Steve’s Columns

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 26 January 2020

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:18-19) The word fish is most often used as a noun, however its meaning varies greatly as a verb. In the card game “Go Fish” the player who asks incorrectly for a card from his opponent is sent back to the stack to choose a blind card.  “To fish” in this case means …

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 19 January 2020

The LORD said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory.  Now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb… (Is 49:3)     The womb is a blessed place.  Any place ought to be held blessed which is the fundamental and foremost cradle of all human life.  Without the womb there would be no human life.  Even those modern vices of fetal surrogacy and fashioning children in laboratories would fail utterly without the womb as their anchor and agent. The womb is the nursery endorsed by nature for the original …

Baptism of the Lord – 12 January 2020

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him… And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mt 3:16-17) How many of you will contend that if God spoke about you to others that he would declare how well-pleased he is?  How many of us could say with certainty that everything we think, say, and do in the course of an average week is well-pleasing to the Lord.  Would we not admit at least a few things wanting in ourselves; …

The Epiphany of the Lord – 5 January 2019

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”  (Mt 2:7-8) An epiphany is not a private vision; it is a public manifestation.   As such it is an event for many or all to see.  An epiphany may be distinguished from an apparition which, though perhaps for the encouragement of all, is often only seen by the eyes of one or the …

Feast of the Holy Family – 29 December 2019

When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.” (Mt 2:13) “He was the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus”; so that is what we commonly say when asked about Saint Joseph. In further consideration of the community of saints in heaven, we also call him “the patron of the universal Church”, for we attest that St. Joseph still guards Christ’s mystical Body in the world such as he guarded …

4th Sunday in Advent – 22 December 2019

If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, there you are. If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light” darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one. (Ps 139:8; 11-12)  Jesus, whilst He was personally present on earth, named himself the Light of the World (Jn 8:12).  This is in keeping with the prophet Isaiah’s foretelling that the savior of Israel would be a light for the nations (Is 42:6).  Isaiah tells us that the savior will come …

3rd Sunday in Advent – 15 December 2019

“Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God…” (Is 35: 3-4) Every liturgical year just before the season of Advent, the Church makes its annual attempt to remind the people of God of the “four last things”: death, judgment, heaven and hell.  One way to measure the success of this effort of preaching and teaching of the four last things is to ask ourselves a follow-up question: Have we effectively instilled in the people a clear enough sense of feebleness, weakness, …

2nd Sunday in Advent – 8 December 2019

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”… At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region… were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. (Mt 3:1-2; 5-6)  We cannot say with certainty that there are no famous artistic images of John the Baptist baptizing the people of Judea who came to him acknowledging their sins; yet if there are such works, they are hard to find.  There are many other masterfully painted images of John: sitting or standing alone, …

1st Sunday in Advent – 1 December 2019

In days to come… many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” (Is 2:2-3)  As we begin a new Advent season we do so in the midst of our parish’s year-long reflection on grace.  Advent itself is a season of grace, a liturgical urging to renew our life in God as shown clearly and distinctly by the quotation above from the Church’s very first reading in Advent. The literal meaning of this …

Feast of Christ the King – 24 November 2019

And the LORD said to you, “You shall shepherd my people Israel and shall be commander of Israel.” When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron… they anointed him king of Israel. (2 Sam 5:2-3) Many years after Moses and Joshua died (and not long after Samuel went into semi-retirement – 1 Sam 8:1) the Israelites begged the Lord to place a king over them even though God counseled them through Samuel that they would pay dearly for being ruled (1 Sam 8:11-13).  The Lord appeared slighted by their request for an earthly king, not because it …

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