A sacrifice pleasing and acceptable

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6th in a series of short homilies on the Mass

What do you give to the God who has everything?

In my last homily, we considered how Christ is the perfect, eternal high priest—unsurpassable in bringing us closer to God, and God closer to us. And as soon as we speak of a priest, we quickly speak of sacrifice, which is, fundamentally, giving something to God. As with any gift, we can ask an obvious question: What should you give to God? What does he want or need? (more…)

This season, don’t forget the Lord’s gift!

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4th Sunday of Advent, Year B: Dec. 18, 2011
2 Sam 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16; Ps 89; Rom 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

How has the season been going for you? Crazy? Full of work? Maybe I should ask: How are you doing on all your Christmas tasks? Almost done? Still making progress? All that shopping, decorating, wrapping, baking, mailing? All those parties and pageants to go to, trips to make, cards to sign? It’s a lot of work, this Christmas season, as most Americans currently observe it—especially for adults. A lot of work to make it a “magical” experience for children; a lot of work to demonstrate to others that you love and appreciate them.

But have you forgotten something? (more…)

The Christmas gift that changes everything

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Christmas: Mass during the Day: Dec. 25, 2009
Isa 52:7-10; Ps 98:1-6; Heb 1:1-6; John 1:1-5, 9-14

One of the clearest statements I ever heard about the importance of what we celebrate at Christmas came from a Muslim professor at Georgetown University. It was about 10 years ago, before I went to seminary, and at that time I was living in DC, and I was part of the Young Adults group at St. Matthew’s Cathedral downtown. And at one of our meetings, the leaders had arranged for there to be a panel discussion between a Jesuit priest, a Jewish rabbi, and this Muslim professor. And the priest was being very conciliatory and saying things like, “Well, you know, we’re all very similar”; and the rabbi was also saying, “Oh, we’re very similar.” And the Muslim professor said, “Judaism and Islam are very similar. But Christianity teaches the Incarnation. And if God became man, then that would change everything.” (more…)

Published in: on December 25, 2009 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jesus gives us the gift we really need

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Oct. 17-18, 2009
Isa 53:10-11; Ps 33:4-5, 18-20, 22; Heb 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45

This is an important weekend, this third weekend of October. That is because there are just three weeks to go until our annual parish Christmas Bazaar! In fact, when Wendy and I were plotting out the publicity for the Bazaar last month, we looked at this point with three weeks to go and said: We’ll need to be making a final push then for donations and volunteers; and also beginning to encourage everyone to come to the Bazaar and to bring their friends. And of course we’ll use flyers and signs and announcements—but we need something more creative. After all, the Bazaar is an event of cosmic importance. So let’s—change the weather. That weekend, to get everyone’s thoughts on Christmas, we’ll make it as cold as December for about five days—cold outside, cold inside the buildings—and snow flurries. Whoops, sorry about the snow. I guess we missed our target by a few degrees, and so we got drizzle instead! (more…)

Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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