Ordinary Time 29

October 20, 2019 at Saint Peter and Saint William Parishes in Naples, FL

 Exodus 17, 8-13 + Psalm 121 + 2 Timothy 3, 14 & 4, 2 + Luke 18, 1-8

The widow reveals the power of weakness as we shall soon see when Jesus gets to Jerusalem with his passion, death, and resurrection. In Luke’s Gospel, widows are often seen and heard which might reveal the powerful role these women played in the earliest church. The Judge here is not one of the Jewish elders, but a paid magistrate appointed by the Romans. They were notoriously corrupt, extorting money from people to secure a favorable ruling. This judge is a scoundrel. He may well have taken a bribe from the woman’s oppressor. … more »

Ordinary Time 28

October 13, 2019 at Saint Peter and Saint William Parishes in Naples, FL

 2 Kings 5, 14-17 + Psalm 98 + 2 Timothy 2, 8-14 + Luke 17, 11-19

12:00pm at Saint Peter the Apostle in Naples, FL

In the second act of Shakespeare’s play, “As You Like It” Lord Amiens, a musician sings before the Duke these words: “Blow, blow, thou winter wind, thou are not so unkind as man’s ingratitude; Thy tooth is not keen, because thou art not seen, although thy breath be rude. Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky, that does not bite so nigh as benefit forgot: though thou the waters warp, thy sting is not so sharp as a friend remembered not.” And so today, the Word of God speaks to us about gratitude, healing, faith, and salvation all in one well known story. … more »

Ordinary Time 27

October 6, 2019 at Saint Peter and Saint William Parishes in Naples, FL

Habakkuk 1, 2-3 & 2,2-4 + Psalm 95 + 2 Timothy 1, 6-8 & 13-14

Luke 17, 5-10

Sunday 11:00am Saint William Catholic Church Naples, FL

This gospel parable is very important to me personally, and it has helped me greatly in the past few years as I moved into “retirement.” When I was stepping out of parish administration, which is really what I retired from and left behind on purpose, people would wish me well and often say, “Father, enjoy yourself now. You deserve it.” I was always very uncomfortable with those words even though they were meant kindly, because I never felt as if retirement for a priest was a reward. … more »

Ordinary Time 26

September 29, 2019 at Saint Peter and Saint William Parishes in Naples, FL

 Amos 6, 1, 4-7 + Psalm 146 + 1 Timothy 6, 11-16 + Luke 16, 19-31

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

From this Gospel, there is a question Luke wants us to ask, “What it is that kept that man from getting to Abraham?” Now, there is a risk of getting sidetracked in the telling this parable that could distract us from asking that question. It leads to a commonly shared idea that the poor should just tough it out and wait, because things will get better after they’re dead. That kind of thinking is an insult to God’s Justice and Mercy. … more »

Ordinary Time 25

September 22, 2019 at Saint Peter and Saint William Parishes in Naples, FL

 Amos 8, 4-7 + Psalm 113 + 1 Timothy 2, 1-8 + Luke 16, 1-13

There is something going in here with this parable beyond lesson on the wise use of money. To stop there in our reflection is to stay in the shallow water. There is something shocking about Jesus using someone dishonest to talk about. This steward is not only dishonest, but when caught, he refuses to change. There is something more to this story than setting up a situation in which we can simply announce: “You cannot serve two masters.”

What if we switch the spotlight from money and give some thought to this servant who is so clever, so ambitious, and so anxious for his future. … more »

Ordinary Time 24

September 15, 2019 at Saint Peter and Saint Elizabeth Seton Parishes in Naples, FL

 Exodus 32, 7-11, 13-14 + Psalm 51 + 1 Timothy 1, 12-17 + Luke 15, 1-32

4:30pm Saturday at St Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples, FL

Three parables about parties. I love it! And, who doesn’t love a party except someone who doesn’t like the people invited, and that’s the trouble with this third party. There is someone who will not go in because he doesn’t like someone who was invited. He stands outside pouting and grumbling, complaining about the cost of the party, actually insulting the host who is his father. He never calls him “father.” He just says: “you” with insolence and bitterness. After listening to him, you almost have to be glad he didn’t go. … more »

Ordinary Time 23

September 8, 2019 at Saint Peter and Saint William Parishes in Naples, FL

 Wisdom 9, 13-18 + Psalm 90 + Philemon 9-10, 12-17 + Luke 14, 25-33

11:00am Sunday Saint William Parish Naples, FL

This Gospel begins by telling us that there were great crowds following him. The impression Luke would give us here is that he was a “rock star” at this point. I suspect Jesus knew that most of these folks were following him because they were entertained, excited, and curious about all that he was doing and the challenges he issued to those who often made their lives burdensome. Today he speaks to them, not to the Scribes and Pharisees. Today he speaks to us. He is on his way to Jerusalem. … more »

Ordinary Time 22

September 1, 2019 onboard MS Zaandam

 Sirach 3, 17-18, 20, 28-29 + Psalm 68 + Hebrews 12, 18, 19, 22-24 + Luke 14, 1, 7-14

Banquets, dinners, and parties are all frequent themes in Luke’s Gospel, and he uses these themes to give us a glimpse of what will be in the Kingdom of Heaven. In these verses today, we get a clear instruction about the heavenly banquet to which we hope to be invited. What we discover here is that hospitality and humility are essential virtues for those who expect to have a place at the banquet in heaven.

The reality of this vision of the banquet in God’s kingdom is that people are going to be there we might never think of inviting into our homes, because the Divine host is nothing like this guy who invites people from whom he expects to get something in return. … more »

Ordinary Time 21

August 25, 2019 onboard MS Zaandam

 Isaiah 66, 18-21 + Psalm 117 + Hebrews 12, 5-13 + Luke 13, 22-30

The question that starts this episode in Luke’s Gospel is asked by people who already feel very certain that they are among the few. They are hoping Jesus will say, “Yes”, securing their self-satisfied position. Jesus was not about to be trapped into playing their game of exclusion. In response, he uses a parable to confuse their rigid attitudes.

Jesus knew very well the writings of the Prophets, and so did they, because they were the religious elite. With this parable he reminds them quite subtly of how the Book of Isaiah concludes. It is a nightmare for nationalists and clerical elites as Isaiah has God gathering all kinds of people to share with them the secrets of divine glory. … more »

Ordinary Time 20

August 18, 2019 at Oklahoma City, OK

 Jeremiah 38, 4-10 + Psalm 40 + Hebrews 12, 1-4 + Luke 12, 49-53

It does not take much time to look at the world today and think that Jesus was very successful. There is division everywhere. Where there is not actual fire, there is fiery language of retaliation, revenge, and threats with missiles and weapons that can obliterate any opposition with fire. However, sometimes these Gospel images given today are used to justify all sorts of behavior Jesus would abhor, and I am puzzled by people who cause trouble and justify it with pious and religious excuses. These words from the mouth of Jesus are not given to us as a go-ahead for divisive behavior and causes that need not cause hurt and division. … more »