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2018-03-18 Fifth Sunday of Lent

18 March 2018 Fifth Sunday of Lent John 12:20-33 + Homily 19 Minutes 4 Seconds (from the parish bulletin) There are those of us who remember how as schoolboys, the clever use of rhythmic dactyls in Virgil’s metrical Latin verses made unforgettable the sound of horses galloping. And one of my schoolmates gained fleeting fame when our French teacher announced that, as our classmate was recovering from an appendectomy, the first words he whispered as he came out of the anesthesia were from...


2018-03-11 Fourth Sunday of Lent

11 March 2018 Fourth Sunday of Lent John 3:14-21 + Homily 16 Minutes 6 Seconds (from the parish bulletin) The tears of our Lord gazing on Jerusalem, cannot be separated from his violent whipping of the moneychangers in the Temple the next day. Both were acts of love, for he saw how the Holy City had been profaned, and he saw that profanation most glaring in the House of God itself. The word “profane” means to be “outside the holy place.” Distancing oneself from holiness is at its worst...


2018-03-04 Third Sunday of Lent

4 March 2018 Third Sunday of Lent John 2:13-25 + Homily 18 Minutes 48 Seconds (from the parish bulletin) In March of 1937, Pope Pius XI issued two encyclicals within five days of each other. Mit Brennender Sorge condemned National Socialism, and Divini Redemptoris condemned Communism. These ideologies, attacking human dignity and replacing God with the power of the self-justifying State, were two sides of the same coin. That is a figure of speech. It is not a figure of speech to say...


2018-02-25 Second Sunday of Lent

25 February 2018 Second Sunday of Lent Mark 9:2-10 + Homily 17 Minutes 54 Seconds (from the parish bulletin) Few lands are more cheerful than beautiful Switzerland. There are the mountains, the blonde girls yodeling, the lads sounding Alpine horns across the canyons, St. Bernard dogs with brandy, and all that chocolate and material prosperity. The cynic would dismiss that as a caricature. Think of Orson Welles in the 1949 film The Third Man: “. . . in Italy for 30 years under the...


2018-02-18 First Sunday of Lent

18 February 2018 First Sunday of Lent Mark 1:12-15 + Homily 18 Minutes 57 Seconds (from the parish bulletin) An engineer in Alexandria named Ctesibius is said to have invented the pipe organ around 265 B.C., originally an “hydraulis” using water to raise air pressure. Although there was a “water organ” in the narthex of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople for heralding the Emperor, one theory holds that organs are not commonly used in the Byzantine rite because they are reminders of the...


2018-02-11 Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

11 February 2018 Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time Mark 1:40-45 + Homily 15 Minutes 45 Seconds (From the parish bulletin) There are different theories as to why Schubert did not finish the Unfinished Symphony. Although his Symphony in B minor lacks two movements, it has two. And explaining why it began is as challenging as explaining why it did not end. Mozart did not finish his Requiem for the simple reason that he died. That also is why Thucydides did not finish his History of the...


2018-02-04 Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

4 February 2018 Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 1:29-39 + Homily 16 Minutes 58 Seconds (From the parish bulletin) As a demographic cohort, “Millennials” are the last generation to have been born in the twentieth century. By conventional assessment, they are agile with technology, shaped by social media, self-absorbed, fixed in the moment and ignorant of history, morally immature and unaware that they have been shortchanged by inadequate and polemical educators. They are as...


2018-01-28 Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

28 January 2018 Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 1:21-28 + Homily 16 Minutes 16 Seconds (From the parish bulletin) The German word “kitsch” is hard to define, other than “tacky” or “tasteless,” but as Justice Potter Stewart said of prurience, “I know it when I see it.” It is indulged sometimes even by pious Catholics. Examples of kitsch abound in the sculpture garden of the United Nations. My favorite is a huge Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver with a twisted barrel by the Swedish...


2018-01-21 Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

21 January 2018 Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 1-:14-20 + Homily 15 Minutes 11 Seconds (From the parish bulletin) In the late 1990s I watched the rebuilding of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, replicating the nineteenth-century cathedral that had been dynamited by Stalin in 1931. It can hold an estimated ten thousand worshipers (they stand throughout the long services, for pews are abhorrent to venerable tradition) and is the tallest Orthodox church in the world...


2017-01-14 Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

14 January 2018 Second Sunday in Ordinary Time John 1:35-42 + Homily 15 Minutes 37 Seconds (From the parish bulletin) The romantic soul of William Wordsworth thrilled over the French Revolution: “Oh! Pleasant exercise of hope and joy! . . . Bliss was it in the dawn to be alive. But to be young was very heaven!” He crossed the Channel to see it in action, but when the Terror began he fled in horror. Then there is the story of Beethoven tearing up the first page of his Sinfonia Eroica,...


2017-12-31 - Holy Family

31 December 2017 The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Luke 2:22-40 + Homily 18 Minutes 23 Seconds From the Bulletin [This week the regular pastor’s column yields to Saint Gregory Nazienzen, whose feast is January 2.] The very Son of God, older than the ages, the invisible, the incomprehensible, the incorporeal, the beginning of beginning, the light of light, the fountain of life and immortality, the image of the archetype, the immovable seal, the perfect likeness, the...


2017-12-24 Christmas Mass During the Night

24 December 2017 Christmas Mass During the Night Luke 2:1-14 + Homily 12 Minutes 27 Seconds


2017-12-24 - Advent IV - Luke 1:26-38 + Homily 16 MInutes 47 Seconds

From the Bulletin - 24 December 2017 Saint Paul was converted by the risen Christ, who appeared as a blinding light. Later, he would meet Peter and James who had seen the actual risen body, which had changed from the way it appeared during Christ’s three years with them. The body of the resurrected Christ had four characteristics. First, it could no longer feel pain. This “impassibility” was a triumph over the horrors of the Passion. Second, by “subtlety” the body was no longer subject...


2017-12-10 - Advent II - Mark 1:1-8

As a chaplain in a state mental hospital, I quickly learned two things. First, sometimes it was easy to mistake a psychiatrist for one of the patients. Second, and more importantly, the mentally ill can be highly intelligent. If one begins with an illogical premise, one may convincingly make a fallacy seem cogent. An unfortunate man in a locked ward who thinks he is Napoleon Bonaparte can almost convince a visitor that he is there because he lost the battle of Waterloo. Insanity is not a...


2017-12-03 - First Sunday of Advent - Mark 13:33-37

The explanation for your sense of expectation is that you have an imagination. Unlike animals guided by instinct, we can imagine past and future. Advent is the time of expectation. Since Christ is not limited by time, he can be born again in our lives at every Christmas. Expectation requires thinking about the four most important matters of existence: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. These are the primary mysteries that arrest the attention of minds awake, more compelling than holiday...


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