In the 1960s and 1970s the Marine Corps used a slogan to attract new recruits: “We don’t promise you a rose garden.” The Corps promised only pain, extreme challenges, and sacrifice. The messaging attracted a certain kind of recruit: One who was only interested in earning the title of Marine. I suspect some of you remember this, and I know some served or currently serve as marines. Even if there was a rose garden, I suspect there were plenty of thorns! Read More
This is one of those great Gospel passages (John 21:1-19) that plays through our minds like a video. It is so vivid! They had spent all night working hard fishing, and caught nothing. Then on the shore a man asks if they caught anything. No. So He tells them to cast the net on the right side of the boat. He must have spoken in such a way that inspired them to immediately respond! So they cast over the net. The number of fish was so great that they could not pull it in. Saint John recognized our Lord. The Church Fathers comment that because of His love that He saw clearly. Saint Peter, in an act of Faith, tucks in his garment, and jumps into the water to run to the shore. Read More
On April 6, 1957 a young man was convicted of murder and sentenced to death: he had murdered a stock merchant at the Paris stock exchange by bludgeoning him to death and in his attempt to escape had shot and murdered a police man, and seriously wounded another. Jacques Fesch had grown up in a well to do home, but there was no love. His girlfriend became pregnant and he was unable to provide, no matter what he did. He eventually sought to escape and he would use any means to get to his desired tropical island, no matter what it cost him. He needed more money than he had to get to his desired tropical island…he decided to do whatever he needed to do, regardless of the cost to obtain the money. Even steal and murder.
This Gospel (cf Luke 4:1-13) is a great mystery: our Lord is like us in all things but sin. Here he is battling it out with the devil. Our Lord is weakened after 40 days in the desert, a time of preparation. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert in preparation for their entrance into the Promise Land. So 40 is a pretty significant number. In beginning these 40 days we are living a small part of our lives: we have our whole lives to grow in holiness to prepare for the ultimate Promise Land. At the end of our Lord’s time, He would have been starving and very weak. This is important: He redeems all aspects of the human condition. Holiness takes a lifetime of faithfully serving God-we are constantly facing one temptation after another. Read More
I know you’re about to judge me: “should I listen to Father or should I read the bulletin?” We are constantly making judgments. Recently when I was returning the Pro Life march somebody pointed out to me that we now have a new state motto on the signs that welcome people to Pennsylvania. Instead of saying “Welcome to the Keystone State (or whatever it used to say)”, it now says, “Pennsylvania. Pursue your happiness.” Supposedly this is from the Constitution, but I think there’s a deeper reality going on here: relativism. One thing which you might have heard is this one: “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.”(cf. Luke 6:27-38). This is often thrown in the face of people who try to call people away from a sinful situation. “Don’t judge me! Jesus said don’t judge! Aren’t you a christian?” Read More
This is several weeks behind, but here is my homily from last weekend…
I don’t know about you, but for me one of the consequences of winter is dry skin. It’s a constant battle to keep from having cracks and cuts in my hands. We see what salt on the road does to the cars. Now salt in the Gospel is used in a good sense as well: we need to be salt for the world, to fill it with the flavor of the Gospel. In this instance we hear of a salted wasteland. In the first reading today we hear of Jeremiah making a pretty clear contrast: a strong verdant tree that can withstand storms and on the other hand a barren bush in the desert that stands in a lava waste.