Not a threat: Christ enables us to share in his kingship

Listen to mp3 file (13:17)
Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Year B:
Nov. 22, 2015

Dan 7:13-14; Ps 93; Rev 1:5-8; John 18:33-37

In our Gospel reading, Pontius Pilate had a question for Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?”

It is the morning of Good Friday, and the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem have brought Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor, with the accusation that Jesus has claimed this title of king for himself. To Pilate, anyone who calls himself a king is fighting against the Roman government: declaring that he has rightful authority and not them, that others need to follow him and not them. In Pilate’s ears, the word “king” means a subversive rebel leader who must be stopped immediately. And Pilate asks: “Is that what you are? A king?” (more…)

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Domingo de Ramos: ¿Cómo responderemos a este Rey Salvador?

Sólo audio: Escucha mp3 (Largo: 9:41)
Domingo de Ramos, Año A: 13 Abril 2014
Is 50, 4-7; Sal 21; Flp 2, 6-11; Mt 26, 14—27, 66 (more…)

La verdad del Viernes Santo

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Viernes Santo de la Pasión del Señor: 29 Marzo 2013
Is 52, 13—53, 12; Sal 30; Heb 4, 14-16; 5, 7-9; Jn 18, 1—19, 42

En el Viernes Santo nos encontramos cara a cara con la pasión, el sufrimiento, de nuestro Señor Jesucristo. Y es un sufrimiento doloroso y terrible. Nos golpea presenciarlo: oírlo de nuevo, verlo de nuevo, en el drama y la liturgia, en la memoria y la historia.

De hecho, nos horrorizamos al verlo— como hemos escuchado en la primera lectura—porque estaba desfigurado su semblante, que no tenía ya aspecto de hombre… (more…)

The truth of Good Friday

This is a translation of the Spanish homily I preached.
Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord: March 29, 2013
Isa 52:13–53:12; Ps 31; Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1–19:42

On Good Friday we come face to face with the Passion, the suffering, of our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is terrible, painful suffering. It hits us hard to witness it: to hear it again, to see it again, in drama and liturgy, in memory and history.

Indeed, we are amazed at him—as we heard in the first reading: amazed at him—so marred was his look beyond human semblance and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man… (more…)

Jesus and Newtown

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3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C: March 3, 2013
Exod 3:1-8, 13-15; Ps 103; 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12; Luke 13:1-9

It seems that, at any given time, there is some recent tragedy that weighs upon Americans’ minds. Right now, surely it is the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last December. Before that, perhaps the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado; the shooting at Virginia Tech; Hurricane Katrina; the 2004 tsunami; September 11; Columbine; and so on, with great historical acts of genocide always looming in background. We feel anger and grief and pain; we ask deep questions, especially of God. And we might even wonder: What if someone had asked Jesus about one of these events? What would he have said? (more…)

What kind of king is Jesus?

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Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Year B: Nov. 25, 2012
Dan 7:13-14; Ps 93; Rev 1:5-8; John 18:33-37

In our Gospel reading today, it is the morning of Good Friday. Jesus had been captured and questioned during the night by the Jewish authorities—but, because they are not authorized to carry out the death penalty, they have brought him to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, seeking his execution. And so we hear Pilate’s initial questioning of Jesus.

He begins by asking, “Are you the king of the Jews?” And do you notice that Jesus does not answer this question directly? Instead, he asks Pilate a question: “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Who is questioning, and who is being questioned, has been reversed. Now it is Jesus examining Pilate: his heart, his thoughts, his intentions, his identity. How ready is Pilate to accept Jesus as king? (more…)

Palm Sunday: What kind of king is this?

Listen to mp3 file (note that the audio quality improves significantly starting at 2:25)
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Year B:
April 1, 2012

At the Procession with Palms
John 12:12-16

Once again we begin Holy Week as we always do: with a joyful procession with palm branches. For so the first Holy Week began on that first Palm Sunday so many years ago: with cloaks and palm branches spread on the road, and palm branches held high, in welcome for the king!

The king, the Son of the great King David, the Messiah, the King of Israel had arrived in Jerusalem! With what joy the crowd welcomed our Lord Jesus! With what hope! (more…)

El Dios del universo te ama intensamente. ¿Y tú?

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XXIX Domingo Ordinario, Año A: 16 Octubre 2011
Is 45, 1.4-6; Sal 95; 1 Tes 1, 1-5; Mt 22, 15-21

La vista de nuestras lecturas hoy es una vista muy ancha—una vista internacional o universal. Y así es una vista que conocemos bien hoy. Pero, al mismo tiempo, se manifiesta como una vista muy personal; y así nos presenta un mensaje muy pertinente.

En la primera lectura, oímos el Señor hablando de su ungido, Ciro. ¡Qué sorpresa! ¡Qué impresión! Pero, ¿por qué? Porque esa lenguaje de unción y de un ungido, en el Pueblo de Israel en el siglo VI antes de Cristo, perteneció a sus sacerdotes y sus reyes—sus “mesías,” que significa, literalmente, ungidos. Pero ¡Ciro no es judío! (more…)

Remember whose you are

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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: Oct. 16, 2011
Isa 45:1, 4-6; Ps 96; 1 Thess 1:1-5; Matt 22:15-21

When I was in high school and college, and I was at the train station or the airport, about to head back to school, sometimes my dad would say to me before we parted: “Remember whose you are.”

This simple admonition captures the core of what is going on in the incident that we hear in our Gospel reading today. The opponents of our Lord Jesus are trying to trap him publicly by forcing him to say either something dangerous or something deeply unpopular. “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” they ask. (more…)

Palm/Passion Sunday: The strength to not come down from the cross

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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Year A: April 16-17, 2011

At the Procession with Palms
Matt 21:1-11

What anticipation there must have been in the crowd on that Sunday, entering Jerusalem! What excitement! Like all the People of Israel, they longed to be liberated from the rule of the Roman Empire. They looked forward to the day when the Holy Land would again be completely devoted to the Lord. And they prayed, asking the Lord to send his Messiah—his Anointed One, the long-awaited descendant of the great King David—to save them.

And now, it seemed, perhaps it was all beginning to happen. At last! They cried: “Hosanna!” (more…)