Advent 3 on December 17, 2017 at Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples, FL

3 Advent December 17, 2017 at Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples, FL

Isaiah 61, 1-2, 10-11 + Psalm (Luke 1, 46-54) + 1 Thessalonians 5, 16-24 + John 1, 6-8, 19-28

From the first chapter till the last, the question: “Who are you?” is raised again and again in John’s Gospel. It starts with John the Baptist as we heard today. It is very dramatically asked again of Jesus by Pilate, and finally in the last chapter John tells us that none of the disciples “dared to ask that question” about a man on the shore who told them where to fish and bring in a great catch. In that 21st and last Chapter it simply says: “Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. … more »

Advent 2 on December 10, 2017 at Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples, FL

2 Advent December 10, 2017 Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples, FL

Isaiah 40, 1-5, 9-11 + Psalm 85 + 2 Peter 3, 8-14 + Mark 1, 1-8

Last week the real focus of Advent was shifted from pretending that Christ was going to come and be born in Bethlehem to what I like call, “Get real” or “Live in the present”. This week we begin to reflect upon what the “present” is for believers. When we get honest with ourselves, we can admit that we often live out of our past. Memories, experiences, people, our ethnic history, our national history all can easily fence us in, influence our choices, and control our expectations. “We’ve always done it that way” is one of the first signals that the past is in control. … more »

Advent 1 December 3, 2017 at Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples, FL

1 Advent December 3, 2017 Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples, FL

Isaiah 63, 16-17, 19; 64, 2-7 + Psalm 80 + 1 Corinthians 1, 3-9 + Mark 13, 33-37

It took me a long time, as long as it takes to grow up, to figure out what Advent was really all about and what the church asks of us in this season. As a child, I always thought it was a bit odd, this pretending that Christ had not yet come; this long preparation for something that had already happened. Besides, in our house, the tree did not go up at Thanksgiving. We had to wait till the last candle of the Advent wreath was lit. It meant a lot of waiting during which we pretended that a baby was going to be born in Bethlehem, a baby whose story I already knew, and whose death and resurrection had already been celebrated in the spring. … more »

The Solemnity of Christ the King

The Solemnity of Christ the King November 26, 2017

Ezekiel 34, 11-12, 15-17 + Psalm 23 + 1 Corinthians 15, 20-26, 28 + Matthew 25, 31-46

                                          All of a sudden, the Gospel of Matthew concludes with this parable that reaches back to the beginning tying it all together. The last of the parables repeats the last of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” The next verse in Matthew’s Gospel begins the plot to kill Jesus and the story of his passion. … more »

The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 19, 2017

Provers 31, 1-13, 19-20, 30-31 + Psalm 128 + 1 Thessalonians 5, 1-6 + Matthew 25, 14-30

This is a sad story even if you look at it from the viewpoint of the two who are praised by the master. I think the sadness comes from the lingering image of a God who still is judged by some to be demanding, fierce, and angry. The consequence of what the third man chooses to do deprives the whole scene and the whole world, for that matter, of the good he could have done with what he was given. It isn’t just a private matter of what each one does with what each one is given, there is a collective sense of goodness and joy that is lost because one of them is afraid. … more »

The Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time November 12, 2017

Wisdom 6, 12-16 + Psalm 63 + 1 Thessalonians 4, 13-18 + Matthew 25, 1-13

                                                        At the end of October, I flew down to Houston for a meeting. On the return, I witnessed something that made me very sad. A woman with three young girls I assumed to be her daughters arrived at the gate just after everyone had boarded a flight going to Denver. There were some anxious looks down the concourse and a frantic conversation with the gate agent. Clearly to me, someone was missing. The agent paged a man’s name, and kept motioning for the woman and the children to board the plane. They refused. I walked over to them and said: “What does he look like? … more »

The Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time at Saint Joseph Church in Norman, Oklahoma

The Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time November 5, 2017

Malachi 1, 14, 2, 8-10 + Psalm 131 + 1 Thessalonians 2, 7-9, 13 + Matthew 23, 1-12

Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Norman, Oklahoma

                                          If a pious Jew had taken seriously and practiced the kind of religion the Pharisees were teaching, they would have had ulcers and time for nothing else in life. Their homes would have been a mess, and they would have been out of a job and completely without friends. That religion enslaved them to a God who was a relentless taskmaster. The Pharisees themselves were trapped in a system that was totally self-focused thinking that what they did was going to save them. Nothing else! It was all up them.Their whole self-esteem rested upon the admiration of others, and so everything they did was to gain approval and impress other people. … more »

The Solemnity of All Saints at St Joseph Parish in Norman, Oklahoma

The Solemnity of  All Saints 2017

Revelation 7, 2-4, 9-14 + Psalm 24 + 1 John 3, 1-3 + Matthew 5, 1-12
November 1, 2017 at St Joseph Parish in Norman, Oklahoma

Today we sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to his instruction. As always,
Jesus is telling us something about God. These Beatitudes reveal our God to
us. They tell us what God is like and therefore, what how God-like people
live.
Hoy nos sentamos a los pies de Jesús y escuchamos sus instrucciones. Como
siempre, Jesús nos está diciendo algo acerca de Dios. Estas Bienaventuranzas
nos revelan a nuestro Dios. Nos dicen cómo es Dios y cómo le gusta a Dios
que vivan sus semejantes.
These holy people we remember today have one thing in common: their need. … more »

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time at Saint Joseph Church in Norman, Oklahoma

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time October 29, 2017

Exodus 22, 20-26 + Psalm 18 + 1 Thessalonians 1, 5-10 + Matthew 22, 34-40

Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Norman, Oklahoma

                                          When you stop to think about it, a command to love seems a bit puzzling and perhaps even difficult if not impossible. If love is spontaneous and free, if it is a gift that we give, we might do well to wonder how it can be commanded. When we begin to do so, we start to dig into what God is asking of us. Contributing to the puzzle is the fact that the word “love” means too much and too little. It stands for just about everything, and it justifies too many things. … more »

The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time at Saint Joseph Church in Norman, OK

The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time October 22, 2017

Isaiah 45, 1, 4-6 + Psalm 96 + 1 Thessalonians 1, 1-5 + Matthew 22, 15-21

Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Norman, Oklahoma

                                                      As I was sitting with this passage in reflection and prayer a few weeks back, I decided that it was best understood aloud. In other words, just reading the text was not working. I needed to hear it just as the people “heard” it from the lips of Jesus. So, I read it out loud several times with different emphasis which seemed to shift the focus. When I read it with a long pause between the first part about Caesar and then raised my voice emphatically with the second part, I really think I heard Jesus. … more »