Getting St. Peter’s Sermon Right

Published:  Sunday, April 22, 2018, 9:00 AM

Our first reading for today proposes a very serious challenge to the inclusiveness and non-judgmentalism that is taken for granted in our culture today. The chief of the Apostles says, “He is the stone rejected by you the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Stay with how uncomfortable this is—because in a way, that’s the point.

The Basics of Christian Proclamation

Published:  Sunday, April 15, 2018, 9:00 AM

Our readings for this third Sunday of Easter provide lessons in fundamental Christianity and a kind of master class in preaching. And notice the tension they stress between sin and grace. To get this tension wrong, to emphasize unduly one side or the other, produces mischief in religion.

Divine Mercy

Published:  Sunday, April 08, 2018, 9:00 AM

On this Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, we remember the dedication of this day by Saint John Paul II in honor of St. Faustina’s vision of Christ, in which the Lord’s heart radiated forth with divine mercy for the world. But what does mercy mean? It designates the suffering of the heart, a type of compassion, a deep, loving identification with people in their suffering. It is the characteristic of God, for God is love. Nothing in the world would exist if it were not, at every moment, loved into being by God—a great act of tender mercy. How is this love made manifest in us? Precisely through following God’s commands and through forgiveness.

The Empty Grave

Published:  Sunday, April 01, 2018, 9:00 AM

Many people enjoy visiting the graves of famous people, from Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, IL to St. Peter in the Vatican. We feel a sense of peace and finality around graves. But the one thing we would never expect in a cemetery is action. Yet that’s precisely what we find at the center of Christianity, as St. John recounts in today’s Easter Gospel.

The Return of the King

Published:  Sunday, March 25, 2018, 9:00 AM

Entering Holy Week, we see numerous stirring examples of Jesus' fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. From the direction he enters Jerusalem to his mode of transport, we find again and again how he is the one intended to reclaim the temple and prove to the world that he is indeed the son of God, chosen to save us through his revolutionary example of love and forgiveness.

Planting the Law Within Us

Published:  Sunday, March 18, 2018, 9:00 AM

Jeremiah 31:31 contains the great prophecy that the Lord will one day place his law within our hearts. In the Old Testament, God's law was written on stone and often appreciated as an imposition, a burden. But Jesus is the Law incarnate, the Torah made flesh. Therefore, when we eat his body and drink his blood, we take the law into our hearts, and thus we realize the prophecy of Jeremiah.

“Hesed” All the Way Through

Published:  Sunday, March 11, 2018, 9:00 AM

The Divine Love is the great theme of the Bible, but one of the mistakes we can make is to project onto God our way of being. God’s love is unconditional, not fickle and vacillating. His love is “hesed,” which means “tender mercy.” This love is visible, par excellence, in the Incarnation.

Cleansing the Temple

Published:  Sunday, March 04, 2018, 10:00 AM

The Temple, for Old Testament Jews, was everything. But St. Paul, who lived for many years in Jerusalem and knew the rituals of the Temple very well, told the Corinthians that their bodies were temples of the Holy Spirit. The account of Jesus cleansing the Temple in this week’s Gospel, brought together with Paul's insight, provides us with a wonderful Lenten meditation. Let Jesus swing that whip of cords around the temple of your body; it’s time for a spring cleaning of the soul!

The Mystical Transfiguration of Christ

Published:  Sunday, February 25, 2018, 10:00 AM

The story of the Transfiguration of Christ has beguiled the Christian mind for centuries. It is the clearest New Testament evocation of mystical experience, the experience of spiritual things within the ordinary and the keen conviction that the spiritual reality is greater and more beautiful than ordinary experience. "Mystical" means there has been contact with a Person: the person of God.

Angels and Wild Beasts

Published:  Sunday, February 18, 2018, 10:00 AM

On this first Sunday of Lent, the Church asks us to meditate on animals and angels. For Christ, in his own person, joins together the disparate elements of creation, the spiritual and the material, angels and wild beasts. There are, of course, angels and wild beasts in all of us. We are all a microcosm of the ethereal and the corporeal, the spiritual and the physical.

The Leper and Evangelization

Published:  Sunday, February 11, 2018, 10:00 AM

Our Gospel this week gives us one of the great scenes of healing in the ministry of Jesus, and as is usually the case, the Gospel writer composes the scene in such a way that it becomes an icon of the spiritual life in general. In our sickness, our weakness, our shame, our sin, our oddness—lots of us feel like this leper. And once we’ve been healed by the Lord, we feel the obligation to tell the world about it.

How to Evangelize

Published:  Sunday, February 04, 2018, 10:00 AM

Our second reading this week, taken from Paul’s magnificent first letter to the Corinthians, has to do with a theme that has been central to my ministry and which, according to the last five popes, ought to be central to every baptized Christian: evangelization.

A Prophet Like Moses

Published:  Sunday, January 28, 2018, 10:00 AM

It is of particular importance this week that we read the first reading and the Gospel together, for the former sheds enormous light on the latter. In the first reading, Moses assures the people: "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself." Moses received the word from God, but this new prophet would be an authority greater than Moses. He would speak with the words of God. And in the Gospel reading from Mark, this is precisely who Jesus is revealed to be: the highest prophet and the Word of God made flesh.

Radical Christianity

Published:  Sunday, January 21, 2018, 10:00 AM

When Christianity is reduced to deism or moralism, we turn the Gospel into a faint echo of the surrounding culture. But today's readings propose something much more substantive than spiritual bromides or ethical directives. They suggest a new world breaking into the old.

The Call of Samuel

Published:  Sunday, January 14, 2018, 10:00 AM

The story of the call of Samuel is illuminating for our time of corruption and cleansing. I argue that the sex abuse scandal in the church should be read through the lens of this narrative.

Spiritual and Religious

Published:  Sunday, January 07, 2018, 10:00 AM

Our modern culture suggests a tension between spirituality and religion. But the Magi in today's Gospel demonstrate that when spirituality is lifted up by revelation—when the Magi are told by the religious leaders where the Messiah is to be born—we find the object of our spiritual longing.

Keeping Your Family Holy

Published:  Sunday, December 31, 2017, 10:00 AM

The Bible is not particularly sentimental about families. What makes a family holy, as far as the biblical writers are concerned, is its willingness to surrender to the purpose of God. We see this in a number of key figures, including Joseph, Abraham, and Hannah.

Building a House

Published:  Sunday, December 24, 2017, 10:00 AM

The readings for this dramatic fourth Sunday of Advent put us in the heart of a deep and abiding mystery: the mystery of God’s providence. Just when we are tempted to say, “nothing makes sense,” the Bible interrupts us to say, “wait.” God works in subtle ways, and often it takes years, even centuries, for God’s plan fully to be realized.

Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks

Published:  Sunday, December 17, 2017, 10:00 AM

Our second reading today is taken from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians—and it always takes my breath away. He says, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks.” For Paul, the coming of Jesus changed everything. His dying and rising turned everything upside down, so that the usual ways of thinking and acting are not longer valid. Grace has transfigured nature—and the three recommendations he gives are signs of this transfiguration.

Clear a Path

Published:  Sunday, December 10, 2017, 10:00 AM

In our magnificent first reading from the prophet Isaiah, which is echoed in the words of John the Baptist in today's Gospel, a voice cries out: “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low.” Advent is a great time for us to clear the ground, to make level the path, so as to facilitate what God, with all his heart, wants to do.

Watching for Grace

Published:  Sunday, December 03, 2017, 10:00 AM

Every time Advent rolls around, I remind people to go back to the words of that most famous of Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” We hear, “Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.” Until we can move into the spiritual space suggested by those words, we will not catch the meaning of this season.

He Reigns! The Solemnity of Christ the King

Published:  Sunday, November 26, 2017, 10:00 AM

When Israel begins to long for a new David, the true David and true king of the world, we witness the longing for God. Jesus Christ is precisely this king: the Davidic king, and God ruling his creation. His ministry reveals the nature of his kingship, from the manger to the cross.

Parable of the Talents

Published:  Sunday, November 19, 2017, 10:00 AM

Your being increases in the measure that you give it away. That's the law of the gift, and it can be found from end to end of the Bible. One application of this law has to do with faith itself. Your faith will grow only in the measure that you give it away, sharing it with others.

The Wise and Foolish Virgins

Published:  Sunday, November 12, 2017, 10:00 AM

How do we wait? That is the question addressed by Jesus' parable for today. While we wait for the second coming of the Lord, we should keep our lamps stocked with oil, that is to say, we should pray, study, love, do the works of mercy, and keep vigil. In so doing, we are ready for the arrival of the Bridegroom.

A Challenge to the Sons of Levi

Published:  Sunday, November 05, 2017, 10:00 AM

Our readings for this weekend are tough for everyone, but especially for those who are in positions of leadership in the Church. I’ve been a priest for 31 years (and now a bishop for going on three), and I will confess that the words we hear from the prophet Malachi and the Lord Jesus about the corrupt religious leadership of their time and place are deeply challenging and unnerving.

The Great Commandment

Published:  Sunday, October 29, 2017, 9:00 AM

Today's magnificent Gospel should set the tone for your entire life. Trying to trap him, the Pharisees ask Jesus which of the commandments of the law is the greatest. His clear and simple answer is that we should direct all our love toward God, and therefore, love what he loves.

Caesar and God

Published:  Sunday, October 22, 2017, 9:00 AM

Jesus places everything in its proper relationship to God. But he also chastises those who are involved in power games. God is ultimately in charge and rules over even Caesar.

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

Published:  Sunday, October 15, 2017, 9:00 AM

Many devout believers find the parable of the wedding feast in the Gospel of Matthew difficult to understand. The story is meant to stir us up with its exaggeration, to signal the spiritual destruction that follows from refusing the divine invitation. We are meant to see how valuable an invitation we have received and how odd it is that we would choose to reject it.

The Vineyard

Published:  Sunday, October 08, 2017, 9:00 AM

Today's readings pose a question: how are we tending the vineyard? We have received so much from God, but are we making the world fruitful? Are we responding to the Lord’s invitation with the works of justice, love, peace, chastity, respect for others? Or are we more or less killing the messengers?

In the Form of God

Published:  Sunday, October 01, 2017, 9:00 AM

Some skeptics suggest the divinity of Jesus is a myth, or a later invention of the Church, that Jesus was nothing more than an ordinary man or great teacher. But in today's text from St. Paul, an exceptionally early text traced to within a handful of years of Jesus' death, we find a clear declaration of the contrary. Jesus is described as being in the “form of God,” a staggering claim that affirms his divinity. Yet even still, he did not grasp at his godliness, but emptied himself and took the form a slave.

The Privilege of the Mission

Published:  Sunday, September 24, 2017, 9:00 AM

Today's Gospel reading is one of the most confounding. Many people struggle with this parable about the landowner and the workers, but as the old saying goes, where you stumble, that's where you should dig for treasure.

You Are Not Your Own

Published:  Sunday, September 17, 2017, 9:00 AM

In today's brief selection from St. Paul's letter to the Romans, we learn, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord.” This affirms that your life is not about you! It’s about God and God’s purpose for you. It’s about being drawn out of your comfort zone and into the adventurous space of divine mission.

Judgment and Love

Published:  Sunday, September 10, 2017, 9:00 AM

If there is one absolute in our secular culture today it is non-judgmentalism. Some people, seeking to defend this point of view from a Biblical perspective, will point to Jesus’ famous enjoinder: “Judge not and you will not be judged.” But what should be clear is that this cannot mean that we never point out moral failures—for Jesus does that all the time. How should we navigate the ways of judgement and love? Our second reading, from Paul to the Romans, is eminently helpful here.

Jeremiah and the Word of God

Published:  Sunday, September 03, 2017, 9:00 AM

I’ve always loved the prophet Jeremiah, and not just as a literary/spiritual figure, but as a person. He was known as the “weeping prophet” and his nickname was “terror on every side.” Against that background, we listen to him in our reading for today and gain encouragement as we evangelize through struggle.

The Inscrutable God

Published:  Sunday, August 27, 2017, 9:00 AM

I want to concentrate this week on our second reading, which is a very brief passage from Paul’s magnificent letter to the Romans. It comes at the end of chapter eleven, which completes the Apostle’s consideration of Israel in relation to the Church. How do we make sense of the ancient Jewish tradition in light of the resurrection? How do we understand Gentiles coming to the faith when salvation was supposed to be through the Jews, many of whom were rejecting the Christian faith? Looking into these questions, we learn about the inscrutability of God.

A Religion of Grace

Published:  Sunday, August 20, 2017, 9:00 AM

Christians have said for centuries that everything is a grace, that no one deserves anything, and therefore we should never complain about inequities. How can this be fair that some people are clearly chosen by God while others are not? Well, with this dilemma in mind, let’s look at our first reading and our Gospel for today. These passages reveal that Israel is named a chosen people not for their own sake but for the sake of the whole world. The key to understanding grace is that it is given to be given away.

The Silent Presence of God

Published:  Sunday, August 13, 2017, 9:00 AM

Elijah is a contemplative who has the eyes to see and the ears to listen. God does not appear in the glory of the world. Rather, he appears in a silent way. Weed out of your heart all of those fears and desires that prevent you from discerning the silent presence of God.

Transfiguration and Deification

Published:  Sunday, August 06, 2017, 9:00 AM

The Transfiguration signals the purpose of religion. The first thing we notice is that Jesus' appearance becomes more beautiful. Second, in his transfigured state, Jesus transcends space and time. Contemporary culture attempts to reduce all religion to ethics, but in Jesus' transfiguration we see that the final purpose of our religious devotion is not that we become just nice people, but rather we become transfigured as sons and daughters of God.

All Things Work Together for Good

Published:  Sunday, July 30, 2017, 9:00 AM

Our second reading for this weekend is taken from the end of the eighth chapter of Paul’s magnificent letter to the Romans. In this great book of the Bible, we learn that in Christ, God has disclosed his providential plan whereby he intends to reconcile all things to himself. I don’t know about you, but those words always give me comfort and peace.

Wheat, Seed, and Leaven

Published:  Sunday, July 23, 2017, 9:00 AM

The Gospel for this Sunday is taken from the 13th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and it features three marvelous parables of Jesus. How rich and inexhaustible in meaning are these three parables! Take some time to read and contemplate these parables in light of your own suffering and faith as we seek the Kingdom of God.

The Fecundity of Your Heart

Published:  Sunday, July 16, 2017, 9:00 AM

God sows his Word into each of our hearts liberally. He does not solely give his grace to those he knows will bear fruit. He sows the Word in everyone, but it doesn't flourish for each person due to circumstances (secularism, anxiety, the allurement of the world), but strive to counter that by letting the Word open you to the implications of his Lordship. God is always giving himself to you, listen and act.

