Homily – March 21, 2021

V Sunday of Lent
Year B

I recently signed up for XM radio – per the suggestion of a friend considering I will be doing a lot of driving. The other day I was listening to the Catholic Channel and the host was asking people to call in to talk about what things their parish did during the pandemic to keep people connected – On that note I want to thank our staff here for their efforts: Jamie, Chrissy and Suzanne. The host made a comment, that was rather “off-putting” to me. She said that all these things have made it easy for people. Now, I get what she meant – that we needed to make things like Mass easy for people to find and plug into… I get it … But, at the same time, it is not meant to be easy – faith, the practice of faith, is not easy because life is not easy, because we are sinners … because our salvation is manifest in the brutal and bloody torture of Jesus … I mean even He says it isn’t easy in the gospel today…

St. John tells us that Jesus, at this decisive moment leading up to His death, was ‘troubled’ – yet a more direct translation of the Greek indicates that he was more than just ‘troubled’ … he was disturbed, meaning that he was shaken to the very depths of his being. For what reason? His ‘hour’ – meaning His suffering and death was forthcoming and He knew it, He could feel it. Notice, however, how He continues: “what shall I say, save me from this hour? No, it is for this reason that I came … Father, glorify your name.” Jesus moves through His own distress to accept His fate – which is to lay down His life of His own free will. He embraces His ‘hour’ as an expression of His love for the Father. There is nothing easy about that … In fact, I dare to say that His entire mission and ministry were not easy …

When did anyone ever say that life and faith would be easy? And it is a shame that many modern Catholic thinkers – clergy included – tend to water down the practice of our faith in an effort to make faith more “accessible”, “relevant” … easy. No, it’s not easy. It wasn’t easy for Jesus nor will be for us. They miss the teaching and message that Jesus sends us … We can try hard to make things lighter and easier but I have found that often it doesn’t work and only limits our capacity to love … trying to make things easy actually gets in the way of being generous. In our troubling times – personal, communal, political – Jesus teaches us to embrace our sufferings, to take in our difficulties as personal sacrifices that are offered to the Father as expressions of love. When we try to make things easy in life and in faith we actually limit our generosity, our capacity to love – because who are we serving? Yes, we too are troubled – but what are we to say? Lord, make it easy for us? No, we say: Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you … teach me to love.

Homily – April 4, 2021

One of my favorite churches in all of Rome is Santa Maria Sopra Minerva – the only Gothic church in the city. It houses one of Michelangelo’s not-so...

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Homily – April 2, 2021

An epigraph is a short quotation or phrase at the beginning of a book or chapter of a book that is intended to suggest its theme. It could also be...

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Homily – April 1, 2021

One week ago, roughly 62 people gathered at St. Michael’s Cathedral for a Mass and holy hour to pray for vocations to the priesthood. Young men,...

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