Choice and becoming

This day’s gospel is a well known story of an encounter during which Jesus is asked: “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus reply is clear and unambiguous:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

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The underlying assumptions

There are people, average like us and quietly going about life, that have moved to the national spotlight. We now know their names: George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and Trayvon Martin – and these are just the recent ones that made national news. The nation is moved in outrage. Yes, all lives matter, but Black Lives Matter. As someone  pointed out: all houses on the block matter, but when one of them is on fire, it matters more.

Do you recognize the name Christian Cooper? He is a young black man — a birdwatcher — who was reported to the police May 25 by a young white woman, who called 911 to say that “an African American man” was threatening her in New York’s Central Park merely because he asked her to comply with the park’s posted regulations to leash her dog. Continue reading

Essential Service

President Trump recently announced “The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.” While his powers to do so were questionable to say the least, I am glad that he considers houses of worship and their religious services essential. I would not disagree on that particular point, but would note that a large percentage of citizens do not attend weekend worship services at all plus another group of of households that participate irregularly. My Church has its own C&E Catholic faithful (that’s Christmas and Easter only – although to be fair, Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday are also part of that particular mix). So, while I would agree on the essential nature of Mass and worship services, obviously they are not essential in the minds of all. Continue reading

God so loved the world

Next Sunday is the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

Holy Trinity Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday following Pentecost in most of the liturgical churches in Western Christianity. It is a solemn celebration of the belief in the revelation of one God, yet three divine persons. Yet, It was not uniquely celebrated in the early church! Continue reading

Breath

Ever since the shift to daylight savings began my “inner alarm clock” wakes me up somewhere between 3:00 and 3:30 am. I am used to early rising, but really. And yes, naps are required at point(s) during the day. I was chatting about this yesterday with a friend who remarked, “You know, my 90 year-old aunt has the same problem…”  Yikes! My new measure is one of even-more-senior citizens?  Oh well, I am still young at heart. Continue reading

This Pentecost

Note: This Sunday marks our first Sunday public Mass since the beginning of the pandemic closures. It has been a busy week getting ready, planning, re-planning, and making sure our staff and volunteers are ready. Deacon Ray is taking on the homily responsibilities at the Mass I will celebrate. But in case, you might be interested, here is my homily from 2017.
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The Holy Spirit

When I was a child growing up in the 1950s Catholic milieu, we prayed “In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” We didn’t give it a lot of thought. We were kids. We also did not particularly make the connection between the third person of the Trinity and Casper the Friendly Ghost or any of his not-so-friendly counterparts. But at some point, the phrase “Holy Ghost” gave way to “Holy Spirit.” Continue reading

Figuring things out

It is Memorial Day 2020. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost a loved one who died while actively serving their country. In the morning, before the sun was up, I celebrated a private Mass (lots of those these days!) for all those we honor on this day, for my Naval Academy classmates who have already gone on to God’s bright glory, and in thanksgiving for all our parishioners who have served and are serving their country. God’s blessings be upon all. Continue reading

Wondering and Wisdom

Study of the Sacred Scriptures is a lifetime project. In a certain sense you can devote all your energies to the Gospels – or even just to one of them. There is so much richness and depth that it can leave you wanting more and more from the one book.  And you might just not get around to the other books of the Bible. Sure, you might venture into the epistles of Paul, but never quite make it the other epistles, like the Epistle of Jude. Continue reading

Both-And

Next Sunday is the celebration of Pentecost . You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20:19-23) Continue reading