September 19, 2021 at Saint Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, FL
Wisdom 2, 12, 17-20 + Psalm 54 + James 3, 16 -37 4: 3 + Mark 9, 30-37
In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is slowing making his way to Jerusalem where he will be “handed over” which is our translation of a Greek word that can also mean “betrayed.” Mark uses that word eight times, and in that fact, there might be a message. It seems to me that the betrayal has already started with these apostles who are more concerned about their self-interest than they are about his future. To look at the cross and ask what we’re going to get out of it is, in some ways a betrayal. … more »
September 12, 2021 I am in St Louis this weekend. This homily will not be delivered.
Isaiah 50, 5-9 + Psalm 116 + James 2, 14-18 + Mark 8, 27-35
We are at the exact center point of Mark’s Gospel. Until now, Jesus and his disciples have been traveling to the villages of the countryside and up into Galilee. They have stopped for a moment at the ultimate seat of Roman power. The place where this episode takes place is important. We are at Caesarea Philippi. It is a place with great imperial history. The Caesars who built and lavished riches upon this place see themselves as gods who rule and bless their subjects through their imperial structured world. There was a gleaming Temple there built by a people who created their god in their own image. … more »
St. Raymond/St Elizabeth Maronite Churches in Saint Louis
September 11, 2008
1 Corinthians 1, 18-25 + John 12, 20-32
An ancient feast of the church takes us deep our faith’s deepest mystery and symbol. For the earliest Christians, the cross was a source of shame and scandal. The leader, the one in whom they had placed all their trust had been executed as a common criminal. They were discouraged and they were ashamed. Yet, in time, they found the courage to take the very symbol of that disgrace and raise it high as a sign of God’s glorious intervention on their behalf. Remembering the serpents in the desert that afflicted the People of Israel with death and suffering, the cross was a source of death and suffering to the earliest church. Yet the faithful God of Israel intervened to protect the faithful people in the desert, and as a reminder of that God’s action, they raised up an image of their former suffering high on a staff as sign of hope and of victory.
Conscious of that history, the early followers of Christ had the same experience with the cross.This feast proclaims the intervention of God in the midst of suffering, and the victory of those who suffer in hope and fidelity. … more »
September 5, 2021 at Saint Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, FL
Isaiah 35, 4-7 + Psalm 146 + James 2, 1-5 + Mark 7, 31-37
Every time I hear or read this Gospel, I am reminded of a section on the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo. You’ve at least seen pictures of that scene. On the left is Adam lounging around in all his corporal glory, and God is on the right surrounded by angels. God is reaching out toward Adam and Adam is reaching out toward God. In the mind of the artist, it is the moment of creation. Their fingers are just inches apart. … more »
August 29, 2021 at St. Peter the Apostle and Saint William Parishes in Naples, FL
Deuteronomy 4, 1-2, 6-8 + Psalm 15 + James 1, 17-18, 21-27 + Mark 7, 1-8, 13-15, 21-23
Mark tells us at the beginning of this episode that these Pharisees and some Scribes came from Jerusalem. With this detail, Mark signals that these guys come with authority because Jerusalem was the place above all where purity was to be maintained, and the laws which provided purity were to be enforced. The whole system in Jerusalem was about deciding what or who was clean or unclean. If something or someone was unclean, it was restored to purity there, and you did that by keeping the law which told you what to do. … more »
Our “summer vacation” from Mark’s Gospel comes to an end this weekend, and by now we recognize that our reflection on the sixth chapter of John has not exactly been a time to rest. Every three years as this sixth chapter is put before us, we feast on the Word of God and, if we so desire, we are drawn more deeply into the meaning of the Bread of Life and confirmed more firmly in the faith we have in Jesus Christ who is now, once and for all, by the words of Peter, the Holy One, the Son of God who has come down from heaven. … more »
We have two examples set before us today by the Blessed Virgin. They are not provided to have us sit back in admiration, but rather to inspire and motivate us in our response to the Word of God made flesh.
The first example is what Mary does. Her way of responding to the favor God has shown her sends her to Elizabeth an old woman who is with child, someone in need of company, of presence, and of help. She does not sit at home enjoying the favors of God. … more »
At this point in chapter six, the crowd is unable to listen any further to Jesus. Not only are they impatient because he does not give them any more signs, but they are totally confounded by his claim to have come down from heaven when they know his clan and where they live. So, in these verses, the focus is not bread, but Jesus himself. Before he can talk about the bread and what it is, he must reveal who he is if he is the bread. … more »
In this 6th chapter of John’s Gospel, we pick up the introduction to what we must call, “The Bread of Life” discourse. Much of what happens here is a dialogue between Jesus and the crowd, and at this point, the crowd is open and respectful. They call him, “Rabbi”, “Sir”, and “Master.” That will not last. They will be murmuring and turn against him next week. That crowd were chasing him around for more free food, and for the hope that he would finally rise up to be the Messiah they wanted, political and powerful. … more »
For the next five weeks, until mid-August, we set aside the Gospel of Mark and take up the Sixth Chapter of John’s Gospel. I encourage you to read and re-read that chapter often in the next several weeks. It’s only seventy-two verses. Less than ten minutes. It will help you move more deeply into the identity of Christ Jesus and draw you into the mystery of the Holy Eucharist which is John’s goal. The First Testament Readings during this time are accounts of extraordinary feedings that will open our hearts and minds to this Chapter of John’s Gospel in which Jesus gradually reveals his true identity and invites us into a life of union with him through Communion. … more »