Sunday, August 30, 2020

Christ leads us through suffering to eternal life – Matt 16:21-27, Rom 12:1-2

 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time; St. Adalbert's.

One year at Notre Dame’s baccalaureate Mass, I was the person tasked with purifying the vessels after communion. As I was purifying the main, celebrant’s chalice, I noticed whose it was.  It had belonged to Fr. Sorin, Notre Dame’s first president, who had left his home country of France to make the long dangerous journey to Indiana to found a school, taking risk after risk to help this school survive and then grow.  It wasn’t the chalice he’d received at his ordination, but one he’d been given on one of his ordination anniversaries by a benefactor.  The precious metal alone must have been worth a pretty penny, the craftsmanship and artistry more, and the history behind it probably made it the most expensive thing I’d ever held, and certainly the most expensive thing I’d ever swilled water around in and drunk out of.  The most expensive thing I’d ever held, but not the most valuable: for a little while before I’d embraced fellow Christians in the sign of peace (how we long to be able to return to that), and a shortly after that I’d held the body of my Lord briefly in my hand, before I consumed it.  “What could we give in exchange for our life, or the life of anyone?”  Jesus asked.  Nothing, we could give nothing so valuable as a life.  What would he give for our life?  Everything.  He would give his clothing, his blood, his body, his very life, to lead us into eternal life.


Sunday, July 19, 2020

El reino de dios crecerá para dar la bienvenida a todos – Mat 13:24-43

XVI Domingo ordinario, Ciclo A; San Adalberto

Los trabajadores están bastante seguros de que pueden notar la diferencia entre trigo, la planta que se quiere, y cizaña. El amo les dice que se equivoquan. La apariencia no nos dice en que se convertirá algo. La aperiencia no nos dice en que se convertirá alguien.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Jesus comes to us – Zech 9:9-10; Matt 11:25-30

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A; Moreau Seminary & St. Adalbert's parish.

One of my favorite “Bible quotes” that’s nowhere to be found in the actual Bible is “this too shall pass.” The first occurrence of that phrase in English seems to be in a nineteenth century English translation of Sufi poetry, and, in a speech in 1859, Abraham Lincoln claimed that an unidentified “Eastern monarch” had charged his sages to come up with an adage that would be true and appropriate in all situations, and that what they had offered him was this: “this too shall pass.”

Sunday, June 14, 2020

God keeps on feeding us –Deut 8:2-3, 14b-16a; Jn 6:51-58

Corpus Christi; St. Joe parish (South Bend).

I’ve spoken to a number of people recently who have articulated to me in different ways the same conviction: that they wish they’d been more grateful for certain things before the pandemic. That there were things they’d taken for granted that they promised themselves they would never take for granted again. And my reaction to all of that is… complicated. In some ways it isn’t. I think gratitude is a wonderful thing, of course. It’s an act of justice towards God, the giver of all good things, and towards people of good will who when they cooperate with God’s generosity. Being grateful for what we have can keep us from being proud over what we have, or jealous of what others have, and can make it easier to be generous with what we have.  The reason that my reaction to this impulse is complicated isn’t that I think gratitude is unimportant, and more that I know how hard it is.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Jesus breaks for us – Luke 24:13-35

Third Sunday of Easter, Year A; Moreau Seminary.

A couple of months after my priestly ordination, I ended up checking in to Holy Cross House. For about a week, I’d been really tired and had an annoying cough that wouldn’t go away, and then one Sunday evening, I passed out while saying Mass. It turned out that I had walking pneumonia, which isn’t a lot a fun at the best of times I’ve heard, but that also interacted another condition that I thought I had been managing adequately, and resulted in gastric fluid collecting in my lungs. After a few really difficult days of isolation on the medical floor, which were certainly difficult because of the pain and the fever, but even more because of the complete lack of knowing what was going on, I was finally allowed out of my room, and allowed to come down to concelebrate Mass. Still smarting from the realization of how out of breath I was from walking from the elevator to the chapel, I remember well the first time I concelebrated Mass at Holy Cross House. I remember saying, “This is my Body,” and it meaning something new and different than the last sixty or so times I’d said that. I remember seeing the Body broken at the fraction rite and knowing that I now knew Christ in a new way. I knew him in the breaking of the bread.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Jesus quenches our thirst – John 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42

Third Sunday of Lent, Year A, with a reception into the catechumenate; Holy Infant parish.

Why was this woman going to the well on her own at noon? Let’s start with the easier part of that question. Why was she going to the well? Presumably, she was going to the well because she wanted water. Or, probably, because she needed water. It seems that this well was some ways out from the village. She must have needed water badly enough that she was prepared to walk through the noon day heat to go to the well. She was thirsty. Why did she go on her own, and why did she go at noon? Noon in a hot climate is not the best time to do your well run. And leaving the village alone is not a normal safe thing to do. Maybe, and we’re left with guesses about this woman, maybe she chose noon precisely because it was not a popular time to go to the well. Maybe she was not just lacking in water, but in community, not just having no one to go with, but really preferring not to be around others.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Christ brings the heavenly down the mountain for us – Matt 17:1-9; Gen 12:1-4a

Second Sunday of Lent, Year A; Holy Infant parish.

“Luke, I am your father;” the de-masking at the close of the Marriage of Figaro; the transformation of the Beast into Belle’s prince; the quite frankly bizarre moment in more than one Shakespeare play when a woman lets down her hair and only then do the rest of the dramatis personae realize she’s not a boy: we’re fascinated by these kinds of scenes, where a character’s true identity, hidden from other characters or even from the reader, gets made visible, when the dramatic x-ray machine cuts through flesh and marrow and discloses bone.  This is the vision God granted these three disciples, a disclosure of the glorious light Christ was in their midst, in contrast to the hiddenness and homelessness with which he was more normally clothed.  But this is not just a revelation about Jesus with no relevance for the rest of humanity; this is a preview of the glory of resurrection that awaits us. It’s a re-echoing of the heavenly voice from Christ’s baptism, the unwavering assertion of his beloved sonship, and another invitation to hear that voice speaking to us.