28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. ~Phil 4:12 The Second Reading from Mass this Sunday recalled for me the following passage from the beginning of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, identified as the Principle and Foundation: Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created. From this it follows that man...

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Have no anxiety at all.  ~Phil 4:6  Is this even possible?  Is St. Paul asking us to assume an attitude that is possible in this life?  The Greek word for anxiety is the same verb that our Lord uses in the context of his visit to the house of Sts. Martha and Mary, when Martha is anxious about many things in contrast to Mary who remains at the feet of Christ.  The context, too, in which Paul asks us to relinquish worry is similar since it is connected to our entreating God with our requests and petitions.  Fear is the belief that we will be...

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus. ~Phil 2:5 Following his initial salutation of the Church in Philippi and his updating them on the Church’s missionary work, St. Paul delivers in Chapter Two both a series of moral exhortations as well as the striking “Christ Hymn” which is contained in the longer version of the second reading for this Sunday. Scholars are divided as to the origin and nature of the poem. Most would agree that it represents a piece of early Christian poetry. Consequently, Paul is presenting us with a glimpse of a form...

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. Rom 14:8 Survivor’s Guilt is a mental condition in which a survivor of a traumatic event experiences symptoms of remorse and self-hatred for having survived. The degree and complexity of the condition can vary from individual to individual and depend on the nature of the event, but the fact of the matter remains that the reason some people survive certain catastrophic events and others do not is a mystery. Why? Why do some people survive their illnesses while others do not? Who is at fault? Were there not enough prayers offered? Was...

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Rom 13:9 Certain passages of scripture, due to our familiarity with them, can seem as captivating as a glass of water: good and essential but hardly exciting or challenging. Such is the case with the “Golden Rule” reechoed by Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans. It has been observed that nearly all religions and philosophies have arrived at some formulation of this principle. Nevertheless, the articulation of it in Leviticus 19:18, is still arguably the first time we see it appear in history. While the command: love your neighbor as yourself seems...

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

No sooner has Christ entrusted the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to Peter, identifying him as the Rock upon which He will build His Church, than Peter is rebuked by Christ, identified as a satan, Hebrew for “adversary.” The limits of Peter’s authority are clear: his role and role of all the popes and bishops of the Church is not to conform the Gospel message of Christ to the expectations of this age, but rather to preach boldly that Gospel, even and especially when that message seems awkwardly received. We are frequently tempted to be embarrassed by the teachings of...

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

There were once three umpires. The first said, “I call them as they are!” The second said, “I call them as I see ‘em!” The third said, “They ain’t nothin’ till I call ‘em!” In the gospel passage for this Sunday, Saint Matthew delivers the account of Saint Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Peter’s ability to proclaim and confirm the truth about the authentic identity of our Lord is not the result of merely human efforts whether they be: study, discussion, or guesswork. Christ clarifies for all present that it is a special charism, a gift,...

Palm Sunday – April 5, 2020

Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel.  Hosanna in the highest. This antiphon, taken from Matthew 21:9, provides the first words sung before the Procession or Solemn Entrance that precede the Mass of Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. ...

Fourth Sunday of Lent – March 22, 2020

Rejoice! Seriously, Father? Rejoice? At this time? Don’t you know what’s going on? Can’t you see that we are in crisis and that this is not the time to rejoice? Are you blind? No, I am not blind, and neither are we the “children of the Light.” Today is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. It is referred to as “Laetare Sunday” because the word “Laetare” is Latin for the command “Rejoice!” It is the first word of the Entrance Antiphon for this Sunday. Laetare Sunday and the Fourth Week of Lent mark the midway point of our Lenten pilgrimage....