Life on the Chrism Trail

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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Homily for the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 18, 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
Psalm 96:1, 3-5, 7-10
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b
Matthew 22:15-21

In 589 B.C., the Babylonians conquered the Israelites and took many of them back to Babylon. Fifty years later, the Persians led by Cyrus the Great conquered the Babylonians. The Persian victory gave the Israelites hope that they might be set free. Cyrus was neither a Jew nor a believer, but the Israelites saw him as being sent to carry out God’s plans.

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Homily for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 4, 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:9, 12, 13-16, 19-20
Philippians 4:6-9
Matthew 21:33-43

We usually think of atheists as people who firmly do not believe in God.  Father Thomas Halik, a Czech priest and author offers a different consideration, “Atheists are people who cannot be patient enough to wait for God.”  I think that this is an apt description of many of us, even those who are formal believers but who live life as if they do not really believe in God. I think that it also offers us an entrance into a reflection on today’s readings.

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Homily for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 21, 2020
Saint Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Jeremiah 20:10-13
Psalm 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
Romans 5:12-15
Matthew 10:26-33

I would like to begin by expressing my best wishes and pledge of prayers for all of those here today who are entrusted with the gift and responsibility of Christian fatherhood on this national celebration of Fathers’ Day. I thank God for the gift of my own father and I also ask each of us to remember our own fathers in our prayers today — both living and dead.

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