23 and 24 December 2017 Fourth Sunday of Advent B Homily

23 and 24 December 2017  Fourth Sunday of Advent B Homily

 

SECOND SAMUEL 7: 1-16

PSALM 89

ROMANS 16:25-27

LUKE 1:26-38

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

The Advent call, cry, prayer “Come Lord Jesus” is about to be

fulfilled.

 

The scriptures today speak about “dwellings” and “indwellings.”

David is brave, bright, handsome, charming, “highly favored.”

Up to this point in his life he has a golden touch and things turn

out his way in an uncanny manner.

 

David decides to build a “dwelling” for the Lord.

David finds it discomforting that the Lord lives in a tent while he

(David) lives in a house of  “cedar.”

 

The Lord has other plans for David.

The Hebrew word “bayith”  means “dwelling” or house.

“Bayith” also means  “dynasty.”

 

David will not build a house for the Lord.

The Lord, we are told, will “establish a house (dynasty) for

David.”

 

The Jewish religion, like many religions, is ambiguous about

building temples, chapels, synagogues, mosques, cathedrals,

basilicas and shrines.  

The ambiguity comes from the practical concern over the physical

and financial resources needed to construct and maintain a “house

of God.”  

I do not need to elaborate on the struggle over building and

maintaining a special building  in this very special house of

God.

 

The Lord dwelling in a “tent” seems a much more flexible and

less consuming option than building, heating, cooling and

maintaining a large building.

 

The tent is open, movable, adaptable but also may be penetrated,

and is vulnerable to any number of  “natural” or “man made”

disasters.

Spiritually speaking, a physical building may tend to localize and

control where the Lord may be found, may be active, may be

accessed.

 

What David is promised by the Lord is that the Lord will be

present and “dwell” in David  and in his offspring.

 

David is not permitted to control the movement, dwelling place,

presence or action of the Lord.

 

 

The gospel speaks of Mary, apparently alone and most probably in

the inner room of her home. Unmarried women were not seen by

men other than in the presence of their fathers and brothers.

 

Mary is informed that the Lord would be present, would establish

his dwelling, his “indwelling” not in a stone or wooden dwelling.

 

The Lord, Mary is told, will “dwell” in her body, in her inner most

place, in her womb.

 

Mary, being unmarried and not having “relations with a man” asks

“How can this be?”

 

Mary is informed the Holy Spirit “will come over” her and “the

power of the Most High will overshadow” her.

 

Mary then will have the protection not of her natural father and

other male family members.

Mary will have the protection of the Lord.

The Lord will “dwell” with and in Mary after she has her child.

 

God does the “impossible” in the young woman Mary who has not

had “relations with a man” by promising her a son.

 

God does the “impossible” in the older woman Elizabeth who is

“barren” by giving her a “son in her old age.”

 

God does the impossible, Paul tells us in the second reading, by

revealing the “mystery”

of the extent,

the reach,

the limitlessness of God’s desire

to dwell with us,

to save us,

to bring us to himself.

All religions tend to define, circumscribe, place conditions on

who is

in,

out,

just,

a sinner,

worthy,

good,

bad,

right,

wrong.

 

Jesus Christ, Paul tells us today,

reveals the mystery,

the secret that:

God seeks to dwell

in all people

and in all peoples.

 

We say, ask, plead:

“Come Lord Jesus”

Come to dwell with us.

Come to dwell in us.

Come to be all in all.

Come to take us into your Father’s loving care and

form us in his and your loving image.

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16 and 17 December 2017 Third Sunday of Advent B Homily

16 and 17 December 2017 Third Sunday of Advent B Homily

 

Isaiah 6:1-2, 10-11

Psalm Lk 1

First Thessalonians 5:16-24

John 1:6-8,19-28

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

John the Baptizer is a puzzling figure.

We are told in the Gospel that “Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and

Levites” to John.  

The authorities in Jerusalem  puzzled over who this  

John was,

what he was to do,

what he thought of himself.

 

John, we know,  “was sent from God.” The authorities wondered about

what kind of trouble maker John might be.

 

John came to “testify to the light , so that all (including the Jews) might

believe through him (John)”.

 

The Gospel and John himself are very clear about “what” and “who”

John “is not.”

“He (John) was not the light but came to testify to the light.”

We might, at this point, clarify  who the “light” is.

The light is  the “Christ”.

We will sing “Christ our light” at the Easter  Vigil.  

