This homily was delivered on the Solemnity of Christ the King.
Back in 2004, I visited the Jesuit school for the disabled in Cambodia. From the moment I stepped out of the airport in Phnom Penh, I noticed that every major road and every other street corner displayed the picture of one man. My companions informed me that a week before, Cambodia had just crowned a new king, Sihamoni, to succeed his father. To celebrate the occasion and to show their acceptance of the new king, all of Cambodia put up his pictures everywhere, from medium-sized photographs to gigantic billboards. As a result, no tourist—and certainly no Cambodian—had any excuse to claim that he does not recognize the new king.
Note: A version of this homily was delivered in Xavier School last October 6, 2010, but it fits our Gospel Reading today.
About five years ago, an interesting scientific research was conducted by a team of doctors. The study is called STEP, which stands for “Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer.” The research is interesting because it’s a kind of experiment on the effects of prayer on patients undergoing a delicate surgery called CABG–or Coronary Artery Bypass Graft.
The doctors behind STEP wanted to answer two research questions:
First: Does intercessory prayer–or praying for the patients–help them recover from surgery?
Today leprosy is considered a thing of the past. No longer the dreaded biblical scourge that it used to be, it is relatively easy to cure these days, thanks to a multi-drug therapy developed in the 1980s and declared its definitive cure. Leprosy has today become the forgotten disease.
In his book What’s So Amazing about Grace? Philip Yancey talks about an interesting article that came out in The Boston Globe back in June 1990. The article, which was called “A Most Unusual Wedding Party,” tells the story of a wedding—or at least what was supposed to be a wedding. Everything had been prepared, including the expensive wedding ring. Months before the wedding, the bride and the groom-to-be planned a great reception. The couple had gone to the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Boston and painstakingly picked out the menu, the china and silver, and even the flower arrangements that they liked. The bill came to $13,000, and for something like that, they had to leave a 50% down payment. Continue reading STRAYING INTO THE GUEST LIST (Mt 22:1-14): 12 October 2008 (Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
COPING WITH REJECTION (Mt 21:33-43): 05 October 2008 (Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time)
A TV spot from the “Foundation for A Better Life” tells a sad and familiar story: A new girl looks tentatively around a crowded school cafeteria, food tray in hand. After what feels like an eternity, she spots an empty seat and finds the courage to join a group of girls her age. “Would it be okay if I sat here?” she asks. All it takes is a look, and the new girl knows: She is an intruder, an outsider, a leper. The group rises as one and leaves her quite abruptly alone with her food tray. Continue reading COPING WITH REJECTION (Mt 21:33-43): 05 October 2008 (Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Someone recently handed me a DVD of “Cloverfield,” a 2008 monster movie produced by JJ Abrams of the “Lost” TV series. I had seen the provocative trailer on the Internet weeks before the release, and wanted to know why its poster showed a headless Statue of Liberty standing before a burning Manhattan skyline. I had been warned that watching it would make you dizzy because of its hand-held camera technique reminiscent of “The Blairwitch Project.” Just the same I watched the movie the first chance I got. Continue reading QUESTIONED BY A MONSTER MOVIE (Mt 21:28-32): Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (28 September 2008)