Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The rich Gospel passage we hear on Sunday comprises four subscenes as it positions Jesus in Galilee, Nazareth, then Capernaum, and narrates the opening acts of Jesus’ public activity.  Recalling and fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, Jesus is revealed as the great light that has arisen and shines on a people “sitting in darkness”.  What does this light look like in a land overshadowed by darkness and death?  How does Jesus effect God’s saving presence and rule?  The passage identifies three representative actions: he calls people to repentance, to mission, and to spiritual and physical health. The power of Jesus’ call...

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The four Gospels were written for different audiences hence are different in what they emphasize.  But there are certain structural features that all four Gospels share. They all center on Jesus, of course, they all teach his divinity; they all end with his Passion, Death, and Resurrection; and they each have an early chapter on John the Baptist, who was the last and greatest of all prophets, according to Jesus himself. At the end of John’s Gospel, from which we hear on Sunday, he refers to all the books that could be written and yet not contain all the works and...

Solemnity of The Epiphany of The Lord  

For many of us, the Christmas trees, lights, and carols, are gone, and we are back to work or school and, in general, we have a sense that Christmas is over.  It’s back to business as usual.  Yet with this Sunday’s celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord we have one more facet of the Christmas mystery.  Inside the great narrative of Jesus’ birth are multiple mini narratives and one of these is the story of King Herod and the magi of which we hear about in Sunday’s Gospel proclamation from Matthew. Matthew’s account presents an interesting paradox.  Those whom we...

Solemnity of The Epiphany of The Lord  

For many of us, the Christmas trees, lights, and carols, are gone, and we are back to work or school and, in general, we have a sense that Christmas is over.  It’s back to business as usual.  Yet with this Sunday’s celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord we have one more facet of the Christmas mystery.  Inside the great narrative of Jesus’ birth are multiple mini narratives and one of these is the story of King Herod and the magi of which we hear about in Sunday’s Gospel proclamation from Matthew. Matthew’s account presents an interesting paradox.  Those whom we...

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A

A dream changed Joseph’s life and ours.  In the Gospel reading for Sunday we hear that, in a dream, an angel of the Lord tells Joseph to proceed in taking Mary into his home, even though Joseph has discovered Mary is pregnant– and not by him. Before they lived together, Mary was found to be with child.  Joseph, being an upright man and unwilling to shame her, decided to divorce her quietly but an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him not to be afraid; the child in her has been conceived through the Holy Spirit. Don’t be afraid?  In Biblical culture...

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A

A dream changed Joseph’s life and ours.  In the Gospel reading for Sunday we hear that, in a dream, an angel of the Lord tells Joseph to proceed in taking Mary into his home, even though Joseph has discovered Mary is pregnant– and not by him. Before they lived together, Mary was found to be with child.  Joseph, being an upright man and unwilling to shame her, decided to divorce her quietly but an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him not to be afraid; the child in her has been conceived through the Holy Spirit. Don’t be afraid?  In Biblical culture...

Third Sunday of Advent, Year A

In the Gospel for last Sunday we heard the stirring words of John the Baptist at the Jordan River concerning the one who is to come.  The Messiah, he said, will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire; “he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire!” In the fashion of a swashbuckler, the Messiah’s arrival will be dramatic, to say the least. But Jesus does not fit the mold.  He comes on the scene as one who proclaims the kingdom of God, calls upon people to trust in...

Third Sunday of Advent, Year A

In the Gospel for last Sunday we heard the stirring words of John the Baptist at the Jordan River concerning the one who is to come.  The Messiah, he said, will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire; “he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire!” In the fashion of a swashbuckler, the Messiah’s arrival will be dramatic, to say the least. But Jesus does not fit the mold.  He comes on the scene as one who proclaims the kingdom of God, calls upon people to trust in...

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A  

In the traditional liturgical perspective, the main purposes of Advent are for remembering and re-experiencing the birth of Jesus at Christmas, and to prepare for his second coming. For this season, who can be a better Advent guide than John the Baptist, whose instructions for preparation can be condensed into one word: “Repent!”  John preaches the simplest homily ever: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”  The book of Malachi closed with a messianic promise in which God declared: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes”. Matthew makes the connection...

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A  

In the traditional liturgical perspective, the main purposes of Advent are for remembering and re-experiencing the birth of Jesus at Christmas, and to prepare for his second coming. For this season, who can be a better Advent guide than John the Baptist, whose instructions for preparation can be condensed into one word: “Repent!”  John preaches the simplest homily ever: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”  The book of Malachi closed with a messianic promise in which God declared: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes”. Matthew makes the connection...