The Yoke Upon Your Shoulders

Published:  Sunday, July 09, 2017, 9:00 AM

What is it like to have Christ for a king? All three of this Sunday's readings examine this very question in some way. The answer is to submit to his kingship and accept his yoke upon your shoulders to make your life an offering to his plan.

No Fear of Death

Published:  Sunday, July 02, 2017, 9:00 AM

In our second reading for this week, St. Paul reminds the Christian community in Rome that baptism means an immersion into the dying of the Lord. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he had similarly told his followers that every eucharist is a participation in the dying of Christ. Why this preoccupation with death? Because it is only through this journey into Christ's death and resurrection that we can effectively conquer the fear of death, which tends to cramp us spiritually. Once we have died witih Jesus, we can walk "in newness of life."

Prioritizing Our Fears

Published:  Sunday, June 25, 2017, 9:00 AM

As we return to the regular cycle of readings in Ordinary Time, we meet with a bracing spiritual teaching from the Lord Jesus. No matter who is threatening you, who is thundering denunciation, who is coming at you with furious intensity: don’t be afraid! Why? Because in Jesus Christ, you are connected to the very power of God, to that which is here and now creating the universe.

Every Word from the Mouth of God

Published:  Sunday, June 18, 2017, 9:00 AM

This Sunday the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi in Latin. This feast displays the distinctiveness of Christian religion amongst all the other religions, philosophies, and world views. No other group of people is called upon to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the person they admire. Christianity is the strangest way precisely because we are given this distinct access into the Divine Life.

The Communication of Love

Published:  Sunday, June 11, 2017, 9:00 AM

On Trinity Sunday we contemplate the mystery of God as a play of persons. The Father gives rise to the Son while the Father and Son give rise to the Holy Spirit. God's unity is never compromised because the three are consubstantial, one in being. To begin to consider this mystery we must consider that love is what God is.

The Breath of Life

Published:  Sunday, June 04, 2017, 9:00 AM

If you want the Holy Spirit, you have to declare the Lordship of Jesus. Love is precisely what the Holy Spirit is. Do you want life? Do you want meaning, purpose, the satisfaction of your deepest longing? Then be close to Jesus as he breathes out love. You will have what your heart is searching for.

At the Right Hand of the Father

Published:  Sunday, May 28, 2017, 9:00 AM

This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, perhaps one of the most misunderstood elements within the Christian narrative. The Ascension does not mean Jesus goes "up, up, and away" as if his presence leaves earth, but rather that he assumes the throne of heaven so as to direct matters here on earth.

The Spirit on the March

Published:  Sunday, May 21, 2017, 9:00 AM

This Easter season, the Church has asked us to meditate on the Acts of the Apostles. Today Jesus tells us to wait for the coming of the Spirit, which will descend upon them and empower them in their work. It is up to Christians today to continue the work of the apostles and spread the mission of Christ.

The Paradox at the Heart of Christianity

Published:  Sunday, May 14, 2017, 9:00 AM

Our Gospel for this weekend is taken from the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John, which describes the farewell discourse of Jesus the night of the Last Supper. I believe that the distinctive texture of Christian faith is on particularly powerful display here. I might urge all of you to spend time with this farewell discourse during the Easter season.

Apostolic Preaching

Published:  Sunday, May 07, 2017, 9:00 AM

Our first reading for this weekend, taken from the second chapter of Acts, conveys one of Peter’s great sermons. If we listen attentively, we can learn a lot about good preaching, but also a lot about the nature of Christianity.

The Pattern of Love

Published:  Sunday, April 30, 2017, 9:00 AM

Like the two disciples walking towards Emmaus, a symbol of worldly power and security, and away from Jerusalem, the center of sacrifice, we need to be stopped in our tracks. Christ appears to them, but they do not recognize him. They do not recognize him because they are walking the wrong way. The recognition of the pattern of Christ’s life does come until the Eucharistic act which presents the pattern of sacrificial love. Then they immediately go back to Jerusalem, the place of suffering love.

The Mystical Union of Christ and His Church

Published:  Sunday, April 23, 2017, 9:00 AM

Jesus has come to bring us the divine life. Under his influence we become peaceful, unafraid, evangelizing, and forgiving. Through the Church, saints are made. This is because Christ is at the very center of the Church.

God's Great Yes to Humanity

Published:  Sunday, April 16, 2017, 9:00 AM

Easter Sunday represents God's great yes to humanity. Throughout history, humanity has turned its back on God, but the Lord has constantly sent rescue operations to bring us back into community with him. The resurrection of Christ is the definitive rescue operation and is our great hope for salvation.

Into the Cacophony of Sin

Published:  Sunday, April 09, 2017, 9:00 AM

On Palm Sunday, we are privileged to listen to one of the great passion narratives. In Matthew's account, we see Jesus as a still-point in the maelstrom, as God's fidelity amidst a cocaphony of sin. In the course of the passion, Jesus confronts betrayal, laziness, violence, untruth, abuse of power, self-destruction, and wanton cruelty--the whole panoply of human dysfunction. And he takes away this sin precisely by his obedience and his mercy.

Let Him Go

Published:  Sunday, April 02, 2017, 9:00 AM

The great Lenten readings for Cycle A move in a kind of crescendo from thirst, to blindness, to death—all metaphors for spiritual dysfunction. This Sunday's Gospel deals with death through the story of Lazarus who, after four days in his tomb, represents someone who is totally sunk in sin, totally dead spiritually. The voice of Jesus calls Lazarus, and all of us, back to life no matter what we've done, no matter how dead we are.

And Now I See

Published:  Sunday, March 26, 2017, 9:00 AM

Our Gospel story for this weekend is the narrative of the man born blind. In the Bible generally and in John particularly, sight is used as a metaphor for spiritual vision or faith. Therefore, the man born blind is every one of us, born in the state of original sin. The Church, through the sacraments, offers us the salve of Christ's Incarnation so we might be converted, healed, baptized, and attending Mass in right praise.

A Master Class in Evangelization

Published:  Sunday, March 19, 2017, 9:00 AM

This Sunday we have the great privilege of hearing the story of the woman at the well. Take the time this week for a prayerful reading of this story and notice that as this woman seeks, she's already been found! If only we would surrender to our God who is already always pursuing us! Then, we might realize how the Everlasting Lord is the only one who can quench the otherwise unquenchable thirst of our hearts. Make the effort this Lent to clear a path and set down your old buckets so that the water of Christ's divine life can flow through you.


Published:  Sunday, March 12, 2017, 9:00 AM

Our magnificent first reading is a short passage from the beginning of the twelfth chapter of the book of Genesis. We see that at this point in the creation story jealousy, rivalry, anger, murder, imperialism, arrogance, drunkenness, indeed a wickedness has spread over the entire face of the earth. So what does God do? He sends a rescue operation! The rescue operation is going to come in the form of a people trained to listen again to the voice of the Lord. During this season of Lent we must also become a people trained to listen so as to be rescued by the Resurrection.

Three Shortcuts from the Cross

Published:  Sunday, March 05, 2017, 10:00 AM

Our Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent covers the three "shortcuts" the Devil offered Jesus to lure him away from his central mission of the cross. The Devil chose these temptations because he knew that Jesus would not be primarily a social reformer, or a wonder-worker, or a political operator. He would be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Knowing who Jesus is and what he is about is indispensable as we commence the Lenten season.

Seek First the Kingdom of God

Published:  Sunday, February 26, 2017, 10:00 AM

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and the rest will be given to you.” Make God the center of your life, and you will be spiritually ordered in Christ's image. But if you make wealth and security your center, you will be empty. You make the choice: will God be your center?

Be Holy, Be Perfect, Be a Temple

Published:  Sunday, February 19, 2017, 10:00 AM

Our readings for this weekend are, each one of them, magnificent. And each one speaks of holiness, letting the Divine Life enter into you so that you become set apart. To be holy is to love with a divine indifference, shining on the good and the bad alike. What a revolution this is! Think how different your life would be were you to love this way all the time, rather than measuring out your love based on merit. Dedicate your whole life to love and you will be truly holy, set apart, a sanctuary.

Choosing the Way of Love

Published:  Sunday, February 12, 2017, 10:00 AM

What a privilege we have in this week's readings to hear from the book of Sirach, composed by an ancient sage who was deeply immersed in the Torah, the law, and the rituals of the Temple. As such, he delivers one of the deepest truths of the spiritual life: God so respects our freedom, that he will allow us to experience life or death, good or evil. He will give us what we choose and, more to it, we will become what we choose. Each day, every moment, choose the path of love, and you will become the kind of person fit to live in heaven.

The Responsibility of Christians During Troubled Times

Published:  Sunday, February 05, 2017, 10:00 AM

At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compares his disciples to salt, light, and a city set on a hill. All these things exist not for themselves, but for something else. In the same way, Christians are meant to make the world a better place. Christians are meant to be salt, light, and a city on a hill.

Blessed Are We

Published:  Sunday, January 29, 2017, 10:00 AM

As we look into the famous “Beatitudes” described in this weeks Gospel, we learn that the Divine Mercy is the path to true joy. The more we allow the Divine Mercy to flow through us the more it grows in us. Once we eliminate the idolatrous rivals of wealth, pleasure, power, and honor and make Christ the priority in our lives we begin to live like saints.

A Great Light in the Darkness

Published:  Sunday, January 22, 2017, 10:00 AM

This week's reading from the prophet Isaiah emphasizes God's tendency to bring the best from the worst situations, light from the darkness. Throughout the Bible we see wonderful things come from the most unexpected places, and this is reflected in our own lives as well. Very often our greatest goodness can come from the darkest places of our beings.

Knowing Who We Are

Published:  Sunday, January 15, 2017, 10:00 AM

The entirety of this Sunday's second reading might be seen as so much boilerplate, throwaway lines that a writer used at the commencement of his letter, something like a formal salutation. But in point of fact, almost the whole of Christianity is contained in these lines, if we have but the eyes to see. So take out your Bibles today and revisit the beginning of 1 Corinthians. It will tell you pretty much everything essential that you need to know about yourself and your mission.

The Light of the Nations

Published:  Sunday, January 08, 2017, 10:00 AM

Today's readings for Epiphany speak of a light that shines on Israel, the chosen people, but that is meant for the whole world, a light that is a beacon summoning all the nations. And that light is Jesus Christ himself. As the prophets predicted, this Light is the illumination of all the world, the Light to whom all seekers are destined to come.

To Treasure Revelation

Published:  Sunday, January 01, 2017, 10:00 AM

There are three words that jump out at me from our Gospel reading for today's feast: "haste," "astonished" and "treasured." Each one says something important about the spiritual life. When we know what God wants for us, we should act without hesitation; we should "go in haste." When God breaks into our natural world, we should be astonished. And then, like Mary, we should learn to treasure God's revelation in our minds and hearts.


Published:  Sunday, December 25, 2016, 10:00 AM

Our Gospel for Christmas day is, of course, one of the most famous texts in the entire Bible: the Prologue to the Gospel of John. In many ways, it is the entire Gospel, indeed the entire Bible, in miniature. This scripture alludes to a feast day called "Christmas", a name that has rarely been reflected upon, at least in my lifetime. The day is Christmas, because it signals Christ’s Mass. The only fitting way to celebrate is to go to the Mass!

History is Going Somewhere, And It Rhymes

Published:  Sunday, December 18, 2016, 10:00 AM

As the Advent season comes to its climax, we are reminded that all of time and history comes to a kind of fulfillment in the Messiah. All of the strands of history are gathered together in him. To use the language of St. Paul, all of space and time is recapitulated in Christ. This Sunday our three readings show a pattern in history that spans seven centuries and calls out to us now two thousand years later: It's all about Jesus.

“Tell John What You See and Hear”

Published:  Wednesday, December 07, 2016, 10:00 AM

Our Gospel for this weekend is taken from the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, where John the Baptist has been arrested and wonders from his jail cell whether Jesus “is the one or should we look for another?" When this inquiry is conveyed to Jesus, the Lord does not respond theoretically, but rather by pointing to things that are happening, namely, God's grace is making people whole again. “Go tell John what you see and hear".

Eden, The Mountain, and The One Who Baptizes with Fire

Published:  Sunday, December 04, 2016, 10:00 AM

This week's readings take us to chapter 11 of the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah looks back to the garden of Eden and the world in right alignment with God, and then looks forward to the Messiah who will set right what has gone wrong in God's world. Sin interrupts right order, justice, and goodness. The righteous king will restore justice when he rules on his holy mountain.

The Mountain of the Lord

Published:  Sunday, November 27, 2016, 10:00 AM

This week we enter into the great season of Advent. Our first reading from the prophet Isaiah describes how every nation streams towards God's holy mountain. As you enter the Advent season, think about this holy mountain. Is the mountain of the Lord higher than every other mountain for you? Do you stream toward it with your whole being?

Three Aspects of Christ’s Kingship

Published:  Sunday, November 20, 2016, 10:00 AM

We celebrate, as the very last Sunday of the liturgical year, the feast of Christ the King. Think perhaps of the way that a king would come last in a great formal procession: so this feast comes as the culminating moment of the Church year.What I should like to do in this sermon is to explore three dimensions of Christ’s kingship, one inspired by each of our three readings for today so that we might marvel at the sublimity of what a strange and surprising king he is.

A Theology of Work

Published:  Sunday, November 13, 2016, 10:00 AM

I’m pretty sure that in thirty years of priesthood I've never preached on this Sunday's short second reading from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, and I realize now, as I peruse it, what a little gem it is! Isn’t it fascinating that St. Paul, precisely in the context of a letter to his church on spiritual matters, endeavors to speak of work? When we do authentic work—of whatever kind—we participate in God’s ongoing creation and providence. Don’t follow the instinct to secularize work; but rather see your daily labor, however humble, as part of God’s plan to bring you to joy.I’m pretty sure that in thirty years of priesthood I've never preached on this Sunday's short second reading from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, and I realize now, as I peruse it, what a little gem it is! Isn’t it fascinating that St. Paul, precisely in the context of a letter to his church on spiritual matters, endeavors to speak of work? When we do authentic work—of whatever kind—we participate in God’s ongoing creation and providence. Don’t follow the instinct to secularize work; but rather see your daily labor, however humble, as part of God’s plan to bring you to joy.

The Martyrs and a Higher World

Published:  Sunday, November 06, 2016, 10:00 AM

The story conveyed in our first reading from the second book of Maccabees is one that resonates up and down the ages, one that still stirs our hearts today. It's the story of a martyr's death. We can talk about heaven; we can speculate about it. We can write learned treatises about it, and we can hope for it. But up and down the centuries, it is the martyrs from the ancient Maccabees to the Christians slain by ISIS that most vividly witness to the promise of heaven. They literally bet their lives on it.

The Love of Predilection

Published:  Sunday, October 30, 2016, 9:00 AM

In Luke's Gospel we read the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus, as chief tax collector, was considered a very bad man in first century Israel, but Christ greets him with love. It is the love of God that causes everything to be, and comes before everything we do. God does not love us because we do good; we do good because God loves us.

