“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 | gettyimages.com 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...]

Homily for January 25, 2015: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

El Capitan by Mike Murphy / Wikipedia  People must have thought they were crazy. Seven years ago, when rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgenson began planning to scale Yosemite’s El Capitan, people said it couldn’t be done. Caldwell and Jorgenson proposed climbing the sheer wall, or Dawn Wall, using nothing but their own skill [Read More...]

Homily for January 18, 2015: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Photo: from Knights of Columbus This Sunday’s scripture has a very simple theme, surrounding the ways that God calls to us. It may happen as it did with Samuel, while we are sleeping—perhaps while we are not just asleep physically, but also spiritually. Or it may happen, as it did in Galilee, by just being [Read More...]

The “3 c’s” of Baptism: A Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

From the vault, part of my homily for this weekend, marking the Baptism of the Lord, in 2013: 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 [Read More...]

Homily for January 4, 2015: The Epiphany of the Lord

Before we take down the lights, and sweep up the pine needles, and cash in those gift cards, and visit the exchange counter at Macy’s…the church gives us one more Christmas blast. This feast: Epiphany. The word means “manifestation” — it is God becoming manifest to the world through his son Jesus Christ. Every year [Read More...]

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God”: a homily for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

“The Madonna of Humility” (by Dominico di Bartolo, 1433 / Wikipedia) From the vault: my homily from January 1, 2009. Happy New Year! +++ About a century ago, the Jesuit poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a poem that begins: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” It’s a beautiful statement of [Read More...]