To preach on this text, I need to be honest about where I stand, honest that when I hear this parable, I don’t feel like Lazarus. In fact, I’m frightened that I act like the rich man, and I’m begging God to help me grow into Christ’s likeness, who crossed from heaven to earth to show God’s love to sinners like you and me who rejected him. So, I’m going to preach to scratch my own itch. But, I say all this recognizing that some people hearing this might feel like Lazarus. Pope Francis once said that every verse of scripture is gift before it is demand, and if you do feel like Lazarus in this story, then maybe you don’t need the demand, at least not yet. Maybe you just need to assurance of choirs of angels celebrating your entry into heaven and embrace not just of Abraham but of Jesus. Be assured, and now let me talk a little to those who are frightened by this parable.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Sunday, September 18, 2016
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C; Holy Infant parish
This is my first time preaching the Sunday morning Masses here at Holy Infant and, while I’ve celebrated with the daily Mass crowd and Vigil Mass crowd, I was still really hoping that for my first time preaching for this gathered assembly, I’d get a nice easy Gospel passage. I guess God and the lectionary had other ideas! But, while this is a very strange parable, I want to start with what’s clear about it.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C -- Holy Infant parish.
When it’s your first time preaching a Sunday Mass in a new parish, you kind of hope for an easy gospel passage to preach on. But, I guess God has a different plan in mind, furnishing this teaching about hating family and carrying instruments of torture around with us. God actually has a track record on waving this passage in my face on occasions when I’d most like to avoid it. As you might recall, the Sunday readings cycle round on a three-year rotation, and the Sunday corresponding to this one three years ago, September 8th actually, I remember the date well, because it was the occasion of my ordination to the diaconate. Just what I wanted! When I was welcoming my family to the seminary to celebrate with me, they’d be subjected to a gospel claiming I was meant to hate them!
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Ordinary Time, Year C, Week 20; WNDU TV Mass (South Bend)
There is a marked home field advantage in the Olympics. Host nations on average win 20 more medals than they did in the summer games previous to the ones on their soil, and 10 more gold. You might wonder where this advantage comes from. Some of it is probably not being wearied by travel, competing in the climate you train in, the kind of advantages that accrue from being at ‘home.’ But, I’m sure a big part of it too is the fans, the people cheering you on.
Saturday, August 6, 2016
19th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year C; St. Pius parish (South Bend).
God keeps calling us to be on the move, to be a pilgrim people, to walk away from what binds us, even if it’s temporarily comfortable, and walk into the freedom of self-gift, even though that’s hard, walk to the place where death will give way to life.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Ordinary Time, Yr C, Week 17; St. Thomas More parish (Knebworth, England)
With this being an Olympic year, we’ll soon get to watch some amazing feats of athleticism. We’ll see women and men who truly have been born with great gifts from God – their genetics, their opportunities, the people who support them – and who also have worked incredibly hard to hone their skills. None of what we’ll see is their own un-aided un-God-given achievement, but none of it comes naturally either, not without being taught and trained. In our gospel, we see that the disciples recognize that this is true too in their life of prayer. Just like any athletic skill, or musical, or literary, the disciples know that they need to be taught, and they ask Jesus, “Teach us how to pray.”
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Ordinary Time, Yr C, 15th Sunday; St. Mary's
“Who is my neighbor?” I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve heard that question often enough that I’m not sure it no longer stirs in my heart what needs to be stirred. When I realized this week that we could just as grammatically render it “Who is near me?” it started to do a little more work. Then, I thought that right now might not be the time for grammatical fastidiousness, and I might need the freshness of this: “Whose lives matter?” “Who is my neighbor…? Who is near me…? Whose lives matter?”