The Nativity of the Lord

12-25-2016Weekly Reflection

"She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Today we celebrate that the prophetic dream of St. Joseph was fulfilled! Jesus is born! A Savior has come to deliver us-Emmanuel, "God is with us." Christmas is a feast of fulfillment, a holiday of deep and enduring happiness not only because God became man and was born of a woman, but because along with his Incarnation, God brought us freedom. Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah who sets us free from the misery of our own sins. This is the ultimate gift of Christmas Day.  


Fourth Sunday of Advent

12-18-2016Weekly Reflection

"She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus." Joseph heard these prophetic words in a dream. They were words of anticipation, of what was to come. And in a sense, they ushered in a kind of Advent for Joseph. With this divine message, Joseph began a period of holy waiting. He now knew that the Messiah was going to be coming into his own home, and he had just nine months to prepare! We can only imagine how Joseph might have spent these precious days. Most likely he did more than prepare a physical home for his soon-to-be born Son; he must have also used these days to prepare his heart, mind, and soul for such a tremendous mission.  


Third Sunday of Advent

12-11-2016Weekly Reflection

"The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised." Jesus has quite a résumé. When asked whether or not he is the long awaited Messiah, Jesus replies with this list of his credentials as proof of his position. These signs and wonders speak volumes, to be sure. But perhaps the most interesting line on the list is his concluding one, "the poor have the good news proclaimed to them." Why does he count this among his litany of miracles? What is so remarkable about sharing good news?


Second Sunday of Advent

12-04-2016Weekly Reflection

"Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance." John the Baptist does not mince words. He tells it like it is. When the hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees show up piously for baptism, John calls them out, saying, "You brood of vipers!" Not welcoming words, to say the least. Then he tells them that being part of the religious club (i.e., children of Abraham) isn't enough. No, "every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."


First Sunday of Advent

11-27-2016Weekly Reflection

"Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come." Jesus doesn't tell us when he will come again; but he does tell us all we need to know. First, he leaves no doubt in our minds that he will in fact return--this isn't a question we have to debate. And secondly, he tells us what we need to do to be ready: stay awake! As long as we don't doze off while we're waiting, everything will be all right.


Our Lord, King of the Universe

11-20-2016Weekly Reflection

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." The two thieves that were crucified next to Jesus show two very different ways of understanding who Jesus was. The first thief insulted Jesus, prodded him, mocked him. He didn't believe that Jesus had any power whatsoever. Like the sneering crowds, he thought that it was a joke to label Jesus as the "King of theJews."


33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

11-13-2016Weekly Reflection

"You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name." This is not a pleasant prophecy. On the contrary, Jesus' somber words may strike us with a bit of fear and make us wonder if we will ever actually face such a tragic scenario. We are fortunate to live in a country where religious freedom is tolerated, and of course we hope that this continues to be the case. But the sad fact is that right now, there are Christians in other parts of the world who are living out the reality of these prophetic words. For these men, women, and children of faith, the name of Jesus truly is a cause of persecution and martyrdom.


32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

11-06-2016Weekly Reflection

"Those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage." Jesus' response to the Sadducees regarding their question about the resurrection of the dead actually raises another question for us: what about marriage in heaven? We understand marriage to be "until death do us part," but what exactly becomes of this special relationship in the afterlife?


31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

10-30-2016Weekly Reflection

"Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over." Zacchaeus was serious about following Jesus. Maybe at the start he was just curious when he ran ahead to scale that sycamore tree. But that curiosity developed into a life-changing experience when Jesus called him by name. At that moment, when the Lord chose Zacchaeus to be his host for the evening, the rich tax collector "came down quickly and received him with joy." And shortly thereafter came his promise of conversion and penance. Not only would he change his ways; he would make up for his former ones. And thus Jesus declared, "Today salvation has come to this house."


30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

10-23-2016Weekly Reflection

"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." The Pharisee and the tax collector--polar opposites by practice. The one is a religious leader, a professional follower-of-the-law. The other is a deviant who extorts money for himself as he goes about his economic business. But in today's parable, Jesus flips these perceptions around. The humble tax collector is the one who "went home justified." Whereas the Pharisee has a flawless outer appearance, when we see a glimpse into his inner thoughts we detect his vanity and presumption. We see a man who may keep the letter of the law, but who is not truly converted to God's ways in his heart. The tax collector, on the other hand, pleads for God's mercy, recognizing that he needs it.


21st Sunday of Ordinary Time

08-21-2016Weekly Reflection

"From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three." What a sad image Jesus paints in today's Gospel. Causing family strife--fathers against sons and mothers against daughters--is not the effect we like to imagine Jesus having on people. But as he says today, "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." The fact is, and always has been, that not everyone chooses to follow Christ. This causes conflict.