Keeping Jesus’ word, from Old Law to New Law

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6th Sunday of Easter, Year C: May 5, 2013
Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Ps 67; Rev 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29

We hear our Lord Jesus say in today’s Gospel reading: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” What beautiful words! We want that kind of peace so much. In fact, the whole world wants that kind of peace. And our Lord Jesus offers it.

But we also hear him say: “Whoever loves me will keep my word.” Now that’s different, isn’t it? It’s one thing to offer peace; it’s another thing to require obedience. (more…)

Faith, doubts, and difficulties in the Year of Faith

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A talk given as part of the Lenten Mission Series for the Year of Faith, at St. Mary’s of Piscataway, in Clinton, Md., on Feb. 19, 2013.

Faith is our response to God’s revelation to us:  a personal receptiveness to his personal reaching out. Father Dan explores how we can address doubts that might undercut our faith in general, or difficulties that we might feel about particular teachings of the faith. “Be not unbelieving, but believe!” (more…)

Ascension of the Lord: Christ kicks it up a notch

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Ascension of the Lord, Year B: May 20, 2012
Acts 1:1-11; Ps 47; Eph 4:1-13; Mark 16:15-20

On that first Good Friday, our Lord Jesus suffered, died upon the cross, and was buried. On the third day, that first Easter Sunday, he rose from the dead, his body transformed, the firstfruits of the Resurrection. For the next 40 days, he appeared often to his disciples, teaching them about the Kingdom of God. And then, as we heard in our first reading and our Gospel reading, he ascended into heaven.

Today we celebrate our Lord’s Ascension; and so, we might say, we celebrate his retirement. His work has been accomplished; his earthly life is done; and so it’s time to go back home and sit down and relax. It’s time to retire.

No! Christ’s Ascension was not retirement! (more…)

¡Qué grande es la Divina Misericordia!

Una traducción de la homilía que prediqué en inglés en el Domingo de la Divina Misericordia.
II Domingo de Pascua (o de Divina Misericordia), Año B: 15 Abril 2012
Hch 4, 32-35; Sal 117; 1 Jn 5, 1-6; Jn 20, 19-31

Hace nueve días, recordamos la dolorosa Pasión de nuestro Señor Jesucristo: cuando, voluntariamente, extendió sus brazos entre el cielo y la tierra, y derramó su Sangre Preciosa por nosotros. Y, por los que lo estaban matando, clavando sus manos y sus pies a la cruz, dijo: “Padre, perdónalos, porque no saben lo que hacen.” (Lc 23, 34)

Hace nueve días, recordamos la gran provisión de la Divina Misericordia, cuando, después de que nuestro Señor entregó el espíritu, uno de los soldados le traspasó el costado con una lanza, y al momento salió sangre y agua (Jn 19, 30.34)—esos dos corrientes de su gracia que se simbolizan por los dos rayos de luz que vio Santa Faustina brillando desde su Corazón: (more…)

How great is the Divine Mercy!

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2nd Sunday of Easter (or of Divine Mercy): April 15, 2012
Acts 4:32-35; Ps 118; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31

Nine days ago, we remembered the sorrowful Passion of our Lord Jesus: when he freely stretched out his arms between heaven and earth, and poured out his Precious Blood for us. And for those who were putting him to death, who were pounding the nails into his hands and feet, he said: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Nine days ago, we remembered that great provision of Divine Mercy, when, after our Lord Jesus had handed over the spirit, a soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out (John 19:30, 34)—those two great streams of grace that were symbolized by the two rays of light that St. Faustina saw shining forth from his Heart: (more…)

The Real Presence of Christ in the Mass

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4th in a series of short homilies on the Mass

In the Mass, we encounter our Lord Jesus Christ, made truly present. In my last homily in this series, we took note of two of the ways in which he is present. First, in the assembly of the baptized—each of whom he has joined to himself and made a member of his Mystical Body. Second, in the person of the minister—the priest or bishop changed by ordination to be able to act in the person of Christ the head. The Eucharistic assembly, body and head, is complete.

And the Lord is present “in his word, since it is he himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7) (more…)

The Magi hungered for the Light—and found him

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Epiphany of the Lord: Jan. 8, 2012
Isa 60:1-6; Ps 72; Eph 3:2-3, 5-6; Matt 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

Who were these magi? How to we imagine them? What motivated them, inside, to make their journey?

I often enjoy looking at what ancient and medieval commentators had to say about the Scripture. Because they have thoughts and questions that are different from commentators today, which are often refreshing. (more…)

Los frutos hermosos que desea el Señor de ti, su viña

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XXVII Domingo Ordinario, Año A: 2 Octubre 2011
Is 5, 1-7; Sal 79; Flp 4, 6-9; Mt 21, 33-43

El Señor ha plantado una viña—oímos en la primera lectura y en la parábola de nuestro Señor Jesucristo. La cavó, la limpió de piedras y la plantó con cepas escogidas—la plantó con ti mismo. Te plantó a ti en su viña, en una loma fértil, te cuidó asiduamente, te trasplantó a otra tierra que la de tu nacimiento, y continúa cuidarte aquí.

Y desea frutos. Desea una cosecha de ti. ¿Qué tipo de frutos desea de tu vida? Sería fácil decir sólo “la equidad” y “la justicia,” como dice la primera lectura—como si sólo deseara que evites acciones obviamente injustas. Pero esa respuesta vino de antes de la nueva alianza que hizo Jesucristo en su propia sangre; antes de la gracia de los sacramentos; antes de la oferta de incorporarte en el cuerpo resucitado de Jesucristo. (more…)

Guarding our hearts and minds, and making them beautiful

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: Oct. 2, 2011
Isa 5:1-7; Ps 80; Phil 4:6-9; Matt 21:33-43

As we go about our daily lives, we observe that many people are very careful about what they eat and drink. Some seek to eat only foods organically grown, or not involving genetic engineering. Many need to avoid foods they are allergic to—such as nuts, or gluten, or lactose—and perhaps they cannot take in even a trace amount of those substances. Certainly this is the case if someone is traveling to a country where food is not handled safely, and they can become sick by eating the wrong thing handled and prepared in a tainted environment.

This same care can also be taken with what we breathe in, so that we avoid second-hand smoke and are careful with air filters. Or in what we place against our skin: what our clothing is made of, or our sheets or other objects.

We are careful about what we take into our bodies by mouth, by breathing, by direct contact. But what about what we take into our hearts and minds, our souls, by seeing and hearing? (more…)

Mercy pours forth, in compassion and help

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Our Lady of Mercy: Sept. 24, 2011
Isa 61: 1-3, 10-11; Luke 1:46-55; Eph 2:4-10, 13; John 19:25-30, 32-34

For the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Mich., on their feast day.

“And then there were two,” St. Augustine wrote. He was commenting upon the passage in the Gospel of John, chapter 8, when the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery to Jesus and made her stand in the middle. And they asked him whether she should be stoned, in accordance with the Law of Moses. And then, after he responded, they went away one by one, until he was left alone with the woman before him. “And so there were two left— relicti sunt duo, misera et misericordia—the miserable and the merciful.” (more…)