Monthly Archives: January, 2014

Here Comes Everybody

Father Bob’s homily last Sunday…


Third Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Hearing the story of the call of Peter and Andrew is a true inspiration and model of Christian life.  They leave everything to follow Jesus unreservedly.  But the call is more than to simply follow.  There is a mission inherent in the call that is shared by all who would be disciples, for they leave their nets behind for the challenge of Jesus, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

This is critical in our understanding of Christ and the Christian mission.  From the very moment Jesus gathers people, he tells them they will be gathering even more people.  What Jesus has to say is not a secret knowledge, but his Gospel, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” is meant for everyone.  If we are to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, we must invite others to…

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Scripture Commentary for the Presentation of the Lord, cycle A

presentation of the Lord

The Christian holiday of Candlemas, on 2 February, is a feast to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of baby Jesus. In France, this holiday is called la Chandeleur, Fête de la Lumière,* or jour des crêpes.  Not only do the French eat a lot of crêpes on Chandeleur, but they also do a bit of fortune telling while making them. It is traditional to hold a coin in your writing hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year.  There are all kinds of French proverbs and sayings for Chandeleur; here are just a few. Note the similarities to the Groundhog Day predictions made in the US and Canada:

À la Chandeleur, l’hiver cesse ou reprend vigueur
On Candlemas, winter ends or strengthens
À la Chandeleur, le jour croît de deux heures
On Candlemas, the day grows by two hours
Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte
Candlemas covered (in snow), forty days lost
Rosée à la Chandeleur, hiver à sa dernière heure
Dew on Candlemas, winter at its final hour  (

1st Reading:  Malachi 3:1-4

Malachi is a pseudonym meaning “My Messenger.”  The author probably wished to conceal his (or her) identity because his attacks on the priests and ruling classes were very sharp.  Malachi arrived on the scene after the excitement of the return from exile had worn off.  Morals were suffering.  People were reneging on their tithes, intermarrying (and losing their cultural and religious identity), and oppressing the widow, the orphan and the foreigner.  For Malachi, this moral slide began in the temple (Guentert, US Catholic, p. 22).  Compare this with the Gospel!

St. Jerome identified the messenger referenced in this pericope as the prophet Ezra.  Jesus adapted the words to John the Baptist  (Mt 11:10)  (Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 400).  The imagery of lye and fire is meant to be transformational.  When we allow God to come into our life and our decision-making, we can be refined and transformed!  How have you found this to be true in your life?

2nd Reading:  Hebrews 2:14-18

In this part of the letter, we understand that God made Jesus perfect through suffering.  The verb translated ‘make perfect’ in Greek is teleiounIn the New Testament, this word has special meaning.  It is used of an animal which is unblemished and fit to be offered as a sacrifice; of a scholar who is no longer at the elementary stage but mature; of a Christian who is no longer on the fringe of the Church.  The thing or person fully (perfectly) carries out the purpose for which it was designed.  Through suffering, Jesus was made fully able for the task of being the pioneer of our salvation.  Jesus Christ fully identified himself with humankind by becoming a man, and suffered like humans do.  Jesus really felt his humanity with us, and so he can really help, (Barclay on The Letter to the Hebrews, p. 26-28).

Gospel Reading:  Luke 2:  22-40

Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in His hand

Who saith “A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half; trust God:

            see all, nor be afraid!”  ~Robert Browning

It is by the wisdom of elders that our eyes are opened to what Jesus’ purpose will be.  Anna’s name means “grace”.  Like Simeon, she has spent her life in awaiting the Lord, (Faley, Footprints on the Mountain, p. 75).  The reference to “a sword will pierce” is why Mary depicted as Our lady of Sorrows is generally illustrated with swords  (see Union Street church window!).

The requirement for the wife only to be purified after childbirth is found in Leviticus 12:1-8.  Since Mary and Joseph could not provide a lamb, they make the offering of the poor.  The family of Jesus is here seen as totally observant of the law, (p. 74).

Only at great cost would Jesus carry out the purpose for which he was born.  Both he and his mother would know suffering – but that suffering, as Anna the prophetess would affirm, would bring about the redemption of Israel while offering the light of salvation to the gentiles.

