Sunday, May 23, 2021

God prays through us – Rom 8:22-27, John 7:37-39 (Pentecost Vigil)

 Pentecost Vigil; Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

I am the proud sponsor of a pipe. Not a pipe you smoke, or a pipe that carries water or oil, but a pipe of a pipe organ. A church I used to be a member of, long before I entered seminary, was installing a new pipe organ and, as part of the fundraising efforts, they offered the opportunity for people to pay to sponsor a pipe. Larger pipes were available for larger donations, and smaller ones for those with less resources. I was a student at the time, so I ended up sponsoring one of the higher-pitched E flute pipes. Now, when I paid my money, there was an attached promise that not only would I get a certificate (which I got), but that when the organ was ready to be played, there would be an evening reception for all pipe-sponsors, at which we would be allowed play our pipe. As far as I know, that happened, but I’d already moved a long distance away, and never got to go.


Sunday, May 2, 2021

God tends to our fruitfulness – John 15:1-8

 Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B; Breen Philips Hall.

Last week, we heard from Jesus’ Good Shepherd speech in John. We heard Jesus say that he 100% commits to us, that we are His and He is ours, that He’s willing to suffer for us, to know rejection for us, and lead us on in our pilgrimage. Today, in this image of the vine and the branches, Jesus uses a different image to say a lot of the same things, but there are some different emphases.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

The rejected Jesus commits to us – Acts 4:8-12, John 10:11-18

 Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B; Breen-Philips Hall.

Press play, and you hear Antonio Cipriani sing in a beautiful yet subdued way, “That I would be good, even if I did nothing.” Then the melody passes to Celia Rose Gooding, who responds, “That I would be good, even if I got the thumbs down.” They continue alternating lines: “That I would be good, even if I got resentful; that I would be good, even if I gained ten pounds.” Lauren Patten then comes in with this plaintiff descant, “why won’t you accept who I need to be?,” as Antonio and Celia keep on alternating, before Lauren takes the melody and turns it up to eleven, coming in and belting out: “I need to know that I would be loved, even if I am my true self; that I would be good, even when I am overwhelmed.”


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Jesus perfects our love – Luke 24:35-48; 1 John 2:1-5a

 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year B. Breen-Philips Hall.

Jesus, after his resurrection, appears in the midst of his disciples, and they’re terrified. So, Jesus wishes them peace. Not peace in the sense of having no conflict or struggle in their lives. In fact, he’ll soon send them out to witness to him knowing that that will mean martyrdom for most of them. No, Jesus wishes them the kind of peace in their hearts that will allow them to do that. The kind of peace in their hearts that will let them not be terrified to see him.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Christ breaks any barrier to be with us – Acts 4:32-35; John 20:19-21

 Sunday in the Octave of Easter, Year B; Breen-Philips Hall

We’ve had so long now of having to think about distance. The 6-foot wingspan touchdown Jesus reminds of one thing we need to do to keep one another safe. Distance, barriers… physical things we need right now, but I wonder if we’ve let them get a hold of parts of our spirits where they really don’t belong. I’m glad that Notre Dame tries to be consistent in its messaging in using the phrase “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing,” because it’s so important that we strive to remain socially connected, throughout this pandemic, throughout our lives. And being socially connected doesn’t just mean superficial interactions, but genuine, vulnerable, intimate friendships. And behind that lies spiritual connectedness. Keeping close to God, and allow our other relationships to feed and deepen that central relationship. Sometimes things that are hard feel too heavy to hold, and so we put up barriers and make distance in our spirits. We don’t let ourselves feel another’s pain, or even our own, we don’t offer that to God, let ourselves be inspired to act.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The resurrection light grows – Acts 10:34-43; 1 Cor 5:6b-8; Mark 16:1-7

 Easter Sunday, Year B. Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

If you’re into setting records, those of you gathered here in the basilica this morning should know that we’ve collectively come in precisely second in one particular competition. That’s the competition to see how few people you can have at an Easter Sunday Mass in this basilica. Now, as the basilica hosts more and more Masses over the course of today, those Masses will equal our numbers and share our silver medals, but there has been no previous Easter Sunday Mass here that has come close to our number. Prior to 2020, of course, every single Easter Sunday Mass here has been full to the rafters (at least, since the basilica has been a basilica). Last year, though, the only people present were Holy Cross priests and brothers who lived on campus, and select campus ministry staff who were exercising some kind of liturgical ministry. Our celebration here is so much bigger than 2020 while still being so much smaller than all that came before, and (we hope and can with some confidence expect) than all that will come from 2022 on.


Sunday, March 7, 2021

Jesus quenches thirst, ours and his – John 4:5-42, Exod 17:3-7, Rom 5:1-8

 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year A readings); St. Adalbert and St. Casimir parishes

We all know the experience of being thirsty. That tickle in our throat, that as thirst grows worse can become more uncomfortable, and then painful. Maybe it comes with a headache, or with fatigue. Thirst is actually quite hard to describe, because it’s so basic to being alive: being thirsty feels like thirst and we know what that feels like. We also know how good a cool glass of water feels on a hot day. Our first two readings use those feelings we all know so well and name something equally basic to being human: the reality that we are thirsty people and God refreshes us.