Prayer and Pride

Published:  Sunday, October 23, 2016, 9:00 AM

The entire point of religion is to make us humble before God and to open us to the path of love. Everything else is more or less a footnote. Liturgy, prayer, the precepts of the Church, the commandments, sacraments, sacramental—all of it—are finally meant to conform us to the way of love. When they instead turn us away from that path by devolving into a source of pride and pomposity, they have been undermined. Jesus' famous parable about the prayers of the pharisee and the tax collector from this Sunday's readings illustrates precisely this danger of coopting religion for the purposes of our ego.

The Integrated and Variegated Body of Christ

Published:  Sunday, October 16, 2016, 9:00 AM

Our first reading from the book of Exodus is illuminating at so many levels. On the surface, this is a report of an ancient war, more of a tribal dispute really, between two minor peoples. But read with a sensitivity to the multivalence of the Biblical text, this report clues us in to the spiritual warfare that always obtains in a fallen world. We should expect a battle when we walk the path of Christ.

Paul on the Meaning of “Gospel”

Published:  Sunday, October 09, 2016, 9:00 AM

Something I’ve found over the years is that people use the word “Gospel” to mean all sorts of different things. People say, “I’m committed to the Gospel.” “I want preach the Gospel.” “I want to live according to the Gospel.” But what precisely do people mean when they say these things? The word literally means “good news.” But what good news? We have a wonderful text for our first reading today from Paul’s second letter to his disciple and friend Timothy. One of the many things that makes it wonderful is that it contains a very pithy summation of what St. Paul meant by the word “Gospel.” When we unpack this summation, we hold the key to transforming the world.

What it Means to Live by Faith

Published:  Sunday, October 02, 2016, 9:00 AM

This Sunday's readings compel us to meditate on the meaning of faith. Paul Tillich, the 20th century theologian, said, "Faith is the most misunderstood word in the religious vocabulary". Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God, which is simple enough to say, yet to live by faith means to surrender your entire life over to God, abandoning your own desires and becoming a servant under the realization that everything you have (including your very existence) is a grace, a gift. As we see in the lives of the saints, amazing things happen when we make this transformation; indeed, that which begins with a mustard seed of faith can grow, by the grace of God, to bless the whole world.

Rich Man, Poor Man

Published:  Sunday, September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM

Friends, I have spent the past 12 days in Rome for “baby Bishop school”, and just returned today. As such, I asked my Word on Fire team to reach into our archives for this week’s sermon. I’ll be working on new sermons, articles, and video commentaries in the days and weeks ahead. But in the meantime, I hope that this archived sermon will help you to understand and personally appropriate the Scriptures for this Sunday, which remind us that we cannot remain indifferent to the poor, whom the Lord has determined to be a privileged route of access to his life and presence.

A Warning Bell in the Night

Published:  Sunday, September 18, 2016, 9:00 AM

Most of us spur into action when we believe that our financial state is in dire straits. Why don't we act in the same way in regards to our spiritual state? Today people need the same spiritual concern that people had in the past. They need to want to establish a relationship with God, that which is of paramount importance. So wake up, and place God at the center of your life!

A Coin, A Sheep, A Son

Published:  Sunday, September 11, 2016, 9:00 AM

Our Gospel for today gives us three classic parables, each one exploring the notion which is at the very heart of the spiritual life, namely, that God is the one who searches for us. Why would God fret over one little soul? Why would He bother? Well, it’s His nature. It’s what He does. Moreover—as we see in the coin, the sheep, and the son—recovering a lost soul is what He rejoices in doing.

The Cost of Discipleship

Published:  Sunday, September 04, 2016, 9:00 AM

Our Gospel for today is breathtaking, first for what it says about Jesus and second for what it says about us. Jesus compels a choice the way no other figure does. Either he is who he says he is, or he is a bad man. The bland middle way that he is a great teacher simply won’t do. In the presence of the one who makes such an extraordinary claim, we have to make a decision.

Humility, Queen of the Virtues

Published:  Sunday, August 28, 2016, 9:00 AM

This week's readings focus on the importance of humility. Humility is the foundation for the whole of spirituality. In order to truly pursue truth and goodness, it is necessary to let go of the ego and realize that everything we have and are is a gift from God.

The Narrow Gate

Published:  Wednesday, August 17, 2016, 9:00 AM

To gain eternal life is to participate to the fullest degree possible in the very life of God. It is to walk the path of love, surrendering to grace and allowing this grace to flow through you to the wider world. Is this an easy task? No. The Gospel of Luke tells reminds us that the gate is narrow precisely because it is in the very shape of Jesus Himself, and entrance through the gate involves conformity to his state of being. The path of love is traveled by taking up one's cross every day.

Fate of the Prophet

Published:  Sunday, August 14, 2016, 9:00 AM

Our readings for today develop a theme that is uncomfortable. Authentically religious people, authentically spiritual people, will almost always be opposed. The logic behind this is simple and unanswerable: we live in a world gone wrong, a world turned upside down; therefore, when someone comes speaking the truth to us, we will think that they are crazy and dangerous. Jesus' word is meant to burn things up, to reduce things to cinders, to clear things out. A get-along attitude is never what Jesus is calling for. I know that we are uneasy with this idea, but the Bible isn’t. To love is to will the good of the other. Therefore, to love necessarily involves passionate opposition to what works evil in the other. True love destroys the false forms of order and community in order for the true community to emerge.

Faith and the Reasoning of the Religious Mind

Published:  Sunday, August 07, 2016, 9:00 AM

God cannot be analyzed scientifically the way one would study the things of the world, but God can be approached through religious reasoning, or Faith. Faith is often criticized as unintelligent tomfoolery. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Catholic tradition reveals that Faith is a rational reaction to God in the religious person. It is the reasoning of the religious mind.

Bubbles, Everything is Bubbles

Published:  Sunday, July 31, 2016, 9:00 AM

The readings for this weekend have a tremendous cohesiveness. They all speak to a truth about our world that is hard to take in, that has to be repeated to each generation afresh, a truth that many older people have an easier time understanding than young people: nothing in this world lasts.

Abba Father, Bring us Jesus

Published:  Sunday, July 24, 2016, 9:00 AM

The Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer, is a request for Christ. As we examine this most famous prayer line by line, we see it's all about Jesus. That He might come and have communion with us is precisely what we hope for when we cry out to "our Abba who art in heaven."

Martha, Mary, and the Attitude of Discipleship

Published:  Sunday, July 17, 2016, 9:00 AM

Although the little story of Martha and Mary has been interpreted throughout the centuries as a parable dealing with the "active" and "contemplative" approach to the spiritual life, it can be read as Christ's invitation to all people to partake in his inner circle of discipleship. Christ overturned the social conventions of his time by summoning all people to discipleship. Thus, we must remove all barriers to discipleship for all people.

Hearing the Voice of God

Published:  Sunday, July 10, 2016, 9:00 AM

During the 20th century, moral relativism was in vogue in elite cultural circles, but now it is the dominant moral outlook of the broader culture. Against this, C.S. Lewis argued for "the universality and inescapability of the moral law." Although there are subtle moral differences between cultures, if we look close enough, we can discern fundamental moral agreements. The Catholic tradition says that this moral bedrock is a reflection of the Eternal Law in the mind of God. It is the voice of God within us. Listen to that voice.

Boasting in the Cross

Published:  Sunday, July 03, 2016, 9:00 AM

St. Paul tells us in our second reading that he boasts in the cross of Jesus. To any of his hearers in the first century this would have sounded like madness. Paul can boast in this shameful thing precisely because God has raised Jesus from death and thereby placed the world-the realm of hatred, violence, and division-under judgment. Now we must have the courage to leave the world and enter into the new creation which is the body of Christ.

Walking Truly and Completely with Him

Published:  Sunday, June 26, 2016, 9:00 AM

In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus clarifies that all worldly goods find their value in relation to Him. If we believe Jesus is the only Son of God, we must place our grudges, personal desires, and even our most sacred worldly obligations aside in order to walk truly and completely with Him.

Christ's Identity and Mission

Published:  Sunday, June 19, 2016, 9:00 AM

Today's Gospel presents Luke's version of the famous conversation that the Lord Jesus had with his disciples concerning his identity and mission. Authentic acceptance of Christ's identity and mission engenders in us a willingness to accept in our own lives the necessity and saving power of the cross.

The Wages of Sin

Published:  Sunday, June 12, 2016, 9:00 AM

In today's first reading from 2 Samuel we learn about God's dealings with David, the Israelite king who put himself on a path of sin that culminated in adultery and murder. David is forgiven but also cleansed, purified, and brought back to obedience to God precisely through the suffering unleashed by this double-sin. From David we learn how God's grace is always available, but it is never cheap.

The Whole Gospel is About Resurrection

Published:  Sunday, June 05, 2016, 9:00 AM

In today's Gospel we learn about Jesus’ raising of the son of the widow of Nain. This is a prime exemplification of a key Gospel truth, namely, that everything Jesus said and did, in one way or another, is an anticipation of his resurrection.

Corpus Christi

Published:  Sunday, May 29, 2016, 9:00 AM

The Church comes from the Eucharist for it is the sacrifice that makes saints. The Eucharist is essentially the fullest act of gratitude prefigured in Melchizedek finding its fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ. Every Mass is a participation in and celebration of this sacrifice, but the feast of Corpus Christi is a time to be especially aware of the gift of the Eucharist.

Begotten Not Made

Published:  Sunday, May 22, 2016, 9:00 AM

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity. The Nicene Creed articulates the mystery of the Trinity with the wonderful phrase "begotten not made," meaning that the Son is not a creature but rather shares in the selfsame nature as the Father. The Holy Spirit is then the life-giving love breathed out between the Father and the Son.

The Holy Spirit and Mission

Published:  Sunday, May 15, 2016, 9:00 AM

Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, one of the truly great moments in the life of the Church. The Holy Spirit comes to give many spiritual gifts, which prepare us to enter into relationship with Christ and embark on mission.

The Ascension of Jesus

Published:  Sunday, May 08, 2016, 9:00 AM

Too often we read the Ascension as the moment when Jesus “went away,” when he left us on our own and went off to heaven, where we hope some day to join him. But the Ascension is not Jesus going away; it is Jesus assuming his position as leader of the Church’s life.

The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church

Published:  Sunday, May 01, 2016, 9:00 AM

The Church Catholic is a living thing; an organism rather than an organization. Therefore, it is continually moving, changing, adapting, reacting, answering new questions, and responding to new challenges. That's what we see in today's readings at Mass, which show us the Church in action in its very earliest days, not by itseld but in conjunction with the Holy Spirit.

New Heavens, New Earth

Published:  Sunday, April 24, 2016, 9:00 AM

Throughout the Easter season, we’ve had the privilege of reading from the book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible, the place where the entire Scriptural revelation comes to its climax. Our passage for this Sunday is taken from the 21st chapter, the penultimate chapter of the book. Hence, it is, if you will, the ringing finale of the entire Bible, the terminus ad quem of all of Scripture.

The Good Shepherd

Published:  Sunday, April 17, 2016, 9:00 AM

One of the most enduring and endearing images of Jesus is that of the good shepherd who guides and lays down his life for his sheep. We cannot be indifferent in regard to him. We have to give our whole selves to him, without compromise or hesitation. Once we hear his voice, we have to drop everything and follow.

A Relentlessly Public Religion

Published:  Sunday, April 10, 2016, 9:00 AM

The passage from the Acts of the Apostles, which is our first reading for this weekend, is surprisingly instructive for our time in the life of the Church. It witnesses to something that is essential to Christianity, namely, that we are a relentlessly public religion. This is not a privatized religion we’re talking about. This is a faith and a kingdom meant for everyone on earth.

Peter, John, and Thomas

Published:  Sunday, April 03, 2016, 9:00 AM

Our wonderful readings for the second Sunday of Easter speak to us of three apostle, who were three pillars of the Church: Peter, John, and Thomas. Each one functions as an archetype for an essential feature of the life of the Church, and each are needed to balance and complete each other.

Three Easter Lessons

Published:  Sunday, March 27, 2016, 9:00 AM

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the foundation of the entire Christian faith. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we should all go home and forget about it. As St. Paul himself puts it: “If Jesus is not raised from the dead, our preaching is in vain and we are the most pitiable of men.” But Jesus was, in fact, raised from the dead. And his resurrection shows that Christ can gather back to the Father everyone whom he has embraced through his suffering love.

The Master Has Need of You

Published:  Sunday, March 20, 2016, 9:00 AM

In our Gospel reading for the Palm Sunday procession, Jesus sends his disciples into Jerusalem to prepare for his triumphal entry. They are told to untether a donkey and if there is any protest from the owner, they are to say, simply, “The Master has need of it.” Strictly speaking, God has need of nothing, since he is the unconditioned act of existence. God doesn’t need our praise or our good works or anything. But this phrase signals the wonderful truth that God allows us to cooperate with his grace so that we can participate in the work that he wants to do. He gives us what Aquinas called “the dignity of causality.” We are privileged to be instruments in his hands.

Misery and Mercy

Published:  Sunday, March 13, 2016, 9:00 AM

In this week's Gospel, we hear the story of the woman caught in adultery, a tale that has beguiled Christians and non-Christians for two millennia. The story displays our constant temptation to use knowledge of God’s law to hurt others, not to liberate them. We gossip, we scapegoat, we blame—and we convince ourselves that we’re just following the divine law in pointing out other people’s problems. But then enters Jesus, who affirms that the law's primary purpose is to make us humble, to draw us to higher attainment. Without denigrating the law in the least, Jesus reaches out in mercy in order to brings sinners back to life.

The Prodigal Son Returns

Published:  Wednesday, March 02, 2016, 10:00 AM

Today we hear the greatest of Jesus' parable, indeed what many people call the greatest story ever told: the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Even after hearing it 1,000 times, it continues to beguile us and draw us in. What's the main spiritual lesson? We're meant to receive the divine life as a gift, but then give it back.

Why the Burning Bush is Such Good News

Published:  Sunday, February 28, 2016, 10:00 AM

Our first reading for this Sunday presents us with one of the most famous and commented upon texts in the entire Bible, in which God appears in a burning bush, a bush on fire but not consumed. God is present to it in the most powerful way, but nothing of the bush has to give in order for God to work with it and through it. When the true God comes close, things are not destroyed; in fact, they become radiant and beautiful.

The Glorified Body

Published:  Sunday, February 21, 2016, 10:00 AM

The readings for this second Sunday of Lent awaken a sense of wonder, of a world beyond ours, a mystical consciousness. In the first reading with Abraham and in the Gospel account of the Transfiguration, we encounter mountains, darkness, voices, and dazzling light, all of which signal the breakthrough of a higher world.

