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Originally delivered on March 4, 1990
Readings: Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19; Matthew 4:1-11
In today’s readings we hear about the Garden of Eden, Jesus’ forty days in the desert, and His temptation by the devil. We are reminded that God created the right order of things in His creation of the Garden of Eden, but like Jesus, we each experience our time in the desert, struggling with every demon. We would do well to remember that Jesus went before us and will always be with us, as God’s people. But with Jesus’ support and love, we are each called to re-create the right order of things. This means that we must experience the desert and our temptations, such as our desire for things and power, and trust in our God. To do this requires our penance, but most importantly, responsibility to make the future different.
Originally delivered on January 31, 1993
Readings: Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 5:1-12a
In this homily, we remember the passing of Justice Thurgood Marshall. The first African-American member of the Supreme Court, he challenged the status quo and represented the poor and marginalized. Perhaps he was considered a thorn in the side of the establishment, just as Jesus must have been considered by His contemporaries. In this week’s Gospel, we hear Jesus from the mountain, just as Moses gave the ten commandments from the mount, giving us the Beatitudes which were so very different in nature than the straightforward ten commandments. But who are the poor in Spirit? Poverty in Spirit surely means genuine dependence on and trust in the Lord. But being poor in Spirit also may mean those with material wealth who stand with the poor, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized. In doing so, we will be rich in God’s love.
Originally delivered on January 14,1990
Readings: Isaiah 8:23-9:3; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; Matthew 4:12-23 or 4:12-17
We are the light of Jesus in the world today. We are each called to bring that light, through our own unique gifts and talents, to make this world the Kingdom of God. In this Gospel, Jesus reaches out to the fishermen, Simon and Andrew, to be fishers of men and women. Jesus didn’t go to those in power. Instead, he went to the ordinary people, like us, to bring forth His message, just as we are now called. In the second reading, however, we are reminded that in being the light, we must not get caught up in our inevitable squabbles that have more to do with us than in following Jesus. Paul reminds us that we cannot give ourselves over to jealousness and mean spiritedness. Paul did mean uniformity, but rather unity around Christ’s message to be His light in the world.
Originally delivered on January 10, 1993
Readings: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Acts 10:34-38; Matthew 3:13-17
Through a touching Healy family story, we glean new insight about why Jesus was baptized. Perhaps he wanted to identify with us, as much as possible — with our difficulties, shame, and sin which is all washed away in Baptism. He wanted to be one with us in our struggle. When we are at our most frail, Jesus, through His own Baptism, has shown us that He is truly with us. Just as we should be with our oppressed sisters in brothers, especially those that don’t yet know about Jesus.
Originally delivered on December 31, 1989
Readings: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew: 2:13-15, 19-23
We celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. As we gather each week, it’s truly a family reunion as everyone is together as one family of God. We are called to reflect on what the world would be like if we treated others truly as our sisters and brothers. Family is loving, learning, sharing, and caring deeply for one another while keeping a treasured tradition which is renewed and celebrated together when we gather. But most importantly, being family, is to be forgiving of the faults and failings of our brothers and sisters. We are also called to recognize the family resemblance in the spirit of every person on earth.
Originally delivered on December 24, 1989
Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, 10; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-24
In this week’s Gospel, we hear how the birth of Jesus came about. Joseph said Amen to marrying Mary, despite the impossibility of understanding how the Son of God was to be born through Mary. Two ordinary people, Mary and Joseph, had the faith to say Amen. May we do the same, no matter how scary it may seem. Will we say, “Your Will be done in me”?
Originally delivered on December 17, 1989
Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 1:2-11
Today we are reminded to Rejoice! Rejoice for our being prophets to bring Jesus’ Gospel to our sisters and brothers here on Earth. We are each called to be prophets despite our frailties, doubts, and even our sins. It is in our infirmity that the Glory of God becomes more evident. So, today as we rejoice in the Good News, we are each challenged to be true prophets in our actions.