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February 5, 2017 - Turning Suffering into Beauty

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Perhaps you have heard about Martin Scorsese’s latest movie, “Silence.” The movie has been in the making since Scorsese first read the book in 1966.  Its the story of two Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver), who leave Portugal for Japan, to find a third priest (Liam Neeson) who has gone missing while working as a missionary. The third priest is believed to have committed apostasy by stepping on an image of Jesus Christ after being tormented by the Japanese. The role of one of the two priests is played by Andrew Garfield. To play his part, Garfield actually made the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola. Originally, he did not make the Exercises in self-interest.  He did it to get over his own “not-enoughness” - the feeling of not being good enough. But what happened was totally unexpected. In an interview he gave to Brendan Busse, he said, “God! That was the most remarkable thing—falling in love, and how easy it was to fall in love with Jesus.” 

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January 29, 2017 - Is Christ Divided?

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

It has been a stressful and tense week for America. Immaterial of whether you are a supporter of President Trump or not, these are not easy times. I had the privilege of having some distance from all the tension. But as soon as I entered the country, every conversation I have had, somehow, leads to the happenings in the nation. Whether it was the march last week or the march this week, whether it is immigration or refugee resettlement, people have taken on to social media to express their hopes and their anguish. One of the question I asked myself was, “In times like this, what is it that I rely on?” When fragility strikes, what do I fall back on? After all, politics cannot give us salvation and does not promise us eternity. We need something deeper. I turned to scripture for answers. No matter which side we are on, this Sunday’s readings offer us some direction. 

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January 22, 2017 - So that the Cross of Christ Might not be Emptied of its Meaning

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

I find it truly interesting that the very scripture passage that was read for Christmas is today’s first reading as well. Isaiah says:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; 

upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. 

You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, 

as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, 

as people make merry when dividing spoils.” 

Yet, it is not all that strange this very scripture passage is used again. If you noticed, the gospel reading introduces us to the beginning of Jesus ministry. The light that Isaiah is referring to, is Jesus. 

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January 15, 2017 - Ordinary Holiness

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Last Sunday, on the Feast of Epiphany, I reflected with you on the star that led the magi. I remember saying that whereas the star was an external sign, the magi were also following a star within them - their conviction that their destiny lay in Christ. I also remember asking the question, “What is your star?” “Where is your star leading you?” “Who lies at the end of your star?” As we enter the Ordinary Time in our liturgical calendar, I would like to follow up my Epiphany homily with a further reflection on the questions. 

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January 8, 2017 - Gift Worthy of the Receiver

The Epiphany of the Lord

Scripture Readings

A couple of weeks back I preached a homily titled, “Turning the Ahaz in Us into Jospeh” in which I drew a contrast between KIng Ahaz and Joseph. I had said that whereas Ahaz could not get himself to trust God unconditionally, Joseph showed incredible capacity for fidelity and trust in God. Today, I want to contrast King Herod and the Magi. 

There are many points on which Herod and the wise men can be contrasted. First, the Magi were on a search. “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” they asked. In contrast, the birth of Jesus went completely unnoticed by Herod. Neither did he hear the angles nor did he see the star. Second, the scriptures tell us that Herod was “greatly troubled” when he heard that a star had appeared announcing the birth of Jesus. He became afraid. His fear was so intense that it made him act irrationally. Many innocent children were killed in the process. In contrast, the gospel reading tells us that the magi were “overjoyed at seeing the star” and the “child with his mother.”  Third, the magi did the child homage and offered him gifts. Herod on the other hand, sought to destroy the child.

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