“Prayer is water for a desperate and parched world”

Last weekend, I delivered three talks to the convocation for deacons in the Archdiocese of Seattle. The theme: “Preaching with a Deacon’s Heart.” It was a great weekend, with a wonderful community of deacons and their wives. The convocation took place in Ocean Shores, WA—a couple hours from downtown Seattle, with the Pacific just a [Read More...]

Homily for September 28, 2014: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Of all the remarkable moments that marked Derek Jeter’s last home game Thursday night, there is one that really struck me. You might call it a home run. Before leaving the field for the last time, as the crowd roared, Jeter walked to his spot where he played shortstop, crouched down, bowed his head, and [Read More...]

“Every priest continues to be a deacon…for the Lord Himself became our minister, our deacon”

A reader sent along this homily that was delivered today by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend for the ordination of deacons who will one day be priests for the Congregation of Holy Cross.  It ties in beautifully with the feast we celebrate this day—and it offers some thoughtful insight into diakonia and [Read More...]

Homily for September 14, 2014: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

If you want a sense of what this feast today is all about, you need to hear the story of Jim Schmitmeyer’s grandmother. Fr. Jim Schmitmeyer is a priest and writer from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and in one of his books he describes the last days of his grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. “Everything [Read More...]

Homily for September 7, 2014: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

In midtown Manhattan, near my office, there’s a huge public school on East 56th Street. For the last two months, that stretch of the street has been a beautiful oasis—almost completely deserted. That changed this week. The kids are back in school. Around 8:30, the sidewalks are absolutely mobbed. It’s wall-to-wall kids, from grade school up [Read More...]

Homily for August 31, 2014: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the gospels, it’s been a rough summer for St. Peter. A couple weeks ago, we encountered him climbing out of a boat during a storm, trying to walk on water. He lost faith and began to sink, and Jesus had to rescue him. Then, last week, Jesus gave him the keys to the kingdom [Read More...]

Homily for August 17, 2014: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Of all the stories that circulated last week about Robin Williams, there was one that I found especially moving.  It was from Brian Lord, who for many years was the head of a prominent speakers bureau. A few years back, he was negotiating to book Robin Williams for an event, so he was finalizing the contract. [Read More...]

Homily for August 10, 2014: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The gospel we just heard is about many things: courage, faith, mystery. But above all, it is about trust. Trusting God in the midst of any storm, and accepting his invitation, in the middle of the storm, simply to come where he is calling us. The world right now is full of storms. Gaza. Ukraine. [Read More...]

“We are all pearls”: a deacon’s homily for this Sunday

A deacon friend sent me his homily for today. It’s extraordinary and, I think, deserves a wider audience. I post it here with his permission. I hope it will resonate with many.  ++ My good friend, Father Hilarion has a saying that goes like this… Everyone who comes into your life is a blessing. Some [Read More...]

Homily for July 27, 2014: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time—UPDATED

If you visited Facebook Friday afternoon, you would have seen on a sidebar a list of some of the stories that were trending around the world – what people were reading, sharing, talking about. High on the list was the new cast for “Game of Thrones,” Ben Affleck as Batman, a documentary about Nicholas Cage [Read More...]