If you don’t understand the Mass, you will never understand the Trinity

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Most Holy Trinity, Year C: May 30, 2010
Prov 8:22-31; Ps 8:4-9; Rom 5:1-5; John 16:12-15


On this Trinity Sunday, we begin the Mass as we begin every Mass: by making the sign of the cross, as the priest celebrant says, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

A couple years ago, when I was in seminary, I came to understand more fully what it is that we are doing when we begin with that invocation. I was taking an elective in Hebrew. And as practice we were reciting some of the translation of the Mass in Hebrew that Hebrew Catholics use in the Holy Land. And so we began by saying: “b’shem”—and immediately I was shocked very awake, because I knew what “ha-shem” meant (more…)

Published in: on May 30, 2010 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pentecost: the gift of the Holy Spirit

This is a translation of the Spanish homily that I preached on Pentecost Sunday.
Pentecost Sunday, Year C: May 23, 2010
Acts 2:1-11; Ps 103; 1 Cor 12:3-7, 12-13; John 14:15-16, 23-26

For many centuries, every year the People of Israel celebrated two gifts that they had received from the Lord. First, in the feast of Passover, they celebrated their liberation from their slavery in the land of Egypt. And then, after 50 days, they celebrated the gift of the Law on Mount Sinai. That second feast was called “Shavuot” in Hebrew, or “Pentecost” in Greek, which meant 50. And that second gift of Pentecost was necessary in order to complete the gift of Passover: because this people who had been newly freed needed a guide for living their life of freedom; they needed a shape for it. And this is what God gave them in the Law. And they all remembered that a very loud trumpet blast and a fire accompanied this gift of the Law [Exod 19:16-18].

Today we heard in the first reading that a noise and fire also signaled the giving of another gift on a new Pentecost. (more…)

Published in: on May 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pentecostés: el don del Espíritu Santo

Me olvidé traer el grabador y por eso no hay mp3 de esta homilía.
Domingo de Pentecostés, Año C: 23 Mayo 2010
Hech 2, 1-11; Sal 103; 1 Cor 12, 3-7.12-13; Juan 14, 15-16.23-26

Durante muchos siglos, todos los años el Pueblo de Israel celebró dos dones que había recibido del Señor. Primero, en la fiesta de la Pascua, celebró su liberación de su esclavitud en la tierra de Egipto. Y entonces, después de 50 días, celebró el don de la ley en el monte Sinaí. Aquella segunda fiesta se llamó en hebreo “Shavuot,” o en griego “Pentecostés,” que significó 50. Y aquel segundo don del Pentecostés era necesario para cumplir el don de la Pascua: porque el pueblo nuevamente liberado necesitó una guía para su vida libre; necesitó una forma. Y eso Dios les dio en su ley. Y todos recordaron que un fuerte sonido de trompeta y un fuego acompañaron ese don de la ley [Exod 19, 16-18].

Hoy oímos en la primera lectura que un gran ruido y fuego también señalizaron el dar de otro don en un nuevo Pentecostés. (more…)

Published in: on May 23, 2010 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Ascension: Christ is enthroned to continue his redemptive mission

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Ascension, Year C: May 16, 2010
Acts 1:1-11; Ps 47:2-3, 6-9; Eph 1:17-23; Luke 24:46-53

Anyone who has ever seen the movie “Forrest Gump” probably remembers that extended sequence in the movie when the title character, Forrest, spends more than 3 years running across the entire country—more than once, back and forth, coast to coast. He grows a beard and long hair, underneath his cap. And he also gets a following—a group of other people who are running with him, behind him, who believe—in spite of the fact that he doesn’t say anything about it—that he has the answer in a confused world. So he keeps running, and they keep following him, day after day, mile after mile. And then one day he comes to a stop, on a highway somewhere in the Southwest, and he turns around. And one of those followers says, “Quiet! He’s gonna say something!” And what he says is: “I’m pretty tired. Think I’ll go home now.”

Is that what the Ascension is all about? (more…)

Published in: on May 16, 2010 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

What has Easter done to Mother’s Day?

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6th Sunday of Easter, Year C: May 8-9, 2010
Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Ps 67:2-3, 5-6, 8; Rev 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29

The Scriptures tell us many stories about mothers and their children. And on this Mother’s Day, one story that caught my interest comes from the Old Testament, from the Book of Exodus, chapter 2. That story takes place probably a little after 1300 B.C., when the People of Israel were slaves in the land of Egypt. And in this story we encounter a young wife and mother named Jochebed who gives birth to a son. [Her name is found in Exod 6:20 and Num 26:59.]

This was a time when Pharaoh had ordered that all Hebrew baby boys should be killed. So how was this mother going to save her newborn son’s life? (more…)

Published in: on May 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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In the light of the Resurrection, what’s on your “bucket list”?

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5th Sunday of Easter, Year C: May 2, 2010
Acts 14:21-27; Ps 145:8-13; Rev 21:1-5; John 13:31-35

Each year on Easter Sunday we rejoice in the truth that our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead. And then the Church gives us an entire Easter Season, lasting 50 days: to continue rejoicing in his resurrection; to understand what his resurrection is; to understand the life that he opens for us, now and in the future; and to apply this to how we live our lives now; that is, to allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ’s resurrection. And certainly one Sunday is not enough for all of that!

So, have we gotten the message? Do we understand the life he has opened for us? When we hear in the second reading, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,” do we understand what it means? Do we understand what it has to do with Christ’s resurrection? Do we understand what it has to do with us? (more…)

Published in: on May 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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