Let the old honor the young


Friday, 2/1/19

Artists in the Middle Ages were fond of painting the scene of a proud Joseph and a loving Mary. In our days, old people who spend hours in church silently embrace the infant.

I have urged children to honor such old people only to have the children say that old people find them to be too noisy.

Christ dwells behind the veil in the holy of the holies.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The first reading pulls up the image of the holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple. The sanctuary was kept closed except for the priests chosen on a given day to offer incense. The sanctuary was divided by a veil beyond which were kept the tablets of the law that God gave to Moses. The veil itself was never removed. Each day a chosen priest went in and offered incense before the veil.

In the Letter to the Hebrews, we learn that Jesus was behind the veil and the holy of holies. An additional point from the readings is they are telling us that life in the assembly is too precious to ever be avoided.

In our covenant we become one with God, and we with him.

Wednesday, 1/31/20

While a contract is a fixed agreement by which the parties exchange things of value, in a covenant such as we make with God, the parties exchange their very selves.

In taking root, the seed becomes one with the nourishment provided by the ground. It is similar to the covenant by which we become one with God.

Our way of becoming part of God's family.

Monday, 1/29/20


The first reading tells us we cannot become one with God by offering repeated sacrifices, While thr Gospel tells us we cannot become one with God by any family ties. (To this we might add the
futility of trying to become one with God by becoming a priest or  nun.

Jesus tells us we become one with God by living in union with  him. The practical way of uniting with God d to join Jesus in the offering he makes of himself in every Mass.

Thomas Aquinas incrporated the Greek wisdom of Aristotle into Catholicism.

Monday, 1/28/19

Thomas, born in 1225, dying forty-nine years later, , was the leading catholic scholar of all times. He use to say, "For those who have faith, no explanation is necessary; for the lacking faith no explanation is possible."

But for all his reliance on faith, Thomas was the the champion of the non-believing Greek scholar. Aristotle's wise scholarship had been carried off by the Muslims in 100 B.C., and recovered in 1200 A.D. when Aquinas was able to incorporate Aristotle's wisdom into Catholicism.

The Mass gives us a chance to make a pleasing offering to God.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Let me say something about what we put into the mass, and what we get out of the Mass.

I became a priest sixty-seven years ago. I have been taking part in the daily Mass except for a few weeks following a fracture to my hip late last summer.

Our daily masses represent the Last Supper when Jesus asked the apostles to join him in making a sacrifice. He gives us communion so we can join him in making a pleasing gift to God.

The man with the withered hand would have been accepted by Jesus.

Wednesday, 1/23/19

On this my 91st birthday I thank God for my healthy mind and body, for all my family and teachers.  However, the gospel's man with a withered hand turns my thoughts in another direction.  The gospel's man with a withered hand presents a contrast to all the blessings I received. 

Let me tell you about a boy named Calvin who lacked all my blessings. Calvin was a boy on the next street to me who had to grow up with a withered right hand and very few friends.  When the healthy boys on my street had a pick-up baseball game, Calvin often got in the way.  He sang country western songs badly, and the boys often told him to be quiet and go away. 

Tough.

Whenever I hear the gospel story about the man with the withered hand it gets me thinking about Calvin, and about how we should love those less fortunate than ourselves. That is basically how Jesus wanted us to love.

Observing the Sabbath

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 

Saint Mark quoted Jesus as saying that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. This tells us that God wants us to be good humans, not just "churchy" symbols of holiness.

Priesthood was added to the nobility in 450AD

Monday, January 21, 2019

A letter to the Hebrews pictures our priesthood as a select group of men chosen by God for very high purposes.

 The priesthood that we find can differ from that biblical ideal, since in 450 AD our priesthood was assimilated into worldly nobility. 

Back then the race of the Franks overcame all of Europe, and in their simplified social structure, everyone belonged to either to the nobility or to the class of the slaves. The nobility out of respect for the priests, began treating all of them like nobles. 

The Baptism of Jesus

Monday, January 7, 2019

For ten years I printed a homily each day until last month when two long hospital stays brought it to an end. Thank you for following along with me and joining me again on these reflections.

The gospel today pictures Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan River, and it might start us wondering why Jesus even needed to be baptized.

Seems to me that we have used the notion of being baptized in five different ways.

First, in today's gospel, it was God's way of introducing his son to the world. "And God says, this is my beloved son, listen to him."

Second, being baptized in the Baptist Church consisted in believers bearing a conviction that they are called by God.

Third, in the Catholic Church that I grew up in, baptism was seen as befitting the believer to speak with God by a practice of sanctifying grace.

Fourth, in the early Christian Church, baptism meant joining with Jesus in making death to sin.

Fifth, the baptism pool stood for joining in the grave of Jesus.