Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

May 16, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
Ephesians 4:1-13
Mark 16:15-20

As we liturgically celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord today, we hear the proclamation of the conclusion of Mark’s Gospel. In our Gospel reading, Jesus makes an unusual claim for those who believe: they will be able to drive out demons; they will speak new languages; they will handle serpents without harm; they will drink deadly poison without effect; and they will heal the sick. It seems strange that Mark would report these predictions of Jesus since we might be tempted to misunderstand our religion as if it were our introduction to powers.

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Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 9, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
1 John 4:7-10
John 15:9-17

The readings that the Church offers us in today’s liturgy involve call and command, transparency and friendship, love and sacrifice. Our second reading is a passage from the first Epistle of John that encourages us to love one another because that unites us with God. He goes on to tell us that love consists not in any activity on our part, but in the fact that God first loves us. This love consists in the gift of His Son who brings us forgiveness of our sins. God is the primary agent in love, and we are the recipients. Jesus says, “it was not you who chose Me but I who chose you and appointed you.”

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Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 2, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Acts 9:26-31
Psalm 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32
I John 3:18-24
John 15:1-8

The Acts of the Apostles tells us today about Saint Paul’s entry into the Church. Three years after the Lord had appeared to him on the road to Damascus, Paul presented himself to the disciples in Jerusalem. But his reputation as Saul the Pharisee had preceded him, and the leaders had trouble believing that he had changed from persecuting the Church to be its defender.

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Fourth Sunday of Easter: Good Shepherd Sunday

April 25, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Acts 4:8-12
Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29
1 John 3:1-2
John 10:11-18

In our Gospel on this Fourth Sunday of Easter, Jesus identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd. In so doing, Jesus also speaks of two characteristics of His mission as the Good Shepherd. First, He knows His sheep with a closeness conveyed by the statement that He knows the name of each of His sheep and that in turn His sheep recognize His voice, and they follow. 

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Homily for the Third Sunday of Easter

April 18, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-9
1 John 2:1-5a
Luke 24:35-48

While the disciples from the road to Emmaus were describing how they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread, Jesus suddenly appears among them and speaks to them the words, “Peace be with you.” The disciples thought they were seeing a ghost, but Jesus showed them His wounds and told them to touch Him to prove He was not a ghost. He even asked them for something to eat.

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Homily for the Second Sunday of Easter, Sunday of Divine Mercy

April 11, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 118
1 John 5:1-6
John 20:19-31

The first words attributed to the Risen Lord are “peace be with you.”  One can presume that the community of Apostles and other disciples that had gathered behind locked doors was in some state of disquiet. One reason was fear and confusion at Jesus’ death, but another may have been divisiveness and resentment since Jesus next speaks about forgiveness. He says, “If you forgive others’ sins they are forgiven; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.” To receive fully Christ’s resurrection gift of peace, requires that we also accept forgiveness and exercise our Christian capacity to forgive.

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