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...]

Homily for December 21, 2014: 4th Sunday of Advent

We hear it again and again this time of year: “I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas.” It actually started before Thanksgiving. You’d hear staff here in the rectory saying, “I can’t believe it’s almost Advent.” And here we are, four weeks later. Where did the time go? It seems like it gets shorter every year. [Read More...]

“Rejoice always!” A homily for Gaudete Sunday

I’m on the road this weekend and won’t be preaching about this Sunday’s readings. But from the vault, here’s part of my homily for Guadete Sunday from 2008:  +++ This Advent many of us are waiting with an expectation and an anxiety that we have not known for a long time. And right about now, [Read More...]

WWMD: What Would Mary Do?

“The Annunciation” by James Tissot From the vault, my homily for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in 2007:  +++ His name was Charles Sheldon – and he is one of the most influential preachers in American history. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of him. Until I started looking into this, I hadn’t [Read More...]

Homily for December 7, 2014: 2nd Sunday of Advent

If you want to understand what Advent is about, it helps to know the story of Mike Wise. Mike Wise is a sports columnist for the Washington Post. On a January night six years ago, he was jogging along the C&O Canal in downtown Washington with his dog, a golden Lab named Looly. The canal [Read More...]

“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...]