The Way and the Promise

This coming Sunday is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Cycle B of the Lectionary. It is a familiar story: “As [Jesus] was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17).

The beginning of the Gospel according to Mark begins with John the Baptist citing Isaiah speaking of the messenger: “he will prepare your way…Prepare the way of the Lord.” (Mark 1:2-3) In both verses the underlying word for “way” is hodos. There are other places in Mark when hodos is used and is translated as ‘way” – e.g., “the way of God in accordance with the truth,” and describing Jesus and the apostles “on the way” in 8:27 and 10:32. So it is odd that in 10:17, the same word hodos is translated as journey in the New American Bible (NAB). Continue reading

Bearing good fruit

deeplyrooted-crToday there is an optional memorial: St. Cyril of Jerusalem. You can find the readings here. Along with Athanasius of Alexandria, Cyril was a great defender of the Faith. St. Cyril’s is also noted for the twenty-three lectures given to catechumens in Jerusalem being prepared for, and after, baptism. Quite appropriate for this Lenten season.

Given my middle name is Cyril. I thought it good to celebrate this memorial, especially here in Lent. And given that I suspect this will be my last public Mass before our Bishop suspends all public masses because of the Covid-19 virus – I thought it good to offer some advice about being deeply rooted in Christ and still bearing fruit, even as the world around us sequesters in place. Continue reading

Being the Promise

When you hear the “Great Commission” what is the prominent part that resonates with you?  “Go” – “make disciples” – “Baptizing” – “teaching” – the declaration of the Holy Trinity: “Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?”

The Great Commission continues “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold…” In my experiment of asking people to finish the sentence most replied “I will be with you until the end…”  But the ending is different:  I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Continue reading

The promise

deeplyrooted-crThere is something poetic, mysterious, and magical about a vineyard before the harvest on an early morn with the dew on the vine and a just-rising sun glistening upon the fruit. In the full light of day, if you are like me, you probably do not have any experience in the vineyards except perhaps as a visitor.

The vineyard does not just happen by itself. There is complex dance between the vine, the branches and the vine grower. For example, did you know that a single grape-vine can produce as much as 13 feet of new branch growth in one growing season. What happens if all that new growth remained un-pruned? It would not be unusual for that un-pruned vine to have as many as 300 fruit producing buds. While that might sound great, that’s way too many buds for the plant to support. You might have lots of produce, but it will be incredibly low quality, and good for not much. It would probably just end up as fuel for the fire. You would have to remove as much as 75% of the buds and other vegetative growth so the plant can properly develop and ripen the good fruit. The goal is always good fruit. Continue reading


When I was missioned in Kenya, one my principal responsibilities was ministering to the Rwandan refugees who lived in our parish. There were about 1,000 children, women and men. It seemed to me the majority of them were children. So many. And too many of them were orphans having lost parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, and more in the genocidal killing in their homeland located 750 miles away and a lifetime ago. It was a time Death seemed to hold such a firm grip in our part of the world. Continue reading