The Visitation of the BVM


The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Zephaniah 3:14-18  +  Luke 1:39-56
May 31, 2016

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” [Luke 1:42]

In your preparation for today’s feast, you might have turned to the Office of Readings for December 21st, where the Second Reading is from St. Ambrose’s commentary on the Gospel according to Luke.  That commentary from the breviary is fleshed out in the Catena Aurea of Saint Thomas Aquinas, translated by Blessed John Henry Newman.  From the Catena Aurea St. Ambrose speaks to us about the mystery of the Visitation:

“The Angel, when he announced the hidden mysteries to the Virgin, that he might build up her faith by an example, related to her the conception of a barren woman. When Mary heard it, … she gladly went forth into the hill country.” Continue reading

Monday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Monday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time [II]
2 Peter 1:2-7  +  Mark 12:1-12
May 30, 2016

“…with length of days I will gratify him and will show him my salvation.” [Psalm 91:16]

Today’s Responsorial—taken from Psalm 91—has two distinct parts, or voices.  The first strophe is verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 91, and here the Psalmist speaks to the believer.  But the second and third strophes consist of the final three verses of the psalm, in which the Lord Himself speaks about the believer.  This shift in voice is significant, but also helps us understand something about the psalter.

Saint Augustine of Hippo, in his second exposition of Psalm 91, notes that “[s]ometimes a psalm… speaks of Christ in such a way that it clearly refers to the head alone; but sometimes it passes from the head to the body, by which I mean the Church….  This happens because the head is not separated from the body, so scripture speaks of them as one sole person. Continue reading

Corpus Christi [C]-HOMILY


The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ [C]
Genesis 14:18-20  +  1 Corinthians 11:23-26  +  Sequence  +  Luke 9:11-17
May 29, 2016

“I am the living bread come down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Among the customs of the Catholic Faith that has been handed on to us, the crucifix is certainly central.  Some of our separated brothers and sisters in Christ object to the symbol of the crucifix.  It seems gruesome, or it seems to overshadow the joy and glory that Christians ought to take in the Risen Christ, who came so that we might have life, and have it to the full.[1]  But what the crucifix symbolizes so clearly is the price of that joy and glory.  Forget the price, and our gratitude dwindles.  Or as we hear it said on this weekend of Memorial Day, “Freedom isn’t free”:  either civil freedom, or spiritual freedom. Continue reading

Friday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time [II]
1 Peter 4:7-13  +  Mark 11:11-26
May 27, 2016

“…the Lord… comes to rule the earth.” [Psalm 96:13]

Reading the newspaper, or scrolling through news websites, one might wonder when exactly it will be that the Lord will come to rule the earth.  Each month seems to see a wider gulf between the laws of the land and the Law of God.  But the Church sings that “the Lord… comes to rule the earth.  He shall rule the world with justice.” Continue reading

Corpus Christi-REFLECTION

Ghent altarpiece

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ [C]
Genesis 14:18-20  +  1 Corinthians 11:23-26  +  Luke 9:11-17
May 29, 2016

“Laud, O Zion, your salvation, / Laud with hymns of exultation, / Christ, your king and shepherd true.”

Last Sunday the Church celebrated the feast of the Blessed Trinity, leading us to meditate upon the very nature of God Himself.  But for all the many descriptions of God that theologians and saints have offered throughout the centuries, none has ever put it better than Saint John the Apostle, who wrote quite simply, “God is love” [1 John 4:8]. Continue reading

Thursday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Thursday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time [II]
1 Peter 2:2-5,9-12  +  Mark 10:46-52
May 26, 2016

“Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands.” [Psalm 100:1]

“You listened to this psalm when it was being sung, brothers and sisters.  … let us examine it very carefully to find out what it is so clearly trumpeting and, insofar as the Lord enables us, how its call is to be spiritually understood.  Whatever instrument God’s voice employs, God’s voice it is still.  Nothing but His own voice sounds sweetly in His ears.  When we speak we delight Him, as long as He speaks through us.”

That’s from the first section of Saint Augustine’s exposition of Psalm 100, from which today’s Responsorial Psalm comes.  This exposition is important for us because Psalm 100 is one of the four invitatory psalms of our breviary.  These four psalms—Psalms 95, 100, 67 and 24—invite the Church to prayer at the beginning of each day. Continue reading

Tuesday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Tuesday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time [II]
1 Peter 1:10-16  +  Mark 10:28-31
May 24, 2016

“The Lord has made His salvation known:  in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice.” [Psalm 98:2]

Saint Augustine, in his exposition of today’s Responsorial Psalm, teaches us that:  “Our Lord Jesus Christ is God’s right hand, God’s holy arm, and also his salvation.  All these are one and the same; for he it is of whom Scripture promises, ‘All flesh shall see the salvation of God.’[1]  “Simeon acknowledged Him under this title when he took the baby in his arms, praying, ‘You give your servant his discharge in peace, now, Lord, for my eyes have seen your salvation.’[2]

‘The Lord has made His salvation known.’  To whom has He made it known—to a part only, or to the whole?  Not to any part alone, certainly.  Let no one deceive you, no one hoodwink you, no one tell you, ‘Look, here is Christ! or, There he is!’[3]; for anyone who speaks in terms of ‘here’ or ‘there’ is directing you toward a sect.  … Continue reading

Monday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Monday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time [II]
1 Peter 1:3-9  +  Mark 10:17-27
May 23, 2016

“He has given food to those who fear Him….” [Psalm 111:5]

The Octave of Pentecost, as you well know, was removed from the Church’s Sacred Liturgy following the Second Vatican Council, although the Octave did endure in the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass.  One of the many spiritual benefits of the Pentecost Octave is to highlight the three-week period following Pentecost Sunday.

This three-week period, moving as it does from Pentecost to the Most Holy Trinity, to Corpus Christi, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (as well as the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Ordinary Form) is the Church’s transition from Paschaltide to Ordinary Time.  The grace of Pentecost—the outpouring of the Holy Spirit—helps us enter more fully into the Church’s celebrations of these sacred mysteries. Continue reading

The Most Holy Trinity [C]-HOMILY


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity [C]
Proverbs 8:22-31  +  Romans 5:1-5  +  John 16:12-15
May 22, 2016

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.”

The Church throughout the world celebrates today the central mystery of our Christian Faith.  The life of the Most Holy Trinity is the mystery from which all other mysteries of our Catholic Faith flow.  Yet the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is difficult to wrap our heads around. Continue reading