Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Memorial and Promotional Mass for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem

October 16, 2021
Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church
Arlington, Texas

Sirach 2:1-11
Psalm 23
1 John 3:1-2
John 14:1-6

Today the Lord has gathered and summoned us as His People to offer and to celebrate this Mass for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jesus. We pray for the repose of the souls of those Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher who have died during the past two years. We also pray for those members who are to be promoted within the ranks of our order for the sake of the mission entrusted to us.

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Homily for the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Opening Mass of the Diocesan Synodal Process

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

Isaiah 53:10-11
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
Hebrews 4:14-16
Mark 10:35-45

Synod is a word from Greek that means a meeting of people. In 1965, as a means of the continuing implementation of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Saint Paul VI created a new structure of the Holy See called the Synod of Bishops, and he planned for that standing office to organize regular meetings of bishops from around the world who would be given a topic to address by the Pope and then make recommendations based on their deliberations.

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Homily for the Mass for Babies who Died before Baptism

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

Isaiah 25:6-10a
Psalm 23
Mark 10:13-16

The Rite for Baptism of Infants calls for two anointings. The first anointing is to be administered by the priest and deacon with the Oil of Catechumens applied to the chest of the infant. This anointing is to take place before the Baptism is administered with the pouring of water. Then Baptism is administered by the priest or deacon by pouring the water over the head of the infant while saying simultaneously the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” There soon follows the second anointing with the Holy Chrism applied by the priest or deacon on the crown or forehead of the infant which signifies the newly baptized infant’s being anointed into the common priesthood, the prophetic office, and the kingship of Christ. Two anointings. One takes place before Baptism and the second one takes place after Baptism. Why?

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Homily for the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, September 13, 2021
Theological College
Washington, D.C.

1 Timothy  2:1-8
Psalm 28:2, 7, 8-9
Luke 7:1-10

The Gospel today offers us an important distinction for our reflection. It offers us the distinction between the religion born of culture and religion born of faith. First, the Gospel tells us this story, “A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he built the synagogue for us.”

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Homily for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 5, 2021
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah  35:4-7a
Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
James 2:1-5
Mark 7:31-37

Today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark recounts for us how, somewhere in the vicinity of the Greek cities in Syria known as the Decapolis, or Ten Cities, Jesus heals a deaf man who because of his inability to hear had not learned to speak properly. Curiously, the route that Mark tells us Jesus took to get to the Decapolis is not geographically possible. Also curious is the way that Jesus healed this man. His actions, putting fingers in the man’s ears, spitting, touching the man’s tongue and looking at the sky and groaning, are typical of Greek and Jewish healers, but not the usual way Jesus healed. People watching Jesus do this would have seen nothing out of the ordinary, but we know that it was a miracle.

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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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