Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 29, 2021
Installation of Reverend Pedro Martinez as Pastor
St. Peter the Apostle Parish
Fort Worth, Texas

Deuteronomy  4:1-2, 6-8
Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5
James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Some of the religious leaders of the Jews were frustrated and fearful of the way Jesus’ disciples seemed to ignore the prescribed rules and religious rituals of cleanliness before meals. The Pharisees were well known for carefully observing the rules down to minute details. Their way of reverencing God and cherishing the Law prompted them to make sure that all prescriptions were scrupulously observed. Yet, this same rigorous attention to detail frequently led them into developing rules that permitted exceptions to rules. Thus, at times, the rules became more important than God and the Covenant that God formed with the Jews with Moses. Jesus’ correction of them is direct and abrupt, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” Jesus then commands His audience, which includes us, to listen and learn.

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Vigésimo Primer Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

22 de agosto del 2021
Parroquia Santo Tomás el Apostól
Fort Worth, Texas

Josué  24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Salmo 34: 2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21
Efesios 5:21-32
Juan 6:60-69

Cristo entra en un mundo pecaminoso. El mundo pecaminoso en el que entra Cristo es uno al que entra para redimir y salvar en la plenitud de la Verdad. El mundo lleno de pecado que necesita la salvación es un mundo que se basa en la autoconservación; se trata de un mundo que se aprovecha de los débiles. Los niños y, por extensión, todos los vulnerables no tienen lugar en el dominio de un mundo pecaminoso, excepto cuando los poderosos con fines egoístas los usan y abusan como meros objetos. Cristo, al revelar la plenitud de la Verdad, coloca a los niños en el centro de Su Evangelio como ejemplo de discipulado y membresía en su Reino. Entonces, Cristo coloca a los niños ante todo el mundo, pero especialmente ante Sus apóstoles y discípulos. “Jesús dice: ‘Dejad que los niños vengan a mí’”. Cristo proclama esto no específicamente como una metáfora ni simplemente como un símbolo.

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Homily for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 22, 2021
St. Thomas the Apostle Parish
Fort Worth, Texas

Joshua  24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Psalm 34: 2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21
Ephesians 5:21-32
John 6:60-69

Things matter only as long as they matter. A priest-friend of mine recently spoke that line and then told me a story that serves as an illustration of the centrality of Christ in the Eucharist and the other sacraments, a point for our reflection in light of the readings the Church offers us this Sunday.

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Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

August 15, 2021
Saint Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16
1 Corinthians 15:20-27
Luke 1:39-56

Today we celebrate Mary’s being assumed body-and-soul into heaven. As she shared so closely in Jesus’ life and mission, so now she shares His Resurrection. Today’s solemnity invites us to contemplate the mystery of vocation, response, and love most perfectly exemplified in the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The call and response truly involve authentic freedom on God’s part and on Mary’s part. Neither the call nor the response is pre-determined – they each spring from and bear fruit in real love. Mary is portrayed in the Book of Revelation as being glorified by the sun, moon and stars as her garments. She is further pictured as being pregnant. The birth of Jesus was not just a personally defining moment of her life, but also the focal point of history. The mission of her Son became her own, but the threat to that mission is symbolized by the dragon ready to devour her Son. The dragon we face today is predominantly the dragon of indifference towards God’s love for us and the basic needs of our brother and sister human beings. It appears differently in each of our lives: sometimes preoccupation with self or boredom, often forgetfulness or thoughtlessness, always some sin, some form of selfishness or pride.

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Homily for the Memorial of Saint Clare of Assisi; Mass for the Convocation of Teachers of the Schools of the Diocese of Fort Worth

August 11, 2021
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
Keller, Texas

Philippians 3:8-14
Psalm 16:1b-2a, 5, 7-8, 11
Matthew 19:27-29

“I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ.” These words of Saint Paul written by him to the Philippians almost two thousand years ago as both a witness and an admonition of his brothers and sisters in the Church at Philippi, are offered to us by the Liturgy of the Church for our meditation as we celebrate this Eucharist on the Memorial of Saint Clare and at the beginning of our convocation of our priests, administrators, and teachers in our apostolate of Catholic education in the Diocese of Fort Worth.

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Homily for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 1, 2021
FMC Carswell Women’s Prison
Fort Worth, Texas

Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Psalm 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54
Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
John 6:24-35

The Book of Exodus reveals that the Israelite community is angry at Moses for bringing them out of Egypt and into the wilderness. The Israelites are of a mind that they would rather live in comfortable slavery than be free and face the challenges and expectations of freedom as God’s Chosen People. They complain about the lack of food in the wilderness, so God provides them quail and manna. But a steady diet of this only leads to more complaints. They are like so many of us, nothing completely satisfies our hungers, especially when we lack gratitude.

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