Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Twenty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time

August 30, 2020
Saint Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Jeremiah 20:7-9
Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9
Romans 12:1-2
Matthew 16:21-27

In the novel entitled The Great Divorce, written by C.S. Lewis, we read a unique story that depicts a visit to Heaven by a group of strangers from hell. Lewis depicts these strangers as empty and translucent and because of these qualities they are referred to as ghosts. In contrast, the angels and saints of Heaven whom the ghosts encounter are solid, and thus Lewis refers to them as solid people. In one encounter between a ghost and a solid person, there is a little, ugly lizard sitting on the shoulder of the ghost. The lizard is constantly speaking into the ear of the ghost, manipulating it, and drawing the ghost’s attention away from the beauty and truth of heaven that surrounds him. At one point, the solid person, an angel, asks the ghost, “would you like me to kill the lizard?” The ghost is first confused so he just gives a passive nod of approval, not truly understanding to what he has just agreed.

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Homily for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 23, 2020
Saint Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 22:19-23
Psalm 138:1-3, 6, 8
Romans 11:33-36
Matthew 16:13-20

The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth possesses in its collection a painting by Nicolas Poussin. The painting depicts the very scene described in our Gospel reading from this Sunday; Christ entrusts the keys of the Kingdom to Peter. The painting is entitled The Sacrament of Ordination; it is one of a series of seven Poussin paintings depicting the sacraments. The artist presents this scene involving Christ entrusting the keys to Peter taken from today’s Gospel as representing Peter’s ordination by Christ. Honestly, upon initially viewing this beautiful work of art, I must state that I was puzzled over the choice of this passage of Scripture to present the Sacrament of Holy Orders. I would have selected scenes from Scripture like the Call of the Apostles, or perhaps the Last Supper, or the Washing of Feet to represent Holy Orders — not the entrusting of the keys to Peter.

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Homily for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 16, 2020
Saint Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 56:1,6-7
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Matthew 15:21-28

We are each familiar with the story from the Book of Exodus of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness on their escape from Egypt towards the land promised them by God. In that story we hear about how God provides manna from heaven to sustain the Israelites and to keep them on their journey without fear of starving. The Israelites soon become bored with the bread that has come down from heaven — the manna, and they complain because they begin to see themselves as entitled to it. Instead of receiving the manna as a gift from God, they begin to merely see it as something that falls from the sky. The relationship initiated by God with the Israelites is the heart of their identity — an identity beyond their racial, ethnic, or familial differences with others.

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Homily for the Feast of St. Lawrence: Ordination of Permanent Deacons

Photo by NTC/Juan Guajardo

Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

August 10, 2020
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
Keller, Texas

Jeremiah 1:4-9
Psalm 112:1-2, 5-6, 7-9
2 Corinthians 9:6-10
John 12:24-26

Antes que nada, felicidades a nuestros candidatos para el diaconado permanente, y también quiero expresar mi gratitud a las familias, especialmente a las esposas, de nuestros candidatos. Gracias por decir “Si” a la llamada que Cristo les ha dado a ustedes.

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Homily for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 9, 2020
Saint Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

1 Kings 19:9A, 11-13A
Psalm 85:9,10,11-12,13-14
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:22-33

Part of our prayer as Christians should be reflection and examination of our spiritual lives: how do we relate to God and how does that affect our relationship with our neighbor? To answer these questions, we must be reminded of how to pay attention to where God calls us to meet Him so that we might not lose focus on Him. The readings today speak of three possible meeting places: the mountain, the storm, and the gentle breeze.

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Homily for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 2, 2020
Saint Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 55:1-3
Psalm 145:8-9, 15-16, 17-18
Romans 8:35, 37-39
Matthew 14:13-21

Jesus, hearing of the death of John the Baptist, seeks to be alone. Jesus shows us that at moments like this we all need time to stop, to remember and to mourn what we have lost. The crowd does not give Jesus this time. Not being left alone to reflect on the death of his cousin, Jesus begins to heal the sick. As evening approached, His disciples — in fear that they do not have enough — prompts them to want to send the crowd away, but Jesus does not send them away. Fear scatters where Christ unites.

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