“Where Is The Love?” Homily For The Fifth Sunday of Easter

“I give you a new commandment; love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


“…all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


I will be honest with you, when I look out at this commonwealth; this country, this world. I wonder how many would recognize individuals as disciples of Jesus. In some of our major cities, and in some of our smaller one’s, there is more violence in our streets than I seen in awhile. War, disease, gang violence, domestic violence, it is out there. We see it on our screens; the wars and the conflicts, the intensity of which really frightens me. And I see also a hate among all peoples, white, black, Hispanic, and Asian; It is hate I have never seen before; and that frightens me also. And what comes to my mind is a question, actually a demand, where is the love?


I have heard that question asked before, but I could not remember where; so I turned to that source of all knowledge, ….Wikipedia. There were two songs issued under the title,”Where is the Love?” one song was written by the rap group The Black Eye Peas, released in 2003; re-released in 2016. They felt the question still needed to be asked; where is the Love? …..(pointing to the Crucifix). There is the Love. For God so loved the world that He sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus Christ, loved us so much, that He was willing to suffer death, death on a cross, so that we might be saved from sin and death; that by His Resurrection, we are freed from death, and will have eternal life. He calls on us to share this Good News, not just by words, but by example. Within our own families; towards people we will meet on the street, in the office, the factories, the stores; if we treat both friends and strangers with real respect and charity, we are showing where God’s love is. If we stand with the poor, the infirm, the crippled, the refugee; meeting their needs, an arm around a shoulder, letting them know they not alone; that is showing where the love is. If in any discussions, or debates we might be a party to; if we recognize that the other person is a brother or sister in Christ; we respect that person, even if we cannot accept the positions they hold.


The world is out there, a wounded world, inflicted by hate, war, despair. How well we love one another, how well we respect and love our neighbors, our city, our country, will give the answer to the question; an answer that everyone longing for, “Where is the love?”

Palm Sunday ~ 2022

St. Peter Church, Plymouth MA

We are at the beginning of Holy Week; where we bring to mind the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, his agony in the garden, his arrest by Temple authorities and the Sanhedrin, his abandonment by his disciples, his trials by the members of the Sanhedrin; by the Romans; and his crucifixion!

We begin with the procession of the palms, where a crowd of people are following Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. We do not know exactly the real size of this procession, but it appears to be large enough to concern the Sanhedrin; that it may concern the Roman occupiers and bring about a forceful, violent response. And what follows is the events of our Lord’s Passion; His suffering, His death!


But I would like to look now, at a different definition of the word “passion;” with a small “p.” Merriam-Webster dictionary has as one of the definition of “passion;” “a strong liking or desire for devotion to some activity, object, or concept.” What is our everyday passions; sports, both as player and spectator; reading books, paper or digital; collecting, etc., etc., One can definitely say that Jesus had a deep passion to fulfill the will of the Father; to proclaim the Good News to the poor and those who have lost hope in world; to heal the sick, to break the power of sin in the world. He had a passion so great, that He was willing to suffer the most humiliating death.


The question I have for us this morning, do we have a passion for the Gospel life; do we have a passion to follow Jesus? How passionate is our commitment to reach out to the poor, the stranger? How is our passion as a follower of Jesus Christ Crucified?

St. Patrick’s Feast Day

This day celebrates the memory of Saint Patrick, missionary and bishop to the people of Ireland, centuries ago! Sadly, in this country, among others, this day has become a day for excess. An excuse to suspend the requirements of Lent; and indulge in an excess consumption of food and alcohol; shamrocks, and leprechauns!

It is time to remember again what Patrick’s life was truly about; proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, by word and deed. He helped bring about the conversion of a nation!

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate (Abridged)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength,the invocation of the Trinity.
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His Baptism.
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial.
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgement of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward…
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today.
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

Saint Patrick, pray for us, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

Second Sunday of Lent Homily – 2022

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church

Genesis 15: 5-12, 17-18; Philippians 3: 17-4:1; Luke 9: 28b-36

A long, long, loooong time ago, I had an opportunity to spend a fall and winter season, working in a National Park, Big Bend National Park, to be precise, in southern Texas. I was assigned to the Lodge and Cabin area that was located in the Chisos Basin. I was to be a night watchman, needed because part of the lodging was made up of wooden cabins, built during the Great Depression, by WPA workers (Works Progress Administration). I was there to raise the alarm, in case there should be (God forbid) a fire; because those cabins would burn real fast. So it was important to get the word out quickly. I began making the nightly patrols. Now on my first night, I went out and saw for the first time a full night sky, without city lights obscuring the view. It was spectacular, the star field immense, and I was in awe.

