Fr Phil

Homily – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 23rd, 2022

Sometimes I wonder, and maybe you do too, whether all God’s great feats of power, all God’s great interventions into human history, that all of these marvellous deeds took place only in Biblical times and have, somehow, dried up for us here and now.  If that is so, then maybe God’s past involvement in human affairs is solely for the purpose of giving us inspiration in the present.  Or, more demoralizing still, somehow people of the past were more open, more deserving, ...

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Homily – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 16th, 2022

I assume you have all heard the story of Jesus changing water into wine, and I also assume you have all heard many interpretations this story. Because the gospels cut in so many ways—symbolically, metaphorically, spiritually—there is no possibility of any of us saying, “That’s the real and the only interpretation.” The real interpretation is the one that makes sense for your life here and now. The real interpretation is the one whose outer truth resonates with some inner truth ...

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Homily – The Baptism of the Lord – January 9th, 2022

On this last day of the Christmas Season two questions concerning Jesus’ baptism arise in me: 1) What is Jesus, the sinless one, doing in the waters reserved for sinners? And 2) Why is this story proclaimed in the Christmas Season, given the fact that Jesus is about 30 years old? Beyond satisfying our curiosity around those questions, we should always ask—with every gospel story–what is this gospel story inviting us to, here and now? I think those first two ...

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Homily – The Epiphany of the Lord – January 2nd, 2022

Of the four gospel writers, Matthew is the only one who tells the story of the wise men. I can see why the other three may have shied away for telling this story; it would have been a bit risky to do so. Many Jewish people then, like many Catholics now, thought they were the only ones who mattered and the only people that God loved. They believed that they were the only people that had the one true religion ...

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Homily – The Solemnity of Mary – January 1st, 2022

You may know the name Victor Frankl. This Austrian was a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a philosopher, and a writer—one of Europe’s brightest minds. But he may be best known as a Holocaust survivor. He survived various Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War and shared that experience in his best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning. After his miraculous survival, he went on to give talks all over the world. When in front of American audiences, he was fond of ...

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Homily – Feast of the Holy Family – December 26th, 2021

A wife once said, “My husband would climb mountains, swim lakes, and crawl through deserts to show his love for me, but I divorced him…because he was never home!” I know that was a joke, but the first part of the joke paints a picture of a very committed, faithful, and dedicated husband who would go to any lengths for his wife. These Scripture readings given to us today, on the Feast of the Holy Family are also about commitment, ...

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Homily – Christmas Day

The scripture passages the Church gives us on Christmas morning are very different than the passages we hear on Christmas Eve. As you noticed in this morning’s gospel reading, there is no journey to Bethlehem, no descending of angels from the heavenly realm, no shepherds, no Joseph, no Mary, and no baby Jesus. 

The four gospel writers all have different starting points in their attempt to tell us the Jesus story. The Gospel according to Mark starts us off with an ...

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Homily – Christmas Eve

These familiar Christmas scripture stories are the same ones we hear year after year after year. Yet, there is always something new—usually a new meaning—that emerges and makes me wonder, “How come I never thought of that before?” I suppose it has something to do with our changing perspective as we age. We see differently at 50 than we did at 30.  It only makes sense.  Imagine the scriptures as being a diamond. With each passing year, you move one step clockwise ...

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Homily – Fourth Sunday of Advent

When we want to find prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), it’s not a bad idea to turn to the Prophet Isaiah, who lived some 700+ years before the birth of Jesus. But apart from major prophets like Isaiah, Elijah, and Jeremiah, God also uses minor prophets, like Micah, whom we heard from in that first reading. And then, as if to make the point that anyone and everyone—prophet or not–can be used to bring about God’s Kingdom, God ...

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Homily – Third Sunday of Advent – December 12th, 2021

I have not met this person, but I have read a small fraction of her work. Her name is Paula D’Arcy, and a few of her roles in life is that she is a mother, a widow, an author, a retreat leader, and a grief counselor. Back in 1975 when Paula was 27, police officers, out of the blue, came to her door to tell her that her husband and 21-month-old daughter had been tragically killed in a car accident. ...

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