Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 18, 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
Psalm 96:1, 3-5, 7-10
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b
Matthew 22:15-21

In 589 B.C., the Babylonians conquered the Israelites and took many of them back to Babylon. Fifty years later, the Persians led by Cyrus the Great conquered the Babylonians. The Persian victory gave the Israelites hope that they might be set free. Cyrus was neither a Jew nor a believer, but the Israelites saw him as being sent to carry out God’s plans.

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Homily for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 11, 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 25:6-10a
Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
Matthew 22:1-14

When I was seven years old, Sister Edward Clare prepared me and my classmates to receive our First Holy Communion. This preparation involved her preparing us for our first Confession. Sister made great efforts to prepare us in such a way as to draw us closer to Christ. For weeks, she walked us through the process of making an examination of conscience by reviewing our lives considering each of the Ten Commandments.

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Homily for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 4, 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:9, 12, 13-16, 19-20
Philippians 4:6-9
Matthew 21:33-43

We usually think of atheists as people who firmly do not believe in God.  Father Thomas Halik, a Czech priest and author offers a different consideration, “Atheists are people who cannot be patient enough to wait for God.”  I think that this is an apt description of many of us, even those who are formal believers but who live life as if they do not really believe in God. I think that it also offers us an entrance into a reflection on today’s readings.

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Homily for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 27 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Ezekiel 18:25-28
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
Philippians 2:1-11
Matthew 21:28-32

A story is recorded about Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. It seems that while she was serving as the Mistress of Novices in her convent, responsible for the formation of the younger sisters, one of them approached the saint and in frustration confided in her: “Oh Sister Therese, I am so far from perfection. I have so many good qualities yet to acquire that it seems that I will never be able to complete this.” To which Saint Therese replied, “No Sister, you have a lot of good qualities to lose.” The point that Saint Therese is making to the younger sister (and to us) is that holiness in our lives as Catholics does not consist in self-sufficiency and verbal compliance to the words of the Gospel. Our faith does not merely complete our life as one part, even if we think it to be the most important part, of our life. Holiness requires a humble response through action and change in behavior that frequently precedes our full change of heart and conversion. Holiness requires action in response to the promptings of God. It requires our conversion by the emptying of our self-sufficiency by which we attempt to live life by turning to God only when we need His assistance to complete our will. It requires our conversion to a spiritual disposition in which we simply respond to and do God’s will for love of Him. Saint Therese says elsewhere, “Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.”

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Homily for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 20, 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 55:6-9
Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a
Matthew 20:1-16a

In the Gospel reading for today, Jesus teaches with a parable that underlines the overwhelming generosity and mercy of God announced by Isaiah in our first reading. The workers who arrive late at the vineyard could be referred to as outcasts separated from the fullness of the religious life of Israel, while those who work all day can be taken as those dutiful to the law of God all their lives.

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Homily for the Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 13, 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Sirach 27:30-28:7
Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12
Romans 14:7-9
Matthew 18:21-35

“Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight.” This passage from the Book of Sirach today is a reflection on anger, vengeance, and forgiveness. Wrath and anger are destructive forces, and we tend to let them overtake us and drive us away from reason. We remember insults and injuries we have received and feel justified in returning the same. Unfortunately, our anger not only hurts others, but make us bitter and resentful and increasingly irrational. The offensive civil discourse of today is neither civil nor discourse because anger has taken over many of us and has foisted disorder into our shared common society.

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Do we express the mystery of our common humanity, or do we do violence to it?

Bishop Michael Olson delivers his homily during the Mass for Peace Among People of All Races at Nolan Catholic High School Sept. 9, 2020. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

Feast of Saint Peter Claver
Mass for Peace Among People of All Races and in Time of War and Civil Disturbance

Isaiah 58:6-11
Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Matthew 25:14-23

The Gospel of today speaks of three different servants who were given an unequal number of similar coins that were known as talents. The two servants who were given more, responded in generosity and gave all they had to the Master, who represents God. The third servant looks at the little he has been given and buries it out of fear and selfishness. He loses the little that he has been given because in hiding it he has abandoned generosity — a sure sign of ingratitude.

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Homily for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 6, 2020
Saint Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Ezekiel 33:7-9
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
Romans 13:8-10
Matthew 18:15-20

Some of us are old enough to remember a time when television would stop broadcasting at about one or two in the morning. The day would conclude with a brief 5-minute reflection on life offered by a local member of the clergy followed by the national anthem and then a test pattern or color bar would be displayed until the early morning awaiting the start of the new day.  This was also a time before we had cycles of 24-hour news. There would be an evening newscast around the dinner hour, a second newscast at ten o’clock at night, and that would be about it.

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