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.” (John 20:19)
It is Sunday evening, the third day after Jesus died. The disciples are gathered together in fear and confusion. Unsure of their next step. The one they thought Messiah, dead and buried – executed like a common criminal and lying in a tomb. Their leader gone and what remained was an overwhelming sense of shame because they knew they had deserted Jesus in his hour of need. And now they lived in fear. Fear of the next knock on the door. Fear of having left everything to follow Jesus…now what? A fear that seeps into the deepest regions of their being, hardening hearts and stiffening limbs; locking doors. Continue reading
Last weekend was one in which there was an intersection of what is best and worst about the Catholic Church. We had a mission cooperative weekend scheduled in which we hosted Fr. Machado from St. Rita’s in Dade City. The parish was welcoming, listened to his message, responded generously with financial assistance, and asked “What can we do to help?” Already parishioners are in dialogue with the staff at St. Rita’s seeking to organize some help programs for the school children. It is Church and community at its best when a people sustained and nourished by the Eucharist, spontaneously reach out to help nourish others. Continue reading
Lately, during weekday Mass celebrations, I have been asking people, “So…how’s your Lent going? Are you getting there?” It is just under three weeks until we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. So…. how’s your Lent going?
A lot of the time people tell me that they have given up such and such for Lent and they are still good, sticking to the plan. That is a good thing. But I wonder, and often ask, “does that make room in your life for God?” Continue reading
Depend, rely, trust, hope – all synonyms, but each one brings its own nuance. But all generally carry the same questions. Do we depend on a what or who? Upon what or whom do we rely? Where do we place our trust? Upon whom do we trust? And the same questions surround “hope.” What do we hope for? Who do we hope in? Continue reading
As we start another week, there is a lot going on that will bring us face-to-face with the choice between hope and despair. This past weekend’s events in Charlottesville only highlights an encounter with another choice. Despair by far is the easiest choice. A little over 150 years ago, a civil war ended in our nation, and the hope was that we would be a nation dedicated to the self-evident proposition and truth “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” A little over 70 year ago, men and women of the “greatest generation” arose from the ashes of a world-wide depression, went to work and war, to defeat the Nazi regime that was dedicated to their proposition that not all are created equal, not all are entitles to life, liberty or happiness. Continue reading
This gospel is pretty well-known. Here at Sacred Heart we have an entire stained-glass window depicting the scene. Every children’s bible story book seems to have the story with all manner of illustrations. There is a lot you can do with this simple gospel account. In my day, I have heard sermons that encourage us to “go outside the box” by asking us to be like Peter and be bold enough to “get out of the boat.” The message was to take risks as individuals of faith or perhaps as a parish. Other sermons have told us to “keep our eyes on Jesus” in all that we do – good advice – with the message often an invitation to a particular piety and devotion – also good advice. And there is something to said about the boat itself. It is a place of relative calm among the waves. It is the place where Jesus leads Peter. It is the place where the community, as the gospel says, “did him homage, saying, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’” There is a lot you can preach about, inspired by this gospel. Continue reading
The three saddest words in Scripture, or in our lives, are. “We had hoped….” For these travelers, it is “we had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel.” “We had hoped,” but those hopes were dashed upon the wood of the cross and buried in a tomb. Now they are walking away from the rumors of Resurrection in a slow descent into despair. For years, the power of God had seemed so close. The disciples saw the miracles, heard the preaching, saw Lazarus emerge from the tomb, and so much more. Now it all lays powerless in the tomb. “We had hoped…” Continue reading
Last year, on a Delta airlines flight from Phoenix, a tragedy occurred. During the flight, one of the passengers suffered a heart attack. His wife called out for help. The trained flight crew responded as did a passenger who was a doctor. Another passenger attended to the passenger’s wife. He offered to pray with her, to pray for her husband, and he stayed with her as the tragedy unfolded. He stayed with her as life hung in the balance. He left the plane with her and collected her luggage. He carried their luggage to the car that was waiting for him and took the woman to the hospital. He stayed with her as a doctor broke the news that her husband had died. Continue reading
Well… the elections are done. Half the country celebrates, while half the country mourns. The Democrats will do a post mortem, regroup and get ready for 2020. The Republicans have the tiger by the tail…and now have to figure out what to do with it… as governance of a divided nation tasks them. Both sides can rightly say, “it ain’t over.” Continue reading
I had the weekend off from preaching – a nice gift every once in a while. This is a homily from 2010. I hope it touches a place in your heart.
Our first reading is gruesome: seven sons and a mother face death at the hands of the foreign king. A king who wants to bend a mom and seven sons to his will – who wants them to deny their faith in the God of Israel and in effect have them acknowledge the king as their lord and master. What drove their heroic courage? One of the brothers in the First Reading says it this way: “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him.” Their decision was driven by Hope, fueled by Hope and persevered in Hope. Continue reading