Three Questions from the Desert

Published:  Sunday, February 14, 2016, 10:00 AM

Lent is a time of paring down — a time spent in the desert, if you will — as exemplified by Jesus' 40 days of fasting in these arid, barren lands. He was tempted three times by Satan, and rejected each attempt, giving glory to God at every turn. This is the lesson for us, that we make God the center of our lives and not test him. We are here to do his will, which is clarified through our own Lenten sacrifices.

Duc In Altum!

Published:  Sunday, February 07, 2016, 10:00 AM

This week's reading from the Gospel of Luke shows us that our encounter with Christ is an invasion of grace and that we must be ready to welcome that grace and go out into the depths, and ascend to the heights, at its calling.

The Primacy of Love

Published:  Sunday, January 31, 2016, 10:00 AM

This week we hear from St. Paul's brilliant meditation on Love. Everything in religion and theology revolves around Love. It is at the heart of everything. Nothing matters without Love, because God is Love. Putting Love at the center is the best way to organize and prioritize our entire lives.

Wall and Bridges

Published:  Sunday, January 24, 2016, 10:00 AM

This week's reading from the book of Nehemiah provides a reflection on the importance of keeping firm our religious identity and finding strength in our religious identity so we can go out into the world with confidence and grace. By keeping our strength in God we can go out into the world and Christify it.

The First of the Signs

Published:  Sunday, January 17, 2016, 10:00 AM

The communion of humanity and divinity in Christ's divine person can be likened to a marriage. Sin effects a kind of divorce between God and humanity, a break up of the marriage of God and his people. How wonderful, therefore, when the Messiah offers the first sign of his identity and mission that it as at wedding. This is an indication that the relationship of God and humanity will be transformed, reconciled and renewed in Jesus Christ.

Vitae Spiritualis Ianua

Published:  Sunday, January 10, 2016, 10:00 AM

The first Sacrament one can receive in the Church, Baptism, defines our relationship with Christ. In it, we are reborn as part of his mystical body, and are gifted the grace of God's love. Baptism lays the foundation for every other Sacrament we are to receive, and inextricably links us with the Trinity.

Following the Star

Published:  Sunday, January 03, 2016, 10:00 AM

Our modern culture suggests a tension between spirituality and religion. But the Magi in today's Gospel demonstrate that when spirituality is lifted up by revelation - when the Magi are told by the religious leaders where the Messiah is to be born - that we find the object of our spiritual longing.

Hannah, Her Son, and the Holy Family

Published:  Sunday, December 27, 2015, 10:00 AM

Lots of people today will tell you what makes a family well-adjusted, functional, and peaceful. But in today's readings for the Feast of the Holy Family, which center on two exemplary women, Hannah and Mary, the Church wants to tell us what makes a family holy.

Mary, David, and the Theo-Drama

Published:  Sunday, December 20, 2015, 10:00 AM

In today's readings we see the Theo-drama, the great story being told by God, confronting the ego-drama, which is the self-centered play we attempt to write, produce, direct, and star in ourselves. What makes life thrilling is to discover our role in the Theo-drama. This is precisely what has happened to Mary. She found her role—indeed a climactic role—in the Theo-drama, just as King David had several centuries before.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Published:  Sunday, December 13, 2015, 10:00 AM

Our Gospel for this third Sunday of Advent is of extraordinary importance, for it speaks to us of the transformation, the transfiguration of the self, which is unique to Christianity. To be baptized in the Holy Spirit is to be immersed in the ocean of the divine love. When we are dipped into this reality, we become capable of something that neither Aristotle nor Plato nor the Founding Fathers nor the prophets themselves dreamed possible: we can love with the very love of God.

God Has Really Arrived in History

Published:  Sunday, December 06, 2015, 10:00 AM

Christianity is not a mythic system. It is an historical religion that makes very concrete historical claims, and the first Christians were intensely interested in the historicity of what they were describing and preaching about. We see an example of this in St. Luke's Gospel today. The evangelist tell us that something actually happened in history, something so strange, unexpected, and rare that it changed everything.

Advent and the Shaking of the Kingdoms

Published:  Sunday, November 29, 2015, 10:00 AM

Our Gospel for this first Sunday of Advent begins where the readings for the end of last liturgical year left off, namely, with apocalyptic musings. We're encouraged to look for the Son of Man, coming on the clouds of heaven, which signals the end of the world as we know it. But the Son of man is coming on the clouds of heaven even now in the life of the Church. Even now the true king, the successor of David, is in our midst. But we need eyes trained by the liturgy to see him.

What Does it Mean to Say that Christ is King?

Published:  Sunday, November 22, 2015, 10:00 AM

The liturgical year ends with the feast of Christ the King. This day reminds us what the Christian thing is all about: that Jesus really is the king, the Lord of our lives, that we belong utterly to him, and that we can say, with St. Paul, "it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me."

Daniel and the New Kingdom

Published:  Sunday, November 15, 2015, 10:00 AM

Our first reading for this weekend is from the utterly fascinating book of Daniel. Daniel is an example of apocalyptic literature, and apocalyptic books reveal something of decisive significance. We see that significance when Jesus comes preaching the kingdom of God, by which he was taken to be announcing the fulfillment of the Daniel prophecy. This is the apocalypse, the great unveiling: a new kingdom has come, a dominion that will last forever.

A Tale of Two Widows

Published:  Sunday, November 08, 2015, 10:00 AM

Today's scriptures highlight two widows and two very important biblical principles: God reveals himself precisely at that moment of our greatest vulnerability and need, and that the grace in your life will increase in the measure that you give it away.

Elijah, the Widow, and a Story of Trust

Published:  Sunday, November 08, 2015, 10:00 AM

The story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, a section of which is our first reading for this weekend, is a narrative that just keeps generating spiritual significance, the longer you think about it and study it. Two desperate people confront one another, and each is called upon to make an act of faith. In the practically impossible act of double trust that follows, both are benefitted, and they both exemplify the law of the gift: your being increases in the measure that you give it away.

What Does It Mean to be a Saint?

Published:  Sunday, November 01, 2015, 10:00 AM

One problem with our great feast day today is that it can make sanctity seem like something that is the special preserve of a handful of spiritual heroes—and not the ordinary goal of the Christian life. But the whole purpose of the Church—priesthood, the Mass, the sacraments, good preaching, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy—is to make saints. There is only one real sadness in life: not to be a saint. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Master, I Want to See

Published:  Sunday, October 25, 2015, 9:00 AM

The story of the healing of blind Bartimaeus is a spiritual icon of enormous power. Bartimaeus is evocative of anyone who, aware of his sin, blindness, and incapacity, hears the summons of Jesus to come into the Church, the place where vision will be restored.

Real Spiritual Power

Published:  Sunday, October 18, 2015, 9:00 AM

When the ego grabs power and honor for itself, things get dangerous and dysfunctional very quickly. The ego will want to use power, not for God’s purposes, but for its own exaltation & defense. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus confronts a misguided desire for power within both James and John so as to direct them to real spiritual power, which offers them — and us — the greatest freedom.

The Rich Young Man and the Hunger for Eternal Life

Published:  Sunday, October 11, 2015, 9:00 AM

In today's Gospel we hear the story of the rich young man who desires eternal life. We all have a hunger for God and goodness. Jesus teaches us that, in order to attain friendship with God we must be disciplined and must give up the things that keep us from satisfying our desire for God.

Sexuality, Love, and Marriage

Published:  Sunday, October 04, 2015, 9:00 AM

This week's readings offer a reflection on human sexuality, love and marriage. These readings show us that sexuality is a good, joyful thing when it is ordered towards, and transfigured by, love.

Would that Everyone Could be a Prophet

Published:  Sunday, September 27, 2015, 9:00 AM

Our first reading from the Book of Numbers and the Gospel reading from Mark both highlight a very interesting spiritual predicament, one that is presented numerous times throughout the Bible. It might be summed up as the inclination for members of the Church to subvert the mission of the Church because of their own ego driven desires and pre-occupations.

The Undoing of Original Sin

Published:  Sunday, September 20, 2015, 9:00 AM

One of the most important doctrines of the Church is the doctrine of original sin, which asserts that something it off with us. We see the effects of it everywhere, and we also see many attempts to solve the problem of sin on our own. The only way to be healed, however, is to give ourselves over to Jesus, like the little child in today's Gospel reading.

Faith Perfected by Love

Published:  Sunday, September 13, 2015, 9:00 AM

Today's second reading from the letter of James discusses the relationship between faith and love. We need a strong faith, but faith without love is lifeless so we must respond to grace and faith with acts of love.


Published:  Sunday, September 06, 2015, 9:00 AM

In this week's Gospel, Jesus heals a man who is deaf and dumb. When we read this account at the spiritual level, we see that he cures those who are deaf to the Word of God and hence unable to speak it clearly. How relevant this message is to our own time!

Law and Laws

Published:  Sunday, August 30, 2015, 9:00 AM

All of today's readings pertain to law. We Americans are a fairly litigious society. Lawyers are thick on the ground and many of our Founding Fathers were students of law. We have a kind of love-hate relationship with the law, like most people in history. Today's readings offer a key lesson: whenever we reverence something, we surround it with laws. Laws protect the integrity of good things. And for the saints, the law of God is planted within their hearts.

Lord, To Whom Shall We Go?

Published:  Sunday, August 23, 2015, 9:00 AM

In today's Gospel, we see Jesus' followers reacting to his shocking teaching about eating his flesh and drinking his blood by saying, "This is a hard saying; who can accept it?" To understand Jesus' meaning, we must understand that he's not using symbolic or metaphorical language. He's speaking words of "Spirit and life" which bring into being precisely what they signal.

Wisdom's Meal

Published:  Sunday, August 16, 2015, 9:00 AM

Today's first reading personifies Wisdom as a woman who invites people to a feast, lavishly offering food and wine. In today's Psalm, we echo that invitation: "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord." But to join the banquet of the Lord, we need to turn away from other food. We spend our whole lives eating from troughs that never satisfy our hunger - wealth, power, pleasure, honor. But in John 6, which is today's Gospel, Jesus invites us to feed on himself, Wisdom incarnate, the only food that will ultimately fulfill our hunger. Mass Readings Reading 1 - Proverbs 9:1-6 Psalm - Psalm 34:2-7 Reading 2 - Ephesians 5:15-20 Gospel - John 6:51-58

Spiritual Food

Published:  Sunday, August 09, 2015, 9:00 AM

In our first reading today, Elijah is dejected and requests that the Lord take his life. But an angel touches him and orders him to get up and eat. Strengthened by food, he journeys to the mountain of God, Horeb. We're all acquainted with the need for physical food, like Elijah, but we also need spiritual food. If we don't feed our souls, we will become spiritually lethargic and unhealthy. Where do we find that nourishment? The answer comes in John 6, our Gospel reading for today.

Bread of Life

Published:  Sunday, August 02, 2015, 9:00 AM

Again, the Church's Gospel is taken from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. The principle concern of this Gospel is to provide testimony to the enduring presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This presence is foreshadowed in the mysterious "showbread' of the ancient temple of Israel. The promise that is symbolized in the "showbread" is fulfilled in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, the Church partakes of the its own "showbread", though no longer merely a symbol, it is the "Bread of Life"- the life and presence of Christ.

The Mystery of the Mass

Published:  Sunday, July 26, 2015, 9:00 AM

The sixth chapter of John's Gospel, from which we will be reading these next several weeks, is a sustained meditation on the meaning of the Mass and the Eucharist. Our passage for today, when read symbolically, illumines the major movements of the Mass.

Looking for a Shepherd

Published:  Sunday, July 19, 2015, 9:00 AM

In today's first reading, God announces that he himself will shepherd his people. Yet a few sentences later, he suggests that he will raise up a righteous human king to reign and govern wisely. So which is it - will God become king or will he establish a human king? The answer, which the Gospel reading unfolds, is both. In the person of Jesus, the divine shepherd, the scattered people of God find their way home.

Summed Up in Christ

Published:  Sunday, July 12, 2015, 9:00 AM

For many people in the West, liberty seems to trump everything. We avatars of the egodrama, we worshippers at the altar of freedom, say that our choice is supreme. We don't want anyone to constrain our pursuit of money, success, power, influence, safety, or physical health. But what matters in the end is not to place our wills in the position of ultimate concern. Everything in nature, history, science, and our careers is, in the end, summed up in Christ.

The Mission of the Prophet

Published:  Sunday, July 05, 2015, 9:00 AM

This week's scriptures illuminate the identity and mission of a prophet- a calling that belongs to all the baptized by virtue of our Baptism. God appoints the prophets to a specific mission. This mission is to speak God's word of truth. God's word of truth is not a private or personal opinion, but the Word of God communicated through human words. The prophet speaks God's word of truth to those within and those outside the Church. Prophets do not seek to proclaim a message that is easy to be accepted, but seek to speak God's word of truth, no matter how hard it might be to hear and accept. Christ is the paradigmatic example of the identity and mission of the prophet.

God Did Not Make Death

Published:  Sunday, June 28, 2015, 9:00 AM

The Book of Wisdom offers us the strange assertion that God did not make death, but formed humanity to be imperishable. This revelation directs us towards the truth that death is much more than merely the dissolution of the body, but is the full impact of the power of sin over our lives. This power is especially evident in our fear of death. The dormition of the Mother of God offers us a sign that Christ has given to humanity a way, that takes us, not only beyond our fear of death, but beyond death itself. The way of Christ enables us to face the power of death with trust, rather than fear.

The Storm at Sea

Published:  Sunday, June 21, 2015, 9:00 AM

The story of Jesus calming the storm at sea is an archetypal description of the church down through the ages. We find ourselves in the midst of storms, but as long as Christ sails with us, we can find peace.

Walking By Faith and Not By Sight

Published:  Sunday, June 14, 2015, 9:00 AM

Sometimes God does things we can't understand. This is where our need to walk by faith and not by sight comes in play. We trust in God's purpose, and his purpose often manifests itself in the least likely of sources-the mustard seed, for example. A young man on a cross, dying alone and mocked, was the mustard seed out of which a global religion, one billion strong, grew. This is the story of so many other influential Christians, such as Francis of Assisi, Charles Lwanga and Mother Teresa. They could have been easily overlooked, forgotten, ignored, but instead they sprouted into among the most revered in our history. This is a lesson of not giving up. It's a lesson of walking by faith, and not by sight.

The Trinity as Call to Action

Published:  Sunday, May 31, 2015, 9:00 AM

It's often joked that Trinity Sunday is "the preacher's nightmare." But while the Trinity can be viewed as the most arcane and inaccessible Christian doctrine, it's also the most ordinary and obvious. Every Catholic invokes the Trinity whenever he crosses himself in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Moreover, every single baptized person has been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Through baptism we've been sealed by the Trinity, brought within its dynamic, and sent out on mission.