As we celebrate this feast, let us present ourselves to God, as Jesus did.  Offering all we are, all we have and all we will become; let us, like Jesus, be willing to go forth from this place determined to be a source of light and healing in an often dark, broken world.  Let us grow strong and wise, knowing that the favor of God rests upon us, (Sanchez, NCR for Jan. 17-30, 2014, p. 25).

Consolation as defined by Margaret Silf, Inner Compass:

  • Directs our focus outside and beyond ourselves
  • Lifts our hearts so that we can see the joys and sorrows of other people
  • Bonds us more closely to our human community
  • Generates new inspiration and ideas
  • Restores balance and refreshes our inner vision
  • Shows us where God is active in our lives and where he is leading us
  • Releases new energy in us  (p. 53)

Compare this to the consolation of Israel.  How can Jesus help you find consolation?

Know Like You Know

Father Bob’s homily last Sunday…


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time A

John the Baptist knew it, but he didn’t know it.  He knew he had been called to this mission of baptizing. He knew it had meaning and importance. He knew that God was attracting people to him. He knew he was preparing for the Messiah, whoever that was.  I mean he was baptizing as if it were his last name.  Yet, everything must have looked different the moment he encountered Jesus. He cries out, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” and immediately acknowledges that Jesus ranks ahead of him.  He rejoices to tell of how the Holy Spirit alighted in the form of the dove upon Jesus and it had answered the promise that God had given him, “On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the…

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Scripture Commentary for 3rd Sunday OT, cycle A



1st Reading: Isaiah 8: 23- 9: 3

Rather than trusting in God’s light, Israel and Judah (the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom of the Hebrew people) tried to live by their own ‘light’ – their own self-important ways.  It brought darkness and destruction to both.  The prophet is looking for an ideal king to lead his people. Kings were seen as being ‘adopted’ by God and a sign of God’s presence with his people.   King Ahaz of Judah did not live up to his calling.  He had made an agreement with Assyria against the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  The prophet looked to a new king, Hezekiah, to be a ‘savior king’.  These hopes were not realized.  Hezekiah eventually became a disappointment, too. (Celebration, Jan.1999)

The great light that Isaiah is speaking of is the revelation of God’s love beyond Israel to even the Gentiles. It is the day when God’s love becomes real for those who are without a religious tendency, to those who are toughened by despair, to those who think hope is nothing but a day dream. But this light does not come by way of some paranormal experience – it can come only by way of ordinary people open to and filled with God’s extraordinary love. This love can come to our world today only if you and I bring it, with God’s help. (Exploring the Sunday Readings, January, 1999)

2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10 – 13, 17

This letter of Paul’s was probably written about 54-55, A.D. It is really not the ‘first letter’ since Paul writes of a previous letter in 1 Cor. 5: 9. Remember in the early church Paul’s letters were treasured and circulated, but not really organized until around 90 AD. So some were lost and others then were put out of order. The ideas and their importance are still valid. (Barclay, The Letter to the Corinthians, 4-6)

Cephas was the Jewish version of Peter’s name. His ‘group’ was probably made up of the more Jewish Christians who still held tightly to Jewish traditions and law. Apollos was an educated man from Alexandria whose learning and Greek influence made him more attractive to the Gentile Christians and those with greater education. Paul reminds them that these differences should not lead to division. That it is Christ Jesus we must look to for the light – the truth –the insights we need. A preacher’s ‘job’ is just to lead us to Jesus. It is in the cross of Christ that we find the absolute assurance of God’s love – there is the fullness of wisdom in no other place. It seemed there were not serious doctrinal differences here in Corinth, but cliques and factions. The word for united is usually used when two hostile parties reach an agreement. In Mark 1:19 and Matthew 4:21 the same word is used to describe the mending of torn fishing nets. Keep this in mind when you read the gospel. (Celebration, January 1999 & 2005)

