Ephphatha: How are they they hear the Gospel? Homily for Friday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time, Cycle 1

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

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

A funeral homily for a tragedy A homily for a fictitious young lady - who exists in many people's lives

This homily requires a quick explanation. I never delivered this homily in a church, and I sincerely pray I will never have to preach one like it. This was an assignment for my homiletics class to preach a funeral homily for a seventeen year old girl who was a victim in a campus shooting. I realize that events like this actually happen in our world. Continue readingA funeral homily for a tragedy A homily for a fictitious young lady – who exists in many people’s lives

The God of the Unexpected A homily for baptism of an infant

The Baptism of Christ by the Circle of Francesco Albani
The Baptism of Christ by the Circle of Francesco Albani

This homily was delivered in class at Notre Dame Seminary on Friday, September 4, 2015. This one is shorter than most because we were asked to prepare a 3 minute homily to use for a baptism liturgy. Aubree is actually the daughter of a friend I used since I wanted to have a name to include in the homily. Continue readingThe God of the Unexpected A homily for baptism of an infant

Jesus left us a project – It is not yet over My first homily as a deacon, Ascension Sunday

IMG_0043-24Now, I have never in my life willingly picked up a snake, much less a poisonous one; I’m petrified of them. To the best of my knowledge, I have never tested whether I can drink poison without getting sick (or dying). I don’t speak in tongues; I find languages a terribly tedious task to learn – it’s just not a gift God has given me. I actually fail at every sign that Jesus announced to the apostles in this passage. So why did I have the audacity to present myself for ordination, now as a deacon and, in a few years, a priest? I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most of you have not gone out of your way to pick up deadly snakes or drink gallons of poison. I suspect most of you don’t often speak in tongues. Continue readingJesus left us a project – It is not yet over My first homily as a deacon, Ascension Sunday

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)