Advent and John the Baptist

The Gospel readings for the Second and Third Sundays of Advent always focus on John the Baptist. Since we are again in Lectionary Year A, the two selections are from Matthew 3:1-12 and 11:2-11, respectively. Given that John the Baptist is mentioned in quite a few other passages of Matthew’s Gospel (3:13-15; 4:12; 9:14-17; 11:12-19; 14:1-12; 16:13-14; 17:10-13; 21:23-27, 32), one might ask: Why were these two passages from chapters 3 and 11 chosen?

The short answer: They both deal with John’s role in preparing for Jesus, making them particularly suited for Advent. Continue reading

Waking Up

sleep2Note: Fr. Chuck Dormquast, the diocesan vocation director, is preaching all the Masses this weekend. So, I thought I would post a homily from three years ago. Enjoy.

To sleep, perchance to dream” such are the words of the great William Shakespeare written for his character Hamlet. It is only in such dreams can we mark the passage of sleep. Short of dreams, we really do not know we are asleep until we wake. We can be aware of the long glide path to sleep – the yawns, the stretching, the telling ourselves “just one more chapter in this book….” Or perchance, our afternoons when we think “I am just resting my eyes.” The thought gives away to the sweet rapture of the most awesome afternoon ever. Perhaps the reverie of our daydreams leave unperturbed the here and now. One short sleep past and we awake and the here-and-now is like our pet dog at the end of the bed or couch waiting for us to get up and fetch them a doggie treat. Continue reading

A new plan

ChaosRepent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” – so cried out John the Baptist to those gathered in the desert of Judea. It is a scene we are all familiar with – but it doesn’t seem very much in the Christmas spirit. It is not in tune with the décor of the stores, malls, offices, and homes. It does not match the seasonal music available on radio, Pandora, or other streaming services. I can’t imagine receiving one of those talking Christmas card that would shout out “Repent!!” when it should play a pleasant and familiar holiday standard. Continue reading

Waking Up

sleep2To sleep, perchance to dream” such are the words of the great William Shakespeare written for his character Hamlet. It is only in such dreams can we mark the passage of sleep. Short of dreams, we really do not know we are asleep until we wake. We can be aware of the long glide path to sleep – the yawns, the stretching, the telling ourselves “just one more chapter in this book….” Or perchance, our afternoons when we think “I am just resting my eyes.” The thought gives away to the sweet rapture of the most awesome afternoon ever. Perhaps the reverie of our daydreams leave unperturbed the here and now. One short sleep past and we awake and the here-and-now is like our pet dog at the end of the bed or couch waiting for us to get up and fetch them a doggie treat. Continue reading