 21st, 2021

After Pilate asks Jesus if he is a king, Jesus asks Pilate who is the on really asking: Is it he himself or other? In other words, does the question arise from Pilate's heart? Jesus the King is not merely interested in slavish obedience or outward conformity but rather a heart that believes and loves the "King and Center of Hearts."

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Old Testament vs. New Testament Priesthood

November 14th, 2021

Today's 2nd reading from the Letter to the Hebrews says this: "Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins." The author is not referring to priests of the New Covenant here but rather the Temple priests who would assist day after day in animal sacrifice being offered in atonement for sin. The point is that the offering of these thousands of animals over the course of many years did not accomplish its stated purpose. Rather, it was only when Jesus Christ, the true high priest, offered himself on the altar of the cross that the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God was finally achieved, once and for all. Now, priests of the New Covenant stand by their altar day after day offering the Mass, which is the re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. The Mass transports us back through space and time to the Cross and makes Christ's sacrifice present to us here and now. Why would we ever stay home from Mass?

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