Tag Archives: HOMILIES

Homily 2019 03 06 – Ash Wednesday x3 – annoying and aggravating


All that prayer and fasting and almsgiving: so annoying; so aggravating! ;-)

One of our elderly men in the parish was laughing throughout this homily, thinking that what it meant was – as he told someone after Mass – that there was no way that they’re ever going to move me from the parish!

I guess this homily is one of those realistic homilies. It made for a lot of laughter that was admitting that what I was saying is the truth of it.

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Homily 2019 02 21 Calling people Satan


Obviously, the “sex synod” is a total failure even as it only begins. I’m not happy. So, let’s see… Who can we call Satan?

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Homily 2019 02 17 Beatitudes Lightning

lightning vatican holy see st peter

I’m so clever. I can come up with sophisticated meditations on the beatitudes.

And in that self-congratulation, I can avoid the life of the beatitudes. Indeed.

The beatitudes are too scary for me. Too in-your-face. Kind of like lightning. When it’s about to strike you it’s not possible a millionth of a nano-second beforehand to say, “Stop! Let me get out of the way!” No. Lightning strikes you and you are thrown to the ground. You are stunned if not outright unconscious. And in utter stupidity, I rely, I depend, I run to my clever, sophisticated commentary, thus remaining in my stupor.

There’s no way out of this for any of us from inside of ourselves, nor does Jesus say: “Do this! And then you will be happy!” No. The beatitudes are a description of the way things are when they are already being lived.

We can’t just “make a decision” so that then we are living the beatitudes and then we are happy. We can’t lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps, just ending up on our keisters.

If, instead, with the grace of Jesus, He drawing us into His friendship, we are enlivened by love of God and love of neighbor received into our hearts and souls and minds from Him, that is, His love and truth and goodness and kindness, then when we happen to come across the beatitudes on a random Sunday or in our own reading of the Scriptures, it will be like a lightning bolt striking us, but this time not stunning us, but rather vindicating us, strengthening us, encouraging us, we realizing that the joyous beatitudes are ours, not because we have gone after them, but because they have come after us, because Jesus has come after us.

Look up the beatitudes in the Gospels and ask how they strike you. Are you wiped out or enlivened, stunned into a catatonic state or steadfastly happy in your friendship with our Lord Jesus?

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Homily 2019 02 15 Listening & Speaking

hear see speak no evil monkeys


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Homily 2019 01 30 – Parables, lest they repent and be saved (that being bad)

saint mark saint peter

Saint Mark and Saint Peter

That citation from the account of Isaiah’s vocation to dull hearts, stop up ears and blind eyes lest anyone see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn to the Lord and be saved… you know… THAT citation that no one goes near lest we die of wretchedness.

A separate rant on Mark: I chose this passage in Mark for my doctoral seminar topic, discovering heaps about Mark’s usage, a totally cool citation from the Rabbis citing Isaiah. ;-) But NO ONE wants to hear about that because, you know, it’s always been said that Mark ignores the Jews and writes only for the Gentiles, you know, a short catechism thing. But that betrays everything in Mark. Interesting thing about Mark, whose Gospel commentators dismiss as being early, simplistic, a nothing burger, interesting that the passages which Mark shares with, say, Matthew, are longer in themselves than Matthew or at least are each even much more theologically developed than in Matthew. Weren’t expecting that, were you?

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Homily 2019 01 21 Respect Life! Yikes!

visitation from peregabrielcom

We had a big crowd for the closing day of the novena sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. At the end, Holy Mass was offered for a very specific intention, that respect for life would increase, respect for life from natural conception to natural death. A homily, a sermon actually, was encouraged. It’s a bit longish, but has a certain ferocity about it. It’s a bit of a fright when the role Satan has had in the culture of death is described. It’s a bit of a fright when the provenance of the entitlement mentality gripping the nation is presented. Yikes!

There are a thousand stories to recount, and there’s so very much more to say on any and every level, but you can’t say everything in one homily.

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Homily 2019 01 20 Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; Οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου. John 2:4. *The* Wedding. Priests are married.

wedding of cana mosaic lourdes rosary basilica doors

These are the massive central portals to the Rosary Basilica in Lourdes, in front of which the candlelight rosary procession is led nightly in Lourdes, France. The artist attempts to get us to understand that the two scenes are one by distributing the jars of water now turned to wine at the Wedding in Cana on both sets of doors. He also has us pointed to where the real “Wine” is to be had, as well as Mary’s solidarity with Jesus at His Hour, where she is to intercede for us in the redemption of the image of God, as Genesis has it, one man and one woman for marriage and family.

Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; Οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου (John 2:4).

  • Mary’s statement: “They have no wine.”

After all, we have to celebrate the image of God as to be found in marriage and the family when the Redeemer of the image of God within us is present. All the Sacred Scriptures point to this. She, who is the Mother of the Redeemer of Genesis 3:15, knows she can go to her Son who is set for the rise and downfall of many in Israel, He who is the Light unto the Nations.

