Listening to Matthew 2022 + 2023

Part One, The Infancy Narrative

Given at St William November 29, St Agnes December 6, St Peter December 14 Naples, Florida

It was sometime between the year 80 and 90 that a devout follower of The Way sat down somewhere with a copy of something called “The Good News” that tells the story of Jesus Christ from the sudden appearance of John the Baptist to the beginning of the mission taken up by those who went forth preaching as many signs confirmed the message to those who would listen. He also had at hand a collection of sayings that had been handed down by those who actually heard Jesus speak, and another collection from an oral tradition that recalled events and customs that had been shared by several communities whose members sought to more faithfully follow The Way Jesus had revealed. … more »

St James the Greater Parish Mission Wednesday April 2, 2014

Matthew 12, 1-8

This incident in Matthew’s Gospel is very troubling, and it is the first of two stories unfolding and revealing an important part of the Gospel’s Good News. The second story which comes right after these verses tells of Jesus curing a man with a withered hand in the Synagogue on Sabbath. It is as though Matthew wants to drive home the point. The Pharisees are growing more and more furious and impatient with Jesus. The rhetoric is heating up and the hostility can no longer be disguised as curiosity or interest. This man and his teaching are a direct challenge to their very way of life; he poses a threat to law and order.


Now there is a big difference between external and internal realities. … more »

St James the Greater Parish Mission Tuesday April 1, 2014

MARK 2, 13-17

As last evening’s reflection concluded, I was speaking about “privilege” and the extraordinary gift we have in faith when we recognize and acknowledge who we are as laborers in God’s vineyard. We turn to Saint Mark tonight whose whole Gospel is, what I like to call, a short course in discipleship. It is somewhat like those yellow and black books you can find in book stores (if you can find a book store any more). You may know the series: “Accounting for Dummies”, “Cooking for Dummies”, “Windows 7 for Dummies”, and there is course, “Catholicism for Dummies” which isn’t half bad. When I read it, I thought, “I wish I had written that!”

It is only Chapter Two when we come upon Levi’s encounter with Jesus. … more »

St James the Greater Parish Mission Monday March 31, 2014

LUKE 20, 9-18

God is good! (All the time.) About two months ago, Father Pruett invited me to come for these nights of prayer and reflection, and I said: “Well tell me what you want me to talk about, or we are both in danger of being disappointed.” Then he began to talk to me for about ten minutes and my eyes glazed over. I am certain that he was saying something very important and deeply spiritual, but it was at the end of a long dinner, and I realized I should not have asked the question. Surely you have all been there: that moment when you ask a question and then suddenly realize you should have kept quiet! I think I interrupted him at some point when I realized I should have just said “Yes” or “No”. … more »

Saint James the Greater Parish Lenten Mission Oklahoma City, OK

Opening Sunday Homily    March 30, 2014    John 9, 1-41

There is a story told about an Indian peasant who had a lifelong passion to visit Bombay. He talked about going there so often that his friends and neighbors decided to take up a collection and pay for the trip. When it was time for his departure the whole community gathered at the edge of town to wish him well. He thanked everyone and started walking down the road to Bombay to fulfill his dream. To everyone’s surprise, he returned much earlier than expected. When they asked him if something had happened to keep him from reaching the city, he answered, “Nothing,” assuring them that the trip had gone well and he had seen Bombay. … more »