The Gospel– Matthew 4: 12 – 23

Here we see Jesus setting up his home in Capernaum. His old life at Nazareth was over and done; it was clean cut, a momentous decision. The village was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This lake was and is a large inland lake that is 680 ft. below sea level. It has quite a warm climate and is surrounded by phenomenally fertile land that was, thus, quite densely populated. It is considered to be one of the loveliest lakes in the world. “Seen from any point of the surrounding heights it is a fine sheet of water – a burnished mirror set in a framework of rounded hills and rugged mountains.” In Jesus’ time it was thick with fishing boats.  This is probably not the first time that these men have met Jesus.  Some of them may have been disciples of John. They had known and talked with Jesus; they had heard him preach. Now these fishermen were being invited to “throw in their lot with him.”  These were ordinary, sort of middle-class men – certainly not poverty stricken – nor were they men to be easily fooled or impressed. And, as fishermen they may have had just the qualities Jesus needed in his disciples: men of patience, perseverance, courage, cleverness, with the ability to ‘fit the bait to the right fish’, to stay out of the way, and to know how to recognize the right moment for action.

(William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol.1 77-79)

Joseph Fitzmyer, a New Testament scholar, notes how strange this metaphor of ‘catching people like fish’ seems to be. The mission of the disciples was to bring them to salvation (fullness of health). Yet, what fishermen do to fish is far from salutary!  He points out, though, that the Greek term that Jesus used to say that they would be ‘catchers or netters’ of humanity could literally be translated as “you will be taking them alive.”  The strange metaphor then comes to mean that those ‘caught’ or ‘netted’ by Peter and the others would be saved from death and gathered into God’s Kingdom. (Celebrations, Feb. 1998)

Other interesting ‘fish’ facts:  A fish was an early symbol of Christianity because the letters of the Greek word for fish are I-C-H-T-H-U-S.  These are the same letters that begin the Greek words for “JESUS CHRIST, GOD’S SON, SAVIOR”  (IESOUS CHRISTOS THEOU HUIOS SOTER)

The early Christians also hung an anchor on the doors of the houses where they would gather to celebrate Eucharist because it resembled a cross.  This secret symbol identified their ‘house churches.’

The leaving of everything to follow Jesus was the way the gospel writers expressed the need of disciples to make Jesus the priority in life. These fishermen were no longer just fishermen any more once they began to follow Jesus. They probably went out during the day with Jesus to the surrounding areas returning to their families at night or after short intervals, even returning to fishing when necessary. Their total response to Jesus is meant to be an example to all of us as to where our priorities should lie. With Christ as the center of their lives, it was now more important to go out to ‘catch’ the suffering sea of humanity that was so in need of God’s love, God’s kingdom and presence in their lives. What they have to offer others in Jesus’ name is not just good news; it is great news! We have the same calling. (Mary Birmingham, Word and Worship Workbook for Year A, 363,364)

A Second Birthday to Celebrate

Father Bob’s homily from the Baptism of the Lord…


Baptism of the Lord A

Just this past week, the Pope began his weekly audience by asking how many people know the date of their baptism.  Not too many do, but he points out it is a day worth knowing and celebrating for it is a second birthday for all of us.  For those of us who do not know the date of our baptism though, we can celebrate it today, the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism.

It is a great feast and a curious scene.  It is a bit awkward between Jesus and John the Baptist. Jesus asks John to baptize him and immediately John refuses saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”  After all, John is the forerunner and not the messiah, he is the proclaimer and not what is proclaimed, he is the Voice and not the Word.  He…

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Scripture Commentary for 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle A

partner iwth God

1st Reading – Isaiah 49: 3, 5-6

This is from Second Isaiah – written during the Babylonian Exile.  This servant was to help free these exiled Jews; it was a most difficult assignment.  But then, God expands the scope even more. This servant and his people were to be a light to the nations. God’s concerns are not limited to any one race, or ethic group. God’s power to save wishes to expand “to the ends of the earth.” Everything and everybody is to be brought to wholeness and freedom (that is what salvation means). Celebration, Jan. 2002

As Jesus was called to be this servant, this light, so are we called by our baptism to bring the light of God’s love and to ‘put on the Lord Jesus.’  How do you respond to this reading?

