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King Leonidas of Sparta

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.

I bring this up because Read More

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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

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On Easter Sunday this year I posted the following note on Facebook : “So my first Triduum as a deacon and all I can say is that Easter this year has been a totally different experience. I have been overwhelmed with such a level of gratitude for my family, my parish, my pastor, my faith, my Lord. A blessed Easter to all. He is risen!” The response to the post took me aback. Hundreds of people, some of whom I have not heard from for a while, reacted to the post and some even commented. One deacon, ordained only a couple years, responded affirmatively that it was totally different for him as well. And two friends asked me to extrapolate What happened? How was it different? Here is my attempt to explain.

I feel obliged to note a couple things for readers who are not exactly my close or even casual friends. First, my background is in theology. I have been working for the Church for 17 years now. When I talk about my family, I’m referring to my wife and our four kids. I was ordained on May 6, 2017.

I also feel obliged to say that I was rather happy as a layman. I was not “looking for more.” I love the Triduum. It has always been my favorite time of the liturgical year. It’s just that, this time, my perspective was different. Or rather, since we believe an ordained man is different in a fundamental way, I should say I was different fundamentally. My involvement in the liturgy was different and so physically I was looking at the movements of the event differently too. Read More

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Here’s my article at the National Catholic Register on Fr. James Martin and the question of the sensus fidei.

“The Catholic Church’s teaching on the sensus fidei (sense of the faith) has been given attention recently, due to appeals to the concept by Jesuit Father James Martin, author of Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity..”…

 

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