Number 6, 22-27 X Psalm 67 X Galatians 4, 4-7 X Luke 2, 16-21
January 1, 2016 at Saint Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, FL.
Of all the feasts of Mary, this is the oldest celebrated by the church long before any of the others, and it is the source of everything we know and believe about this woman so favored and blessed by God. What Luke tells us about her provides a clear look at the response of anyone who becomes aware of God’s action in their lives and conscious of the great privilege it is to bear and give flesh to the Word of God. We come here today because we too are aware of God’s action in our lives; aware of the gifts we have, of the faith we share, and the hope that faith has nurtured in our hearts. … more »
1 Samuel 1, 20-28 X Psalm 128 X 1 John 3, 1-24 X Luke 2, 41-52
December 27, 2015 at Saint Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, FL.
It was 1893. The industrial revolution a generation earlier had begun to affect family life as it was known then, and the consequent changes in morality were an increasing threat to family life. In response to this Pope Leo XIII established this feast to be celebrated shortly after Easter. While it has moved around in the Church’s calendar since then, it has become more and more widely celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas.
Today “family” has many cultural and moral connotations and challenges for us. We are now living in an age of blended families, single parent families, and even “same-sex” families. … more »
Isaiah 9, 1-6 X Psalm 96 X Titus 2, 11-14 X Luke 2, 1-14
December 24, 2015 at Saint Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, FL.
Sooner better than later each of us ought to stand in front of a Nativity scene like this one and ask a couple of questions. They are important questions that might seem rude, ungrateful or disrespectful. None the less they are questions that will lead us past what we see and deeper into the profound wonder of what we are celebrating here. If we do not ask these questions and begin to consider the answers we are no different from non-believers or like beginners in the ways of faith who just look and wonder: “Is that all there is?” The world in which we live answers “Yes” to that question, and by Monday morning the shelves in every store in this country will be cleared off cleaned up and set up for Valentine’s Day; because for them that’s all there is. … more »
Everything about Jesus Christ from who he was as the son of a carpenter born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, to what he did and what he said turned the ideas, the customs, and the beliefs of this world upside down. To enter into a relationship with him even today means that the same thing will happen. God has shown no interest in power, influence or great wealth. God has not as yet shown much interest in what is big or important by our judgments either. Great and powerful Rome, beautiful and wealthy Jerusalem, Kings, High Priests, Caesars and Tetrarchs were of no interest and no use to God. … more »
Zephaniah 3, 14-18 X Psalm 122 X Philemon 4, 4-7 X Luke 3, 10-18 at Saint Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, FL.
“What must we do?” ask the people who hear the prophet. All too often the question as we might ask it ourselves refers too exclusively to practices that we hope will be sure ways of reaching eternal life. No matter who asks the question of John his answer is simple: “Be just in the work you do. Live as you should, being righteous and conscious of the needs of others.” The problem if you stop there is that religion gets reduced to a moral code, a kind of system whereby we bargain our way into this Kingdom that is at hand. … more »
Genesis 3, 9-15, 20 – Psalm 98 – Ephesians 1, 3-6, 11-12 – Luke 1, 26-38 at Saint Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, FL.
While this feast is certainly and obviously about the Blessed Mother and God’s favor toward her, the older I get and the more often I join the church in celebrating this feast, the more I am beginning to see that it is much more than our response to a dogmatic expression of a fundamental tenant of our faith: that Mary was Immaculate and conceived without sin in order to give flesh to the Word of God.
What is gradually dawning on me, and what I would encourage you to reflect upon as we make this day “holy” by interrupting our usual weekday routine to gather as Church is that this Feast is really about vocation, about God’s call not just to Mary, but to us all. … more »
Baruch 5, 1-9 – Psalm 126 – Philemon 1, 4-5, 8-11 – Luke 3, 1-6 at Saint Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, FL.
The context in which we live our lives these days is one I like to call, “Hyper-Individualism. This individualism and the privatization that results from this kind of living and thinking boarders on idolatry. A concern for the common good, is always secondary to my needs and my wants, never mind what this might mean to anyone else. This has led to the collapse of neighborhood life, and it is the source of constant conflict in every kind of community from work to home. Even in churches and in the exercise of faith, the individualistic behavior wears away at community life, communal celebrations, and the unity and communion of the church Gospel life expects. … more »