Fr Phil

Homily – 6th Sunday of Easter – May 9th, 2021

Every spring, bar none, I spend a good amount of time pulling out lots of seedlings from my garden and flower beds. They sprout up from the thousands of maple seeds that fell last fall from the maple trees on the church property. They are everywhere, and they require so little to get started. They are under the leaf litter. They are found in the smallest cracks. They are against the rectory foundation. And they are growing against the greatest ...

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Reflection – Back to Basics

Whenever a coach feels his/her team is not living up to their potential, he/she will always say something typical like, “We’ve got to get back to basics.”  Without demoting anyone to the minor leagues, let’s look at some of the basics of liturgy that we would do well to return to.  I’ll call them my seven deadly liturgical “sins”.  The first four “sins” we have little control over due to COVID; the next three we are totally in control of. ...

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Homily – 5th Sunday of Easter – May 2nd, 2021

Faith is a very precarious thing isn’t it? The moment you think you have it, something will happen this very day to make you doubt that you had it at all. But don’t get discouraged because these scripture readings are telling you that you probably have more faith than you know and moreover, you never lose it entirely. Like learning how to ride a bicycle, you never lose it. Your faith will by tried and tested, no doubt. It will ...

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Homily – 4th Sunday of Easter – April 25th, 2021

As you probably already know, the Bible is more like a mini library than a single book. I say that because the Bible is composed of many books written by many authors over hundreds of years. When it was put together in its final form, the form we have, one of the books included was the book entitled, The Acts of the Apostles. We hear from the Acts of the Apostles as our first reading each Sunday throughout the 50 ...

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Homily – 3rd Sunday of Easter – April 18th, 2021

For the longest time I questioned (and still question), why Jesus chose the 12 apostles that he did? I realize we all need an inner circle of trusted confidants, sounding boards, soul mates, good friends; I get that. Yet, given the fact that the apostles are portrayed so poorly in all four gospels, why choose these and not some others? The other question, that I do not have an answer to is: why did Jesus appear, after the resurrection, to ...

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Homily – Easter Sunday – April 4th, 2021

I wish I was more familiar with the Psalms. They are brilliant. I am convinced there is a psalm that names and gives hope to every conceivable situation we could ever find ourselves in. Here’s a line from Psalm 25: “No one has ever trusted in the Lord and been put to shame.” This is a pretty good mantra for Easter Sunday morning. Trust is the key, though.

A number of years ago, although it could have easily been in the ...

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Homily – Easter Vigil – April 3rd, 2021

This resurrection story is a story not only of Jesus being raised to new life, but more importantly, it is the story of the movement from fear to love in all of our lives. One thing the gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all have in common when they tell the resurrection story is the chronic mistake of people going to the wrong place. There is always someone in the wrong place telling them to go to the right ...

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Homily – Good Friday – April 2nd, 2021

Although we just heard the passion reading from the gospel writer John, all four gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) basically tell the same story but with slightly different emphases. I’m going to draw a little bit from each of them. We are in the year of Mark, which means that almost all of the gospel stories we hear at Sunday Mass, this year, are taken from the Gospel of Mark. I love the opening line of Mark’s Gospel. ...

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Homily – Holy Thursday – April 1st, 2021

There is a big leap of faith asked of Peter and the other apostles in today’s gospel story. Jesus is asking them and, by extension, us to make room for a big change in the way we think. The dominant way for all of us to avoid change in our lives—even change that helps us grow—is to go into our heads. We all do it, and we will all be doing it right up to the day we die. Human ...

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Homily – March 28th, 2021

One thing we can say about all gospel stories—but especially the gospel stories we hear during Holy Week—is that they are very visual. Even if you never had the privilege of being in Jerusalem, you can easily picture the scene of Jesus riding on a donkey and the crowd waving palm branches. So, picture yourself, once again, amidst all the excitement of the voices shouting “Hosana.”

Since all gospel stories are part of the one story of salvation, allow me to ...

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