As we light the candles of the Advent wreath,

as we light the Easter Candle at funerals, Baptisms, Confirmations and

First Communions we are reminded that the “light has come into the

world” for us.

 

John’s mission it to help himself and others understand who the light is.

John explains who the light is by admitting, declaring or denying in answer to the questions about who he is, what he is up to, what his purpose is.

John admits: “I am not the Christ.”

John denies he is “Elijah”.

John denies he is “the Prophet.”                       

John is put on the spot.  He is asked “What do you have to say for yourself?”

John’s answer is taken from the  prophet Isaiah: “I am ‘the voice of one crying in the desert make straight the way of the Lord’.”

 

Advent is a good time for us to ask what John was asked: “What do you have to say for yourself?”

Can I say: “I am not the light but I testify to the light”?

Can I say: “I am ‘making straight the way of the Lord’ in my own life”?

Can I say: “I am an instrument, (like John) that God uses so tha  others may come to believe”?

John is a puzzling figure and he invites us to work out a fascinating puzzle.

Some pieces of the puzzle, putting the puzzle together may depend on how we answer the following questions:

“Can we recognize the “One”, the “Light”, “among” us who comes after John?”

“Can we recognize the Christ when he comes?”  

“Can we make straight the way of the Lord?”

 

 

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Guadalupe 12 de Diciembre 2017

Guadalupe 12 de Diciembre 2017

 

SIRACIDE 24:23-31

PSALM 66

GALATAS 4:4-7

LUCAS 1:39-48

 

Hermanas y hermanos en Cristo.

Venimos hoy a celebrar la fiesta de Nuestra Senora  de Guadalupe.

Es una fiesta muy especial porque celebramos la apariencia de

la Maria en nuestro continente, en nuestra vida, en nuestro

comunidad.

 

El evangelio se habla de Maria y Isabel

buenas mujeres,

buenas mamas,

buenas familiares,

buenas amigas.

 

Maria, notamos, acepto la voluntad de Dios.

Maria abrio su vida, su corazón, su cuerpo a la presencia y

voluntad de Dios.

Isabel hizo lo mismo.

 

Maria no dejo ayudar su familia cuando tenía necesidad aunque

ella estaba esperando su bebe.

 

Maria se hizo

instrumento del evangelio,

maestra de caridad,

maestra de ayuda a los pobres.

 

Maria facilitó el nacimiento de Jesús y

nuestra participación con Jesús como hijos adoptivos de Dios.

 

Podemos decir a nuestro Dios “Abba” como “Padre” porque

Jesús tomó nuestra carne y acepto nuestra condición humana

menos el pecado.

 

En esta fiesta de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe celebramos

Dios con nosotros, Dios hecho hombre, Dios entre nosotros

porque Jesús, como María, dijo “Si!” a la voluntad de Dios.

 

Nosotros, con apertura a la voluntad de Dios, podemos decir con

Maria:

  “Mi alma glorifica el Senor

y mis espiritu se llena de júbilo en Dios, mi salvador,

porque puso sus ojos en la humildad de su esclava.”

 

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9 and 10 December 2017 Second Sunday of Advent B Homily

9 and 10 December 2017 Second Sunday of Advent B Homily

Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

Psalm 85

Second Peter 3:8-14

Mark 1:1-8

 

Jerusalem as you know has been in the news this week.

It is the one of the Holiest places in the universe for three very important religions.

The “Dome of the Rock” is one of the most easily recognized Buildings in Jerusalem

It is currently the second most holy site of the Muslim faith.

It was completed in 691 CE.

It is built on the site of the Roman temple of Jupiter Capitolinus.  

The Roman temple was built on the site of the Second Jewish Temple that was destroyed in 70 CE during the Roman siege of Jerusalem.

The people of Israel, the Christian Faith and Muslims all count Jerusalem as a sacred place.

The scriptures today speak of Jerusalem in terms of where the God of Israel will be found.

Certain Christian Fundamentalist faiths believe the Lord Jesús will come again for one final time precisely in the city of Jerusalem.

 

We are in our yearly celebration, remembrance and reliving of the first time Jesús came into the world.

We know then of a First coming of Jesús that occurred almost two thousand years ago.

We know of a predicted “Second” and or “final” coming of Jesús at the end of time and/or the end of the world.

Can we really influence the First Coming of Jesús in history that occurred almost two thousand years ago?

Can we really know when the Second and Final coming will take place?

