Homily for the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist June 24, 2018
Recently I was revisiting the story of the battle at Thermopylae, where, as the Greek Historian Herodotus tells us, 300 Spartans (and several other Greeks) held off a huge Persian army for far longer than they should have been able to.
The story is told today, as it was at the time of Herodotus, as a story about the incredible resilience of the patriot who, for love of country and family and freedom is capable of great sacrifice. The story is also very much about the Spartans, who were a warrior people. They trained their boys from a very young age to be nothing else but soldiers. Their society was entirely dedicated to warfare, yes, but in their eyes it was more than just that. It was a society dedicated to the perfection of the human will over the weakness of human flesh. The saying in Greece was that Athens and Thebes built statues; Sparta built men.
As I considered the story of the Spartans and their valor at Thermopylae, I found myself in a kind of awe for their people. However, I could not ignore the fact that these were a brutal people. They were not a Christian people. They did not know the true God. And if they had, they would certainly have rejected him as the Athenians did when St. Paul came and spoke to them.
Homily for the Seventh Sunday of Easter May 13, 2018
Today’s readings are a kind of prelude to next week’s celebration of Pentecost. In the first reading, Matthias replaces Judas Iscariot maintaining apostolic succession and magisterial authority.
The second reading demonstrates the need for this authority because, as St. John tells us, right doctrine, being able to acknowledge that the Man of Nazareth was and is the Son of God, that central doctrinal note is a sign of living in the Spirit and in the love of God. Read More
“When thinking about all the various ways that unity is undermined in our society, I have written about some ideological obstacles. They affect the way we view reality and how we think through solving problems in society. I’d like to address a practical obstacle that leads to an ideological one, namely our incredible wealth.” ….
Here is my latest column in The Catholic Voice on the folly of identity politics…
“Over the last several months, I have been writing about some of the seeds of discord that exist in our culture. …This month, I want to address identity politics. Allow me to start by sharing a personal anecdote. ” ….
“When I wrote last month about the purpose of politics, that politics provides a forum for the practice of virtue, I was reminded of a scene from the film ‘Gladiator.’ In the scene the upstart Commodus rejects the four chief virtues his father seeks in an heir: wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. Rather, he lists the virtues with which he has been gifted: ambition, resourcefulness, courage (not on the battlefield), devotion.I thought of this scene because one of the difficulties we face in our culture is our skewed understanding of virtue. ” ….
“It’s been a year since the election and much of the acrimony still seems to linger. I was listening recently to a cultural commentator and convert to Christianity who was asked why he is so consistently joyful despite all the bad news. The trick, he said, is that he understands what politics is for.” ….
“As students return to school, I’m always reminded of the good work of the many Catholic saints who modeled for us the educational system from which we all benefit today: St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle, St. Joseph Calasanz and St. Lucy Filippini. Driven by their love of the Lord, they were called to bring hope and opportunity to the poor.” ….
“In this, my final installment of reflections on living mercy, I wanted to draw from Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium,’ the Joy of the Gospel. In that document, the Holy Father speaks to us about missionary discipleship, which is part of the pastoral vision of our archdiocese and which includes unity and living mercy. So what can we learn from Pope Francis that can help make living mercy a practical reality here?” ….
“As every year comes to a close, we often look back at some of those who have passed away. This year includes the loss of Harper Lee, Prince, Muhammad Ali, John McLaughlin, Leonard Cohen and, in July, Elie Wiesel. Wiesel was a survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald and the author of ‘Night,’ an account about his holocaust, a book that almost never happened……”
Here is a piece I wrote on the upcoming Synod for The Catholic Answer, the magazine for Our Sunday Visitor. I offer some practical suggestions for the family and how we can live up to our calling.
“Talk about the synod in the media has revolved mostly around pastoral solutions to prickly questions in modern families. While such questions are important, Catholics ought not ignore what will be said at the synod about the family’s vocation and mission to societies. For the family is the foundation for all society.” ….
Here is my column in The Catholic Voice on Planned Parenthood and living Pope Francis’ Laudato Si. Check it out.
“Last month I wrote about ‘Laudato Si,’ the pope’s new encyclical. I ended that column saying I would continue to write about the document this month, but in the meantime our country has been ‘assaulted’ by the gruesome videos about Planned Parenthood.“
Planned Parenthood is back in the news for the very worst reasons. While it should not be a surprise to anyone with half a brain that they do this sort of work (selling the parts of aborted babies – in case you missed it), it ought to at least nudge those Catholics who support candidates who wish God’s blessings on PP to think twice about doing so.
But all of this has reminded me that for all the righteous, conservative outrage at Planned Parenthood and the political establishment that supports them, it is these same conservatives who are ever so willing to sidle up to the anti-immigration reform members of the Planned Parenthood family. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read More