The Presentation of the Lord

2 February 2020 This homily was never delivered in liturgy, but simply prepared for this use while I am on vacation in France.

Malachi 3, 1-4 + Psalm 24 + Hebrews 2, 14-18 + Luke 2, 22-40

The Law for the Hebrew people (Leviticus 12) commanded that a woman who had given birth to a son should not approach the Tabernacle for 40 days; after which time she was to offer a sacrifice for her purification. By another law, every first-born son was to be considered as belonging to God, since the first-born sons had been spared in Egypt. They were to be redeemed by a small sum of money. With this historical context clear in our minds, we can dig deeper into what Luke is revealing to us in these verses today. … more »

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 »