Feast of the Holy Family December 29, 2013

Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 + Ps 128 + Col 3:12-21 + Matt 2:13-15, 19-23

Saint Francis of Assisi Parish,   Castle Rock, CO

There is a couple in the last parish I served as pastor who have been married nearly 70 years. They sit together in the front pew on the right side, and there is always some traffic in front of them before Mass as musicians, sacristans, and servers pass back and forth from one end of the church to another. On occasion I do the same. This couple speaks no english, so whenever I pass, I always pause and nod or bow slightly to acknowledge them with a smile. This custom continued for more than ten years on my part, but about five years into it, the servers were assembled at the entrance. … more »

Christmas Day December 25, 2013

Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, Castle Rock, Colorado

Isaiah 62, 11-12 + Psalm 24 + Titus 2, 11-14 + Luke 2, 15-20

Through all the details we are given regarding the birth of Christ there are people whose lives are changed in remarkable ways. The cast of this great drama is large. It begins  with an angel named: Gabriel who is very busy going from the Temple in Jerusalem then on to Nazareth. Then look at how the cast of characters is arranged. First there is Zachariah and Elizabeth, a faithful couple advanced in years. Then there is the youthful Mary, a single woman, and Joseph a single man. There are Shepherds, and soon the Wise Men,  or Astrologers or “Kings” as some translations call them. … more »

The Fourth Sunday of Advent December 22, 2013

Isaiah 7, 10-14 + Psalm 24 + Roman 1, 1-7 + Matthew 1, 18-24

Today’s text from Isaiah is so familiar and comfortable that we no longer question what he was really speaking about. Christians easily read the scriptures backwards and like to think that Isaiah was predicting the future, writing about Jesus of Nazareth, sustaining the hopes of countless people through endless ages until suddenly Matthew applies the text to the birth of Jesus, and it’s all settled. No it is not. At the risk of spoiling the way you may have heard this text for much of your life, it is not fair to Isaiah, Matthew, or yourself for that matter, to treat the text in such a simple and shallow way. … more »

The Third Sunday of Advent December 15, 2013

Isaiah 35, 1-6,10 + Psalm 146 + James 5, 7-10 + Matthew 11, 2-11

Matthew, the “Gospel of Beatitudes” adds another to the list begun in Chapter Five: “Blessed are those who take no offense at me.

It may seem a little difficult at first to imagine taking offence at Jesus. How could anyone take offence at someone who gives sight to the blind, cleanses lepers, and raises up the dead? Yet, Matthew would not have repeated that response to John’s question had it not been so. People did take offense, and people still do. Our challenge is to make sure we do not, and open our hearts wide enough to the presence of Jesus and his message to reach out to those who have. … more »

The Second Sunday of Advent December 8, 2014

Isaiah 11, 1-10 + Psalm 72 + Romans 15, 4-9 + Matthew 3, 1-12

On Board the MS Eurodam

There is a cartoon you may have seen that gives me a smile every time I think of it. There is a tall man bearded and wearing a long robe that is dragging behind him. He carries a sign that says, “The end is near.” The next frame shows a short man also bearded and robed. He has a sign that says: “The End.” And so it is The End for us, on the night before we disembark in Fort Lauderdale and head back to homes all over this country. The end is near for us in lots of ways, and that is the message John the Baptist is proclaiming. … more »