Fr Phil

Homily – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 18th, 2021

Each time we hear readings from the Hebrew Testament (Old Testament), it takes a little more work to get into them than do the Jesus stories, which are more familiar to us. But let us see if Jeremiah, who lived 600 years before Jesus, has something to tell us.

Jeremiah prophesied at a time when his country, Judah, was about to fall to the enemy, the Babylonians. The leaders of Judah instead of turning to and renewing their trust in God, ...

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Homily – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 11th, 2021

In last Sunday’s gospel reading, we heard how Jesus was not welcome to speak God’s word in his own hometown of Capernaum. A long line of prophets came before Jesus, like Amos in that first reading, and experienced the same indifference and violence when they dared to speak God’s word. Likewise, a long line of prophets came after Jesus and fared no better. Perhaps that is why Jesus told them that if they were not welcomed in one place, they ...

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Residential Schools – When Humility Goes Awry

Biblical language is the deepest language of all. It is deeper than psychological or sociological language, or any other language. Biblical language is archetypal language. For example, you are feeling run down. Medical language says you have chronic arthritis. Psychological language says you are experiencing mid-life crisis. But biblical language says you’re in Gethsemane. On a recent visit to a parishioner in hospital, when I asked her how she felt, she replied, “I feel like hell.” This is the deepest, ...

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Homily – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 4th, 2021

One of the ways Jesus described himself, while he walked among us, was by saying, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He praised anyone and everyone who was seeking the Truth, even if that person had a sketchy past as a despised tax collector or was known as the village prostitute. That did not matter to Jesus as long as you were seeking the truth. Jesus praised those who were sincerely seeking the truth and tried to ...

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Homily – 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 27th, 2021

Every time Jesus tells a parable or performs a miracle or teaches us something, it is always a revelation. What is being revealed is God and the Kingdom of God. If we walk away in amazement, as many do in the gospels, we lose the revelation. But if we ponder the teaching, the parable, or the miracle, we not only learn the truth about God and God’s Kingdom, we also learn the truth about ourselves.

In today’s gospel story, we have ...

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Residential Schools – When Theology Goes Awry

When the news broke a couple of weeks ago concerning the discovery of 215 bodies of children buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., I, like the rest of you, was shocked, disappointed, angry, embarrassed, saddened (and the adjectives go on). While I am still processing the magnitude of this tragedy, I just feel I have to say something knowing full well that this something will always be inadequate.  I want to try, nonetheless.

Blaise Pascal, the ...

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Homily – 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 20th, 2021

You don’t have to live long on this earth to have had an experience that has threatened your peace or well-being. Perhaps the image of a storm is the best metaphor to express what that was like. Job, in the first reading, is the one who epitomizes the expression, “If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.” Everything was taken from Job (crops, livestock, family, and his health). It was like he was in a storm that would never ...

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Homily – 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 13th, 2021

Every time we gather for Eucharist, the first reading we listen to is from the Hebrew Scriptures (what we used to call the “Old Testament”). The older the writing is, the further removed it is from our own experience. So, we need to get into the context of these ancient texts if they are to have something to say to us in our present-day context. Whenever I try to do that, I’m always surprised that their context, way back then, ...

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Homily – Pentecost Sunday – May 23rd, 2021

Seven years ago, just a few days before we celebrated what we are celebrating today—Pentecost—we were very much like the disciples in today’s gospel. They locked themselves in the Upper Room out of fear. Similarly, we locked ourselves in our houses for the same reason—fear. A young man had killed three Mounties and was still on the loose. Thank goodness events of that magnitude are rare. What was not so rare in Jesus’ time, and still in our time, is ...

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Homily – The Ascension of the Lord – May 16th, 2021

It is hard to talk about the Feast of the Ascension (that great departure of Jesus in his physical form) without also talking about next Sunday’s Feast of Pentecost (that great return of Jesus in his spiritual form). Let’s just stay with today’s feast, Ascension, because if we do Ascension well, Pentecost almost takes care of itself.

When I think of Ascension, I can’t help but think of words we often hear the priest pray during a funeral mass: “Life is ...

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