Saint Sebastian Parish Mission 4

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Part Three, The Passion & Resurrection

(Begin with singing Bach’s “O Sacred Head”)

As we begin, it should go without saying by now, but I’ll say it again: This is not History. What we are given is rooted in certain basic facts, but the intention of all the Gospel writers is to interpret history, not report it. In other words what is important is what it means, not how it happened. There are here powerful theological motives for writing. Frequently important texts from the Old Testament will weave in and out shaping the way the story is told to assure us that what happened to Jesus was always God’s plan. It was not some accident or the result of some terrible mistake or the triumph of evil over good. … more »

Saint Sebastian Parish Mission 3

Monday, March 6, 2023

Part Two, The Mission and Message of Jesus

It is a peculiar fact that in age and at a time in human history when more people are literate that the Word of God has become more difficult to read. People born before the rational scientific revolution of the last few hundred years knew how to read sacred literature. They knew and they understood images, not photographs or paintings, but the kind of images found in time-tested mythology. They knew that the truth was passed on through symbols and stories. It is not that the stories were made up and therefore not true, but that the stories, the characters, their challenges, their failures, were told to reveal or convey the truth. … more »

Saint Sebastian Parish Mission 2

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Part One, The Infancy Narrative

Tradition has always called this great work, “The Gospel of Matthew”. As I said this morning, this man was educated well and uses Greek as though it may have been his first language. It is a much more polished Greek than what is found in his sources.  His language style suggests he may well have been in Antioch or Syria. Some call him a verbal architect because the work is actually “built” in a constructive and balanced way.

This the mission of Jesus, the whole idea of salvation in the mind of people gets brought into agreement with the mind of God. The earliest idea that springs from the Exodus and then the Old Testament Prophets is that the Israelites are the people of God and no one else. … more »

Saint Sebastian Parish Mission 1

March 5, 2023 at Saint Sebastian Parish, Ft Lauderdale, FL Opening of Lenten Parish Mission

Genesis 12, 1-4 + Psalm 33 + 2 Timothy 1, 8-10 + Matthew 17, 1-9

At Monsignor’s invitation, I’ve come over from Naples where I have retired like most other people there after serving in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City for fifty years. I want to introduce you to someone who has a lot to say to us at this particular time in history. In December, with the beginning of Advent, we gave him a voice, and from now until the third of December, he will speak to us week after week revealing God’s plan for us and how God’s first plan, ruined by sin, could be restored. … more »

San Marco Parish Mission 3

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

The Roman Rite Mass and Language of Ritual Part Three

In a conversation about the Liturgy with someone recently, they expressed some surprise and not just a little annoyance when a fairly young priest said to her: “The Mass is a sacrifice. That talk about a meal and the altar as a table is just some Protestant idea that is totally wrong.” I wondered to myself at the time why it was an either-or matter in his mind. Then I began to wonder if that priest had paid any attention to the narrative of the Last Supper. I don’t think we call it the “Last Sacrifice.” The more I thought about it I wondered if that young man had any knowledge of Covenant which happens to be what was instituted and sealed at that meal in an upper room. … more »

San Marco Parish Mission 2

Monday, March 13, 2023

The Roman Rite Mass and Language of Ritual Part Two

Saint Ambrose, in writing “On the Sacraments” tells us that the Eucharistic celebration is a mystery of forgiveness and reconciliation. The entire celebration is filled with gesture and words about reconciliation and forgiveness. From what is properly called: “The Penitential Act” with its “Lord, Have Mercy” litany to those words spoken over the chalice: “Poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins, to the Rite of Peace, to the Lord’s Prayer, to the Lamb of God, it’s all about forgiveness. 

The rites of introduction for the Eucharistic celebration have four elements: a greeting, the penitential act, the doxology, and the prayer. These are not separate actions. … more »

San Marco Parish Mission 1

March 13, 2023 Marco Island, Florida

The Roman Rite Mass and Language of Ritual Part One

I don’t know what drove us to this point, but I know we’ve been here before. The Liturgy, the Worship of the Church, has over time in history been a like a lightning rod, an explosive source of controversy, tension, that is always a threat to the very unity of the Church which it should be strengthening. In July 2022, our Holy Father, exposed the reality of this fact by a firm and decisive document concerning the primacy of place given to the reforms of the Roman Rite decreed by the Ecumenical Council. His predecessors, fearful of breaking up the church over the refusal of some to accept the Decree of the Council allowed for some use of the Pre-Council Liturgy with the hope that gradually, the church would come together and older people who found the change impossible to accept would eventually pass away. … more »

Night 3 St Peter the Apostle, Naples, FL

Day Three

Blessed are the Pure of Heart

Blessed are the Pure of Heart for they shall see God

Ezekiel 36, 23-27 & Luke 10, 38-42

We are told that Saint Catherine was at one time very devoted to the verse from Psalm 51, “create in me a clean heart”; and one day she had a strange experience in which it seemed that the Lord came to her and removed her physical heart. Later he inserted a new heart into her, his own heart saying, “I am giving you my heart so that you can go on living with it forever.” Now whatever else we may want to make of a story like this, it is at least a dramatic representation of the teaching of St Paul. … more »

Night 2 St Peter the Apostle Parish Naples

Blessed are Those Who Mourn 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Luke 19, 41-44 and John 11, 33-35

                  There is an intensity with this Beatitude just as with the others. The Greek word that Matthew chooses means more than sorrow. It means, agony. Πενθουντες speaks of a broken heart, the kind of broken heart that comes from a great loss like the grief felt by a parent over the death of a child. Thinking of it in this way, with this sense, we gain a deeper insight into God himself, a God who grieves, the kind of grief that a father would experience over the death of his first and only son. Think of David and his response to the death of his dearest son. … more »

Night 1 St Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, FL

Night One March 6, 2017


Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Luke 16, 19-31

It is helpful to remember that the Beatitudes are not statements, they are exclamations which is why some translations will say, “Happy” But that English word is not so good because Happy gives away its own case. It contains the root “hap” which means “chance”. Human happiness is something which is dependent on chances which come and go. Life gives and also takes. It’s all by “chance”. Not so with the meaning of these exclamations. This is about Blessedness and Joy which nothing in life can take away. So, these are not pious hopes of what shall be. … more »