Today’s Gospel, is St. Luke’s version of the Transfiguration. Jesus brings Peter, James and John, with him, up the mountain to pray. There, Jesus is transfigured, becoming like light, and Moses and Elijah appearing next to Him! And his three disciples were witnessing all this; and they were in awe at the sight. So much so that they were not sure what to say! They were so affected by the experience, that they did not, perhaps could not, tell any of the other disciples what had happened! At least not“at that time;” Luke writes.


Now after the death of Jesus, at the hands of the Romans, it was expected that his followers would disperse. Many probably did, but the Twelve remained in Jerusalem. I would like to think that at that moment, Peter, James, and John, revealed what they had seen, what they had experienced on the mountain with Jesus, to the rest of the apostles. Maybe this helped them to have the courage, the hope, to remain in Jerusalem. And on Easter morning, when the Resurrected Jesus appeared their midst, their hearts, their eyes were opened, and they were in awe!

Now we are all gathered here, in this place, around this altar. We are about to participate in something wondrous; witness something awesome. Now there are times when we gather, that we bring with us not only our joys, our blessings; but also our sorrows, our burdens, our worries. And Jesus invites us to lay them all down, here at the foot of the altar, and be to present to what is soon about happen! For Father will pick up the Host, take up the Cup of Wine, say the words of consecration, and they will become the Body and Blood of Christ; and I pray that we all will watch in awe!


But! We cannot remain silent as Peter, James, and John did, at first. We need to go out share this experience with the rest of our families , friends, acquaintances, and even strangers; by our words, by how we live our lives of faith! If we strive to that, then I know we will encourage others to join with us; to witness the glories of God as we do; and we will all be in awe!

Homily – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our Lady of Lourdes Church

Jeremiah 17: 5-8; First Corinthians 15: 12, 16-20; Luke 6: 17, 20-26

In our society, there has always been a fascination with those people who are wealthy; those who are celebrities in the world of entertainment; those who have power. Some here may remember the television show “Lives of the Rich and Famous;” where the host would meet and talk with entertainment celebrities or famous people from various walks of life. This fascination continues to this very day; witness the various forms of the “Housewives of (fill in the blank).” The number of newspapers and magazines , all devoted to revealing every naughty aspect of their lives. And now we have rich people, who have invested their wealth in developing space ships, but not to explore, to reveal the mysteries of the universe; but to give fellow wealthy persons the ride a lifetime! While here on earth, there are people who cannot afford a decent place to live; afford to put food on the table for their families; decent clothing for them to wear; and they go about losing hope of a better life!


There is a saying “The more things change, the more they remain the same,”and it applies here! We have become used to a society with an upper class; a middle class; and a poor class. During the time of Jesus, however, as one Scripture scholar put it, the society was just made up of “Haves” and “Have Nots,”. Farmers who were always indebted to their landlords. Shepherds who were indebted to those who owned the pastures. Tax collectors, who often charged higher amounts than what was due, and pocketed the difference. For the poor, it was a very, very, hard life.


And then comes this man from the town of Nazareth, who proclaims good news for the poor, the suffering, the abandoned. This person, this Jesus, promises that there will be time of relief from their sufferings; a time of joy, a time of peace. He gives them hope!


Now, we who profess to be followers of Jesus; we, who by virtue of our Baptism, are members of the Body of Christ, have a calling to bring hope to those in in our world who are in despair, food to those who hunger, justice to those who are oppressed, companionship to those who feel abandoned, and peace to all of them. This is our challenge, to be open to the calling of Jesus, to reflect and to pray, to find out what is our mission in life; how we are to bring the Good News to our own families, our neighbors, our country, our world here and now! Drawing on the waters of God’s grace, in good times and difficult ones, we can help bring the promises of Christ to fruition.

