Show us the Father Homily for the Feast of Saints Philip and James

I preached this homily at Notre Dame Seminary on May 3, 2016.

“Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied” (Jn 14:8).
A few chapters earlier, some Greeks said to Philip, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus” (Jn 12:21). Continue readingShow us the Father Homily for the Feast of Saints Philip and James

I am the vine. You are the branches. Homily for Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter (Cycle II)

A man died.
He came before the throne of God to be judged, and he made his case.
“I served the poor; I gave from my time, talents and treasures to serve the poor and the Church!” God replied, “I am pleased with that, but it is not what I wanted from you.”
“I taught in the seminary. I prepared men to be priests for the Church!” And God sighed, “Thank you, but that wasn’t the heart of my vocation for you.”
“I served as a priest in your Church! I wore myself out in service of you and the people of God!” God shook his head, “But you missed the most important thing I wanted.”
The man was at a loss. “What, then? What more did you want from me?”
“I want you.” Continue readingI am the vine. You are the branches. Homily for Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter (Cycle II)

Smoke! Smoke! SMOKE! or In Persona Christi Corporis A reflection (or perhaps rant) about liturgical incense

Let me start by warning you that most people will find this post almost, but not quite, entirely uninteresting.*

Out of the gate, I want to be clear, I am a BIG fan of incense in the liturgy. I agree with the thought (if not quote) attributed to the rector here at the seminary that, if something is worth doing, it is worth overdoing. This is the school I come from when it comes to incense. However, at the same time, I am rather persnickety about the rubrics of the Liturgy. Now, that is not to say that I feel the “Say the black; do the red” people are right. Their little mantra is simplified to the point of inaccuracy.  As an aside, it is those same people who, ignoring the instructions that have been provided by the Church, that is, the red, insist upon the alterations to the Liturgy against which I am speaking. Continue readingSmoke! Smoke! SMOKE! or In Persona Christi Corporis A reflection (or perhaps rant) about liturgical incense

Shout for joy! Sing joyfully! Rejoice in the Lord! Homily for 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C

I prepared this homily for Saint Joseph Church in Lakeland, Florida. I will be preaching it there on December 13, 2015. This one is a big deal because I will be preaching it in the parish where I spent most of my years growing up – really all of them worth anything since my family attended that parish from when I was about 7 until well after I moved out on my own. Continue readingShout for joy! Sing joyfully! Rejoice in the Lord! Homily for 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C

Drop that boulder: a homily for a reconciliation service “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

Doing good, not sinning, following Christ is simple, right? All you have to do is love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind. Oh, and love your neighbor as yourself. See? Simple! Unfortunately, it’s not easy. I know that. You know that. Anyone who says it is easy is just plain lying (or maybe fooling themselves); of course it’s difficult to live so that our actions always follow from our love of God. There are so many things in life that we just plain want more than to live in love of God – at least for the moment. And the enemy is smart; he knows how to trick us down that road. He never tempts us with something that we would immediately reject. He starts small – like the tiniest grain of sand. Now, I’m from Florida, beach country, and I can tell you that, if you’re sensitive to it, a single grain of sand can be pretty uncomfortable. But let’s be honest, we are not all that sensitive – to sand or sin. Continue readingDrop that boulder: a homily for a reconciliation service “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

The sacramentality of the USPS A Lament on the demise of old fashioned mail

snail-mail-email-explainedCatholics are all about sacraments. Perhaps this is a surprise to you, but it’s true. Theologically, we believe that the sacraments are the ordinary way that God dispenses his grace to mankind. With that in mind, take a moment to reflect on the fact that every sacrament we celebrate as Catholics has a material component. Water is used in baptism, oil in confirmation and anointing of the sick, bread and wine in communion; the physical world expresses things – it’s just part of human nature that we see symbols in the world around us. Also, each of the material elements we use in these sacraments points to the sacramental reality being created. Take baptism, for example. We use water to clean ourselves; in baptism, we are washed of our sins. On top of that, water is a (I’m told rather messy) part of childbirth; in the sacrament, we are reborn (of water and spirit) as adopted children of God. It’s an important part of sacramentality that the normal material usage of something is raised so that the normal usage can point to the reality being conveyed. Continue readingThe sacramentality of the USPS A Lament on the demise of old fashioned mail

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum I announce to y'all a great joy

Ordination-AnnouncementI admit my announcement is nowhere near as great or big as the announcement of a new pope, but, for me, it is far closer to home. In light of my father’s worsening health condition (he has been battling pancreatic cancer for a few years), Bishop Choby has decided that he will call me to the diaconate a year early. That means I am going to be ordained on May 15, 2015 – in just under 3 weeks – so that my father can be at one of my ordinations, at least. Continue readingAnnuntio vobis gaudium magnum I announce to y’all a great joy

True love of God and neighbor in a world on life support “That we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error, but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.” (Collect, 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time)