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3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Our readings this week focus on a core theme that runs through Jesus’ ministry… repentance.  There is no sin so grave that cannot be forgiven with true contrition and a return to God.  This was the message that John the Baptist proclaimed, and the message Jesus continued as he took up his ministry.  This theme not only runs through the gospels, but is a major theme that binds the entire Bible into a cohesive volume. 


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

Our first reading comes from the book of Jonah.  The story of Jonah is well known in both Jewish and Christian circles, yet for all its popularity, we only hear it in the Liturgy this once.  For this reason, many Catholics only have a passing familiarity with Jonah’s story.  They know his name and that he was swallowed by a large fish (or whale), but that’s about it.  In our passage this week, God asks Jonah to go through the city of Nineveh preac…
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2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

We Christians love the Christmas Season because it allows us to dwell on the story of the Nativity and those first special moments in the life of Jesus and the Holy Family.  For as much as we love these stories, however, they’re not that important in the larger narrative.  Mark and John don’t even mention these moments in their Gospels because they didn’t find them relevant to their telling of the story.  The infancy narratives are like the hors d’oeuvres of scripture… something to whet our appetites for the larger story to come… which begins now as we leave Christmastide behind and enter into Ordinary Time.


The Word for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time 1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
Psalm 40:2, 7-8, 8-9, 10
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
John 1:35-42

We ended the Christmas season with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord… a moment that marks the beginning of his ministry.  Jesus’ baptism by John is a passing of the torch, an acceptance of his divine mission and the beginning of a j…

The Epiphany of the Lord

If Easter is our highest holy day, the Epiphany is rightly the second.  It is the celebration of the realization that through Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection that God's salvation is a gift for all people, everywhere.  It is this feast that defines us as Christians, revealing not only that this child, Jesus, is the Christ, but that the grace of reconciling the people to God is not exclusive but is a universal invitation.


The Word for the Epiphany of the Lord Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-2

Our first reading comes from the later chapters of Isaiah.  Here the prophet sees a glorious vision for Jerusalem… the city shall be radiant and become a beacon for all the nations.  And that is the key point of this reading today... that all people, all kingdoms, will see Jerusalem, God's city and God's people, as the light and life, and be drawn to her and the glory of the Lord.  These later chapters of Isaiah reflect th…

4th Sunday of Advent

This 4th Sunday of Advent we focus on the Incarnation… God made manifest through the birth of Jesus.  Nothing captures this moment better than our Gospel, but as we will see, our other readings would suggest that this meeting between God and his people has been coming for some time…


The Word for the 4th Sunday of Advent 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 27-29
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

To better understand our readings for this week, I think we should first look at our Gospel.  In a story that is unique to Luke’s Gospel, we here the of the angel Gabriel coming to Mary to announce God’s plan for the birth of his Son.  It’s not hard for us to imagine Mary’s amazement in this moment.  Not only is this humble girl from Nazareth (already likely anxious over her betrothal to Joseph) being approached by an angel, a messenger for the Lord, but the angel’s message is almost unbelievable:  God has chosen her to bear his Son.  Mary isn’t naive, however, and challenges Ga…

3rd Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent marks the midpoint of the season… in Catholic terms, this is like “hump day”, where we happily see that the conclusion of our journey is within sight.  Referred to as Gaudete Sunday, it takes its name from the Latin word for rejoice.  We will hear this word several times throughout this Sunday's Mass in our prayers and our readings.  We light the rose colored candle on our Advent wreaths, rose being a mixture of Advent violet and Christmas white.  Not only is Christmas a joyous occasion to celebrate the birth of our Lord, but it reminds us that we are joyous (not fearful) of his return.


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

We open with a great announcement from Third Isaiah, that the anointed brings glad tidings to the poor.  If his words sound familiar, they should.  Not only are they reminiscent to the announcement made by the angels to the shepherd in th…

2nd Sunday of Advent

Prepare the way of the Lord!  Make straight his path!  This is the clarion call we receive for this 2nd Sunday of Advent.  Preparation is the message as we are bombarded with all sorts of advertising right now... to find the perfect gift, create the perfect meal, decorate the perfect home, all the while surrounded by the perfect sense of family.  Trouble is, when we seek this type of perfection, we often find ourselves disappointed.  Not only have we missed the point of the season, we’ve allowed the secular world to obfuscate our understanding of the Gospel message…


The Word for the 2nd Sunday of Advent Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Psalm 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
2 Peter 3:8-14
Mark 1:1-8

We open with one of the finest songs of forgiveness and triumph from the Prophet Isaiah.  There is an established pattern in all of our worship… that before we ask for something from God, we first must ask him for forgiveness for our sins.  We see this every time we celebrate the Mass as we begin with t…

Nuns and Nones... continued...

On 6-24-2016 I wrote a brief commentary on what we call the "nones"... that is, those people who check the box that says "none" when asked about their religious affiliation.  That commentary was based on an address by my former high school's principal at their 2016 graduation address.  But this topic of the "nones" returned to my attention with this article posted on our daily Angelus News email from the e-magazine Crux:

Notre Dame debuts digital platform to reach young Catholics, ‘nones’
Please take a moment to read it... 

Of particular interest is the increasing number of "nones," those people who claim no religious affiliation. I first heard this term a few years back from one of the speakers at our LA Religious Education Congress. The term itself grew out of a 2012 Pew Research study that showed this rising trend. Working as I do with the RCIA and Adult Faith Formation, this was a known issue, but the Pew study validated what ma…