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-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 »

The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time at St Peter and St William Parishes in Naples, FL

The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time August 20, 2017

Isaiah 56, 1, 6-7 + Psalm 67 + Romans 11, 13-15, 29-32 + Matthew 15, 21-28

St Peter and St William Parishes in Naples, FL

This episode when taken in a shallow way could make us uncomfortable with a Jesus who is not compassionate toward this Gentile woman. At first, he ignores her, then he reacts in a way that seems harsh and insensitive. Some scholars suggest that this image of Jesus was made up by conservative Jewish Christians opposed to Gentile converts. So, to give their attitude of exceptionalism credibility, they made up these verses because they thought they were chosen and special. Another set of scholars believe that what is being proposed is a version of our old saying: “Charity begins at home”. … more »

The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time at St Peter & St William Parishes in Naples, FL

The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time August 13, 2017

1 Kings 19, 9-13 + Psalm 85 + Romans 9, 1-5 + Matthew 14, 22-33

St Peter and St William Parishes in Naples, FL

Last week we were told by a voice to “Listen”. In the transfiguration as told by Matthew, it is not enough for those apostles to “see” Jesus, they must also “listen.” In these verses today, Matthew reinforces that demand if you follow the details carefully. Notice that when they see Jesus, they are terrified. When they hear his voice, they calm down. They need to hear his voice. Then, as if we might not get the point, Matthew says it again with Peter. Until he hears the voice that commands him to get out of the boat, he stays where he is. … more »

The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Transfiguration) at St Joseph Church in Norman, OK & St Joseph Old Cathedral in Oklahoma City

The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Transfiguration August 6, 2017

Isaiah 55, 1-3 + Psalm 145 + Romans 8, 35, 37-39 + Matthew 14, 13-21

St Joseph Parish, Norman, OK

It would be a mistake causing us to miss the point to think that what Matthew is giving us in these verses is a manifestation of the divinity of Christ. The experience of those apostles on that high mountain was an experience of Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus is presented as a transformed human, not as a human transformed into God. The description of this event is totally passive. Jesus says nothing and does nothing. If this was a revelation of Jesus as God, Jesus would have said something or done something godly. … more »

The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time at St Joseph Church in Norman, OK

The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time July 30, 2017

1 Kings 3, 5, 7-12 + Psalm 119 + Romans 8, 28-30 + Matthew 13, 44-52

St Joseph Parish, Norman, OK

“Have you understood all of this?” It’s a good question. If this Gospel is the living Word of God spoken in every age, it is being addressed to us today. “Have you understood all of this?” Matthew says that the apostles said, “Yes.” I don’t believe them. I can remember my father standing over me the first time I drove off in his car at age 16. There had been some serious instructions, warnings, and disguised threats. “Do you understand me?” he concluded. I wouldn’t be standing here today if I had said, “No.” In all honesty, when it comes to that example, I’ll never really understand because I’ve never had a 16-year-old son, but I am beginning to understand a few things about the Kingdom of Heaven, and with that understanding has come some changes in my life. … more »

The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time at St Joseph Church in Norman, OK

The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time July 23, 2017

Wisdom 12, 13, 16-19 + Psalm 86 + Romans 8, 26-27 + Matthew 13, 24-43

St Joseph Parish, Norman, OK

One of the punishments I suffered as a child was pulling weeds out of the garden at our home. Mom had roses. Dad had vegetables. They both of their gardens had weeds.  While down on my hands and knees in anything but a prayerful mood, I would wonder if there weeds in the Garden of Eden.  I would think: if everything God made was good, what are these weeds, and why am I doing this? Then I would remember the offence that put there, and I would get all confused and just jerk off the tops leaving the roots. … more »