After all the wrong places, the Samaritan woman finally found what she was looking for

This is a translation of the Spanish homily that I preached on the
3rd Sunday of Lent, Year A: March 27, 2011
Exod 17:3-7; Ps 95; Rom 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-52

Because we are corporeal beings—because we are not just souls, but a combination of soul and body—we are characterized by thirst, and by hunger.  Thirst for water; hunger for food.  And also for other things:  for we also need clothing and shelter; security; and things that are less tangible:  hunger for meaning, and for accomplishment; thirst for love, and for yet more.

And when we go without any of these needs for a very long time, it can be said of us—as it was said of the People of Israel in the desert in our first reading—that we are dying of thirst. We need it, but we don’t have it:  we are dying of thirst.  And what are we going to do to satisfy that thirst? (more…)

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Después de todos los lugares equivocados, la samaritana finalmente encontró lo que buscaba

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III Domingo de Cuaresma, Año A: 27 Marzo 2011
Ex 17, 3-7; Sal 94; Rom 5, 1-2.5-8; Juan 4, 5-42

Porque somos seres corporales—porque no somos sólo almas sino una combinación de alma y cuerpo—somos caracterizados por la sed; y el hambre. Sed del agua; hambre del alimento; y también de otras cosas: necesitamos también la ropa y el refugio; la seguridad. Y otras cosas más intangibles: hambre del sentido, y del logro; sed del amor, y aún más.

Y, cuando nos falta alguna de estas necesidades de duración muy larga, se puede decir de nosotros—como del Pueblo de Israel en el desierto en la primera lectura—que estamos torturados por la sed. Lo necesitamos; pero nos falta; estamos torturados por la sed. Y ¿qué haremos para satisfacer esta sed? (more…)

Faith enough to take the next step with Christ

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2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A: March 20, 2011
Gen 12:1-4; Ps 33; 2 Tim 1:8-10; Matt 17:1-9

In different ways, we hear today about the theme of making a journey: about being called to begin a journey, and about continuing on it. And this relates to our own journey: having been called by Christ and walking with him through life, something we focus upon especially during Lent.

In our first reading, Abraham is about to begin a journey. He knows what he is leaving behind—his country, his relatives, his father’s house—but he doesn’t know where he is going. (more…)

Check the compass of your heart

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2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A: March 20, 2011
Gen 12:1-4; Ps 33; 2 Tim 1:8-10; Matt 17:1-9

In our first reading today, we hear the beginning of the story of Abraham. Just a few verses earlier, we heard his name, and who his father was, who his wife was, where he lived. But the story really begins when the Lord speaks to him and says: “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.” And so Abraham set out for a land he did not know.

And isn’t that a lot like so many of us, who also have moved far from where we were born and where our relatives live? Aren’t we a lot like Abraham?

But we should not be too quick to say Yes to that. Because there is another story we know of someone who makes a journey after the Lord speaks to him: the prophet Jonah. (more…)

Euthanasia & End of Life Issues

Audio only: Listen to mp3 file (Length: 46:43)
Faith Seeks Understanding: The Gift of Life, 6 of 6

Father Dan continues a series of classes on life issues (pressed upon us by new technologies) by looking at how we respond when the end of earthly life approaches. What is euthanasia, and why is it wrong? What is involved in legalized physician-assisted suicide? What medical treatments can be refused, and why? Are feeding tubes part of the normal care due to everyone? Is it better to make a living will or a durable power of attorney?

This Lent, which tree in the garden are you eating from?

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1st Sunday of Lent, Year A: March 13, 2011
Gen 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Ps 51; Rom 5:12-19; Matt 4:1-11

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert and he fasted for forty days and forty nights. This past Wednesday we were led by the Spirit to begin our own period of 40 days: called Quadragesima in Latin, meaning 40 or 40th; or Lent in English.

And we began it with the imposition of ashes. We all got to remember again just how light ashes are; how easy to blow them into the air or spill them. How dirty they are and easy to smudge. And we also got to hear again those words: “Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return.”

In our first reading, we heard, “The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground.” Many translations render this as “dust”: The Lord formed man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. What a thrilling sentence that is! (more…)

Ash Wednesday: The battle is joined!

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Ash Wednesday: March 9, 2011
Joel 2:12-18; Ps 51; 2 Cor 5:20–6:2; Matt 6:1-6, 16-18

In this Gospel reading from the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord warns us not to do religious acts in order that people may see them. These are not for them; not for their eyes; not for their praise. They are for our Father in heaven who sees what is hidden.

And yet our Lord so much wants us to do these acts that he doesn’t even explicitly command them here but just takes them for granted: “when you give alms,” “when you pray,” “when you fast.”

And the fact is that these actions are for others. Not for their praise; but for their good, their benefit, their healing, their salvation.

In the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” there is a point when Jesus is carrying the cross, and he falls; (more…)

War & Capital Punishment

Audio only: Listen to mp3 file (Length: 44:40)
Faith Seeks Understanding: The Gift of Life, 5 of 6

Father Dan continues a series of classes on life issues (pressed upon us by new technologies) by considering when and how one person may take another’s life. What about self-defense? When can political authority inflict punishment, and should that include the death penalty? What are the conditions of just war? When is armed resistance against a government permissible?

Not only to say “Lord, Lord” but to do the will of the Father

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9th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: March 6, 2011
Deut 11:18, 26-28; 32; Ps 31; Rom 3:21-25, 28; Matt 7:21-27

If this were a homily that I was giving just to Kindergarteners and 1st-graders—which happens occasionally—I might ask them: “Have you ever seen anybody who, when their parents tell them to do something, say, ‘Yes, Mommy! Yes, Daddy!’—and then does something else instead!” If I asked them to raise their hands if they had seen this, lots of hands would go up. Maybe they’ve even done it themselves.

And middle-schoolers would know what it is for someone to put on different masks; to act one way here and another way over here.

And we adults know how to raise that to an art form. (more…)

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