  • Jesus’ title for His mom: “Woman”

Some think that this is an insult. Since when is being a woman an insult?! Anyway, this is the epic title of the Woman in Genesis 3:15, the War Hero over against Satan, and the Immaculate Mother of the Redeemer, the War Hero by way of her maternity of “her Seed.”

Then we see the Woman below the cross who, already having given birth to the Head of the Body, Jesus, becomes mother also to the members of the Body, that is, by way of her perfect intercession for us under the cross, with all the “birth pangs” as it were that that entails. This is when all of hell is broken out. This is when she is successful in the battle with her Seed, her Divine Son, Jesus, who crushes the power of Satan over us and is crushed in His human nature for us.

Then we see the Woman in the Apocalypse, the Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under he feet, and crowned with twelve starts, she, again, depicted as victor over Satan by way of her maternity.

For Mary to be entitled Woman is not an insult!

  • Jesus’ question: “What is that to me and to you?”

That question refers to both Jesus’ good mom and Jesus. Jesus wants to draw out the truths that are taking place. The Vulgate gets it exactly right: “Quid mihi et tibi est?” “What is that to me and to you?” It’s a real question, seeking the deeper truths to be spoken publicly. Great!

The Holy Spirit inspired the words to be the way they are. If we rewrite the Scriptures, bad things happen. Thus:

The Catholic NAB translates this if not with true malice, then with sheer incompetence: “Woman, how does your concern affect me?” That makes it sound like Mary just wants more alcohol for everyone, and that Jesus couldn’t give a hoot about anyone there, so that He wants to point out her stupidity publicly.

The KJV is even worse: “What have I to do with thee?” It’s like these rebels are having Jesus disowning His mother. That’s bad, really evil.

One of the Spanish translations simply has “déjame,” “Let me take care of it” (which leaves Mary out of it altogether. No good, that. And that’s only if we give it the far-fetched best sense, which would otherwise be: “Leave me alone!” Sigh… The Lectionary version we had was this: “¿Qué podemos hacer tú y yo?” That puts way too much emphasis on stuff to do instead of what the real question was about, namely, the explication of the deeper realities at hand.

  • Jesus’ hint for the answer: “My hour is not yet arrived.”

His Hour is when He is on the Cross on Calvary when all hell is broken out and the battle is on, when Mary’s hour of intercession for us is to be in full operation.

Let’s do the analogy: Cana has a wedding banquet. The Last Supper is Jesus’ wedding banquet. His vows refer to the epic battle for our souls mentioned above: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, the chalice of my blood poured out for you in sacrifice.

If Jesus wants Mary to make the realities of our salvation more apparent by this question, if Jesus wants to point out that we are to celebrate such a marriage at Cana because Jesus is set to redeem all marriage and the image of God within us by way of His own marriage with His Bride the Church at the Last Supper and then on the Cross, then we understand Mary’s “response.” She simply has to turn and say to the servants: “Do whatever He tells you.”

We priests and bishops MUST understand this, that we are married to the Church by way of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we offer, by way of the wedding vows that we recite in the first person singular: This is my body… my blood. And we have to be just that ready instantly to lay down our lives for the flock just as Jesus, that is, by way of the love and truth and goodness and kindness of Jesus granted with sanctifying grace.


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Homily 2018 12 28 Holy Innocents’ Joy


When one loves what one does, one has a lot of fun. I love preaching. I really enjoyed preaching today. It might sound a little rough to begin with, but then the Holy Innocents save the day.

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Homily 2018 12 26 – Jews and the Holy Trinity

saint stephen stoned to death

References to the Most Holy Trinity are to be found throughout the Jewish and then the newly Catholic Sacred Scriptures from Genesis to the Apocalypse. When I was a seminarian in the bad old days, as bad or worse than today, when heresy was everywhere to be found among seminary profs, any references to the Most Holy Trinity in any of the Scriptures was simply denied, as if this were something palatable to, I don’t know, Jews, maybe Muslims. Maybe it was just lust to deny anything that was a teaching of the Catholic Church just to do it. One was then “hip” and “groovy” and “up-to-date”, but really just a thief who was stealing the truth away from the children of God.

Let’s take a timely example of the Most Holy Trinity in the Scriptures. Right after Christmas we have the feast of Saint Stephen, Deacon, the First Martyr. Let’s take a look at the Lectionary entry for the first lesson (ACTS 6:8-10; 7:54-59).

Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit [the Holy Spirit: see “filled with the Holy Spirit” below] with which he spoke.

When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, filled with [1] the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and [2] Jesus standing at the right hand of [3] God [the Father], and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

The Holy Spirit, inspiring the Sacred Scriptures, say that the Jews cannot withstand the Holy Spirit that filled Saint Stephen. They perceive the Holy Spirit even while Stephen speaks of Jesus and the Father.

Is the Holy Spirit being rude in pointing out “the Jews” like this? No. This is presented in the sense of even the Jews cannot withstand the Holy Spirit (so, much less us, the non-Jews). As the “young man named Saul” would later write as Saint Paul about the Jews:

“They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God, who is over all, be blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5).

