Message in a Bottle #6

Just when I thought things could not get worse, with all the suffering COVID-19 has brought the world, things actually did get worse with the mass shooting in Nova Scotia this week. With 23 known dead, what great pain there must be within those families, including the family of the shooter.

When I try to ponder something that is either too good or too bad, my mind boggles, and I lose words.  Even wordsmiths—writers, poets, and songwriters—often cannot find words. When words fail, then symbols, images, and rituals become ...

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Reflection – How Are You Today?

In the midst of the strangest Easter season I have ever experienced comes the familiar story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  As I have mentioned before in these reflections, I have always viewed biblical figures as ordinary folks (like you and me) who are witness to things that are extra-ordinary.  Some are able to see the significance of the moment immediately and others only in hindsight.  As we meet the two disciples walking and talking along the road to Emmaus, I would invite you to ...

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Homily – April 19th, 2020 – Divine Mercy Sunday

It had been a terrible few days, days that went from triumph to execution, from hope to disaster, from faithfulness to betrayal, from bravado to cowardice; all seemed lost and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews. If they had executed the leader, why would they not do the same to his followers? Imagine the conversations of the disciples, imagine the feelings they were experiencing – guilt, remorse, fear, maybe even rage – and into all that ...

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Message in a Bottle #5

The Resurrected Lord told his disciples to remain in Jerusalem and to wait for his spirit to come to them, a spirit he promised them at the Last Supper, a spirit that would clothe them with power from on high (see Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4). Waiting is easier said than done. Waiting implies we remain in the same spot, even, and especially, when we would rather be elsewhere.

With the coronavirus severely curbing what we can do and who we can visit, we are forced to ...

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Reflection – Yes, We Can!

This week, the readings for the 2nd Sunday of Easter have a theme of “doubt,” as evidenced by Thomas who could not believe that Jesus was alive unless he saw proof.  We all have moments of doubt, uncertainties, confusion, disbelief, hopelessness, selfishness and frustrations. Henri Nouwen has stated that, “Doubt stubbornly exists.  It’s an unmistakable part of life that we can’t seem to get rid of. We doubt ourselves; we doubt whether or not we’ve made the right decisions, we’re full of doubts about the future. ...

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Homily – April 12th – Easter Sunday

All liturgical celebrations, not just Sunday Mass, have one theme. That one theme is the death and resurrection of the Lord, or what we theologically call the “Paschal Mystery.” You may have also heard the paschal mystery referred as the “Easter Mystery” or the “Christ-event.” When we celebrate a baptism, we are celebrating the paschal mystery. The candidate enters the baptismal font (the tomb) and joins with Christ in his death but also emerges from those same waters and so joins Christ in his resurrection. When we ...

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Message in a Bottle #4

Every Holy Week, the “Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ” is proclaimed twice — once on Passion/Palm Sunday to begin Holy Week and again, on Good Friday.  This year, had we been able to gather, we would have heard the passion readings of gospel writers Matthew (Passion Sunday) and John (Good Friday).  However, in the midst of these trying times, there is a line, found only in Luke’s passion reading, that really speaks to me.

The context is this: Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane just ...

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Reflection – Why Are You Weeping?

I have listened to the story of Mary Magdalene’s arrival at the empty tomb every Easter Sunday for my entire life. But this year two aspects of the story are resonating in a new way.  The first is the image of Mary weeping as she looks into the tomb and sees two angels in white.  She does not pause to marvel at the angels or wonder why they are there.  Her grief and sense of powerlessness are all consuming:  “They have taken my Lord, and I do ...

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Homily – April 10th – Good Friday

Let us therefore, approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Could any words speak more directly to our current conditions than these? Let us approach the throne of grace. What is this throne of grace if not the cross of Jesus Christ which we celebrate this day?  Strange isn’t it? We ‘celebrate’ a most horrific event; nowhere else would we ever consider celebrating an event ...

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Homily – April 9th – Holy Thursday

We are living in unsettling times, dangerous times, and paradoxical times. Every day we hear from health officials or politicians something to this effect: “keep apart but remain together.”  That sound like a paradox to me—keep apart, but remain together. How do you hold the paradox, the contradiction together? The keeping apart is a physical keeping apart; the remaining together is non-physical. We find living this paradox difficult because we are social beings and we were never meant to live apart.

Jesus, by washing his apostles’ feet, ...

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