WORRY NOT

textThis homily was delivered on March 2, 2014 at Mary the Queen Parish.

These days I’ve been quite fascinated by this so-called text or chat language. I’m referring to all these acronyms and abbreviations that young people seem to be using all the time when they message each other on their phone and on the Internet. It’s an ever-growing, ever-evolving language, and it’s really not easy keeping up with some of the new stuff that’s coming out.

For example, many of us probably know that LOL stands for “Laughing Out Loud,” but did you know what A-LOL means? It means “Actually Laughing Out Loud.” I didn’t know that either! Continue reading WORRY NOT

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FOIL (The feast of Paul Miki and companions)

This homily was delivered on 06 February 2014 on the Feast of Paul Miki and his companion martyrs of Japan.

One religious shrine that has left a deep impression on me is the Martyrs’ Shrine in Nagasaki, Japan. The first thing you’ll see when you get there is a row of 26 figures: the martyrs of Japan, each one hand clasped in prayer, with a distinctive facial expression. Some are Japanese; others foreigners. Some are priests and religious; others lay people. Among them is a Japanese youth, the Jesuit novice Paul Miki, who was well-known for his preaching.

Martyrs' Shrine, Nagasaki

Eye witness accounts tell us that he was crucified along with his companions, and in his last moments, he preached to the crowd (certainly the last thing I would do if I were crucified!). Paul Miki took the occasion to address the crowds, preaching about forgiveness but also about hope. Continue reading FOIL (The feast of Paul Miki and companions)

SLEEPING ON THE JOB

This homily (on 2 Samuel 12:1-7A, 10-17 and Mark 4:35-41) was delivered on 01 February 2014.

Storm at Sea by Robert Salmon

Whenever I come across a Gospel story that’s recounted in several of the gospels, the biblical scholar wannabe in me sits up and pays more attention than usual. What we have just heard today, “the Storm at Sea,” is one such story. It is reported in all three synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Interestingly, all three versions include one apparently unnecessary detail–namely, the Lord sleeping in the boat at the height of the storm–although Mark, usually the least elaborate of the evangelists, adds a charming detail about Jesus asleep on a cushion. Continue reading SLEEPING ON THE JOB

SQUANDERING THE LORD’S MERCY

dishonest-stewardThis homily, based on Luke 16:1-13, was delivered on 22 September 2013.

Our Lord was notorious for his parables. His stories were powerful because they were vivid, but to the original audience, they must have been also quite provocative. Just last Sunday, we heard three parables, one after the other, stories that are really more controversial than we give them credit for today.  Continue reading SQUANDERING THE LORD’S MERCY

THE FURTHER

This homily was delivered on 16 September 2013 based on Luke 7:1-10

The Centurion's Servant 1914 by Sir Stanley Spencer 1891-1959I made the mistake the other night of watching a horror film. It was “Insidious (Part 1). ” As I expected, after the movie, my imagination ran wild every time I found myself in a long corridor or dark corner.  The movie is about the souls of the dead who are desperately waiting to occupy the bodies of the living, and in the movie, they’re depicted as wandering lost in this heaven-forsaken dimension which the psychic in the film mysteriously calls the “Further.” Continue reading THE FURTHER

WAILING AND WHINING

moses-in-desertThis homily, based on Numbers 11:4-5 and Matthew 14:13-21, was delivered on 05 August 2013.

Our First Reading is all about wailing and whining. First, we have the Israelites, fresh from their escape from Egypt, wailing and whining about their menu in the desert. “If only we had meat to eat!” they cried out, reciting a litany of the food they missed and singing the praises of Egyptian cuisine. Of course they grew sick of their daily diet of heaven-sent manna, which, we’re told by the way, tasted like “cakes baked with oil.”

But that’s not all: Even their prophet Moses, hearing their complaints, joined the bandwagon and did his own wailing and whining too, complaining to God about how the people burdened him so much. “I’m not their mother!” he basically told God. And he must have felt really bad because he ended by declaring: “If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once!” Continue reading WAILING AND WHINING

GOD WITH SKIN ON (The Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola)

ignThis homily, based on Exodus 34:29-35 and Matthew 13:44-46, was delivered on the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola (July 31, 2013).

In today’s Gospel, our Lord likens the Kingdom of God to a hidden treasure and a pearl so valuable that it should make all the difference in one’s life. These two parables remind me of one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose feast we celebrate today. This lesson is captured in a slogan that he’s known for: “Finding God in all things.”

I know, today it sounds almost like a cliché: We all believe God is present everywhere, don’t we? But we should note that Ignatius’ invitation is not simply to believe that God in all things, but to find Him and actually look for Him in all things. It’s like our Lord’s parables today telling us not just to believe that the Kingdom of God is here, but also to go and search for it, be it buried in some field or hidden in the deep seas. Continue reading GOD WITH SKIN ON (The Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola)

WHAT IT TAKES TO TURN ASIDE

burningbush-smThis homily was delivered on 17 July 2013 based on the readings for the day (Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12 and Matthew 11:25-27)

I think I had my first religious experience at the age of ten, and it came courtesy of Moses–or more precisely, Charlton Heston in the Cecil de Mille movie “The Ten Commandments.” I still remember the film’s most dramatic scene: Moses, towering over the Israelites, faces the Red Sea, spreads his arms before it, and as the most rousing soundtrack blares, the sky rushes into the waters and before you know it, the waters part, forming a wall on each side and a virtual highway for the fleeing Israelites. Remember this was before the era of Computer Generated Images. Continue reading WHAT IT TAKES TO TURN ASIDE

GRIT

This homily was delivered at the Grade 8 Thanksgiving Mass on 20 March 2013.

Grade 8This is my third graduation homily in a row, so I’m in serious danger of boring myself, so I thought I’d start today by playing a little game with all of you. It’s called “Stand if it’s you. Sit if it’s not.” In other words: If the statement applies to you, stand up. If it doesn’t, remain seated. Continue reading GRIT

PLUCK + GRIT+ HEART

This homily was delivered at the Thanksgiving Mass for the Grade 7 students on 19 March 2013.

pgh joseph

St. Joseph, whose feast we celebrate today, was a man of few words. For such an important person, we have no idea what he actually said. He left no writing, and the two gospel authors who mention him–Matthew and Luke–do not quote him at all.  As a result, we know very little about him besides his trade, his family tree, and of course, his relationship to Mary and Jesus.

But if we ever found ourselves in the situations he found himself in, I think we would have more than a mouthful! Just think:

He found Mary to be with child, and he was sure the child did not belong to him. And then an angel asked him in a dream to marry her anyway. When they went to Bethlehem and it was time for Mary to give birth to the so-called Son of the Most High, they couldn’t even find any decent room! Continue reading PLUCK + GRIT+ HEART