LESSONS FROM A HOMECOMING (OR, HERE’S HOW YOU KILL YOUR FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE)

This homily, based on Luke 4:21-30 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, was delivered at St. Agnes Catholic Church.
the-spirit-annoints-jesus-to-preach-the-gospel

Things went very wrong rather quickly at this homecoming. Jesus shows up one morning in his hometown, and he is greeted by a huge turnout in the synagogue: Family and friends have come to hear one of their own, now a minor celebrity in his own right. They are amazed at his wisdom, and they are all praises for this son of Nazareth.

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BROKEN OPEN

51nC9KaNROL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_This homily is based on Luke 4:14-21.

When was the last time you read a book that made you cry? Or if you haven’t read any tear-jerker lately, what was the last movie that moved you to tears?

The last book I read that reduced me to tears surprised me because it did that not just once, but several times–and so strongly that I had to put it down each time–was Fr. Greg Boyle SJ’s Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. It’s not just one story, but a collection of real-life stories of former gang members that Fr. Boyle met through his intervention program called Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles County. Continue reading BROKEN OPEN

THE MIRACLE THAT TEACHES PRAYER

The Miracle at CanaBased on John 2:1-11, this homily was delivered at St. Agnes Church, San Francisco.

The wedding at Cana is one of my favorite miracle stories in the Gospel. We are told that in changing water into wine for that wedding party, our Lord performed his very first miracle.

According to biblical scholars, the miracles of Jesus generally fall into two categories: those that involve healing (including exorcisms and the raising of the dead) and those that concern nature, such as the calming of the storm, the miraculous catch of fish, and the multiplication of loaves. This first miracle at Cana is clearly one of his so-called “nature miracles.” But for me, it isn’t just any other nature miracle. As far as I can tell, it is quite unique and unlike any other miracle of our Lord that we know of. Continue reading THE MIRACLE THAT TEACHES PRAYER

DIDN’T HAVE TO, BUT DID IT ANYWAY

Baptism-of-Christ-300x229Based on Luke 3:15-22, this homily was delivered at St. Agnes Church, San Francisco, on the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord.

Today we recall the baptism of our Lord. Today also unfortunately marks the official end of the Christmas season. That’s why we’ve taken down our beautiful Christmas decorations in the church. 

Some of us may want to hang on to the holidays and actually feel sad about ending Christmas so soon; others, however, probably think that it’s about time, having had enough of all the celebrating–and eating–at Christmas. Time to re-implement our yearly New Year resolution to go on that discarded diet and to get back on that exercise regimen! Time to go back to what the Church so appropriately calls “Ordinary Time.”

Continue reading DIDN’T HAVE TO, BUT DID IT ANYWAY

GODSPEAK

Thisimage reflection is based on Matthew 2:1-12 on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.

Today we have the account of the visit of the wise men–“magi” they were called–traveling from the East in pursuit of nothing more than a star. The wise men represent the Gentiles, and this feast of the Epiphany is precisely about God becoming human not only for the Jewish people, but for the whole world. But this story of the wise men–who have come bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh–also illustrates for us one way that God speaks to us. Continue reading GODSPEAK