We are all the Jews who attacked Stephen. But only the Jews have the promises and patriarchs. But we’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with our sin. And we are all redeemed. To be saved, well, that involves the free will of us all.

Let’s be up-to-date not be rejecting the Triune God who is Truth and Love, but by being lifted up into the timelessness of He who created time and entered into time, drawing all to Himself across time, across Calvary, when He was lifted up on the Cross, He who born to die, whose birth we celebrate even as we honor the first martyr for Him.

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Homily 2018 12 08 Immaculate Conception


  • You knew, of course, that the grotto was the pig sty of the town, right?
  • You knew, of course, that in Sacred Scripture, pigs are symbolic of demons, right?
  • You knew, of course, that the universe was made into a pig sty by Adam’s sin, right?

God: “I shall put enmity between you [Satan] and the Woman [the Mother of the Redeemer], and between your seed [Satan’s followers] and the Seed of the Woman [Jesus and those who belong to Him as members of a body to the head of the body].


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Homily 2018 11 25 Jesus and Pilate

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Homily 2018 11 22 I’m thankful for…

squanto thanksgiving

  • I’m thankful that the Father sent the Son. I’m thankful for being forgiven.
  • I’m thankful for the prayers people say for me. I’m thankful for cloistered nuns who have teamed up with Jesus to save my soul.
  • I’m thankful for… well… here’s today’s homily on this Thanksgiving Day:

What are you thankful for?


Just to say, this is perhaps a bit of a rough homily for Thanksgiving in that I go on the attack of those who are ever so entitled, who think they are self-sufficient, who are therefore bitter on the one hand and self-righteous on the other hand. An attack! On Thanksgiving. And for the wherewithal to do that I also give thanks. ;-)

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Homily 2018 11 18 Angels & 4 last things

saint michael

Rather ferocious about the angels. Don’t be afraid.


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Homily 2018 11 11 Her two cents worth

widow mite


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Homily 2018 10 25 The divisory attitude of the Son of the Living God

Homilies haven’t been going up on the blog much because, well, here’s the deal: I don’t prepare for the homilies, neither weekday nor Sunday.  I glance at the Gospel hardly breaking my pace while walking to the back of the church to hear confessions. A few seconds. That’s it. No time to mull things over. Launching into the homily, it is what it is. And then, after, I absolutely can’t remember a thing I said. That’s pretty bad. So, I’m afraid to put them up. It’s so easy to get in trouble when anyone anywhere in the world can get upset with what is said. Anyway, I had made a mental note after today’s homily that maybe I really should put this up. I’ve done that a lot, but today I’m somehow overcoming my phobia. It is what it is. It’s typical of all my homilies. It goes right into the danger zone. Pretty militant.


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Homily 2018 10 04 Lambs and wolves

wolf angry

Wolves are scary. As a youngster I remember walking back home from the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the parish for miles along a forest gravel road in the north woods of Minnesota and about halfway I heard what could only have been a wolf (LOUD!) obviously with rabies screaming and crying and shrieking and hoooowling and hooowling as it traveled parallel to me, instigating me to ask my guardian angel that I be invisible in every way to that wolf so that I might get home safe.

Jesus said that He would be sending out his disciples as lambs in the midst of wolves. So what are we to think about that? Wolves would nip at a hoof of lamb and toss it spinning into the air, bleating helplessly. They would then each take a hoof and the nose and pull it apart, gorging themselves.

Question: How do we prepare for such encounters? Disguise oneself as a wolf? Be all tactically prepared, as if that would save us analogously from the spiritual pitfalls associated after original sin with the world, the flesh and the devil?

Answer: Just be the lamb to whom Jesus provides a love stronger than any pitfalls, a love stronger than death. I want to go to heaven. That‘s what’s important. How about you?

Be the lamb!

And be that lamb in the midst of the wolves!


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Homily 2018 10 03 Jesus’ hard sayings? No, we spit on Him and He instructs.


Sorry, I guess I’m rather ferocious in this homily.


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Homily 2018 10 01 Holy Face’s Child


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Update: Homily 2018 09 30 Jesus’ Hard Sayings: No narcissism. No sociopathy

confessional jesus

Oooo! The “hard sayings” of Jesus. No. Just a bit of irony. Just a bit of helpful sarcasm from our Lord favoring our understanding. As one reader put it: “Well… hell!”

Update: In speaking with Father Gordon MacRae about this he told me a story which he often recounts to me whenever I mention my difficulty preaching, bringing the emphasis instead to those who are listening to any homily, putting the preacher in his place.

He said that one day he had laryngitis and could hardly whisper out the Gospel, so he skipped the homily and went right to the offertory, but they couldn’t quite hear what he was saying, just assuming he was saying the offertory prayer “Blessed are you Lord God of all creation…”

Instead, while standing now at the altar he was apologizing to the congregation that he had lost his voice and so there would be no homily. Without missing a beat they responded in union: “Blessed by God forever.”

That’s Father Gordon’s commentary on my homilies. Hahaha.


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Homily 2018 09 28 – “Who AM I?” “You’re God’s Son.” “Shut up!”



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