Acts of the Apostles 2: 1-11 + Psalm 104 + 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13 + John 20: 19-23

May 28, 2023 (This weekend I serve at the Maronite Parish in Tequesta, Fl)

We like to think that there was something miraculous going on with the Pentecost story that Luke gives us in the first reading today. Thinking that way is to forget that the Sacred Scriptures are not recording history. To get all curious or excited about how those apostles were able to speak in different tongues is a silly distraction. To think that this is some kind of miracle is to miss the real miracle being described here. The real miracle here is that of a bunch of cowardly, frightened men hiding out in a locked room suddenly had the courage to come out, and not just peek out, but burst out on fire with news that God has raised up a crucified man and made him Lord and Messiah. … more »

The Ascension of the Lord – Commission Sunday

Acts of the Apostles 1: 1-11 + Psalm 47 + Ephesians 1: 17-23 + Matthew 28: 16-20

4:30 pm Saturday, May 21, 2023 at Saint William Catholic Church in Naples, FL

There is danger with this Gospel. It is the danger of thinking that this is about something that happened in the past and something about the apostles. That is wrong, and getting it wrong has consequences for the Church and its apostolic members.  This feast and the event we commemorate tells us that we, the Church, must be a community of mission. We have a mission in this life, all of us, and the mission is not to play cards, golf, travel, or sit in the sun. For that matter, the mission of the Church is not to build big lovely buildings unless those are tools for accomplishing the mission we have been given. … more »

Easter Six – Promise Sunday

Acts of the Apostles 8: 5-8, 14-17 + Psalm 66 + 1 Peter 3: 15-18 + John 14: 15-21

May 14, 2023 4:30 pm Saturday at Saint William Catholic Church in Naples, FL

We are still at the table of the Last Supper with these verses of John’s Gospel, and Jesus is explaining that soon his followers will not know him in the flesh as they had. A hard and painful transition lies ahead. They don’t want to let go of what they have, much less face what is coming. He promises he will not leave them as orphans. Like children whose parents are taken away forever, they would question their identity and how they would survive without him. Yet, the promise is made, a promise that leads them to experience that while he will not be with them, he will dwell within them.  … more »

Easter Five “The Way to Peace”

Acts of the Apostles 6: 1-7 + Psalm 33 + Peter 2, 4-9 + John 14: 1-12

May 7, 2023

This homily was not delivered during the Liturgy as I am at the Maronite Parish in Tequesta, FL

In John’s Gospel the final night of Jesus’ life is five chapters in length. We pick up today verses from near the end. As with Moses, Joshua, David, and Tobit, the leader gathers his family and closest friends to bid them farewell and offer insight into the future giving some final instructions. We must sense that intimate moment in these verses today. Jesus is about to leave. He gives us some final words of encouragement and consolation: Be faithful to God’s Word and Law, Remember and live what I have taught you. … more »

Easter 4 “Shepherd Sunday”

Acts of the Apostles 2, 14, & ,36-41 + Psalm 23 + 1 Peter 2, 20-25 + John 10, 1-10

April 29 and 30, 2023 at Holy Spirit Parish in Mustang, Oklahoma

I have always found the “Shepherd / Sheep” image of the Gospel to be something of a challenge. Left on the shallowest level, this image in the church supports a kind of “clericalism” that I believe is not at all healthy for the us as a church in our age. It suggests that shepherds are in charge and that sheep are passive willing to fall in line at the shepherd’s orders. That sort of thinking creates a mindset that is not healthy for our church and a bit contrary to the meaning and consequences of our Baptism. … more »

Easter 3 “Emmaus Sunday”

Acts 2, 14, 22-33 + Psalm 16 + 1 Peter 1, 17-21 + Luke 24, 13-35

April 23, 2023 

This Homily will not be delivered as I am attending the Blessing and Dedication of a new Pipe Organ at Saint Mark Parish in Norman, OK.

Their grief and disappointment are not hard to imagine. We get that part. Most of us have been there. However, their failure to recognize this one in whom they had placed their hopes is more troubling. I wonder sometimes if perhaps their hopes simply did not match God’s hopes. We have all had times of disappointment and discouragement when God failed to live up to our expectations of what God should do or how God should act. … more »

Easter 2 “Mercy Sunday”

Acts of the Apostle 2: 24-27 + Psalm 118 + 1 Peter 1: 3-9 + John 20: 19-31

April 16, 2023 at St. William & St. Peter Churches in Naples, FL

The tomb is open and empty. The room is locked but full. There is a deliberate contrast here in John’s mind as he continues the Gospel, and we should not miss this subtle message. Locked in a room out of fear, the one who has broken from a tomb comes to set them free; not just free from their fear, but free for the mission he is handing over to them. When we look for a way of describing or naming that “mission” it can only be called, “The Mission of Mercy.” … more »

Easter Sunday

Acts of the Apostles 10, 34-43 + Psalm 118 + Colossians 3, 1-4 + John 20, 1-9

April 9, 2023 at St. Peter the Apostle Churche in Naples, FL

7:00 am At Saint William Catholic Church in Naples, FL

There is a lot of running around in this story and none of the runners seem to know what’s going on. This Mary runs to tell Simon Peter that there’s an empty tomb. Then Simon Peter and another disciple go running as though it was a race, and the Gospel tells us that Peter came in second. A lot of running around over an empty tomb, and no one seems to understand why much less why they were running around early in the morning. … more »

Palm Sunday

Isaiah 50, 4-7 + Psalm 22 + Philippians 2, 6-11 + Matthew 26, 14-27,66

April 2, 2023 at St. Agnes, St. William & St. Peter Churches in Naples, FL

At Saint William Church in Naples, FL

I think that Social Scienteists will look back the years of our lifetime and call this “The Age of the Victim”. Playing the role of victim has somehow taken over the psyche of many people in the western world. It goes along with the system of blame that we have cultivated. Someone is always responsible for my troubles and misery, and then the victim begins to cry out: “Why me?” “How could this happen to me?” A pity party has almost taken the place of a Birthday Party. … more »

Fifth Sunday in Lent

March 26, 2023 at Saint Eugene Church in Oklahoma City, OK

Ezekiel 37, 12-14 + Psalm 130 + Romans 8, 8-11 + John 11, 1-45

My name is Thomas. When my parents chose that name for me, I am sure that they did not realize what a gift they were giving me. While there are several great men with that name: Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Beckett, Thomas More, I feel sure that they knew nothing of those men, and I have always believed that the Apostle Thomas was their intent. Over the 81 years I have carried that name, that man called: “The Twin” and I have grown closer. The oral tradition that shaped the written Gospels only recalled three occasions when he spoke, and it’s not hard to understand why they would have remembered and passed on his words. … more »