This may seem like a ‘big’ order when too often we can feel more like a morning fog than like the light of Christ. Yet, God chooses us. The more we choose God’s way of love over our usual selfishness and preoccupation, the more the radiance of God shines forth. Prayer connects us to this Source.  Exploring the Sunday Readings, Jan 2002

2nd Reading — 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

The next four Sundays we will read from Paul’s letter to the early Christian community in Corinth. This city was a wealthy busy seaport as it had two harbors, one open to Asia and one open to Italy.  It was a veritable melting pot of people, cultures and religions. After it was conquered by Rome in 146 BC, it was re-founded as a Roman colony in 44 BC. It had a large Italian population and a sizable Jewish community. It was a place of many shrines to a variety of gods and goddesses. The Corinthian Christians would have been confronted on a daily basis by all of this variety, vivid images, and temptations. Paul was challenged to help them come to know the one God we find in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Celebration, January, 2002

Notice how many times Jesus’ name is said in this short introduction?  Right at the beginning of this letter, Paul has Jesus at the forefront.  It was a difficult letter dealing with a difficult situation…Paul goes right to the love of Christ to deal with it.  Notice Paul calls it the church of God, not the church of Corinth.  To Paul, wherever an individual congregation might be, it was a part of the one Church of God.  Also notice how he describes a Christian:  one that is sanctified in Christ, called to be holy and who calls upon Jesus nameWm Barclay The Daily Study Bible Series

Who is Sosthenes?  A friend of Paul’s and someone who was known in Corinth.  It was a common name in those times.  Sosthenes is mentioned again in Acts 18:17 but it is unclear if they are the same  (In Acts, he is a leader of the synagogue, where here it is not known if he is Jewish or not.).  The name means “saving strength”.  McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible and  The Jerome Biblical Commentary

The Gospel – John 1: 29-34

John calls Jesus the ‘Lamb of God’ – it is a title with many meanings.

3 meanings in particular are –

Passover Lamb (Exodus 12: 6-13):  The Passover Lamb recalls the time in Exodus when the Israelite slaves were told to sacrifice a lamb and apply its blood to the doorpost and lintels of their homes so that death would not touch them. This Passover led to their freedom.

Suffering Servant Lamb (Isaiah 52: 13 – 53: 12):  The fourth Suffering Servant song in Isaiah describes a servant who goes like an innocent, oppressed, condemned Lamb to the slaughter – yet from this death comes new life and goodness.

Victorious Lamb (Rev. 5:6; 7:17; 22:1):  The glorious Lamb that we find in Revelation is the lamb that has passed through suffering and death and now becomes the source of life-giving water; all humans can be freed by his blood.

We believe that Jesus is this threefold lamb – this lamb who takes away our sin and insecurity giving us new life and peace – alive with God’s grace and set afire with his love for the sake of the world and in service of his word. Celebration, January, 2002

This is a different picture of Jesus’ baptism.  We are hearing it through the eyes of John the Baptist, as he was there and witnessing to this miraculous event.  You know yourself that you give more credibility to stories that are told as seen vs. stories that are hearsay.  He speaks as though he was forewarned of this baptism.  Then John the Baptist calls Jesus the Son of God.  It is very clear Jesus is center stage.  John the Baptist is playing second fiddle.  Is Jesus center stage in your life?

During this time of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday it is good to remember his hope and vision for a universal ‘salvation’ for all people. As he chose to live Jesus’ words in a world of difficulties, he, too, has become an example for all of us. Let us recall his words that were delivered on the steps of the LincolnMonument, August 28, 1963:

“I have a dream that one day . . . the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood . . . I have a dream that one day . . . little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers . . . I have a dream that one day every hill and mountain will be made low . . . and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope . . . this is our faith . . .With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discord of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to struggle together . . .”

Your Star Beckons

Father Bob’s Epiphany Homily…


Epiphany 2014

Herod was horrid.  It does not take much study to know that.  Herod was horrid and it is not surprising that when the Magi announced that they had seen a star announcing the new born king of the Jews, he is threatened and nervous.  Horrid Herod checks himself, (“I don’t think I have fathered any new born king of the Jews recently”) and then wrecks himself by trying to have the Magi reveal the location of the child so, as he lied, he might pay him homage too.  We are not surprised by Herod’s reaction.  But the Gospel also says that all of Jerusalem was troubled with him even though salvation had dawned just a few miles away.  Even the people shared the fears of Herod. If they had let go of their fears all their desires would be satisfied by truly giving homage to the child in…

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Prayers BY: Maureen McGuinness

 prayer roots

I’m changing my prayer routine for the New Year.

