Movement begins to have priest who died on the Titanic declared a saint

Some may remember the homily I preached three years ago, on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, relating the story of the priest who was on board, Fr. Thomas Byles: Exactly 100 years ago, Sunday, April 14th, 1912, Fr. Byles celebrated Mass.  It was “Low Sunday” for the first Sunday after Easter.  [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone…”

“To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out in search of truth, beauty and love. It is seeking a deeper meaning, an answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our faith, our fidelity and our [Read More...]

Homily for April 3, 2015: Good Friday

When I was a child, I’d hear this account of Christ’s Passion and I’d keep hoping it would have another ending. I hoped that the soldiers would turn back…or Pilate would change his mind…or the people would cry out for Jesus to be the one freed instead of Barabbas. What happens is so heart-wrenching and [Read More...]

On Christ’s Seven Last Words: “They offer one final sermon on a mount, a lasting message of forgiveness and mercy”

Friday night, my parish will have a performance of Thomas Dubois’ oratorio, “The Seven Last Words.” I’m preaching a reflection on it, below.  +++ Without question, it is the most infamous public execution of all time. No death has been more depicted in art, in drama, in literature and, as we’ve just heard, in music. On [Read More...]

Do this in remembrance of me: Homily for Holy Thursday

When I was growing up, like a lot of families, mine had one of those small, cheap Kodak Instamatic cameras. You used those flash bulbs that looked like ice cubes…and got these little square pictures back from the drug store when you had them developed. My dad must have taken hundreds, if not thousands of [Read More...]

“We need these palms as a reminder—and a challenge”

We need these palms as a reminder – and a challenge. They remind us that we are called to be heralds of Christ – to celebrate him the way they did that day in Jerusalem. And these palms challenge us to keep crying “Hosanna,” to keep proclaiming the Good News – even when the world [Read More...]

Turning toward the light: Homily for 4th Sunday of Lent

About 20 years ago, the novelist William Styron took a courageous step, and described his battle with depression in a book called “Darkness Visible.” Depression is one of those afflictions that millions of us suffer with, but few want to talk about. The World Health Organization estimates over 120 million people live with it every [Read More...]

Homily for February 18, 2015: Ash Wednesday and the Coptic Martyrs

Every year, Ash Wednesday rolls around, and every year, this church swells with crowds of people, eager to be marked as we begin the observance of Lent. Receiving these ashes, of course, serves a number of purposes. First, it proclaims to the world that we are Catholic Christians. It tells others that we are preparing [Read More...]

For Candlemas: “Let there be light”

View image | From my homily for The Presentation of the Lord in 2014:  This is a moment for cherishing once more the greatest gift that arrived 40 days ago on Christmas. The gift of our salvation. The gift of Christ. The gift of light. The holy and aged Simeon in today’s gospel said [Read More...]

Homily for February 1, 2015: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

11th century fresco of Christ performing exorcism in the synagogue in Capernaum via Wikipedia  Several days back, just before the State of the Union speech, the New York Times ran a lengthy profile of the man who would be putting all those words in President Obama’s mouth: Cody Keenan, the 34-year-old speechwriter the President has [Read More...]