September 24, 2023 at St William and St Peter Catholic Churches in Naples, FL
This is really a cool parable to hear right now as the Auto Workers go out on strike. And since I firmly believe that the Gospel is for the present time and not some history book of old sayings. Jesus Christ just spoke this parable to us just as really as he did once before to his disciples, the “in group.” Perhaps more than any of the parables, this one shakes us up, and I can remember hearing it when I was a lot younger and thinking: “That’s not fair. … more »
September 17, 2023 at St Peter and St William Churches in Naples, FL
Jesus speaks to us today about Mercy, which is much deeper and far more rich and healing than forgiveness. Peter, probably trying to look grand and magnanimous comes up with what, to him, must seem like a large number. Jesus will have none of his silly counting ideas and he proposes to us something greater than forgiveness. Forgiveness is a great gift, but there is something greater. Mercy goes further than forgiveness because it is underserved, and it comes without asking. It is a pure gift, an incredible gift that must be accepted. … more »
The verses of Matthew’s Gospel that the Church puts before us are complex, and as usual, Matthew has little gems buried in these verses that should get our attention. What we really have here is a peek into the working of the earliest church communities. Matthew is confirming the method by which his community is to maintain unity and harmony. One of those little gems is the note that shifts the responsibility for binding and loosing from Peter to the whole church. The first time this binding and loosing instruction is given Jesus speaks to Peter. This time it is to the church. … more »
September 3, 2023 on board the MS Zaandam departing Montréal
The one who fed the multitude, who calmed the water, drove out evil spirits, and broke down social barriers by healing the daughter of a Canaanite woman is now the one who will be put to death. It doesn’t make sense. It does not match our idea of what a Savior or Messiah should do any more than it did Peter who was obviously not the only person who has struggled to understand the mind of God. He had all that power at his disposal. Why would he not use it in his own defense?
When Father Jack called me and invited me to stand here today, the first thing I did was look up the Gospel for the day, and I shuddered thinking, “I should have said I can’t make it.” Why couldn’t it have been a text where Jesus says, “Pick up your mat or your walker and come follow me.” But no, it has to be this one about keys for a man who no longer has any.
You have to wonder, and I suppose that’s the whole idea of the Gospel, to lead us to wonder over what in the world God is thinking. … more »
This homily is not delivered during Liturgy as I am serving a Maronite Community this weekend
Concerns about who is in and who is out have been going on since the beginning of time. We organize ourselves in families, neighborhoods, parishes, and all sorts of groups that give us identity, responsibilities, and sometimes privileges. Those groups have boundaries too, and we are usually quick to know who belongs and who does not, usually guarding those privileges that come from belonging so that those who do not belong get no share.
It is a challenge to the pious to see Jesus in the first part of this episode. … more »
August 13, 2023 This homily will not be delivered during a Liturgy as I am away from Naples
There is enough going on in these verses from the Fourteenth Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel to give anyone a headache! The fact that Jesus sends the disciples off in the boat without him is a curious detail. In the meantime, he goes off to some mountain to pray just like prophets before him went up mountains to pray. The fact that the crowd has been dismissed makes it clear that what happens in these verses is something reserved for those in the boat. The crowd is not there to see it. … more »
August 6, 2023 at Saint Peter the Apostle in Naples, Fl
We all have all had moments in our lives or experiences that we hoped would never end. I’ve had many of them, and I’m certain that you have too when just mention of it brings back those memories, those people, that place and time when we just hoped time would stop. I think this is exactly what Peter, James, and John felt that day Matthew has recorded for us in this Gospel.
As always, how that happened, when or where is less important than what it means for us. … more »
July 30, 2023 at Saint William, St Agnes, & St Peter Churches in Naples, FL
This weekend we have come to the end Chapter 13 which is Matthew’s largest collection of parables. They have provided us with some curious surprises that never seems quite right, and some things to compare for the sake of our choices. We get two finders today. One of them gets something he does not deserve. It’s not his land, and therefore what he finds is not his. He sells everything even his morals to get what he finds. He’s an undeserving crook who gets his treasure even though it isn’t deserved. … more »
July 23, 2023 at Saint William Church in Naples, FL
More parables today, but that’s all there is in Chapter 13 of Matthew’s Gospel, and we have one more week of them yet to come. Parables are a teacher’s way of surprising disciples and inviting them to compare themselves with the Father whose image Jesus has come to restore in us. So, last week he taught and amazed us over how extravagant the Father is throwing gifts everywhere and to everyone. We were challenge to see how much like that Father we are with sharing our gifts. And now, more parables to surprise us, stir our wonder, and compare ourselves again not to each other, but to the one whose life we share and whose image we bear like it or not. … more »