For most of my life my prayers have centered on the Blessed Mother.

As a teen babysitting, soothing a crying baby in the comfort of a carpeted and heated home while reciting Hail Mary’s put my problems in perspective. I was a middle class teen living in the abundance of America getting paid to mind a crying baby. Meanwhile Mary had been my age living in caves with dirt floors caring for her own child.

As a college student struggling with my studies, again I would focus on Mary’s life. She raised our Savior. Her challenge was great; writing a paper on Russian history not so great.

Any life experiences I have struggled with I have been able to bring to the Blessed Mother and ask her to intercede on my behalf or take comfort in the ritual of the Rosary.

Let me be clear, I love Mary. However this year I am expanding my prayer.

The very first prayer I learned as a child was to my Guardian Angels. Our family also said a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

One of the great stories of our family was when my brother was getting ready to enter kindergarten at the parish school. All incoming kindergartners were required to recite a prayer for the principal. Most said a Hail Mary or Grace Before Meals. My little brother, with unruly blond curly hair, who had lost both front teeth in a scuffle at age four, proceeded to recite “St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil…”

Sister Mary Presentation had a hard time keeping a straight face but was very impressed.

I believe it was in my teen years that I gave up on angels. I think I put angels in the same realm as fairies, magical mythical beings. Beings you can’t see so they must not be real.

My grandparents had a deep appreciation for angels. My grandfather would insist that priests had two guardian angels as opposed to the one all of the rest of us have. This just pushed my teen-aged self to the edge and I allowed angels to drop off my radar.

Now I have aged and mellowed. I have children. We pray to their guardian angels at night. When they were little their favorite book was about a baby and the angels that watched over her.

As I have reflected on the Blessed Mother’s life I can see that she let angels into her life. It’s as if she’s telling me there are an infinite number of beings who can help me on this journey.

My reawakening toward angels came through a friend a few years ago. I was having some challenges at work and my friend asked if I asked St. Michael to help me at work. I had not. (Was she crazy?)

She instructed me to pray and reflect on St. Michael on my drive in, to invite him to be with me in the work place and protect and guide me. I listened. The challenges no longer bothered me.

As the New Year started my heater broke. As I struggled trying to fix it, I asked Mary to intercede; I reflected on the lives of every Rosie the Riveter I knew; I asked my Papa to intercede and give me the wisdom to fix the heater. The heater was still not working.

I reached the cursing stage. I put down my tools. I asked St. Michael to take over. I went upstairs, texted my brother for help and within the hour everything was working again.

I don’t understand angels. I do know there is a distinction between a spirit and an angel. When I die my spirit will still exist, it will not turn into an angel as the Hallmark Movie Channel suggests. An angel is a distinct being created by God. I suspect the angels around me and my family love us in a way I can’t understand.

I will spend this year inviting them into my life, hoping to get to know them better.

Scripture Commentary for the Baptism of the Lord, cycle A

bruised reed

1st Reading -Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7

What does this tell us about God’s chosen one?  “God’s Servant brings forth justice carefully, caringly and gently, so gently as to refrain from breaking bruised reeds and from quenching smoldering wicks.  In other words, the Servant has respect for persons who are weak, fragile and in jeopardy.  His manner of bringing justice matches the goal of justice which he enacts.  As a result of his efforts in the cause of justice, healing, freedom and reconciliation are to be experienced by ALL,” (Brueggerman, W.  Texts for Preaching).  Think about how people who may feel forgotten by God – like at the time of this writing (Babylonian Exile) – hear this reading.

