Ash Wednesday: look at the ashes, but think of the fire

As we prepare for Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, here’s something from the vault: my homily from Ash Wednesday 2009.  GK +++ A true story: a few years ago, I was serving as a Eucharistic Minister on Ash Wednesday, and I stood over there during communion, holding the chalice filled with the Precious [Read More...]

Homily for February 10, 2013: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

[Click here for readings.] For the last 24 hours or so, besides being buried in snow, we were buried in news about the snow. Weathermen were breathlessly tracking the storm. Among the things they liked to talk about were OTHER storms—blizzards that had blitzed New York in the last century. One of them was the [Read More...]

Homily for February 3, 2013: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said there are no second acts in American life.  But he never met Abby Johnson. Some of you may have heard of her. Abby Johnson worked for eight years for Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas.  She started out as an escort, helping women into the clinic, walking them past protestors—sometimes encountering [Read More...]

Homily for January 27, 2013: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

 [Click here for readings.] So, how are those New Year’s Resolutions going? Back on January 1, Forbes posted an article on their website saying that about 40% of Americans make resolutions for the new year —but only 8% of those people end up keeping them. And usually after about a month – meaning any day [Read More...]

Homily for January 20, 2013: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

[Click here for the readings] Every year on the anniversary of 9/11, I find myself thinking of 9/12: September 12th, 2001. The day after. Waking up. Looking out the window. Seeing the beautiful late summer sky that morning, just like the morning before. From all appearances, nothing had changed. But, in fact, everything had changed. [Read More...]

Homily for January 13, 2013: Baptism of the Lord

[Click here for readings.] At home, I have a little green book that someone gave me as an ordination gift: it’s the Rite of Baptism for Children, with all the prayers and readings for the sacrament. In the back, there’s a notation I scribbled on the inside cover: “Margaret Flanagan.  July 1, 2007.  First baby [Read More...]

Homily for January 6, 2013: Epiphany

This time of year, a lot of us are sending and receiving Christmas letters – those detailed accounts of how we’ve spent the last year. As interesting as they sometimes are, they are basically intended to tell the reader three things: 1. Our kids are smarter 2. Our dog is cuter 3. Our vacation was [Read More...]

Homily for December 30, 2012: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

[Click here for readings] I’m struck every year by the timing of this feast, celebrating the Holy Family. It comes on the first Sunday following Christmas, when a lot of us have started to overdose on family.  In fact, after the parties and cooking and visiting and obligations and expectations and disappointments, some of us [Read More...]

“Do not be afraid”: a Christmas homily

From Midnight Mass, 2007, here’s my first Christmas homily.  While the references are dated, I hope the message still resonates.  For so many this year, the central theme —Do not be afraid—is more urgent now than ever.  – Dcn. G. + Like a lot of people of a certain age, I remember well the first [Read More...]

Homily for December 23, 2012: 4th Sunday of Advent

[Click here for readings] A few weeks ago, I saw an ad on the subway for Cole Haan shoes that was a little out of the ordinary: there were no shoes, no pictures of people wearing shoes.  There was just a phrase, printed on a dark background.  It said: “No great story starts with: ‘It [Read More...]