Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 5, 2023 at Saint Elizabeth Seton & Saint Peter the Apostle Churches in Naples, FL

Isaiah 58, 7-10 + Psalm 112 + First Corinthians 2, 1-5 + Matthew 5, 13-16

Sunday, 9:00 am Mass at Saint Elizabeth Seton Church in Naples, FL

If you have ever wondered what you are doing here, and I don’t mean in this church, I mean what you are doing on this earth; or wondered why God created you, the answer is right here in this Sermon on the Mount. If you have not wondered about that question, you are part of the problem and part of the reason why the Kingdom of God is seems so far off and difficult to experience.

Having just described what it is like to be Blessed, Jesus sort of rolls up his sleeves and begins to talk about why we here, and what God expects of us. … more »

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 29, 2023 at St William & St Peter the Apostle Churches in Naples, FL

Saint William Catholic Church in Naples, FL 2:45pm Saturday Vigil

Zephaniah 2: 3, 3:12-13 + Psalm 146 + I Corinthians1: 1: 26-31 + Matthew 5: 1-12

Years ago, when I was in the seminary, and I do mean years and years ago, I had a wise confessor who upset me more than once with challenges to my way of thinking, praying, and looking at myself and the world. I had just finished listing my sins after a careful examination of conscience. He let out a very audible sigh, turned toward me and said: “It’s about time to grow up and grow out of that.” I said nothing for the simple reason that I didn’t know what exactly he wanted me to grow out of. … more »

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

4:30 pm Saint William Catholic Church in Naples, FL

January 22, 2023 St William Church in Naples, FL

Isaiah 8: 23 to 9: 3 + Psalm 27 + I Corinthians1: 1: 10-13, 17 + Matthew 4: 12-23

As we pick up Matthew’s Gospel today, Jesus has just come from his desert time. We all have what I like to call “Desert Times.” Times of hardship, challenges when our faith, or motives, our obedience are put to the test. The experience of Jesus there was like a training exercise preparing him for what lies ahead, and the temptations he faced there were the same temptations the Israelites faced in the desert. They concerned food, trust that God would protect them, and the lure of idol worship. … more »

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 15, 2023 at St William Catholic Church in Naples, FL

Isaiah 49: 3-6 + Psalm 40 + I Corinthians1: 1-3 + John 1: 29-34

Saint William Catholic Church in Naples, FL 4:30 pm Saturday

This Gospel passage today sets a trap for us that we must avoid if we are going to hear God speak to us today through the Gospel. That trap is one I have spoken of over and over not just here during Mass, but also in talks I gave here last year with Luke and are scheduled this year with Matthew. This is not history. If we listen to these verses thinking that the Evangelist is telling us about an event that occurred between John the Baptist and Jesus, we’re done for.  … more »

The Epiphany of the Lord

January 8, 2023 at St William Catholic Church in Naples, FL

Saturday 4:30 pm at Saint William Catholic Church in Naples, FL

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

There is a bit of everything in these verses from Matthew’s Gospel today. It’s sort-of like a stew, which was the way my mother used to hide vegetables. We got a bit everything and it was nourishing. To get into the real message of these verses however, you have to put that song written by John Henry Hopkins for a Christmas Pageant out of your mind. If you think Matthew’s Gospel is more important than Hopkins’ hymn, forget about Three and delete Kings. Hopkin’s idea about there being three of them comes from the number of gifts. … more »

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

January 1, 2023 at Saint Agnes, Saint William and Saintt Peter the Apostle Churches in Naples, FL

Numbers 6: 22-27 + Psalm 67 + Galatians 4: 4-7 + Luke 2, 16-21

4:00 p.m. at Saint Agnes Catholic Church in Naples, FL

At some point early in my life as my birthday was coming up, I said something to my father about what gift I was hoping to receive on my birthday. He took that occasion to put me in the car and take me to a gift shop where I thought I would be invited to make my own choice. However, when we got inside, he handed me a five-dollar bill and told me to pick out a gift for my mother telling me with all seriousness that I would not be having a birthday were it not for her. … more »

Christmas

December 25, 2022 at St Agnes, St William, St Peter the Apostle Churches in Naples, FL

Isaiah 62, 11-12 + Psalm 97 + Titus 3, 4-7 + Luke 2, 15-20

Saturday 7:00 pm Christmas Eve at Saint Agnes Catholic Church in Naples, FL

We proclaim this Gospel and celebrate this Christmas in an age of uncertainty and controversy. Some in the church believe Pope Francis has taken the church off the rails while others think he is the answer to prayers completing the promises of the Second Vatican Council. Meanwhile, in nearly every country there is a political crisis than never seems to go away no matter who is elected. There is corruption and distrust over serious questions about the future of our planet and the ability of institutions to resolve conflict and stop violence. … more »

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 18, 2022 at St Peter and St William Parishes in Naples, FL

Isaiah 7, 10-14 + Psalm 24 + Roman 1, 1-7 + Matthew 1, 18-24

11:00 Sunday at Saint Peter the Apostle, Naples, FL

Matthew gives us a great gift today, unique to this Gospel. The gift is Joseph. In Matthew’s Gospel, the central human character is not Mary. It is Joseph who receives a message from an angel. Matthew calls it a “dream.” I would call it a nightmare. I think when he woke up it was the worst day of his life. He had every reason to feel furious, betrayed, shamed, and devastated. He is caught between Moses and the commandments or the word of an angel in a dream. … more »

The Third Sunday of Advent

4:00 pm Saturday at Saint Agnes Church in Naples, FL

December 11, 2022 at St William, & St Agnes Churches in Naples, FL

Isaiah 35, 1-6 & 10 + Psalm 146 + James 5, 7-10 + Matthew 11, 2-11

I cannot count the times people have come to me troubled because they have doubts. It sometimes stirs up guilt which they then bring to the confessional. Over the years, I have begun to believe that doubt is really a very healthy thing that gives some evidence that there is thought, reflection, and some searching going on. That’s a lot better than just sliding along without ever wondering or pushing the limits of faith. Having been given the name, Thomas, as a child, I decided that doubt was just part of life, part of faith, and a reason for hope. … more »

The Immaculate Conception

Genesis 3, 9-15, 20 + Psalm 98 + Ephesians 1, 3-6, 11-12 + Luke 1, 2-38

It does not take a scholar to realize that the church would have us look and reflect upon the two women put before us in the readings today. Both of them are loved by God from the very beginning. Yet, there is a difference between them that we can hardly ignore. One says, “Yes”. The other says, “No.” One listens to a serpent. The other listens to an angel. As Luke tells it, the one who says, “Yes” stands before us as a figure of hope because she is the reminder that the one who listened to the serpent is not forgotten nor abandoned by the God who loved her into existence. … more »