Pentecost and the Gift of Language

Published:  Sunday, May 24, 2015, 9:00 AM

Today's readings recount the unforgettable events of Pentecost. Language is our primary mode of communication. How wonderful, therefore, that the principle gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is tongues - speech, language - enabling the first disciples to establish heart-to-heart communication with the peoples of the world. The Holy Spirit himself is nothing but communication for the Spirit is nothing other than the love that connects the Father and the Son. When the disciples, filled with Holy Spirit, go out to communicate on Pentecost, they effectively unite the world by gathering what sin has scattered.

The Vine and the Branches

Published:  Sunday, May 03, 2015, 9:00 AM

'I am the Vine, and you are the branches.' Jesus is not simply an inspiring teacher to whom we listen. He is a force in which we participate, a body in which we are cells and molecules, a river in which we swim. There is an organic relationship between Jesus and his creation. That is why Jesus can make the startling statements that he makes in today's Gospel. Our existence, our life, our thought – all of this comes from the Logos, and apart from Him, we can bear no fruit.

The Good Shepherd

Published:  Sunday, April 26, 2015, 9:00 AM

Jesus sums up a long Biblical tradition when he says 'I am the good shepherd.' The prophets and the psalmist had yearned for a time when God himself would come to shepherd his people Israel. This yearning is realized in Jesus himself. What makes him good? The Gospel for today specifies two things: his willingness to lay down his life for his sheep, and the fact that he knows his sheep personally, recognizing their voices.

The Strangeness of the Resurrection

Published:  Sunday, April 19, 2015, 9:00 AM

Authentic Christianity does not present Jesus as a ghost, an abstraction, or a disembodied soul. It presents him as risen from the dead, glorified and resurrected at every level. This good news of Easter was strange and unnerving 2,000 years ago and remains so today.

The Passion Narrative of Mark's Gospel

Published:  Sunday, March 29, 2015, 9:00 AM

The Gospels are passion narratives with long introductions, dominated by Jesus' death and resurrection. On this Palm Sunday, as we near the climax of the Lenten season, we should examine four odd details in St. Mark's account of the Passion of Christ.

United in the Blood of Jesus

Published:  Sunday, March 22, 2015, 9:00 AM

The best way to understand the history of salvation is to understand it as the story of covenants between God and his people. In the Old Testament, covenants are typically sealed in blood and sacrifice. In today's first reading, Jeremiah prophesies a new covenant forged by the shedding of blood— Christ's blood on the Christ— which makes the whole world into the New Israel. Through the blood of that covenant, we share in the Divine Life.

The Ten Commandments

Published:  Sunday, March 08, 2015, 9:00 AM

Although most of our parents's generation knew the Ten Commandments by heart, few Christians today can recite them. The liturgy today invites us to refocus on these timeless commands, which provide a path to a flourishing moral life.

The Ark, the Mass, and Re-Ordering the World

Published:  Sunday, February 22, 2015, 10:00 AM

As Lent commences, the pews will be filled with people escaping the chaos of the modern world and finding a place of peace and order within the ship-like safety of the Church. In today's readings, we hear the peculiar story of Noah in the book of Genesis, which correlates with the Mass. We find in the ark a remnant of God's right order as he remakes the world through the purifying waters of the flood. We, too, are called to preserve the life of the world within the symbolic "ark" of the Church, but only to let that life out for the good of the World.

Evangelizing Out of the Encounter

Published:  Sunday, February 15, 2015, 10:00 AM

The strange and unsettling Gospel account of the leper approaching Jesus is the manifestation of the deeply held notions of purity and impurity, notions that were uprooted by the God who entered into every part of our human condition to heal it and make it whole. In the Gospel and today, healing incites a mission. We, like the leper, must share how the encounter with Christ has changed our lives.

The Spirituality of Pain

Published:  Sunday, February 08, 2015, 10:00 AM

Why would an all-powerful and all-loving God allow his people to suffer so much? That's one of the oldest and most difficult theological questions. Our first reading from Job and our Gospel from Mark provide some fascinating answers.

Priest, Prophet, and King

Published:  Sunday, January 11, 2015, 10:00 AM

All the baptized participate in Christ. Since Christ is the fulfillment of the priest, prophet, and king that means that all the baptized are those as well. Although this statement may seem odd since we do not naturally think of ourselves this way, we must become more conscious of what it means to be grafted onto Christ. Our baptism grafts us onto the Body of Christ, making us all share in His Person. If his Person is priest, prophet, and king, then so are we.

Adam, David, and Jesus

Published:  Sunday, December 21, 2014, 10:00 AM

Adam had a kingly mission. However, he became a bad king. David was meant to restore kingship to its proper form. However, he failed too. But Christ, the Lord, is the King who sets everything aright and restores creation. His kingdom rivals all others.

A Not Very Cozy Advent

Published:  Sunday, December 14, 2014, 10:00 AM

Christ proclaims himself as the King of everything. This is a bold claim for it puts everything under him. However, he is a very different King than what we typically expect. So with the arrival of this King, we must change all our expectations.

We Need a Savior

Published:  Sunday, November 30, 2014, 10:00 AM

The single biggest challenge of the Advent season is to feel our need for a savior. The truth is, we can't solve our problem through an act of the will, because the perversion of the will is the problem. We need help. We need the intervention of a loving God who will shape us anew. We need a savior.

St. John Lateran and the Meaning of Church Buildings

Published:  Wednesday, November 05, 2014, 10:00 AM

Today we celebrate the great Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica, which is the Pope's cathedral church. It's a time to remember that while the Church is, properly speaking, the people of God, church buildings do nevertheless matter. They are meant to recapitulate the Temple, the New Jerusalem, Noah's Ark, and the Mystical Body of Jesus.

All Souls' Day and the Mystery of Immortality

Published:  Sunday, November 02, 2014, 10:00 AM

Near death experiences, the loss of a loved one, other other out-of-body occurrences point toward the truth that we are meant to be born out of this world into a higher one, even though this transition is often a traumatic one. The reality that our mind wants not just particular truths, but the Truth Itself, indicates our orientation to God. We are our bodies, rooted in this world, but we are more than our bodies. This mysterious capacity within us the Church calls "the soul." And at the end of our earthly lives, the soul is breathed out, not into non-being, but into the hands of God.

Pier Giorgio Frassati and Social Justice

Published:  Sunday, October 26, 2014, 9:00 AM

Is the Catholic Church a proponent of social justice? Yes, according to this week's readings. They reveal a compassionate God, who hears the cries of the poor and then encourages us to reciprocate his love. Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati understood this well. The young saint heeded both of Jesus' Great Commandments by loving God and, therefore, loving his neighbor.

Peace Beyond Understanding

Published:  Sunday, October 05, 2014, 9:00 AM

At the end of his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul reveals the secret to a peaceful life. Serenity of spirit, born of the confidence that one is linked to God, arrives when we surround ourselves with God's truth, goodness, and beauty.

Taking Spiritual Responsibility

Published:  Sunday, September 28, 2014, 9:00 AM

Today's readings show that one can and should stand before God, individually, and assume spiritual responsibility. That responsibility is not collective but personal. It confronts each of us with the question, “Where I do stand in response to God's invitation?”

Going Beyond a Mercenary Love for God

Published:  Sunday, September 21, 2014, 9:00 AM

The Bible constantly warns against a merely mercenary relationship with God—a friendship of convenience or self-interest. We should not love God simply because doing so will produce many consolations in our life. We must enter a true relationship, where we fall in love not with his benefits, but with him.

Venerating the Cross

Published:  Sunday, September 14, 2014, 9:00 AM

When we live in convenient darkness, unaware of our sins, we will never make spiritual progress. We need the light, however painful it is. Once that light reveals to us our sin and dysfunction, then we can rise. That's what we discover on the cross of Jesus. We meet our own sin, and we also meet the merciful savior, who has taken that sin upon himself in order to swallow it up.

Correcting a Brother

Published:  Sunday, September 07, 2014, 9:00 AM

Should we address someone who is in the wrong? This week's Gospel cautions against gossip and malicious criticism, but it also explains how to frtuifully correct someone and bring them to the truth.

"But for Wales...?"

Published:  Sunday, August 31, 2014, 9:00 AM

All must be aware of the possibility of losing one's soul in pursuit of gaining the world. One will inevitably face opposition from the world. Will you give in? Christ's demand of love is difficult and many do not want to follow it because it entails suffering. But in order to follow Christ you must consciously and purposely walk the path of suffering love.

Inscrutable and Faithful

Published:  Sunday, August 24, 2014, 9:00 AM

The God of Israel is mysterious and inscrutable and at the same time is totally faithful and loving. Like the children of a loving parent, we might not always be able to understand God's plan but we can rest assured knowing that He always loves us and will always take care of us.

How Great Is Your Faith

Published:  Sunday, August 17, 2014, 9:00 AM

The story of the persistent Canaanite woman has intrigued and puzzled Christians for two thousand years. Why would Jesus treat this pious woman with what seems like indifference, even hostility? Why does he refuse (it seems) to answer our own prayers? The solution can be found in the very Biblical category of testing.


Published:  Sunday, August 03, 2014, 9:00 AM

Our readings for this weekend are filled with grace, the free gift that God is. Our relationship with God gets off on the wrong foot the moment we see it in an "economic" or calculating way. God, who needs nothing from us, simply wants to share his life with us. And this is why he says, through the prophet Isaiah, "All you who are thirsty, come to the water!"

Solomon's Prayer

Published:  Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:00 AM

God says to Solomon in our first reading, "Ask for anything, and I will give it to you." What would you say if you heard that invitation? Solomon asks for wisdom and not for wealth or power or victory. Find out why that answer is so pleasing to God.

Three Parables; Three Spiritual Lessons

Published:  Sunday, July 20, 2014, 9:00 AM

Jesus' parables in today's Gospel tell us how and why the Kingdom of God emerges. It does so often through struggle, quietly and clandestinely, and through infiltration rather than direct confrontation.

Peter and Paul

Published:  Sunday, June 29, 2014, 9:00 AM

This week gives us an opportunity to reflect on the legacies of Peter and Paul, two of the most important figures in the history of the Church. While they were different in various ways—Peter is the archetype of the order and office of the Church, and Paul represents theology and evangelization—they are united in their love of Jesus and are celebrated together for this reason.

Bread in the Desert

Published:  Sunday, June 22, 2014, 9:00 AM

All of us are on a spiritual journey from sin to salvation. Like the Israelites longing for a return to Egypt, many of us occasionally desire our old addictions, providing the anxious ego with comfort and security. Far from Egypt, the Promised Land is the spiritual space of complete dependence upon God. But the Israelites are not there yet. They need to eat the manna from heaven. For Catholics, this is the Eucharist. It is the means to getting God’s divine life within us.

Drink of the Holy Spirit

Published:  Sunday, June 08, 2014, 9:00 AM

Everyone thirsts for the divine life. No one is content without it, even proclaimed secularists. Christ has come to give us that life and he calls us to seek it in him. Although no one will be fully satisfied in this life, the more we partake in the person of Christ, the more we will be fulfilled.

Meeting of Heaven and Earth

Published:  Sunday, June 01, 2014, 9:00 AM

The mysterious and wonderful feast of the Ascension of the Lord which celebrates Christ glorified "at the right hand of the Father". The key to unlocking the marvels of this event is to recover a specifically Biblical understanding of the relationship of heaven and earth.

Temple Talk

Published:  Sunday, May 18, 2014, 9:00 AM

This week's readings all have to do with the holy temple in Jerusalem. The temple was the meeting place of divinity and humanity and was the focal point of Jewish life in Israel. We should all be living temples in our own way and bring God to the rest of the world.

Treating Death as a Trifle

Published:  Sunday, April 06, 2014, 9:00 AM

This week's Gospel tells the story of Lazarus and how Jesus raised him from the dead. In this story we learn that sin is a kind of death, and that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Through Jesus, death is not the end.

Coming to See

Published:  Sunday, March 30, 2014, 9:00 AM

This week's Gospel from John tells us the story of the man born blind. Jesus offers the blind man healing and the man accepts Jesus and is conformed to him.

What is the Matter With Us?

Published:  Sunday, March 09, 2014, 9:00 AM

The first reading for this week is the section of Genesis which describes the creation of humans and their fall from grace. The readings in the first week of Lent remind us to revisit the spiritual fundamentals. The story of the Fall reminds us to let what belongs to God remain with God and not to set ourselves up in opposition to God.

Extreme Demand, Extreme Mercy

Published:  Sunday, February 16, 2014, 10:00 AM

In this week's Gospel, Jesus intensifies the moral law and raises the bar higher than it ever had been. Christ's goal, and the Church's goal, is to make saints. His moral demands are great, but so is his mercy. He always offers grace and forgiveness when we falter so that we can always have hope in our stuggles for sanctity.

The Presentation of the Lord

Published:  Sunday, February 02, 2014, 10:00 AM

This week we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. In ancient Israel the Temple was the most important place in the world. It was the dwelling place of the Lord; it was where divinity and humanity embraced. But the nation of Israel had gone away from right worship of God. The Christ child is the divine and human in one and thus brings humanity back on line with God.

Isaiah and Paul

Published:  Sunday, January 19, 2014, 10:00 AM

This week's readings reveal Isaiah and Paul as missionaries, as evangelists. Isaiah's mission is to unite the people of Israel, and then spread the same light the the rest of the world. Paul recognizes that Christ is the fulfillment of Isaiah's mission and offers himself as a servant of that fulfillment.

The Slave of Christ

Published:  Sunday, December 22, 2013, 10:00 AM

This week's second reading is the beginning of st. Paul's letter to the Romans. Paul identifies himself as the slave of Jesus. His has given his entire life and will over to Christ. He exists to serve the purposes of Christ, and reminds us that we all share in that mission.

March in the Army of the True King

Published:  Sunday, November 24, 2013, 10:00 AM

It is extraordinarily significant that the liturgical year ends with the feast of Christ the King. The fact that Christ is the King is the culmination of the whole story the Bible tells from Genesis to Revelation.

Apocalypse and the Resurrection

Published:  Sunday, November 17, 2013, 10:00 AM

As the liturgical year comes towards its end the Church considers apocalyptic Scriptures. This week's Gospel from Luke reveal the full significance of the Resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead was a world changing event that altered everything in the human experience from religion to politics to nature.

The Resurrection of the Body

Published:  Sunday, November 10, 2013, 10:00 AM

This week's reading from second Maccabees and Luke's gospel are wonderful meditations on the resurrection of the body. In second Maccabees seven brothers are executed for refusing to violate their religious laws, but they express hope and faith that they will get their bodies back in a glorified state after death. In the gospel Christ upholds the hope for a glorified redemption and resurrection of the body.

