Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 17, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-9, 10
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
John 1:35-42

Last Sunday, the Church invited us to reflect on the sacrament of Baptism as we celebrated the end of the Christmas season with the Baptism of the Lord. This weekend we begin Ordinary Time. The Church offers us these readings for reflection on vocation and service. Vocation and service follow sacramentally from Baptism in the sacraments of Matrimony and Holy Orders as the ordinary means by which Christ offers us His grace. 

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Homily for the Baptism of the Lord

January 10, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 55:1-11
Isaiah 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6
1 John 5:1-9
Mark 1:7-11

“Peace is order, in relation to God and in relation to human beings; it is wisdom, it is justice, it is civilization. Whoever loves peace loves humanity, without distinction of race or of color.” These words were preached by Pope Saint Paul VI in a Mass offered on October 4, 1965, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, in Yankee Stadium during the first visit of a pope to the United States of America.

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Homily for the Epiphany of the Lord

January 3, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

The Feast of the Epiphany is about the gift of a revelation that both offers and requires the gift of faith. The Feast of the Epiphany invites us into the mystery of the truth, the truth that we seek to know through reason and science and the truth that we come to know through the gift of faith. One truth, two paths, faith and reason. The Magi, whom we meet in today’s Gospel reading from Matthew are not simply people who have a warm spiritual experience in seeing the Baby Jesus, they are people who follow their path laid out by reason and the science of their contemporary times and this path delivers them to discover the King who is promised to be born in Bethlehem.

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Homily for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

January 1, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Numbers 6:22-27
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6-8
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:16-21

It has been said that “Time has no mercy. The minutes and hours… the days and weeks… the months and years continue uninterruptedly.” We are tempted at the end of the year 2020 to speak these words with a resentful vengeance, for so many of us feel that this past year with its many events was stolen from us by the pandemic and the perceived chicanery of many entrusted with leadership and authority in the fields of public health, religion, and government.

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Homily for the Solemnity of the Holy Family

December 27, 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Colossians 3:12-21
Luke 2:22-40

Some of you have heard me tell of my past experiences as a priest-ethicist serving as a consultant in the field of health care. One of my responsibilities was to assist people in preparing their durable powers of attorney for health care especially regarding the Catholic tradition of ordinary and extraordinary means of treatment. In giving my presentation to a group of people, someone would inevitably make the statement, “Father, I just do not want to spend my elderly years as a burden to my children.” I would respond, “I understand, but it is too late. You already are a burden to your children and have been so for their entire lives, and they to you.”

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Homily for the Nativity of the Lord – At the Midnight Mass

December 25, 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 9:1-6
Psalm 96:1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14

“In those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.” The intention of Caesar was to count and to number those under his power as the Emperor of Rome. This census was a common experience for every person from every ethnic group throughout the Roman Empire. In so doing, Caesar imposed himself upon the people universally. In being forced to be enrolled, the people were reminded through the common experience of oppression and fear that they were to adhere to Caesar’s power as the universal emperor.

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Homily for the Nativity of the Lord – At the Vigil Mass

December 24, 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

1 Isaiah 62:1-5
Psalm 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29
Titus 3:4-7
Matthew 1:18-25

For this celebration of the Vigil of Christmas, the Church offers for our reflection the annunciation of Saint Joseph as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel. One of the noteworthy aspects of this reading is the silence of Saint Joseph. He responds to the announcement by the angel of the first Christmas with silence. The silence of Saint Joseph is not born of confusion regarding what this news means for Mary and for him.

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Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

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

2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14a-16
Psalm 89: 2-5, 27, 29
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

Yesterday at Mass, we proclaimed the section of Luke’s Gospel that immediately precedes the Gospel reading that we proclaim today, the Annunciation to Zachariah that his wife Elizabeth is to conceive in her advanced age and bear a son, John the Baptist.

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