Blessed Jacoba of Settesoli, Secular Franciscan

Jacoba of Settesoli was born in the year 1190 into a noble Italian family. She married into a wealthy Roman family, and she and her husband would have children, including two sons. Sadly, her husband passed away.

While managing her household and caring for her children, she began to hear of an itinerant preacher, by the name of Francis. What she heard stirred her heart; and she desired to meet him.

An opportunity came when Francis and his band of brothers came to the city of Rome. Francis was seeking the Pope’s approval of his Rule of Life for his growing community. Lady Jacoba was able to speak to him about how she could live a more spiritual life, following Jesus. Francis advised her to continue caring for her family; that it was possible to live the Gospel life as both a mother and a householder. She followed his advice, although she did turn over management of the family lands to her two sons. She began living a life of prayer and charity. Francis and his brothers would visit her when they were in Rome. She gave a gift of land to the friars so that they could establish a shelter and hospital for local lepers.

During his final illness, he sent word to Jacoba, asking her to come to Assisi, with cloth to make a burial shroud. And he also asked her to bring some of those almond cookies she used to bake for him when he visited her home. She left Rome immediately.

When she reached Assisi; there was an argument among the brothers if it was appropriate for a woman to enter the friary! Francis settled the issue when he commanded them to let “Brother Jacoba” come in. She was present when he died; and mourned with the brothers.

Lady Jacoba remained to Assisi for the rest of her life. She died on February 8, 1273, and is buried in crypt of the Basilica of St Francis; near his tomb.

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

There are moments in history that take place near or on rivers. In ancient times, the Roman general Caesar, took his legions across the river Rubicon, challenging the authority of the Roman Senate; and won. The Roman Republic became eventually the Roman Empire! On December 25, 1776, General George Washington took his rag tag army across the Delaware River, and attacked the British Hessian force in Trenton, NJ, the following morning. His victory at that battle saved the Continental Army from falling apart, and laid the groundwork for ultimate victory. And then there is the River Jordan. In ancient times, twelve tribes, after wandering in the desert together, crossed the Jordan, and were transformed into a united people. And during the Roman occupation, there was John the Baptist, who on the shores of the Jordan River, was proclaiming that the hoped for Messiah was coming, that now was the time for repentance, a time for change. And the symbol for that was to be bathed in the River, to be washed clean. And there was a growing expectation that the Messiah was coming soon. And then one day, a man from Nazareth arrived on Jordan’s shore, and John recognized him, knew who he was; and John poured the waters of the Jordan over him. And Jesus, saw the Holy Spirit descending upon him, heard his Father voice acknowledging him, “You are my beloved Son.” And the journey began, the work of proclaiming the Good News began.


And the work of salvation continues, Jesus continues the work through us who have also been baptized. On the day of our own baptism, the wound we suffered from Original Sin was healed; we were given new life as adopted children of God; we were all joined together in the Body of Christ, we are all brothers and sisters, living together in a holy community that is the Church. We all share in it’s mission, given to us by Jesus, to proclaim the Good News, by our words, our actions; and by the example of our own lives; we are all called to give example to others what it means to be a follower of Christ, by the way we ourselves struggle with our faith; how we, as people of faith, relate to others; our families; friends and neighbors, to strangers, the homeless; the disenfranchised in our society; and to people that are not very nice.
When I read in Isaiah; when the Lord, through the prophet, declares “I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind,…” I feel that it is not just the physically blind we are called to open, but also those whose eyes are blinded by prejudice and hatred. To free those who prisoners of greed and selfishness. And to help those who live in the darkness of despair and hopelessness.


That is not to say to that there will not be times when we ourselves may be tempted to give into selfishness, anger, and despair. It is then we should turn to prayer, and the sacraments; namely confession, penance; and the Eucharist, where in we received Jesus Christ through Holy Communion, and are healed and strengthened by his Presence. It is by how we struggle with our own weaknesses and sins; and work to overcome them that we can be at our most prophetic.
Our own baptism is the beginning for each of our own journey of faith. That journey continues, for each of us, each with our own calling, our own approach, to living the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. May the Lord be with all of us on this journey.