The Hard Texts of the Old Testament

Published:  Sunday, October 20, 2013, 9:00 AM

The Old Testament is full of violent accounts that seem contradictory to the idea of the merciful, compassionate God of the New Testament: Joshua exterminates the tribes living in the Promised land, Samuel hacks the helpless Agag to pieces, and God orders Saul to kill every living thing when he conquers the Amelikites, to name but a few. The key to interpreting these texts is the figure of Christ as the sacrificed lamb in the Book of Revelations. If we keep Christ in mind then we will know that we have misread the Bible if we read it in such a way that it encourages violence or hatred

Humility and the Healing Power of God

Published:  Sunday, October 13, 2013, 9:00 AM

This week's reading from 2 Kings 5 contains some wonderful lessons on humility and obedience. We all suffer from some pestilence, whether it be physical, spiritual, or emotional, and we all seek healing. We need to find the humility to accept God's cure for our spiritual ailments, just like the general Naaman does when Elisha orders him to wash in the river Jordan to cure his leprosy.

The Awful Gospel of the Cross

Published:  Sunday, September 08, 2013, 9:00 AM

This week's Gospel contains one of the greatest challenges Jesus ever offered to his disciples: "If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Here Christ is emphasizing the great spiritual principle of detachment. In order to live healthy spiritual lives we must love Christ most of all, with everything else finding its meaning in relation to God.

I Have Come to Cast a Fire Upon the Earth

Published:  Sunday, August 18, 2013, 9:00 AM

Jesus' words from our Gospel this week inspired the name for my program, Word on Fire. Jesus speaks of the divine judgment that will fall like a cleansing fire on the earth. This is not opposed to God's love, but is rather what God's love looks like to a fallen world.

The Great Yes and The Great No

Published:  Sunday, August 04, 2013, 9:00 AM

Very often we find ourselves drawn towards extremes: puritanism or hedonism, idolizing the world or demonizing the world. The proper Catholic balance involves a balance—a yes and a no—to both extremes. We should enjoy the world we have been given while understanding that it is not as important as the God who gave it.

The Sin of David

Published:  Sunday, June 16, 2013, 9:00 AM

Today's first reading describes the sin of David with Bathsheba, David's attempts to cover up his crime, and the subsequent punishment for his sin. Even God's chosen king fell into terrible sin. Each person must always be on their guard against temptation for although God offers grace, it is not cheap grace.

Making Something From Nothing

Published:  Sunday, June 09, 2013, 9:00 AM

This week's readings are for the people who feel that they have no hope. Even in the darkest of times, God can create something from nothing and can bring grace back into our lives. In the first reading, the prophet Elijah brings the old widow's son back from the dead; in the Gospel, Christ does the same thing; and in St. Paul's letter, he recounts his conversion from a fierce persecutor of Christianity to its great advocate. In every case God made something from nothing and injected grace back into someone's life, and He can always do the same for us if we are open to Him.

The Gift of the Eucharist

Published:  Sunday, June 02, 2013, 9:00 AM

The Church comes from the Eucharist for it is the sacrifice that makes saints. The Eucharist is essentially the fullest act of gratitude prefigured in Melchizedek finding its fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ. Every Mass is a participation in and celebration of this sacrifice, but the feast of Corpus Christi is a time to be especially aware of the gift of the Eucharist.

Pentecost and Sinai

Published:  Sunday, May 19, 2013, 9:00 AM

This week is the great feast of Pentecost. Christ rules his Church from Heaven by sending his Spirit into the Church all over the world. We participate in the reign of Christ whenever we act in accordance with the Spirit.

No Temple in the New Jerusalem

Published:  Sunday, May 05, 2013, 9:00 AM

In this week's reading from the Book of Revelation the narrator describes the arrival of the Holy City of the New Jerusalem. The visionary sees a great city and notes that there is no temple because the whole city has become a temple, a place of right praise. God created the whole world to shine in the divine light, and the visionary sees the fulfillment of this hope.

Fishers of Men

Published:  Sunday, April 14, 2013, 9:00 AM

Today's reading from the Gospel of John offers a compelling meditation about the importance of Christ for the activities of the Church. Christians are meant to be fishers of men, but when we operate according to our own agendas and efforts we will catch nothing. We must act under the Lord's direction. If we follow Christ we will do great good indeed.

Every Saint Had a Past, Every Sinner Has a Future

Published:  Sunday, March 17, 2013, 9:00 AM

This week's scriptures present the hope of moving forward. All of us have sins and vices in our past. Christ offers us the possibility for forgiveness and a bright future in grace no matter how sinful our pasts are.

The Prodigal Son

Published:  Sunday, March 10, 2013, 9:00 AM

In this week's Gospel reading we hear the story of the Prodigal Son. Here, Christ provides a reflection on the nature of love and our relationship with God. God gives us gifts; we must receive them and give them back. Only when we accept grace freely and give it away will we live in a proper relationship with God.

The More

Published:  Sunday, February 24, 2013, 10:00 AM

There are moments in life when we sense that there is something more real, important and enduring than anything we normally experience. The story of the Transfiguration is a moment when The More breaks through. In these moments we feel God's presence strongly, and we must be awake when these breakthroughs happen.

The Wedding Banquet that Overflows with Wine

Published:  Sunday, January 20, 2013, 10:00 AM

We begin Ordinary Time with the wedding at Cana, a rich, spiritual story with great implications for the Church. Both weddings and wine are consistently used symbols in scripture, and each is utilized to a powerful degree to explain the Incarnation, grace, the Sacraments, and the fulfillment of God's love for us.

A New Ark for a New Covenant

Published:  Sunday, December 23, 2012, 10:00 AM

The greatest and most revered of Israel's kings was David. It is from the family of David that the Messiah would come into the world and to the surprise of Israel and of the world, the Messiah who is born from the House of David, is the God of Israel himself! Mary, the Mother of God, is therefore to be likened to a new Ark of the Covenant, for in her womb, the God of Israel dwells and makes himself not only Israel's Messiah, but in wonder of the Incarnation, he becomes for us a new and everlasting covenant.

Look to the Son of Man

Published:  Sunday, December 02, 2012, 10:00 AM

At the start of this new liturgical year, we hear Luke's account of Jesus speaking about the end to all we believe to be permanent - the earth, the sky and order will all be disrupted. This isn't meant to scare us, but to remind us of what is permanent, on what we can depend. Jesus is the link to this stability and truth, and in this realization we may find unending peace.

True Kingship

Published:  Sunday, November 25, 2012, 10:00 AM

At the end of the liturgical year, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. But Christ's kingship is different from any with which we're familiar - his kingdom "does not belong to this world." His kingship doesn't demand violence, but truth. Following him brings us closer to God's grace.

The Good News of the Apocalypse

Published:  Sunday, November 18, 2012, 10:00 AM

Today's readings deal with the end of time and the great cosmic battle. In the Gospels, Christ fights against the powers of darkness, defeats them through the Resurrection, and brings His people together.

Hear, O Israel

Published:  Sunday, November 04, 2012, 10:00 AM

Our first reading for Mass this week contains the most sacred prayer in the Jewish tradition, the "Sh'ma". In the Gospel, when asked which commandment is the greatest, Jesus, a pious Jew, recites this prayer from the book of Deuteronomy. Listen as I explicate this central and decisive statement of Biblical faith.

Seeing the World Anew

Published:  Sunday, October 28, 2012, 9:00 AM

This Sunday's Gospel presents the extraordinary story of Christ's healing Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus is blind. Christ gives him not only the ability to see the world, but to see the world anew through the revelation of his Grace. The Christian way of life is best described as a new way of seeing and it is through this vision, illuminated by the light of Christ, that we are invited to know and see the world as God in Christ intends.

True Ambition

Published:  Sunday, October 21, 2012, 9:00 AM

In today's Gospel, the apostles James and John ask Jesus to be given positions of glory in Christ's kingdom. Jesus reminds us that His moment of glory is His death on the Cross, and that if we want to partake in this glory we must commit to a self-sacrificing love, not a self aggrandizing ambition.

Envy and Ambition

Published:  Sunday, September 23, 2012, 9:00 AM

The danger of jealousy and envy is that it is as much damaging to others as it is to ourselves. When we are envious, or even ambitious for the purpose of outdoing others, it knocks us off our center and we lose our orientation toward Christ. To his disciples, Jesus presented the model of a child - one who thrives under authority, strives for obedience, and lives in the present. Envy lives in the past and the future, but God's grace is available now.

The Dilemma of the Law

Published:  Sunday, September 02, 2012, 9:00 AM

One of the great tensions in the spiritual life is between loving the law and being free of the law. I argue in this homily that learning to swing a golf club is a very good analogy in this regard. Listen and find out why.

Really, Truly, and Substantially Present

Published:  Sunday, August 26, 2012, 9:00 AM

The Lord Jesus is not speaking metaphorically about eating his flesh and drinking his blood - he has come to make of his own Body and Blood real food and drink. This revelation was and continues to be a stumbling block for many, but the faithful accept the mystery of the gift of Christ's Real Presence that is given to the Church in the Blessed Sacrament.

The Word of God Made Flesh

Published:  Sunday, August 19, 2012, 9:00 AM

Today's Gospel comes again from the sixth chapter of John. Here Christ discusses the necessity and reality of the Eucharist as the Word of God made Flesh.

The Bread of Life, The Body of Christ

Published:  Sunday, August 12, 2012, 9:00 AM

Today's readings are from First Kings and the sixth chapter of John's Gospel. Our passage for this weekend discusses the Eucharist as the necessary antidote for spiritual exhaustion. We all need the Body of Christ to nourish our souls and keep us in communion with God.

The Twelve and the New Israel

Published:  Sunday, July 15, 2012, 9:00 AM

This week, Mark relays the story of Jesus giving the Twelve Apostles their "marching orders," the instructions on how they would go out and spread the word to the world. Notably, he tells them to go "two by two," laying the foundation for the communal nature of the Church. They are to bring nothing but the simple tools to keep them moving forward, and they are be resolute in fighting the demons of the world-injustice, corruption and dysfunction. These were as much instructions for the Apostles as they are instructions for us to fulfill the mission of the Church today.

A Thorn in the Flesh: Why We Suffer

Published:  Sunday, July 08, 2012, 9:00 AM

Saint Paul conveys a unique and powerful perspective on suffering. What he called a "thorn in the flesh," was a suffering so great that it burdened him, prompted him to beg God for relief. But it is in this sort of suffering that we most acutely understand God's love. When all falls away, we have him, we cling to him and we are saved. And when we bear suffering leveled by others and offer it to Christ, we absorb it, we take it out of circulation, and ease the burden for others.

Faith and the Law

Published:  Sunday, July 01, 2012, 9:00 AM

The Book of Leviticus outlines laws, practices and directives of things, people and animals that are unclean and shouldn't be touched. But Jesus decisively touches the unclean, allows himself to be touched, and sets about a new course for those who follow him. The new laws ask followers to believe in him, trust in him, and become a part of his community.

He Must Increase and I Must Decrease

Published:  Sunday, June 24, 2012, 9:00 AM

John the Baptist is one of the most important figures in Christianity, and provides a window into the tradition of the Jewish priesthood and the historical context of the day. John chose the river Jordan to baptize, a conscious move to display the forgiveness of sins against the backdrop of the Jewish history of Exodus and liberation. Yet while he was baptizing in the desert, likely an exercise in protest of the corruption in the Temple in Jerusalem, he was heralding the coming of Christ, one who will "baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

The New Temple

Published:  Sunday, June 10, 2012, 9:00 AM

To truly understand the significance of the Mass, we must understand the importance of blood sacrifice to Judaism in Jesus' time. On Yom Kippur, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies and sacrifice a goat, upon which he would symbolically place the sins of the people, and a sheep. The blood would then be sprinkled around the sacred space and over the people. Jesus offering his body and blood at the Last Supper was a deliberate extension-fulfillment-of this offering. He was the sacrificial lamb, the scapegoat, upon which the temple is rebuilt-upon which reconciliation is offered.

Life Lived in the Spirit

Published:  Sunday, June 03, 2012, 9:00 AM

The Holy Spirit thrives on the actions we take and decisions we make out of love, joy, peace, patience and more. These aren't abstract ideas that result in an internal satisfaction, they have concrete ramifications, rippling out into the world and affecting real, good change. When we choose light over darkness, participate in the sacraments, the Holy Spirit fill us.

Living the Flesh, Living the Spirit

Published:  Sunday, May 27, 2012, 9:00 AM

St. Paul illuminates what it means to live in the Holy Spirit, acting and living out of love, and what it means to live outside of it, acting and living out of selfishness, hatred, immorality and impurity. Every step we take to deny the forces outside of the Spirit affirms our home inside of it. And the more we live inside the Spirit, the closer we are to the Kingdom of God.

Seated at the Right Hand of the Father

Published:  Sunday, May 20, 2012, 9:00 AM

Jesus was the meeting of heaven and earth. His Ascension returned him to God in order to reign as the world's new king, and his orders to the disciples to build his church were to be done with his leadership and assistance. And this is our mission - much like that of the disciples - finding what it is that Christ wants us to do to continue to build his church.

Love Both Conditional and Unconditional

Published:  Sunday, May 13, 2012, 9:00 AM

We are often mistaken in thinking that we have to love God in order for God to love us. That's not the case. God doesn't need our love; his love for us is unconditional. But in order to get more out of God's love, we have to give it away. The more we give, the more we have - "a delightful stream of grace" that spreads joy among us.

Resurrection and the Forgiveness of Sins

Published:  Sunday, April 22, 2012, 9:00 AM

St. Peter's impassioned sermon in the temple precincts condemned the people for killing the "author of life", but further explains that Jesus' resurrection means that he is forgiving the people for their sin. His return heralds his rescuing us, if we let him. We are inseparable from God's love, and will be forgiven for our sins.

Life in the Church

Published:  Sunday, April 15, 2012, 9:00 AM

The resurrected Jesus appears to his disciples, fearful they were to be targeted next, to deliver a message of peace with a mission. This is the mission of the Church, to proceed in spreading the news about Christ imbued with the life-affirming, sin-forgiving power of the Holy Spirit. It's a mission that will connect us to God.

Listen to Him

Published:  Sunday, March 04, 2012, 10:00 AM

One of the most unsettling accounts in the Bible, that of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son, ironically shows His goodness and love for us. If we put our faith in God, if we listen to God, if we obey God, we will be rewarded. A few of Jesus' disciples witnessed it with the Transfiguration, and we too can witness it if we trust in God's will for us, if we have faith.

Jesus Among the Angels and Beasts

Published:  Sunday, February 26, 2012, 10:00 AM

Lent begins with a passage about Noah and flood. It's representative of not only sin, but of God's good grace. It's also a fitting entree into Jesus' journey into the desert, also symbolic of sin, and how his presence there infuses a forgotten, desolate place with life and goodness. When we are racked with sin, it is Christ who can infuse us with life and goodness.