This is the first of four ‘suffering servant’ songs from the second part of the Book of Isaiah. The prophet wishes us to see that God acts through this chosen servant to nullify the power of evildoers and so to restore the harmony and peace that arises where God’s justice is acknowledged and lived. Jesus must have loved the Book of the Prophet Isaiah for he modeled his life on these words concerning what it is like to be God’s servant. From his baptism on, Jesus knew that he was called and empowered to be this servant – to bring light, and sight, and freedom to all in bondage. God’s justice was one of compassion for all. Like Jesus by our baptism we are called to do likewise – to try to reproduce God’s justice in the world: father the fatherless, mother the motherless, welcome the stranger, feed the traveler, be hospitable to the alien. By trying with intelligence and perseverance to love all who touch our lives, we can help to bring God’s steadfast love into the reality of our everyday life. (Celebration, January 2005)

2nd Reading – Acts 10: 34-38

Cornelius was gentile – a non Jew – yet Peter, a faithful Jew, became convinced that he too could be baptized and become a follower of Jesus. What line speaks to you the most here?

The pattern of Jesus’ life is the pattern for our lives. We are to ‘put on the Lord Jesus’ as Paul would say. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection must be a part of how we live our baptism: we are to die to selfishness and rise to the needs of others. We are to show no partiality by dying to harsh judgments and blind prejudice as we rise to seeing all people as loved by God. We are to die to grudges and revenge as we rise to forgiveness and reconciliation. We as the Body of Christ must live as Christ would in the concrete situations of our day. (Living Liturgy, Year A, 2002)

The Gospel– Jesus’ Baptism – Matthew 3: 13-17

In first-century Israel there were two seasons: rainy (late September to late April) and dry (early May to early September). Most stayed inside during the wet season, so during the dry season people wanted to be out and about, a very important Mediterranean activity. When John was baptizing, it was probably the beginning of the dry period, The Jordan River would still be filled with water and warmed by the sun. Jesus’ baptism by John is one of the most certain historical events recorded in the gospels. Its significance caused the early Christians first some embarrassment and gradually great insight. (John Pilch, “Historical Cultural Context,” http:/

There is a special irony in Jesus’ baptism that speaks to the central message of the redemptive mystery. Jesus enters into radical solidarity with all people, taking upon himself even the condition of our sinfulness, himself having not sinned. The “one more powerful” assumes the position of weakness. It is precisely in this that he is beloved, and it is from this that he is sent. But how could he be fully human, like us, if he did not sin? We misunderstand this, because we misunderstand our humanity as well as our sin. Jesus reveals to us not only what God is like; he also reveals to us who we are. (John Kavanaugh, S.J. “The Word Engaged”

Jesus’ encounter with his calling and identity at his baptism is the starting point for all that he will undertake. It is because Jesus knows who he is that he does as he does. He trusts the truth that he is God’s beloved; he refuses, even in the face of suffering and death, to believe the lie that God is distant, uncaring, or condemning. At baptism, we are also called sons and daughters of God. In fact, our baptism is our acceptance of that truth. Like Jesus, we need to let that truth fill our lives and overflow into all we do and are. We are never just consumers or spectators or travelers or workers – all of us are God’s beloved. (“Working with the Word”

How do we live as The Beloved, especially in a world that is constantly trying to convince us that the burden is on us to prove that we are worthy of being loved?  The world is evil only when we become its slave.  We must see it through the eyes of faith.  Knowing we are the Beloved will set us free and help us let go of what distracts us, confuses us, and puts us in jeopardy of the life of the Spirit within us.  Put simply, life is a God-given opportunity to become who we are, to affirm our own true spiritual nature, claim our truth, appropriate and integrate the reality of our being, but, most of all, to say “Yes” to the One who calls us the Beloved, (Nouwen, N., Life of the Beloved, p. 130-131).

Christmas on the Margin

Father Bob’s Christmas Homily…


Christmas Homily 2013

This is Pope Francis’ first Christmas as Pope.  Everybody loves Pope Francis.   I saw a poll that not only do 88% of Catholics say he I doing a good job, but 75% of all Americans feel the same way.  If he moved to New Hampshire he could be the next President of the United States!  But this does not surprise me.  I can’t tell you how many of my Protestant friends have said to me, “Congratulations on your Pope.”  To which I usually say, “Er… you’re welcome.”

Yet, at some level the Pope’s popularity surprises me.  He says some pretty challenging things that are contrary to many of our perceived notions of the church and the world.  He says he wants a missionary church that acts like a field hospital, tending to those who are most hurt.  And time and time again, he says we must begin…

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