I believe we cannot do much about the first Coming of Jesús.

I do believe, if we listen to the Scriptures today we must do something about the Second and Final Coming of Jesús.

If we listen carefully to the Scriptures we have a few clues about what you and I can do while we “await” the Master’s return.

We can use this time between the first and final coming of Jesús, the letter of Peter tells us, by understanding any “delay” in the Lord’s coming is due to the Lord’s patience.

In other words this time, all time we are given is to be used to make ourselves “ready” for the day of the Lord.  The “delay” is a time for us to come to “repentance.”

The word “Repentance” may have a pious ring or inauthentic ring to it but it basically means “a change of heart” or a “new way of thinking”, a “new way of living” and a new way of loving.

The Letter of  Peter today suggests our “new way of living” even “hastens” the Day of the Lord’s Return.

In the Gospel John proclaims and insists that we make preparations.

“Prepare the way fo the Lord,

Make straight his paths”

is not a geographical mandate.

The “paths” of the Lord are straightened when we “straighten out” our devious, dishonest, confused ways of avoiding the One who came and is to come again.

John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt about his waist.  These clothes were meant to call attention to his message: One mightier than I is coming after me……I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

John “fed on locusts and honey”. Locusts destroyed crops and were a nuisance. Honey was the richest and most satisfying of foods.

John’s clothing and diet may have indicated the One who was coming would demand sacrifice as well as shower good upon those who took not their own path but the path of the One to come.

We hope during this Advent to say with the prophet Isaiah:

“Here is your God!

Here comes with power

the Lord GOD…….

Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;

in his arms he gathers the lambs,

Carrying them in his bosom,

And leading the ewes with care.”

 

 

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8 December 2017 Homily Immaculate Conception

8  December 2017 Homily Immaculate Conception

Genesis 3:9-15, 20  Psalm 98

Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12

Luke 1:26-38

 

Mary is not only surprised but afraid by the greeting:

      “Hail full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

Mary must have had her plan clearly and simply laid out for her. She most likely was “betrothed” by her and Joseph’s parents in an “arranged marriage.”

The appearance of the angel Gabriel and Gabriel’s message from God changes Mary’s plan.

Mary is invited to be a key person in the coming of Jesus, Son of the Most High.

Mary’s reaction is simple and faith filled.

Mary says:

“Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord.

May it be done to me according to your word.”

Mary then shows us three qualities of  being a follower and proclaimer of Jesus.

Mary’s openness, faithfulness and service to the Father’s will are the marks of every disciple of Jesus.

We ask today for the the gift of being faithful servants of the Father.  

 

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6 December 2016 Tuesday of the Second Week in Advent Homily

6 December 2016 Tuesday of the Second Week in Advent Homily

 

Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalm 96

Matthew 18:12-14

 

Isaiah begins by offering us the challenge of “comfort”.

How often do we think it is our obligation, duty, cross to take care of everything and everyone?

Jerusalem’s guilt can be expiated.

Is the LORD’S mercy that all encompassing and expansive?

A whole city can be forgiven!

When the LORD is our surety, our rock, our stronghold we can indeed be comforted and comfort others.

How merciful is the LORD?

Isaiah tells using the image of a shepherd who feeds his flock with care.

“Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;

in his arms he gathers the lambs,

Carrying them in his bosom,

and leading the ewes with care.”

 

I am one generation away from sheep herders, pastors of sheep, and cattlemen.On one of my first trips to Ireland I climbed hills counting “cows”.

We did not stop counting until all the cows were counted.  It was a small flock / herd.  For that reason each cow had immense value.

We are often the little ones who could be lost no matter how old or big or smart we believe ourselves to be.

Let us rejoice, let us be glad.

It is the will of the Father “that not one of these little ones be lost.”

 

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5 December 2017 Tuesday of the First Week in Advent Homily

5 December 2017 Tuesday of the First Week in Advent Homily

 

Isaiah 11:1-10

Psalm 72

Luke 10:21-24

 

Isaiah promises a new beginning for Israel brought on by a “new Davidic king”.

The new king will establish a paradise where even the animal will live in peace.

In the Gospel Jesús gives us a very reassuring explanation of how we are to receive “the hidden things” about the Kingdom.

The things “hidden from the wise and learned” it seems can only be “revealed” to the childlike.

The word “reveals” tells us the “hidden things” come from the Father and not from our study, books or best intentions.