I Am Doing Something New!

Published:  Sunday, February 19, 2012, 10:00 AM

This Sunday's Gospel tells the story of the paralytic man whom Jesus forgave and commanded to walk. Paralysis is an effective allegory for sin-how it traps and immobilizes us. God's desire for us is movement, for his love can shatter our paralysis and free us from our sinful past. God is not a "no", but a resounding "Yes."

All Are One in God

Published:  Sunday, February 12, 2012, 10:00 AM

The leper in Mark's gospel, a feared presence to the ancient Israelites, is made clean by Jesus' benevolent touch. A connection is formed, to each other, to God, that reminds us all of the comforting power of communion, the healing nature of our Creator.

He Speaks With Authority

Published:  Sunday, January 29, 2012, 10:00 AM

In Mark's gospel, we see find Jesus exorcising an unclean spirit from a man in the temple, doing so as both the messenger and the message. Jesus unites the divided, purges the false, and fulfills the teachings. He is the authority - the truth - we seek.

The Spiritual Drama of Jonah

Published:  Sunday, January 22, 2012, 10:00 AM

A divine calling, whether the meaning is revealed in this life or the next, always requires our biblical heroes to do more than they feel they are capable. But all of us must answer, regardless of the call. Jonah provides a very "human" example of how difficult the work may be, and how the result might not be what we anticipate, but that it is always worthwhile and reflects God's will that we enact the purpose that brings our life to its proper fulfillment.

Staying With the Lord

Published:  Sunday, January 15, 2012, 10:00 AM

When we witness something beautiful, something important, we desire to share it with others, just as St. John did when he said to his disciples, "Behold the Lamb of God" - and just as those disciples did when they spread the good news of the Messiah. We quest to know God, to follow God, but more important is God's quest for us and our willingness to heed his call.

Herod and the Magi

Published:  Sunday, January 08, 2012, 10:00 AM

Herod sees all from the confines of his ego, trying to make the world conform to his plans. The Magi look outside of themselves, looking for an order that they will conform to. By focusing their attention away from themselves, they are spiritually liberated to follow the star of Bethlehem. This is the liberation that Christ grants us. He allows us to escape the jail cell of our egos to join the liberating current of his love, leading us closer to eternal life.

In the Beginning was the Word

Published:  Sunday, December 25, 2011, 10:00 AM

The Prologue of the Gospel of John sums up the whole of the Christian message. It tells the story of a re-creation through the Word made flesh. All will be restored to union with the Godhead. This is the good news Christians continue to proclaim.

Adam, David, and Jesus

Published:  Sunday, December 18, 2011, 10:00 AM

Adam had a kingly mission. However, he became a bad king. David was meant to restore kingship to its proper form. However, he failed too. But Christ, the Lord, is the King who sets everything aright and restores creation. His kingdom rivals all others.

Language Fit for a King

Published:  Sunday, November 20, 2011, 10:00 AM

Fr. Barron comments on the new Roman Missal. This new translation is more fit for the celebration of the liturgy because it helps us address Christ in language befitting a King.

The Great Spiritual Law

Published:  Sunday, November 13, 2011, 10:00 AM

The great spiritual law is the law of the gift. Although counter-intuitive, it is the way of the Spirit. Giving your life away for love increases life within you. You partake in the flow of the divine life. Hence, happiness is found in loving acts.

Three Tasks of the Church

Published:  Sunday, October 23, 2011, 9:00 AM

Christ calls us to worship the Father, teach and evangelize in his name, and serve and care for him in the poor. The Church is the Body through, in and with which we do these things. But the meaning of this all is placing God at the center of our lives.

The Wedding Feast

Published:  Sunday, October 09, 2011, 9:00 AM

Jesus tells the story of a King who is inviting people to the wedding banquet for his Son. Some ignore it. Some actively kill the messengers. But this does not deter the King from inviting all to the banquet. Listen to the invitation of the Lord and actively respond to it. That is a decision you will not regret.

Parable of the Tenants

Published:  Sunday, October 02, 2011, 9:00 AM

The parable of the tenants is an allegory that presents the relationship of Israel to Christ, but more than this it reveals a necessary truth about the spiritual life: that we are "tenants" in regards to the gifts that God has given us, and when we construe our relationship to God's gifts as being that of "owners", rather than "tenants", the consequences can be quite dire.

Let Go Rather than Grasp

Published:  Sunday, September 25, 2011, 9:00 AM

The magnificent hymn in the Letter to the Philippians reveals that at the heart of the Gospel is the mystery that the Lord Jesus did not grasp or cling to the prerogatives that properly belonged to him as God, but emptied his divine glory into our humanity so that we might share in his divine life.

Seeing the World from God's Perspective

Published:  Sunday, September 18, 2011, 9:00 AM

Sometimes Christ does not seem fair. The Parable of the Day Laborers evokes this sense of injustice. Those who do not work as long and hard as the others get the same reward. However, Christ wants us to move beyond our sense of justice and see all according to love, God's perspective. Gratitude for the gift transforms our natural disposition to judge who deserves what into a disposition of thanksgiving.

The Gates of Hell

Published:  Sunday, August 21, 2011, 9:00 AM

In the eyes of the world, the Christian way of being is strange. All Christians are called out of the world and into a new way: Christ's way. Christians must be very clear about how they are different from the world and confidently proclaim it. They must stop trying to fit into the ways of the world and rather tell the world to conform to Christ. Christ will break down the Gates of Hell and invade all that resist his Love.

The Little Ones

Published:  Sunday, July 03, 2011, 9:00 AM

The purpose of Jesus' teachings is that we allow the divine life to surge through us so that we become transformed in Christ, making us more like Him. All our knowledge should serve this end. However, some learned people can use their knowledge to puff up their egos and put others down. The "Little Ones" are the people whose entire life is about helping others participate in the divine life so they may fully flourish.

The God Who Is Love

Published:  Sunday, June 19, 2011, 9:00 AM

God is Trinity. He is fundamentally a relationship: a lover, a beloved and the love between them. In other words, God is a complete openness and receptivity to the other. He is love. Now, we believe we are made in the image of God. Thus, we become fully alive to the degree that we imitate God.

The Spirit of Power and of Truth

Published:  Sunday, May 29, 2011, 9:00 AM

The Scriptures for this Sunday offer some glimpse of the Holy Spirit in advance of the great feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is the heavenly grace that enlivens the Church in all aspects of its mission.

The Co-Inherence of the Mystical Body

Published:  Sunday, May 22, 2011, 9:00 AM

No man is an island. One of the messages of the Gospel is that all reality is interconnected. Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. How organic the Bible is! This view of reality is the exact opposite of the American individualism that currently pervades our culture.

The Shepherd's Voice

Published:  Sunday, May 15, 2011, 9:00 AM

God speaks to us in many ways, especially though the conscience. Since God is a Person, his voice will reach our consciences and lure us to conform our lives to the life of his Son, Jesus Christ. In addition to listening to Christ thought the scriptures, through the teachings of the Church, through the lives of the saints, and through the liturgy, listen to Him speaking to your conscience. He will set you free.

He Is Risen!

Published:  Sunday, April 24, 2011, 9:00 AM

Our first reading for this Easter day is Peter's great kerygmatic speech on Pentecost morning. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter addresses the Jerusalem crowd, telling them the impossibly good news that Jesus of Nazareth, a man who moved through their ordinary towns and villages, has been raised from the dead. The Easter faith of the Church is not an abstraction, not a vague claim about God's fidelity or our hope for immortality. Rather, it is the startling assertion that God has brought this man Jesus back from the dead. May we bask in the glow of this still surprising revelation.

Lazarus and the Power of Death

Published:  Sunday, April 10, 2011, 9:00 AM

Death is not a condition God desires for us . Rather, God wants us to have life. However, death is a reality; but it is not the final word. Christ is the final Word - namely, the life-giving Word. Christ brings Lazarus back to life. He desires to do the same for us.

Coming to Spiritual Vision

Published:  Sunday, April 03, 2011, 9:00 AM

The healing of a man blind from birth is an archetypal story of coming to spiritual vision. Sin prevents us from seeing clearly. Christ is the light and he wants us to walk in his light. But we resist. Fortunately, if we stop resisting, Christ will enable us, like Adam in Eden, to walk in easy fellowship with God.

One Who Is Greater Than Our Father Jacob

Published:  Sunday, March 27, 2011, 9:00 AM

The story of Christ's encounter with the Samaritan woman is a kind of template by which we can understand our own encounter with the Lord.

Be Perfect

Published:  Sunday, February 20, 2011, 10:00 AM

Jesus calls us to love. But few consider the radical nature of this calling. It entails loving the other, even our enemies, regardless of the response of the one who is loved. If you fail, and you often will, turn to God for the grace to live out this strange way of Christ.

Preaching the Radical Word

Published:  Sunday, February 13, 2011, 10:00 AM

Like a good healer, Jesus has not come simply to behaviorally modify us; he has come to heal us at the root of our being, eradicating all dysfunction from our most basic core.

Blessed Are We

Published:  Sunday, January 30, 2011, 10:00 AM

The Beatitudes reveal the true path of joy is found not in grasping at power but in the willing surrender to God's mysterious grace.

Following the Lord

Published:  Sunday, January 23, 2011, 10:00 AM

All of us want to live to the fullest. However, most of us never find the one thing that will inspire us to dedicate our whole lives to it. It is amazing to hear of how the first people who responded to Christ dedicated their whole lives to him. Their encounter with Christ sent them on a path they never dreamed of. Paradoxically, this path was marked by great joy and suffering; but, nevertheless, they lived life to the fullest.

Paul's Opening Words to the Corinthians

Published:  Sunday, January 16, 2011, 10:00 AM

In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he highlights the beauty of baptism and how it sweeps the baptized person into God's great theo-drama. God calls us out of the world of our narrow egos to partake in his redeeming plan of love of which the Church is the vehicle. Follow Christ, and peace will be given to you.

Herod and Joseph

Published:  Sunday, December 26, 2010, 10:00 AM

It seems as if those in worldly power rule the day. King Herod tyrannically ruled his territory, making sure he was always the most powerful. Any apparent threat to his power was quickly squashed. Herod represents all who assert themselves over and against others. He seeks the death of the other. Joseph represents those who support the other and do not see Him as a threat. By basing themselves in God, other people are not threats but brothers and sisters. Christianity will always be foolish to those who aspire to power.

Ahaz, Isaiah, and Joseph

Published:  Sunday, December 19, 2010, 10:00 AM

The problem with our world is that most people do not dream big. In experiencing hardship, we have a tendency to assume the worst, thinking narrowly. The Biblical vision is the opposite of this. Biblical figures see the world through the infinite possibility of God - based in their faith in the Lord. Ahaz refused to be surprised by God's possibility. Isaiah was ready to be surprised. This confidence in God allowed him to dream big.

The Virtue of Hope

Published:  Sunday, December 12, 2010, 10:00 AM

Hope is not this-worldly optimism. In fact, from a purely natural perspective, pessimism is the right attitude. Hope is that supernatural virtue which orders our desire toward heaven and the things of heaven. What Isaiah talks about in our first reading is not an expectation that will be realized here below, but only in a transfigured world on high.

The Bracing Figure of John the Baptist

Published:  Sunday, December 05, 2010, 10:00 AM

The first step in the spiritual life is simple: you must see your life not as your own project but as a vehicle for God's purposes. However, we are all absorbed in our own lives, forgetting that the road to God is one of self-forgetfulness. This disposition helps us to focus on Christ and his mission. But in order for us to do this we must be cleansed of all attachments and baptized in the fiery love of God.

God's Holy Mountain

Published:  Sunday, November 28, 2010, 10:00 AM

Thomas Merton once wrote, "Man is not at peace with his fellow man because he is not at peace with himself. And he is not at peace with himself because he is not at peace with God." Only when we are in communion with God will we be in communion with ourselves and our fellowman. This simple formula summarizes Israel's mission of gathering all peoples in right praise to God on Mt. Zion. Although the world is divided in countless ways, Israel's gathering mission is realistic because Christ, the Messiah, is Lord, and all things will be gathered in himself. For this we wait in joyful hope.

Christ the King

Published:  Sunday, November 21, 2010, 10:00 AM

Our first reading for Mass this Sunday is taken from the opening chapter of Paul's letter to the Colossians. There is no stronger statement of the absolute primacy, centrality, and importance of Jesus Christ in the entire New Testament. Jesus, Paul tells us, is the beginning and the end, the icon of the invisible God, the one in whom all things exist and for whom they are destined. And then the Gospel shows us this cosmic King nailed to the cross. This wonderful irony is at the heart of the Christian proclamation: the King of the Universe is a crucified criminal, who utterly spends himself in love.

What Remains?

Published:  Sunday, November 14, 2010, 10:00 AM

All things pass away. Political and religious institutions, the family, bodily health; nothing lasts. Everything dies. So often we seek our fulfillment and salvation in these things. But Christ is telling us not to. He is telling us to seek the one thing that will last: Himself. So long as we cling to Him will our lives be secure. He is the rock of our salvation.

Eternal Life

Published:  Sunday, November 07, 2010, 10:00 AM

Today's Gospel reading tells us about the Sadducees trying to lead Jesus into a ridiculous conclusion. To them the Jewish teaching on marriage seems irrational. However, Jesus shows us that not everything that appears cloudy to our intellect is sub-rational. Rather, some times it may be supra-rational - beyond the finite intellect - making it rational, but the rationality of another dimension. The claims of Faith may not be comprehensible to our intellects now, but we believe that they will once we are in his eternal presence.

Salvation Has Come to This House

Published:  Sunday, October 31, 2010, 9:00 AM

Zacchaeus is a man who has wandered far from God. But, often enough, people like Zacchaeus come back, again and again, to God because they cannot eliminate their hunger for Him. Once they open themselves to Christ he places himself in the most intimate parts of themselves, living there. Christ does not enter just a fragment of your life; he enters the whole thing! This is salvation. Let Christ shake and transform you.

Finding Justification

Published:  Sunday, October 24, 2010, 9:00 AM

Religion serves a unitive purpose. In uniting the person to God, religion unites people together. However, many religious people forget religion's purpose. They like to puff up their egos, reveling in their ability to live according to the Law. Seeing themselves as better than the rest, they forget that grace only comes to those who realize they are sinners. The tax collector, realizing he is a sinful man, does not focus on himself, but focuses his gaze and hunger on God - the source of salvation. Justification comes to those who do likewise.

Moses and Amalek

Published:  Sunday, October 17, 2010, 9:00 AM

The church militant is the church at war with all the destructive powers that want to undermine its unity. The Israelites battle the people of Amalek, a battle that symbolizes the spiritual warfare that each of us, as members of the church, personally undergoes. There is no escaping this reality, and so we must fight. But our fighting is unusual: we fight with peacemaking, forgiveness, education, etc. Our fighting is only sustained through prayer and the prayers of others. Please pray that the Church is strengthened in its fight against evil in the world.

