The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

21 January 2018 At St. Peter and St. William Churches in Naples, FL

Jonah 3, 1-5, 10 + Psalm 25 + 1 Corinthians 7, 29-31 + Mark 1, 14-20

At the time of Jesus, it was customary for most people to choose a rabbi and become a disciple in order to learn the law. The disciples did the choosing. With these Gospel verses, there is something happening that is out of the ordinary. Instead of these men choosing Jesus as their rabbi and becoming one of his disciples, Jesus does the choosing. He chose them. They do not choose him. There is something unique going on here, and we might pay attention to it. … more »

The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – 14 January 2018

1 Samuel 3, 3-10, 19 + Psalm 40 + 1 Corinthians 6, 13-15 + John 1, 35-42

Even though we are now beginning the year of Mark, the Gospel today comes from John respecting an old liturgical theme of celebrating different manifestations of Jesus. John’s whole Gospel is a gradual manifestation of who Jesus is from this announcement of John the Baptist to Martha’s announcement at the raising of her brother, Lazarus.  So, only 35 verses into the Gospel two people reveal who Jesus is: John the Baptist and that first-called apostle, Andrew who says: “We have found the Messiah.” Late this coming summer, we will return to John’s Gospel and spend several weeks reflecting upon how Jesus is manifested in the Bread of Life. … more »

The Epiphany of the Lord

7 January 2018 at Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples. FL

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

Some careless misreading of this Gospel has led to a rather unfortunate idea about what was going on here. While that carelessness has provided us with another nice romantic story to tell in the Christmas season, it does not touch the reality that has a lot more to say to us than what we are given. Matthew never says that these wise men, astrologers, or kings whatever another translator will choose to call them followed a star. It says that they observed a star “as it rose”.  It says nothing about the star guiding them. … more »

The Feast of the Holy Family at St. Peter and St. William Churches in Naples, FL

December 31, 2017 at Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples. FL

Sirach 3,2 & 12-14 + Psalm 128 + Colossians 3. 12=21 + Luke 2, 22, 39-40

The commercial tendency to sentimentalize the Birth of Christ with all kinds of romantic images and dramatizations of the nativity with children’s pageants full of wooly lambs, regal visitors, and the perfectly lovely couple with a sweet little baby gets a correction with this feast today. Do not be misled by the words: “Holy Family”. This is not to suggest that somehow this little couple from Nazareth who found their way to Bethlehem were special and given a pass from the realities and hardships of family life. That family was real. … more »

Christmas Day at Saint William Church in Naples, Florida

Christmas Day December 25, 2017 at Saint William Churche in Naples. FL

Isaiah 9, 1-6 + Psalm 96 + Titus 2, 11-14 + Luke 2, 1-14

In an age when facts are dismissed as “fake news”, and history itself is ignored or rewritten by political regimes and ideologues to justify their ideas, we are left wonder what to make of this Gospel as we acknowledge a growing phenomenon of our age: skepticism. So, we look at this Gospel and wonder: Is this fact or fake news? Is this real history or just a romantic old story we tell every December in order to feel connected to something we can’t quite name?

For the first time in history the sum of human knowledge is literally in the palm of our hands. … more »

Advent 4 December 24, 2017 at Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples, FL

4 Advent December 24, 2017 at Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples, FL

Samuel 7, 1-5, 8-12, 14-16 + Psalm 89 + Romans 16, 25-27 + Luke 1, 26-38

David wants to build a Temple, a dwelling place for God; and God says, “No, you don’t build a place for me.” David lives in a fine palace, and he wants to put God in a fine Temple. God isn’t interested, and through the prophet proceeds to tell David all the things God has done just in case David thinks he did those things. Then suddenly the same God who said, “no” to David is ready for a dwelling place, but it is not a finely decorated, richly appointed Temple in the glorious and powerful city of Jerusalem. … more »

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 »