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January 14, 2018 - The Cost of Discipleship

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

I was watching a show on the Hadron collider, the most expensive scientific experiment ever done. The collider conducts experiments in particle physics to recreate the same condition that existed when the Big Bang occurred. How much do you think has been spent on this experiment? Thus far $ 6 billion has been spent and another 5 billion has been dedicated to it. This makes experiment controversial. Is this experiment really worth it? Should we not be spending this money on other urgent human needs? Particle physicists justify the experiment by saying that the more we discover about the origin of the world the more we can say about ourselves and build a better future. I personally think that it is important that we know about ourselves, but there is another significant question. If our experimentation is only going to tell us about the origin of the world and how the world is held together, how much should we spend for knowing the meaning of life? If we take today’s scripture seriously the most significant question about the meaning of life does not cost us money, but rather, it sets us on a life-long quest.

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January 7, 2018 - Let Us Be Epiphany

The Epiphany of the Lord

Scripture Readings

Last week, I had, what I am now calling, “homily fatigue.” I think the way Christmas fell this year took its toll on me. Hence, what I have for you today instead of full length homily, is a brief reflection.    

Today is the feast of the Epiphany. Even though this feast is about Jesus, I want to begin with Mary. Today’s scripture tells us that the Magi “were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.” 

I absolutely love this image… the child with his mother, Mary. 

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December 31, 2017 - How do I Know Whether My Family is Holy?

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Scripture Readings

In preparing this homily for the Feast of the Holy Family, I have been thinking… What is the meaning of a “holy family?” How do we define a “holy family?” Are there criteria? In other words, “What makes a family, holy?” If there is even one person in the family who is not living an exemplary Christian life, would that family still be a holy family? If there are arguments, misunderstandings, addictions, broken relationships, deep hurts… could that family still be a holy family? 

I have to admit that my homily for the Feast of the Holy Family has been influenced by my experiences this week. I have three stories of three different families… and then some practical implications. 

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December 25, 2017 - That First Christmas, Christ Was Not Found in a Church

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Scripture Readings

The author of this story is unknown. All we know is that it is written by a young mother and that it was Christmas day. She writes: “We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee. His eyes were wide with excitement and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin. I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man with a tattered rag of a coat; dirty, greasy and worn. His pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard, and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. "Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy,” the man said to Erik. Erik was responding with glee to the man’s comments. My husband and I exchanged looks, "What do we do?" Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. We ate in silence; all except for Erik and the man. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man was poised between the door and me. "Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik," I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man's. Suddenly, a very old, smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love relationship. Erik, in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor -- gently, so gently, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back.”

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December 23, 2017 - David and Mary: Lessons in Spiritual Discernment

Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

Sunday Readings 

There are two stories in today’s scripture readings. The first reading tells us the story of David and gospel reading is the story of the annunciation. I am stepping aside Advent themes to deal with very common questions that people ask: “What is God’s will for me?” “How do I discern whether I am doing God’s will or not?” Discerning God’s will is a complex spiritual exercise. In the stories of David and Mary, we might have some insights.  

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