Being “childlike” means being open, trusting, awed without barriers, or walls, positions, ideologies that filter out what is challenging, makes us uncomfortable and closed.

Can we be “childlike”, “blessed” and perceptive?

Can we wonder at seeing and hearing and “knowing” the Divine Presence in our midst?

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4 December 2017 Monday of the First Week of Advent Homily

4 December 2017 Monday of the First Week of Advent Homily

Isaiah 2:1-5

Psalm 122

Matthew 8:5-11

 

The prophet Isaiah speaks of Jerusalem as the place where the Lord can be encountered.  

The LORD’S house will be a gathering point for all of the nations.

The promise of peaceful resolution of difficulties and lasting peace is attributed to the LORD’S presence and protection in Jerusalem.  

We too wish to “walk in the light of the LORD!”

 

Jesús entered Capernaum and is approached by a centurion.

Jesús offers to go to the centurion’s house to cure his servant.  

The centurion “amazes” Jesús by his faith in Jesús’ power to heal.

Jesús finds faith and declares the heavenly banquet open to all people of faith.

May our faith deepen as we make our way to the banquet.

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28 November 2017 Tuesday Thirty Fourth Week of Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

28 November 2017 Tuesday Thirty Fourth Week of Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

Daniel 2:31-45

Psalm 3

Luke 21:5-11

The Book of Daniel uses the literary device of a “vision” or “dream”.

The vision today speaks to kingdoms that rise and fall.

As we approach the end of this church year we are reminded that God’s Kingdom is the

one that  will never end.

 

The final Kingdom coming implies, for the Judeans, the end of the world.

Jesús is questioned about “when will this final Kingdom will come?”

Jesús answer is “apocalyptic” in the sense that he speaks about “…powerful earthquakes, famines and plagues……..and mighty signs from the sky.”

These signs prepare us for the new church year, the new advent, the new celebration of the One who is to come.  

 

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25 and 26 November 2017 Christ the King, Ordinary Time Year A, Homily

25 and 26 November 2017 Christ the King, Ordinary Time Year A, Homily

Ezekiel 34:11-12

Psalm 23

First Corinthians 15,20-26,28

Matthew 25:31-46

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

We celebrate today the feast of Christ the King.

The image of Jesus as King is linked with the image of King as “shepherd”.

The prophet Ezekiel today speaks to the failure of the “human” kings that have lead God’s people.

Ezekiel  prophesies that  the LORD will  over as King since the flock has suffered because of  the human “King-Shepherds” who did not attend the flock properly.

Ezekiel promises that the weak, the scattered, the lost, the injured, the sick will be cared for when the LORD replaces the the ineffective and uncaring kings.

Endings are usually the beginning of something new.

 

Matthew’s Gospel today speaks about

a gathering,

a separation or sorting,

a judgment and

a punishment or reward.

Jesus, the Gospel today tells us,  will come in glory with his angels (who bring even more glory to the scene) and he will sit on his “glorious” throne and all the nations will be assembled before him.

This language accentuates the “glory” the Father gives to his obedient son who lays down his life for his sheep.

The Son of Man separates the assembly like a Shepherd separates “sheep and goats.”

The separation element is indeed painful.

Those who were strong, in charge, privileged and gifted with power could not “see” the face of Jesus in those who were weak, sick, powerless, imprisoned, scattered and or lost.

The “blindness” of the powerful is understandable if shocking.

The powerful become enchanted and addicted to their power, control, preoccupation with self and maintaining a secure, and if possible, comfortable grasp and control on whatever kingdom happens to require their allegiance.

Jesus cuts through the control, the power and the blindness.

Jesus forces those who are on his “left” to “see” their short sighted view, their blind spots, the coldness of their dead hearts.

Paul today speaks about God in Christ “being all in all”.

God is “all in all” when we are able to see in the eyes of

the sick,

the lonely,

the broken,

the scattered,

the lost,

the stranger

the Christ who conquers sin, disease, fear, isolation, hatred, divisions (real and imagined).

God is “all in all” and “all” in everyone when we see others with the eyes of “faith”.

The “eyes of faith” allow us to see  in others the Christ, the ONE who

gave up power,

embraced our weakness and

presents us to the Father.

We are presented to the Father as sharers in the glory of the Son who helps us to see the divine presence in whatever

strange,

unique and

surprising disguise

that is presented to us.

May we today,  “see” and share in the glory of the Father, Son and Spirit.

 

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