Sunday, January 10, 2016

Homily: The Baptism of the Lord

Original Sin versus Original Blessing? On this Feast of the Baptism of our Lord we come to the end of the Christmas liturgical Season as we celebrate Jesus revealed to us in the Trinity. But do not miss the key part of the baptism story – for they are words that should echo in your hearts each day.  What are those words?  And what does your baptism call you to do? And how does the wisdom of Pope Francis and the concept of a 'mirror neuron network' help explain that?  Check it out!

For the text of the homily, click here

For the readings of the day, click here

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Homily: The Epiphany of the Lord

Today we celebrate the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles in the presence of the Magi.  But where is Christ for you?  God cannot be found 'out there' until God is found 'in here', within yourself. So are you in a place where change is needed?  Is what was once working, not feeling comfortable any longer?  Perhaps you are ready to start your New Year in a different fashion?  

This week’s Gospel may break open more questions than answers….but questions that just may make a difference in your 2016.

For the podcast of the homily click here

For the text of the homily click here

For the readings of the Sunday click here

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Homily: Feast of the Holy Family

I love how the lectionary uses the story of two parents who lost track of their son during a Passover Festival as the Gospel for this Feast of the Holy Family.  It does reminds us never to equate ‘holy’ parents with ‘perfect’ parents!  I also like the fact this feast day is celebrated so close to Christmas for it allows us to really look at how this God Emmanuel who is with and among us – has a direct connection to our daily life and our family. 

What does that look like for you and your family?  And how does a story of what took place on a battlefield some 100 years ago shed like on what should be happening at your table…in your home…within your ‘family church’?

To listen to the podcast, click here

For the text of the homily, click here

For the readings of the day, click here

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our king and our Lord, The anointed for the nations and their Savior: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

As Christmas Day draws ever closer and we explore this last O Antiphon: Emmanuel – God with us, I am contemplating the one present I think everyone may want. A clue would be that one size fits all and it is quite inexpensive.  That gift is affirmation from those we love and those who love us. What everyone truly wants and needs is recognition of who they are, and to be seen for the good that is inside each of us. The delightful news is that this is the very Gift that God longs to give us.

Like many little boys, our youngest son, Jake had days when he was very difficult to be with – a day at school which did not go well or when he was sick with his frequent sinus problems. Those would be the days when he would be on a rampage, alternately slapping at his brothers then begging to play with them.  The antidote often was to take him on a walk to one of the local nature trails.  He was, and still is, very adept at spotting hidden wildlife and seeing something beautiful in nature.  What Jake desperately needed at those times was for me to recognize his strength. Those were the days when he needed the most love. I would say "so glad I brought along my wonderful Nature Observer.”

What is the talent that God sees in you even on your worst day?  As the O Antiphons conclude today, we can look back at the seven different names given to God in these prayers. But when God looks at you and says “O” with great delight, what praise name do you think God bestows upon you?

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

O Rex Gentium

O King of all the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone uniting all people: Come and save us all, whom you formed out of clay. 

There is a street named Desire in New Orleans - a city that perhaps characterizes the “sad divisions” of urban centers today, made particularly poignant, painful and obvious after Hurricane Katrina. During Christmas 2005, when our son Peter was home from college, we decided to go there to help with the cleanup. We did simple tasks like weeding at a church, mowing lawns, and helping a busy nonprofit put up their Christmas tree.

We had an extra day at the end of the week and asked the volunteer coordinator what else we could do.  She invited us to simply be a visitor in her city and listen to the stories being told. So we signed ourselves up for a city art tour, visited the zoo and finally our journey brought us to the street named – Desire.

But what we remember most of all are the stories that the people told us.  Stories of where they were, all that transpired and how they survived the ‘cornerstones’ of their lives being washed out from under them…and how they have since weathered all that Katrina unleashed upon the city.   It occurred to me, listening to each of their tales, that it was very difficult to feel separation from someone after they shared their story.

We each have our own stories.  And many of us have had to face ‘sad divisions’ in rebuilding what we once thought were cornerstones holding up our lives. So as we near the end of the O Antiphons, perhaps one of the ways to welcome the King of Peace is to sit with someone with whom you feel separated and listen to their story…and they may just listen to yours.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.