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 »

The Twenty=eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time at Saint Joseph Church in Norman, OK

 

The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time October 15, 2017

Isaiah 25, 6-10 + Psalm 23 + Philippians 4, 12-14, 19-20 + Matthew 22, 1-14

Saint Joseph Church in Norman, Oklahoma

                                        This is now the third and last parable at the end of Matthew’s Gospel after the authority of Jesus has been challenged by the Pharisees in the Temple. There are two parts to this reading which is why in some of your books there is a long version and a short version. The parable which is in included in both long and short versions is, like all parables, about God revealing how much God wants everyone to come into the Heavenly banquet. The longer version adds an allegory, that says something about us. … more »

The Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time at Saint Joseph Parish in Norman, OK

The Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time October 8, 2017

Isaiah 5, 1-7 + Psalm 80 + Philippians 4, 6-9 + Matthew 21, 33-43

Saint Joseph Parish in Norman, Oklahoma

                                          There is a dangerous temptation with this parable to sit back comfortably and use these verses to point a finger at another in a self-righteous distortion of what Jesus has to say. He would not take that any more from us than he would have from his contemporaries, so we must not go there. In times past, this parable has been misused to justify anti-Semitism and a kind of “replacement theology” that is totally outside the lesson. This is not about the Jews being replaced by the Christians. The story is told to encourage repentance and reveal something about God, not to pass judgement on someone else. … more »

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

The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time October 1, 2017

Ezekiel 18, 25-28 + Psalm 25 + Philippians 2, 1-11 + Matthew 21, 28-32

St Joseph Catholic Church in Norman, Oklahoma

 The entry into Jerusalem has taken place. Jesus has cleansed the Temple resulting in a serious challenge to his authority by those in charge. He responds by raising the issue of John’s Baptism promising to answer them if they answer his question about the source of John’s authority. They talk about this among themselves, and then tell him that they do not know. So, he refuses to answer their question about his authority, but then poses three parables which indirectly do answer their question. We get the first of the three today, and the others over next two Sundays. … more »

The Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time at St Joseph Church in Norman, OK

The Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time September 24, 2017

Isaiah 55, 6-9 + Psalm 145 + Philippians 1, 20-24, 27 + Matthew 20, 1-16

St Joseph Church in Norman, Ok

There is a line in this dialogue that ought to leave us stunned in wonder, and it is not the wonder of admiration. Stunned by shame would be more like it. As a people who easily get impatient in the line of a check-out stand or waiting for someone to make right turn with their foot on the break, the culture and society we have created easily leads us to think that out time is worth more than others, that people “in the way” need to get out of our way, and with that, pride looms up and makes angry, impatient, and ugly people out of the best of us. … more »

The Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time at St. Peter & St. William Churches in Naples, FL

The Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time September 17, 2017

Sirach 27, 30-28,7 + Psalm 103 + Romans 14, 7-9 + Matthew 18, 21-35

St. Peter and St. William Churches in Naples, FL

We have all heard this this instruction of Jesus many times over the years, and the challenge of forgiveness remains with us always. I have given and you have heard as many homilies on this text as there years of its repetition in the cycle of our readings. But, as I sat with it a few weeks ago, a verse emerged that I had passed over. It’s that part about those fellow servants who, as the Gospel says, “saw what had happened, were badly shaken, and went to their master to report the whole incident.” I would like to suggest that perhaps God’s Word is giving us more than an instruction on forgiveness here. … more »

9/11 Memorial Mass at St Peter the Apostle Church in Naples, FL

Commemoration of 9/11 at St Peter the Apostle Church, Naples, FL

September 11, 2017

Colossians 1, 24-2,3 + Psalm 62 + Luke 6, 6-11

          These are the readings being proclaimed throughout the world in churches that share the Common Lectionary on Monday of the 23rd week of the year. That is today. In 2001, these readings were proclaimed on September 10, the day before the attack, and I can’t help but wonder how many us may have been prepared by these words of scripture for what was to come the next morning.

Paul writes words of encouragement that we still need to hear in the face of every tragedy and disaster. Speaking about a suffering and struggling community he says: “I wish their hearts to be strengthened and themselves to be closely united in love.” At the center of the readings from the Bible that day and still today are those verses from Psalm 5 we have just heard reminding us that God takes no delight in wickedness with the promise that all who take refuge in God will be glad and exalt forever. … more »

The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time at St. Peter & St. William Churches in Naples, FL

The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time September 10, 2017

Ezekiel 33, 7-9 + Psalm 95 + Romans 13, 8-10 + Matthew 18, 15-20

St Peter the Apostle & St William Churches in Naples, FL

In listening to and understanding these verses, it is absolutely necessary to know that the verses immediately before these instructions in Chapter 18 tell the story of the lost sheep with that heartfelt description of the shepherd who goes looking. That story begins with these words: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones.” With that introduction, Jesus goes on to tell about the man with 100 sheep who leaves 99 to find 1 that has wandered off, and then describe what joy there is when he returns with the lost one. … more »

The Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time at St. Peter & St. William Churches in Naples, FL

The Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time September 3, 2017

Jeremiah 20, 7-9 + Psalm 63 + Romans 12, 1-2 + Matthew 16, 21-27

at St. Peter and St. William Churches in Naples, FL

I am, and no matter where I live, I will always be an Oklahoma priest. Twenty days from today something will happen in Oklahoma City that has only happened once before in the United States. The ceremony of Beatification will take place in my home town. It will be the first time a person born in America will be declared a martyr in the process of being canonized a Saint. There are other American born Saints, but none of them died as a martyr for the faith. … more »

The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time at St Peter & St William Parishes in Naples, FL

The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time August 27, 2017

Isaiah 22, 19-23 + Psalm 138 + Romans 11, 33-36 + Matthew 16, 13-20

St. Peter and St William Churches, Naples, FL

Many of you may identify with this memory I still have. I recall very clearly the day my retirement arrived. I reached into my pocket and handed over the keys to the church of St Mark in Norman, Oklahoma. I remember handing them to the deacon not knowing what to say except, “Thank you.” The only key left in my pocket was my car key, and believe me, I used it immediately. When I eventually wound up here at St Peter and Father “G” gave me some keys, I was very reluctant to accept them. … more »