First Sunday of Advent December 1, 2013

Isaiah 2, 1-5 + Psalm 122 + Roman 13, 11-14 + Matthew 24, 37-44

On Board the MS Eurodam

There is a danger with this word “Advent” made all the more so by the customs that have grown up around the idea that comes to mind when someone says: “Advent”. The fact that we observe “Advent” just before the feast of Christmas does not help. The risk is that we begin to think that Advent is a “Season”; a time of prayerful preparation and readiness for Christmas, a time for confession and Penance Rites in some places, a time for lighting candles and wearing purple or violet vestments. Really traditional Catholics would be uncomfortable with Christmas decorations before the end of Advent. … more »

Ordinary Time 34 Solemnity of Christ the King November 24, 2013

2 Samuel 5, 1-3 + Psalm 122 + Colossians 1, 12-20 + Luke 23, 35-43

 Today we look back and we look forward. We look back into the Journey of Jesus that brought him to this day described by Luke and back further into this entire Year of Faith concluded this week. At the same time though we look forward to what begins with Advent and to what the future holds for us who have and who are making our journey to Jerusalem. In a way, all of this is visually there in the image Luke paints for us with words: three crosses on a hill outside of Jerusalem: one is the past, one is the present, and one is the future. … more »

The Dallas Buyers Club

I have no idea what “The Academy” looks for or expects from someone when they select “The Best Actor” or the “Best” of anything. I have never been good at guessing who they will so honor; but somehow Matthew MacConaughey has put himself in their faces with his performance in “The Dallas Buyers Club”. No one could fault what he does to bring to life a dying man. His recognition this time will have nothing to do with his looks or his body. This is about his skills and how he uses them. And, he is not the only one in the cast who comes to life through a real, powerful, and deeply disturbing story. It isn’t pretty, and neither is he. … more »

November 17, 2013 Ordinary Time 33

Malachi 3, 19-20 + Psalm 98 + 2 Thessalonians 3, 7-12 + Luke 21, 5-19

Three levels of Gospel hearing are at play today, and you have heard me insist on them for years:

1)      What did Jesus say? The historical situation

2)      What is Luke saying? The historical gospel situation

3)      What are they both saying to us right now

Taking the first steps keeps us on track. Skipping either one or two, and you might miss three.

This temple Jesus speaks of was built by Herod, a non-believer. It was not built out of faith as God’s dwelling place. Herod was in league with the Romans and so were the priests who ran the place. It was a very important income producer for Herod, the priests, and the Romans who took a share of the offering income. … more »

THOR!

Four older people like me were in line at the ticket window. They bought tickets for “Last Vegas” and went on ahead. The very young man selling the tickets looked up. I am certain he thought I was either going to see “Last Vegas” or “Bad Grandpa.” When I said: “THOR! In 3-D”. He smiled and said: “Way to go.” So, I went to see THOR in 3-D.

There were two other people in the theater, but it was only 1:30 in the afternoon. They were my age as best I could tell in the darkness. Something had changed since my “Marvel Comics” days, but then so have I. The film was a lot of fun, and once I remembered it was MARVEL and stopped trying to make something of the great struggle between good and evil, light and darkness, I began to laugh. … more »

Twelve Years a slave

Just days after Ryan Ferguson was released from captivity after serving ten years for a crime he did not commit, seeing Twelve years a slave was a brutal and discomforting experience reminding me that we have a long way to go with improving our justice system. I could not help but see some similarity between a prosecutor who withheld evidence at a murder trial to improve his chances at re-election and those who sold the innocent Solomon Northrup  taking his freedom. Then, as the screen tells it at the end:  there was no one to testify against them in pre-civil war Washington.

“I want to apologize for the way I look. I’ve had a difficult time the last few years.” he says, standing before a grandchild he has never seen named “Solomon.” No one around me in the theater moved, and as the screen went to black, there was not a sound as we gathered up our things to leave in a silent procession home. … more »

November 10, 2013 Ordinary Time 32

Ordinary Time 13  November 10, 2013

Maccabees 7, 1-2, 9, 14 + Psalm 17 + 2 Thessalonians 2, 16-3, 5 + Luke 20,

The journey of Jesus that began weeks and weeks ago with Luke Chapter 9 is now concluded. He made through Jericho last week where he invited Nicodemus and us to “Come down.” He is now in Jerusalem where he will fulfill his Father’s will, where all that he had promised would come to pass, where the temple of his body would be torn down only to rise again on the third day. Now Luke fine tunes his Gospel and begins to focus on life and the promise of Jesus. Who better to cast in this scene than the Sadducees whose position on death was that it was final. … more »

November 3, 2013 Ordinary Time 31

Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church Norman, OK

Wisdom 11, 22-12, 2 + Psalm 145 + 2 Thessalonians 1,11 -2,2 + Luke 19, 1-10

“Come down.” says Jesus to Zacchaeus. “Come down” says Jesus to you and me when we pick up this piece of Luke’s Gospel. “Come down, down from our arrogance and smug ways, down from your hoarding of this earth’s bounty, down from your power, down from your privilege and prestige.  Come down from your pride and from your grudges. Come down from jealousies and ambitions, superiority and judgments. Come down from everything and anything that keeps us from Joy.

Look at what happens to Zacchaeus when he comes down. He is filled with Joy. All that stuff he had accumulated had never brought him anything lasting. … more »