Ordinary Time 3

Isaiah 8, 23-9,3- + Psalm 27 + 1 Corinthians 1, 1-13 + Matthew 4, 12-23

St. Peter the Apostle & St. William Churches in Naples, FL 26 January 2020

5:30pm Saturday at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Naples, FL

The voice in the wilderness that we know as John the Baptist has been silenced, and now the one he announced is found in Galilee, an unlikely place. Galilee is prosperous, a kind of international territory through which trade routes passed and local industry thrived, like fishing. In those days, it was quite a distance from Judah and the holy city of Jerusalem to the south. Between the two lies that unfriendly place called “Samaria.” Matthew places the beginning of the ministry of Jesus in Galilee to confirm the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy which we just heard again after reading it on Christmas. … more »

Ordinary Time 2

Isaiah 49: 3, 5-6 + Psalm 40 + 1Corthians 1, 1-3 + John 1, 29-34

Deacon Retreat: Diocese of Venice in Florida 19 January 2020

As we end these good days we have spent together, John the Baptist appears before us, and perhaps in spite of all the great deacon/saints in history like Stephen, Philip, Lawrence of Rome, Francis of Assisi, or a Deacon named Vincent who is the great martyr of Spain, there is still John the Baptist. Even though no Bishop ever laid hands on him, I believe his presence through this Gospel is a significant way to close this year’s retreat and return home.

Thomas Merton has been quoted as saying, “If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for.” It is an intimate question that forces us to identity our deepest values. … more »

The Baptism of the Lord

12 January 2020 at St. Peter the Apostle & St. William Churches in Naples, FL

     Isaiah 42, 1-4, 6-7 + Psalm 29 + Acts 10, 34-38 + Matthew 3, 13-17

1:00pm Mass at St. William Church in Naples, FL

The Baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist has by this time in history lost its shock value, and hardly raises an eye-brow much less a question. But at the time Matthew was writing, there was a serious issue that he wants to put to rest. The disciples of John used this event to justify their continued following of John’s preaching since John was for them the real prophet because John baptized Jesus. To address and attempt to settle that issue, Matthew has a dialogue between Jesus and John over whether Jesus should submit to baptism by John. … more »

Epiphany of the Lord

5 January 2020 St. Peter the Apostle & St. William Churches in Naples, FL

     Isaiah 60:1-6 + Psalm 72 + Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6 + Matthew 2:1-12

3:30pm Saturday at St. Peter the Apostle in Naples, FL

Fun as it might be to sing, “We three King of Orient Are”, and no matter how long and how often we set up our Christmas nativity scenes, this Gospel never says that there were three, and it does not say they were kings. So, if we are going to let this Gospel speak to us we have to pay more attention to Matthew than to these little traditions no matter how old they are. The Gospel is older.

This is a feast about an Epiphany, an unveiling, or a revelation. … more »

Mary, Mother of God

1 January 2020 at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Naples, FL

Numbers 6, 22-27 + Psalm 67 + Galatians 4, 407 + Luke 2, 16-21

12:00pm January 1, 2020 at St. Peter the Apostle in Naples, FL

We are on “theological thin ice” when we call Mary “The Mother of God.” No one gave birth to God, but there is truth in saying that Mary gave birth to the Son of God. It takes some spiritual maturity to get this right, and when we do, some important things are then said about you and me. Divinity taking on human nature changes our knowledge of who we are and of our destiny. It allows us to understand God’s nature more fully; but this does not mean that understanding God, ourselves or our role in the divine drama is simple. … more »

The Holy Family

December 29, 2019 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Castle Rock, Colorado

Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 + Psalm 128 + Colossians 3:12-21 + Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

11:30am Sunday at St Francis of Assisi Castle Rock, Colorado

I grew up with images of the Holy Family that always made my family look like the Clampetts. There were those images of Mary and Joseph on holy cards. There was a picture hanging in my school classroom in which Mary was always weaving something. Joseph had obviously been out picking lilies because there was always one in his hand, and I guess he cut it with a carpenter’s square, because that was in the other hand. The boy was always gazing at his holy parents, waiting to obey their next command. … more »

Christmas (Children)

24 December 1, 2019

Isaiah 52, 7-10 + Psalm 98 + Hebrews 1, 1-6 + Luke 2, 1-20

 For the children at St. Peter the Apostle & St. William Churches in Naples, FL

(The children have been given a wrapped gift box containing the statue of the infant for the creche. It has been opened by several of the children and then in procession they have taken the “gift of Jesus:” to the creche. Then, gathering around the presider’s chair I continued.)

We have this wonderful day called, “Christmas” because of one very important word. Because Mary used that word and taught her son to use it, we are here tonight. If we can learn to use that word, many wonderful things can happen in this world. … more »

Christmas (Adults)

24 & 25 December 2019

Isaiah 52, 7-10 + Psalm 98 + Hebrews 1, 1-6 + Luke 2, 1-20

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

2:45pm St. William Church, Naples, FL 12/24/2019

We are in this church tonight because we have heard them. We have heard the greatest truth of all, that God is with us. Yet still, there may be some here with us who have not heard that prophetic voice, whose days and lives are long and lonely, who have been abandoned by someone they loved, who live with secrets that if known will push them to the edge of an abyss by the judgements of others. Yet, we are a prophetic church. In spite of our personal failings and our institutional sins, we still must and do proclaim the truth: God is with us. … more »

3 Advent

15 December 2019 at St. Peter the Apostle & St. William in Naples, FL

Isaiah 35, 1-6 & 10 + Psalm 146 + James 5, 7-10 + Matthew 11, 2-11

11:00am at St. William Parish in Naples, FL

If you stop to think about John the Baptist sitting in Herod’s prison, it isn’t hard to realize what is going on in his mind. I imagine that his thinking goes something like this: “I did everything I felt called to do. I never called attention to myself. I recognized the Messiah when he came, and even though we did not agree on which of us should be baptized, I followed his wishes and did what he asked. I spoke the truth even when it was not popular and was dangerous, and look where I’ve ended up.”

I believe that John is having a crisis of faith. … more »

2 Advent

8 December 2019

Isaiah 11, 1-10 + Psalm 72 + Romans 15, 4-9 + Matthew 3, 1-12

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

3:30pm SATURDAY at St. Peter the Apostle in Naples, FL

Isaiah opens our liturgy today just as he opened this Advent season last week. He spoke passionately about refusing to accept things as they are and demanding that God’s people look to a future that is better and do something to bring it about. Today that future is described as a time of Justice, and Isaiah envisions a time when a leader will be clothed in justice and faithfulness. This leadership promotes harmony to the point that even natural enemies will become friends. … more »