The manger, the cross, and the martyr

Audio only: Listen to mp3 file (Length: 5:18)
Feast of St. Stephen, the First Martyr: Dec. 26, 2014
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To redeem and to save what was lost

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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: August 28, 2011
Jer 20:7-9; Ps 63; Rom 12:1-2; Matt 16:21-27

As we celebrate this Holy Mass today, we all are awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Irene—which will bring strong rains and powerful winds, and will cause a lot of damage, especially along the coast. And we might think back three weeks ago, when we heard the Gospel reading about the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee at night, when a powerful storm came up, with great winds and waves that tossed their boat around and threatened their lives; and Jesus came to them, walking on the water; and then he calmed the storm.

The disciples knew about storms—and not just the storms on that sea. They knew about the great storms that we constantly face in this earthly life: (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…)