This homily is based on Matthew 22:15-21.
In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord utters his famous line: “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and repay to God what belongs to God.” At first glance, the Lord seems to be proposing a division between our usual lives and our so-called spiritual lives. Sort of like Sunday Christianity, when people act like Christians only when they go to Sunday services. As for the rest of the week, they act “normally”–that is, not in any particularly religious or even moral way.
Continue reading SUNDAY CHRISTIANS, CAFETERIA CATHOLICS, ETC.
This homily is based on Matthew 21:33-43.
In his monologue at a Saturday Night Live (SNL) episode, comedian Aziz Ansari warns against stereotyping the people who had voted for Trump–except for that group of people who, as soon as Trump won, told themselves: “Hey, we don’t have to pretend like we’re not racist anymore! Whoo!’”
Continue reading EXPIRY DATE
This homily is based on Matthew 20:1-16.
Many years ago I was a student in a class called “Homiletics.” Maybe you can’t tell, but people training to be priests take a class to learn how to preach.
Continue reading HOW I ALMOST FLUNKED MY ORAL EXAM BECAUSE OF TODAY’S PARABLE
This homily is based on Matthew 18:21-35.
Today’s Sunday Gospel is about forgiveness: Peter, on the one hand, monitoring his quota on forgiveness, and our Lord, on the other, tossing all that accounting out the window by reminding us that by the way, we all of us are recipients of the Father’s boundless mercy, remember?
Continue reading THE TWO THINGS WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FORGIVENESS
This reflection is based on Matthew 16:21-27.
Sting sang a little-known, but heartbreaking song at the Oscars last February. The song is called “Empty Chair,” from the film, “Jim,” which is about the journalist James Foley, who had been beheaded by the Islamic State three years ago.
Continue reading EMPTY CHAIR
This homily is based on Matthew 16:13-20.
Here are two images that created some controversy a few years ago: The first, of course, is the poster for the movie “Da Vinci Code,” based on Dan Brown’s best-selling novel.
Continue reading CAREFUL THE CHRIST YOU CHOOSE
The homily is based on Matthew 15:21-28.
In today’s Gospel story, Jesus meets a mother who begs him for help. Her daughter, she says, is tormented by demons. The mother is desperate, so desperate, in fact, that she herself torments the Lord’s disciples, who eventually goes to Jesus to ask him to send the woman away “for she keeps calling out after us.”
Continue reading TORMENTED BY DEMONS
This homily was based on Matthew 14:22-33.
We’ve all heard that phrase “standing on solid ground.” Today’s Gospel is about anything but standing on solid ground. Do you remember ever feeling like you’ve run out of solid ground? One day you get out of bed, and for some reason, you feel completely unsure of your world, your life, and yourself. Maybe it’s because there’s some kind of crisis in your life–the sudden death of a loved one, the painful end of a valued relationship, the loss of a much-needed job, or just some unexpected detour or dead end. Sometimes you can’t even quite put your finger on any specific reason for how you feel, but the bottom line is, you don’t feel grounded.
Continue reading THE ART OF WALKING ON WATER
This homily is based on Matthew 17:1-9 for the Transfiguration of our Lord.
The Transfiguration of our Lord was–quite literally–“a brief shining moment.” It was that one fleeting moment when Jesus’ divinity–normally hidden during his earthly life–shone through, but only for one fleeting moment.
One moment Jesus’ face was bright like the sun, and his clothes white as light as he stood there between the two great prophets, Moses and Elijah. The next moment he was alone and it was “only Jesus.” Continue reading ONLY JESUS
This reflection is based on Matthew 13:44-46.
We have two very similar mini-parables in today’s Gospel reading, and the one thing they have in common is that their characters both find something and lose something. In the first one, a person digs up a valuable treasure in some field, and what does he do? He “loses it”: He reburies the treasure, sells all that he has, and buys the field.
Continue reading FINDING IT AND LOSING IT