Palm Sunday

Isaiah 50, 4-7 + Psalm 22 + Philippians 2, 6-11 + Matthew 26, 14-27,66

April 2, 2023 at St. Agnes, St. William & St. Peter Churches in Naples, FL

At Saint William Church in Naples, FL

I think that Social Scienteists will look back the years of our lifetime and call this “The Age of the Victim”. Playing the role of victim has somehow taken over the psyche of many people in the western world. It goes along with the system of blame that we have cultivated. Someone is always responsible for my troubles and misery, and then the victim begins to cry out: “Why me?” “How could this happen to me?” A pity party has almost taken the place of a Birthday Party. … more »

Fifth Sunday in Lent

March 26, 2023 at Saint Eugene Church in Oklahoma City, OK

Ezekiel 37, 12-14 + Psalm 130 + Romans 8, 8-11 + John 11, 1-45

My name is Thomas. When my parents chose that name for me, I am sure that they did not realize what a gift they were giving me. While there are several great men with that name: Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Beckett, Thomas More, I feel sure that they knew nothing of those men, and I have always believed that the Apostle Thomas was their intent. Over the 81 years I have carried that name, that man called: “The Twin” and I have grown closer. The oral tradition that shaped the written Gospels only recalled three occasions when he spoke, and it’s not hard to understand why they would have remembered and passed on his words. … more »

The Fourth Sunday in Lent

March 19, 2023 at Saint William Church in Naples, FL

1 Samuel 16, 1, 6-7, 10-13 + Psalm 23 + Ephesians 5, 8-14 + John 9, 1-41

Saturday, March 18, 2023 2:45 pm at Saint William Church in Naples, FL

We have to learn to see. The human brain must interpret images are focused on the retina, identify them, name them, and then remember them. That remember is the hard part when you get my age. Do you ever go around the house looking for something as I sometimes do without results, give up, and them an hour later find what you were looking for that was right in front of you all the time? Sometimes we just don’t see what is right in front of us, and that is what John’s Gospel reminds us of today. … more »

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 »