Naaman the Syrian

Published:  Sunday, October 10, 2010, 9:00 AM

From the worldly perspective, the worst thing a powerful person can do is admit his/her weaknesses to others. If done so, the person loses his/her position of power. Naaman the Syrian, a man of power, is an example of humility. He does not let embarrassment stand in the way of admitting to his weakness. By doing so, he is healed and offers right praise to God. Like Naaman, admitting one's weaknesses is the first step to proper worship.

Logic of Justice, Logic of Grace

Published:  Sunday, September 12, 2010, 9:00 AM

The God Jesus describes does not operate according to the same logic we do. In fact, He seems to be crazy. If God is supposed to be like the Shepherd who abandons the ninety-nine to find the lost one and the woman who diligently searches her whole house for a penny, then he must be crazy. But that is not so. God operates according to the logic of grace, defying our logic of justice. Being a Christian is learning how to operate according to God's logic.

The Hopeful Vision of Mass

Published:  Sunday, August 29, 2010, 9:00 AM

The Letter to the Hebrews is a sustained reflection on the Mass as the source and summit of the Christian life and the pivot around which history turns. Writing from a developed understanding the Temple, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews shows how Christ's sacrifice on the Cross is the sacrifice that has and will restore the communion between God and creation. As a re-presentation of this act, the Mass makes present to us our final destiny: communion with God through Christ.

Mary the Warrior

Published:  Sunday, August 15, 2010, 9:00 AM

In contrast to our conventional view of the Virgin Mary as a shrinking violet, the book of Revelation presents her as a warrior who has brought into the world a new way of dealing with worldly power: Christ (i.e. Love itself). If we do not approach the world as a battlefield between love and violence, we will become spiritually blind. But the Virgin Mary, as warrior, helps us see this reality while assuring us that her Son has already conquered.

Giving and Receiving

Published:  Sunday, August 08, 2010, 9:00 AM

In the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Christ assures us not to be afraid. Fear is a spiritual state that causes us not to trust in the lordship of God and to play master of our lives. However, with the awareness that God has given all to us, we'll realize that we are basically a gift. Gifts are meant to be given, so confidently give yourself away. Do not fear that you will become nothing by giving yourself away for by doing this the divine life fills you anew.

To Have and To Be

Published:  Sunday, August 01, 2010, 9:00 AM

Maturity comes in facing the reality of death and the transient nature of the world. In this regard, the Book of Ecclesiastes is full of wisdom: "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity"; Everyone who thinks they are going to find their happiness in possessing the goods of the world will eventually have to face the truth that they will not. All passes away. Therefore, spend your time building a good spiritual disposition for you never know when your life will be demanded of you. My advice: devote yourself to love.

Being American, Being Catholic

Published:  Sunday, July 04, 2010, 9:00 AM

We Americans embrace freedom. However, a proper understanding of freedom must inform our celebration of it. In both classical philosophy and the Bible, "freedom is not so much individual choice as the disciplining of desire so as to make the achievement of the good, first possible, then effortless." This freedom may seem confining, but it is actually liberating for it aligns oneself to the truth. In Christ, by whom we are created equal in dignity, we become free. As Catholics, we can embrace America's protection of equal rights, but we must be critical of modern interpretations of freedom.

Sin and Grace

Published:  Sunday, June 13, 2010, 9:00 AM

The Gospel present two tales of sin and grace, Christ's encounter with a repentant woman and the parable of the two debtors. Both illuminate for us not only the necessity of personal conversion, but our willingness to forgive those who have sinned.

The Sacrifice that Makes Saints

Published:  Sunday, June 06, 2010, 9:00 AM

The Church comes from the Eucharist for it is the sacrifice that makes saints. The Eucharist is essentially the fullest act of gratitude prefigured in Melchizedek finding its fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ. Every Mass is a participation in and celebration of this sacrifice, but the feast of Corpus Christi is a time to be especially aware of the gift of the Eucharist.

God Has Spoken

Published:  Sunday, May 30, 2010, 9:00 AM

Karl Barth said, "The central claim of Christianity is that God has spoken." The uniqueness of this claim has lead Christians to refer to God as a Trinity. The Trinity denotes God as speaker, the Word spoken (i.e. Christ) and the interpreter of the Word (i.e. Holy Spirit). It is always better to have the author interpret his word for you when reading his works. This is how the Church understands the Holy Spirit in helping her understand God's Word.

The Guidance of the Holy Spirit

Published:  Sunday, May 09, 2010, 9:00 AM

The first reading for this Sunday, taken from the fifteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, is about the Council of Jerusalem that allowed Gentiles into the Church. This Council, like all councils, is full of disputes. But it must never be forgotten that the Holy Spirit is guiding and directing the Church.

A New Heaven and a New Earth

Published:  Sunday, May 02, 2010, 9:00 AM

The second reading for this Sunday, taken from the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation, completes the Biblical story. The Bible tells us that the world will be transformed into a new heaven and a new earth through the One who "makes all things new."

The Lordship of Jesus

Published:  Sunday, April 25, 2010, 9:00 AM

The first reading for this Sunday, taken from the thirteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, recounts the expulsion of Paul and Barnabas from Antioch. Paul's radical message of the Lordship of Jesus subverts all other power and authority. It is a public proclamation that is a challenge to all.

The Structure of Discipleship

Published:  Sunday, April 18, 2010, 9:00 AM

Our Gospel for today, taken from the wonderful 21st chapter of St. John's Gospel, is filled with mystical and symbolic allusions. The disciples in the boat are evocative of the church; Jesus on the shore calls to mind the eschatological fulfillment toward which the church is journeying; Peter calls to mind both sinful Adam and the promise of redemption. In all of it, we see a picture of discipleship.

My Lord and My God

Published:  Sunday, April 11, 2010, 9:00 AM

Despite the locked doors, the risen Jesus stands in the midst of the disciples. This is a beautiful icon of the Church, the community gathered around Jesus and filled with his spirit. When the Lord, first appears, Thomas is not there and hence does not believe. Only when he returns to the apostolic circle does he encounter Jesus and make his great confession. This detail reminds us that we see the risen Lord only in the church and through its mediation.

The Impossibly Good News of Easter

Published:  Sunday, April 04, 2010, 9:00 AM

The Church's Easter proclamation is the strangest message ever delivered: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. His resurrection is not merely a symbolic statement about Christ's historical importance or the affirmation that his cause goes on. Nor is the resurrection simply about some change in the the apostle's minds in regards to Christ after his death. The resurrection is about the real body of Jesus.

Which King? Whose Kingdom?

Published:  Sunday, March 28, 2010, 9:00 AM

Today the Church proclaims the Passion of Christ. The story of the Lord's suffering and death haunted the minds of the first Christians. All the Gospels center around it and find their fulfillment in it. The special emphasis in this years account, taken from the Gospel of Luke, is Christ's struggle with the false kingdoms of the world.

All Is Loss

Published:  Sunday, March 21, 2010, 9:00 AM

In our second reading for this Sunday, St. Paul lays out his resumé. In terms of the Judaism of his time, Paul was about as accomplished as one could hope to be: he was a defender of the tradition, steeped in the wisdom of his people, and blameless under the law. But after seeing Jesus risen from the dead, Paul said that he counted all of those achievements as loss and refuse. So we, he implies, should not base our lives on our accomplishments, degrees, social status--but rather on Christ crucified and risen.

The Father and the Sons

Published:  Sunday, March 14, 2010, 9:00 AM

The parable of the prodigal son is a portrait of God's gracious love and two negative responses to that love. Both sons, in their own ways, indicate the disposition of the soul in estrangement from God.

A Tale of Two Trees

Published:  Sunday, March 07, 2010, 10:00 AM

Today's scriptures present stories of two trees: the burning bush, that represents the reality of a soul that is receptive to God's presence, and the fig tree, which represents God's presence resisted and refused.

Transfigured Prayer

Published:  Sunday, February 28, 2010, 10:00 AM

The startling event of the Transfiguration displays a model of prayer. The mountain represents the place of Divine encounter, the radiance of the Lord displays the interior life of the soul in relationship to the Divine life, the conversation with the prophets is a symbol of the communion of saints. All this culminates is a sending forth in mission.

The True and False Messiah

Published:  Sunday, February 21, 2010, 10:00 AM

Today's Gospel presents the dramatic scene of the Lord Jesus' confrontation with the evil one. The evil one attempts to frustrate the Lord's mission by tempting him to become a "false" messiah by succumbing to sensual desire, exercising worldly power, and using the power of God for ego driven purposes. These temptations are intended, not just to frustrate the Lord in his mission, but our own mission as well.

Whom Will You Trust?

Published:  Sunday, February 14, 2010, 10:00 AM

Our life takes shape in relation to that which we are willing to trust. What then is worthy of our trust? Worldly powers can disappoint and will all ultimately fail us. The Scriptures insist that we trust in the Lord's promises, promises that are proved to be true through the Resurrection of Jesus from dead.

Shaking the Foundations

Published:  Sunday, February 07, 2010, 10:00 AM

Grace shakes us to the foundations, provoking in us a keen awareness of our own sinfulness, and offering us the liberating power of the forgiveness of our sins. Once transformed by God's grace, we are sent out on mission and through our mission, we share with others the Grace that we have received.

A Messiah for All the Nations

Published:  Sunday, January 31, 2010, 10:00 AM

Today's scriptures clarify that the mission of the Messiah will not just be for the benefit of Israel, but for all the nations. Through the Jesus the Messiah, the Lord offers all peoples a share in his own divine life.

Learning Who We Are

Published:  Sunday, January 24, 2010, 10:00 AM

The dramatic scene presented in the Book of Nehemiah presents a people who had forgotten their identity and learning, as if for the first time, who they really are. It is the mission of all those who remain invested in the Faith of the Church to give testimony to their brothers and sisters in Christ, reminding all, that in Christ, we have received a unique and wonderful identity- and it is only when we know who we are that will be able to find our purpose and accomplish the mission that Christ has given to us.

Christ and World Religions

Published:  Sunday, January 10, 2010, 10:00 AM

Although Christianity is the fullness of Truth, other religions, to a certain degree, participate in that Truth. The Magi, coming from Gentile cultures, seek the truth and find it in Christ.

Religion, Science, and the Journey of the Magi

Published:  Sunday, January 03, 2010, 10:00 AM

The story of the Magi illuminates important dynamics in the relationship of religious conviction and scientific investigation. There need not be any necessary conflict between the religion and science, as wise men of every age are drawn, not only to investigate the wonders of creation, but to draw closer to Christ, through whom all things have been made.

Joy Before the Ark of God

Published:  Sunday, December 20, 2009, 10:00 AM

The image of John the Baptist leaping in joy in the womb of his mother at the sound of the greeting of the Blessed Virgin Mary hearkens back to the Old Testament image of David, leaping and dancing before the Ark of the Covenant. The New Testament is properly understood when one references patterns or events that are described in the Old Testament.

Be Ready!

Published:  Sunday, December 06, 2009, 10:00 AM

The prophecy of Baruch finds its fulfillment in the revelation of Christ, who brings the troubled history of God's people to its fulfillment and reveals God's eternal purpose for Jerusalem, the Temple, the Messiah and for Israel itself.

The End of the World as We Know It

Published:  Sunday, November 29, 2009, 10:00 AM

The apocalyptic imagery of this Sunday's scriptures directs us to appreciate the finite nature of all worldly things and the truth that the only reality that endures in this world of inevitable change and loss is the Lordship of God in Christ.

There's a New King in Town

Published:  Sunday, November 22, 2009, 10:00 AM

Christ's kingship cannot be properly understood outside Israel's expectations for the Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth fulfills these expectations, yet in surprising and unexpected ways.

The Last Battle

Published:  Sunday, November 15, 2009, 10:00 AM

The scriptures for this Sunday represent a biblical genre called "apocalyptic", which means "unveiling" or "revelation." The extraordinary revelation of these particular scriptures is that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the battle against the fallen powers of heaven and earth has been won and a new age has begun, the age of the Church.

The Communion of Saints

Published:  Sunday, November 01, 2009, 10:00 AM

The magnificent diversity of the Saints indicates to us that we have been called to holiness. Holiness is about more than a kind of humanisn, but a deliberate and sincere discipline of life by which we imitate Christ and accept his presence in all the circumstances of our lives.

Called From Darkness Into His Light

Published:  Sunday, October 25, 2009, 9:00 AM

The story of Bartimeaus is a model of the spiritual journey. The desire for Christ engenders in us spiritual healing, which is delivered in a profound illumination of Christ's identity, the acceptance of which leads us into the Church.

The Suffering Servant

Published:  Sunday, October 18, 2009, 9:00 AM

This Sunday's readings highlight the idea of redemptive suffering. The revelation of Christ changes our disposition towards the difficulties of life, filling these experiences with the potential for goodness. In his Incarnation, Christ did not evade the often harsh realities of human experience, but he accepted them, knowing that he would be with us in all things. The challenge for us is that in the face of the inevitable challenges of life is this: will we accept hardship as an occasion to grow in holiness and deepen our relationship with the Lord.

The Necessity of Spiritual Heroism

Published:  Sunday, October 11, 2009, 9:00 AM

Today's Gospel identifies the spiritual itinerary of discipleship, the movement from living out the Faith in accord with merely what is basic and the challenge of applying oneself to the demands of spiritual heroism. Christ does not let us remain comfortable with what amounts to only an adequate response to his call, he asks for more, and our relationship with him is expressed in our response.

The Theology of Marriage

Published:  Sunday, October 04, 2009, 9:00 AM

Marriage is not just some secular act or social arrangement. Rather, it is brought about by God for God's purposes. Marriage is properly understood, first and foremost, as a theological act. The purpose and meaning of marriage is revealed in the mystery of God's own life (the Trinity) , in God's relationship to creation, and in Christ's relationship with the Church.

The Way of the One

Published:  Sunday, September 13, 2009, 9:00 AM

Peter's magnificent confession of faith in the Lord Jesus illuminates, not only his divine identity, but it provides for us a great spiritual lesson in regards to how necessary it is to curtail the self striving of the ego in its need comfort and glory. In this regard, Christ invites, not only Peter, but all of us, into a new way of being in which negation of the ego and the practice of self denial enable us to grow in our capacity for love.

You Gotta Serve Somebody

Published:  Sunday, August 23, 2009, 9:00 AM

The Book of Joshua provokes us to consider one of the most important questions of the spiritual life- whom will you serve? Will it be the Lord or some other concern? Making something finite the ultimate concern of one's life is a grave spiritual predicament. Only is the Lord is ultimate and it is only when we recognize this truth that the other concerns of our life can be properly ordered and become spiritually fruitful.