Fr Phil

Reflection – My Peace I Give You

At each Mass, just before we share in Communion, the priest says aloud: Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles: “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you…” It is one of those rare occasions where the Eucharistic Prayer addresses the Son and not the Father. These are Jesus’ words taken directly from John’s Gospel (14:27). They are part of what scripture scholars call the “Farewell Discourse” (chapters 14-17 inclusive). It is Jesus’ good-bye speech, and it goes ...

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Homily – February 28th, 2021

As many of you know, over 50 years ago the Church established a 3-year cycle of Sunday Scripture readings. That is to say, we hear the same readings only once every three years. However, every year that pattern is broken when we are given one version or another of the gospel story of the Transfiguration. Maybe one of the reasons we are given this reading every year is that it is so rich in symbolism and meaning we just have ...

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Homily – February 21st, 2021 – 1st Sunday of Lent

The last line of today’s gospel, “repent, and believe in the good news” are the words that every Lent starts with when we receive the ashes each Ash Wednesday. To repent means to change our minds. To turn 180 degrees. That is not easy to do. It is now believed that the number one addiction in all of us is that we are addicted to our thoughts, our way of thinking. We think things have to be this way and ...

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Homily – February 17th, 2021 – Ash Wednesday

While the classic disciplines of Lent prayer, fasting and alms giving offer us pathways to a deeper spirituality and deeper sense of social justice, they can easily get highjacked. In other words, we can crank up pray, fasting and charity without any cost or any real letting go or any real transformation of ourselves. And when we are not transformed, it is really hard to transform the world without looking, as Jesus says, like a hypocrite. Hypocrites always want to ...

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Homily – February 14th, 2021 – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is an expression that says: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It’s a little play on words, but there is a lot of truth packed into that expression. What does Jesus care about? Doing the will of God. And what is at the center of God’s will? God’s will–God’s great desire–is that we, individually and collectively, be made whole. That we be restored in our relationship with God, with neighbour, with ...

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Homily – February 7th, 2021 – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

If we look for justice, on this side of heaven, we will probably die very disappointed. Whenever I hear of a child born with a permanent disability or born into an abusive household, or a child robbed of their childhood, or a child raised in squalor or a war zone, or in a refugee camp, it simply does not feel fair or just. Some things should be and can be corrected if we took the gospel seriously and loved our ...

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Homily – January 24th, 2021 – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

This is the only time, in the Church’s three-year cycle of readings, that we hear from the Book of the Prophet Jonah. The Book of Jonah is also one of the shortest books in the entire Bible, yet, even at that, we only get the Coles Notes version of the story today. I encourage you to read the entire book–all two pages of it– and you will discover so many truths about yourself and your faith journey.

Like last Sundays readings ...

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Homily – January 17th, 2021 – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Once again, the first reading and the gospel passage share a common theme; they are both stories of God calling someone. In that first reading from the Book of Samuel, the child, Samuel, with the help of Eli, the high priest, discovers that God is actually speaking to him. Similarly, in the gospel of John, we have Jesus calling his first disciples. While these are stories of “calling,” they are, more importantly, stories of “discernment” on behalf of the one ...

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Homily – January 3rd, 2021 – The Feast of the Epiphany

One of the very first miniseries to appear on television was Roots back in 1977. Do you remember that? It was based on Alex Hailey’s book by the same name and traced his ancestry from Africa to America by way of the horrible slave trade. (Just as an aside, it was that very same week, back in 1977, that my father finally ditched our black and white T.V. for a colored T.V. Our exuberance was short lived, though, as the ...

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Homily – January 1st, 2021 – Mary, Mother of God

Do you remember being in high school and being introduced to English literature, to Shakespeare and others classic writers and poets? Do you remember that? And do you remember being bored out of you mind and saying to yourself, “I don’t know how any of this is supposed to help me in life?” Most of us got through it to get a passing grade. It was more like a hoop we were expected to jump through. In grade 10, we ...

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