HORROR VACUI

 

This homily is based on John 20:1-9.

Two great mysteries bookend our Lord’s lives–and they feel so different from each other. At the beginning, of course, is the birth of our Lord, which we celebrate at Christmas, and in the end, we have his resurrection, which we commemorate today as Easter.

The Christmas narrative seems to happen in slow motion, as if unfolding to a peaceful Christmas carol. All the Easter stories, on the other hand, seem to be always on fast forward. There’s a lot of confusion and a lot of frantic running around.

 

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HITTING ROCK BOTTOM

This reflection is on John 11:1-45.

I was having brunch with a couple of good friends yesterday, and our conversation strayed into this business of “hitting rock bottom.” There are moments in our lives when, for different reasons, we find ourselves in the pits. Life feels like it’s in ruins; things have somehow fallen apart. Perhaps we’ve just experienced a major failure in our work; or maybe a valued relationship has just–in spite of our best efforts–ended. Or it’s possible we’re going through one of those major personal mid-life–or quarter-life–crises.

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WHERE IS YOUR SILOAM?

This homily is on the healing of the blind man as recounted in John 9:1-41.

This healing miracle, unlike others, did not happen instantaneously. While the other healing of our Lord was achieved with almost just one word or a single touch, this one involved several steps–including the use of the bizarre mixture of saliva and spittle.

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But what struck me the most about this healing miracle was that after the Lord’s elaborate healing ritual, the man wasn’t healed yet! He had first to find the Pool of Siloam to wash his own eyes. Continue reading WHERE IS YOUR SILOAM?

HOW CAN YOU, JESUS?

This homily for the Third Sunday of Lent is based on John 4:5-42.

Today’s Gospel gives us a strange little story. Jesus stops by a well while his disciples are off doing errands, and a Samaritan woman emerges to draw some water from the well. She probably eyes him cautiously. “A Jew,” she warns herself, quickly looking away. And then just when she least expects it, she hears the stranger address her: “Give me a drink.”

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THE DEVIL LEAVES NO STONE UNTURNED

This homily, based on Matthew 4:1-11, was delivered at the EAPI chapel.

In the desert our Lord Jesus undergoes three temptations. One of them seems out of place. One doesn’t seem to belong with the other two. Can you tell which one?

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Let’s review the three temptations. In the first temptation, our Lord is invited to turn stone into bread in order to sate his hunger–a hunger that must have grown really intense given his 40 days of fasting. In the second temptation, the devil entices our Lord to deceive people by putting up a show–tossing himself from the top of the temple to compel the angels to launch a rescue mission. In his third attempt, the devil blatantly bribes our Lord with all the kingdoms in the world–if only he fall on his knees to worship the devil.

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DO YOU CATASTROPHIZE?

This homily is on Matthew 6:24-34.

In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord Jesus repeats what is probably God’s favorite message in the Bible: “Do not be afraid!”

Think of the times when God showed up for the first time before his prophets–or when He sent His angel Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation, or to Joseph in his dream, or even to that flock of shepherds on the very first Christmas night.

There are claims that this phrase–or its equivalent–occurs 365 times in the Bible–one for each day of the year!

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