This homily is simply for publication here as I am serving the Maronite Parish in Tequesta, Fl this weekend.
In Luke’s typical style, we get a dramatic piece in five acts: the opening dialogue with the son’s demand, act two with the son’s disillusionment and repentance, act three with his return home, act four with the father and his older son, and act five which remains unfinished. There are four principal characters: the father, two sons, and the listeners, you and me. Each of the characters has an important role. There are really no stars in this drama unless it’s the Father whose presence and spirit seems to drive it all, but concentrating on the Father drains the story of its real message. … more »
27 March 2022 at Mary, Mother of Light Maronite Church in Tequesta, Florida
Mark 2, 1-12
A question is put before us: “Which is easier to say, “Pick up your mat and walk or your sins are forgiven?” It’s a good question we might well ask of ourselves. For Jesus the answer is obvious. He can do both with ease. To be honest with you however, I would not approach someone in a wheelchair and say: “Get out of that chair and walk.” If I did, someone might put me away. I could say to anyone: “I forgive you.” At least it ought to be easier to say that than try to heal someone who can’t walk. Forgiveness is something we can do, and we have been instructed by Jesus to do so, even to forgive in his name. … more »
These people who came to Jesus with a great dilemma about God’s justice could just as well be any of us. Many are still caught and confused by the fact that good things happen to bad people. Often, they seem to forget that good things sometimes happen to good people. No matter how you look at there are always deep and serious questions about the balance of God’s justice and God’s mercy.
Much of the Gospel presents a Jesus trying to shake people out of their deficient yet stubborn ideas about God. … more »
I like to imagine that when Abraham told Sarah, his wife, about the vision he had that l day, she looked at him, shook her head and said: “You’re seeing things. You smell like dead animals. Wash up and come in for supper.” I can also just as easily imagine that when Peter, James, and John rejoined the other apostles telling them what they had seen, one them, probably Thomas said: “You guys are seeing things.”
Seeing things is part of what this Gospel scene is all about. … more »
There is always a risk when we think of Jesus. It is the risk of magnifying his Divine Nature at the cost of his Human Nature. It is serious risk because it mutes the very revelation his incarnation provides for us. That man in the desert, a man baptized and called Son of God was a real human being. What he experienced in the desert was a real temptation no different at all from the kinds of temptations you and I face every day of our lives. Baptism does not keep any of us from temptations. … more »
2 March 2022 at Saint William and Saint Peter Catholic Churches in Naples, FL
Joel 2, 12-18 + Psalm 51 + 2 Corinthians 5, 20- 6, 2+ Matthew 6, 1-6, 16-18
There is a paradox we must face today. As the Gospel warns us against external signs of devotion, we make one with Ashes. Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer are the boot camp of every serious religion, not just Christianity. We must enter this season today with solemnity and determination or not do it at all lest we become fake, nothing more than shallow empty shadows of what we could be. This is no “self-improvement” program. It is a real adventure into a desert place like the one Jesus walked into as the Son of God emerging as the Son of Man. … more »