La esperanza y la perseverancia en Adviento

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II Domingo de Adviento, Año A: 8 Diciembre 2013
Is 11, 1-10; Sal 71; Rom 15, 4-9; Mt 3, 1-12 (more…)

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Advent and the growing spark of hope

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2nd Sunday of Advent, Year A: Dec. 8, 2013
Isa 11:1-10; Ps 72; Rom 15:4-9; Matt 3:1-12

Back in 1950, the residents of the town of Flagstaff Village, Maine, knew that their town would soon be flooded. A dam was being built that would expand the nearby lake, completely covering where their town was then standing. And so plans were being made to move the residents elsewhere, and to clear the land before the flooding.

And during those final months, as one man noted, no repairs were being done. Which is pretty understandable. After all, why paint a wall, or repair a hole, or improve any aspect of a house that will soon be destroyed? So no one did it. They just let them go.

Perhaps you know the feeling. (more…)

Entrar en la oración

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Una homilía dada en la Vísperas Cuaresmal de 15 Febrero 2013.

En empezar este Tiempo de la Cuaresma, nos enfocamos otra vez en las tres prácticas tradicionales, las tres formas de penitencia más insistidas por la Escritura y los Padres de la Iglesia: el ayuno, la limosna, y la oración. (CIC 1434) Hoy hablaré de la oración; y ustedes oirán de las otras dos prácticas en las Vísperas de las semanas siguientes.

Y, ¡qué maravilloso es hablar de la oración! La oración es una forma de la penitencia no por ser un castigo— ¡y espero que no les parezca como castigo!— sino por ser una forma de la conversión verdadera, de girar, no sólo del pecado sino hacia Dios: de acercarnos a él, de comunicar íntimamente con él, de hacernos más como nuestro Señor Jesús en su relación con Dios Padre. (more…)

Entering into Prayer

This is an English translation of a Spanish homily that I gave at a Lenten Vespers service on Feb. 15, 2013.

As we begin this Season of Lent, we turn again to the three traditional practices, the three forms of penance most emphasized by Scripture and by the Church Fathers: fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. (CCC 1434) Tonight I will be speaking about prayer; and you will hear about the other two practices at Vespers in the coming weeks.

And how wonderful it is to speak about prayer. It is a form of penance not because it is a punishment—and I hope it does not feel like a punishment to you!—but because it is a form of true conversion, of turning, not only away from sin but toward God: drawing closer to him, communicating closely with him, becoming more like our Lord Jesus in his relationship with God the Father. (more…)

Witnesses to joy

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Nov. 18, 2012
Dan 12:1-3; Ps 16; Heb 10:11-14, 18; Mark 13:24-32

For the Secular Discalced Carmelites (OCDS) at their semiannual Profession Mass.

As we approach the end of this liturgical year, our Gospel reading today comes from the 13th chapter of the Gospel according to Mark—a chapter sometimes known as the “Little Apocalypse,” for in it our Lord Jesus prepares his disciples for what would be coming. Some of it would be coming just 40 years later, when Jerusalem would be conquered and the Temple destroyed by the Roman Empire, while some of the generation of his time were still living. Some would come beyond that, in the future; indeed, even now it has yet to come. (more…)

La Cuaresma y la batalla por el corazón

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Miércoles de Ceniza: 22 Febrero 2012
Jl 2, 12-18; Sal 50; 2 Cor 5, 20–6, 2; Mt 6, 1-6.16-18

Todo lo que Dios creó es bueno. Todo lo que Dios creó es bueno, y así merece ser amado.

El problema, nos dice San Agustín (en Ciudad de Dios y otras obras), es que amamos algunas cosas demasiado; o de una manera equivocada. Cuando, en el orden de cuánto deberíamos amar a personas y cosas, se ponen desordenados. Algo más bajo desplaza a algo más alto. Lo que está dentro de nuestro corazón se desordena. (more…)

Lent and the battle for the heart

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Ash Wednesday: February 22, 2012
Joel 2:12-18; Ps 51; 2 Cor 5:20–6:2; Matt 6:1-6, 16-18

Everything that God created is good. Everything that God created is good, and so is worthy of being loved.

The problem, St. Augustine tells us (in City of God and elsewhere), is when we love some things too much; or in the wrong way. When, in the order of things and persons that we should love more and less than each other, they get out of order. Something lower displaces something higher. Things within our heart get out of order. (more…)

To run forth to meet our Lord Jesus at his coming

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1st Sunday of Advent, Year B: Nov. 27, 2011
Isa 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-7; Ps 80; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37

Each year, for many people, the week of Thanksgiving brings many periods of watchful expectation. For these days include journeys, arrivals, and wonderful events that follow at the destination. How many children in how many cars will ask, “Are we there yet??” Well, that’s one kind of expectation! But perhaps we do better to think of the child inside the house looking out the front window and asking, “When will Grandma and Grandpa get here? Or my aunt or uncle? My cousins?”

And what is it that fills the hours and days before their arrival? (more…)

Deeper in love with His Majesty, our divine Spouse

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Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, Year A: Nov. 20, 2011
Ezek 34:11-12, 15-17; Ps 23; 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28; Matt 25:31-46

For the Secular Discalced Carmelite (OCDS) Community of Frederick Md. at its semiannual Profession Mass.

Each year, the Church gives us this Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, as the final Sunday of the liturgical year. And this is fitting, Pope Pius XI wrote when he instituted it in 1925, because the feast thus “sets the crowning glory upon the mysteries of the life of Christ already commemorated during the year.” (Quas primas, 29)

And, by establishing this feast, he hoped to reverse the trend of people excluding Christ and his law from both the public and private lives. (more…)

All Saints: So great a cloud of witnesses

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All Saints: Nov. 1, 2011
Rev 7:2-4, 9-14; Ps 24; 1 John 3:1-3; Matt 5:1-12

Actors have televised award ceremonies, like the Oscars. Athletes have championship trophies and rings. Soldiers have ranks and medals. Journalists have the Pulitzer; scientists have the Nobel. Mothers have Mother’s Day. Employees have… Employee of the Month awards. All of these are ways of publicly giving honor and expressing gratitude for a job well-done—and to encourage others to do the same job and so to hope to achieve that honor as well.

Today is the day that we honor All the Saints.

On other days, we focus in on one saint or a group of saints. So, in the past month, we remembered (more…)