Steve’s Columns

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 3 February 2019

The word of the LORD came to me, saying… stand up and tell them all that I command you. Be not crushed on their account… They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD (Jer 1:4,17,19) It is said of Judaism that it considers its second greatest prophet to be Jeremiah. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet of God in the 7th century B.C. He was called for the specific purpose of calling the Jews to conversion and away from idolatrous worship. In particular, Jeremiah warned the Jews about the Babylonian conquest …

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 27 January 2019

He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lk 4:16-18;21) Isaiah was a great 8th century prophet who faithfully counseled King Hezekiah against the Assyrians and who foretold the Babylonian Captivity and its liberation by Cyrus the Great. He also prophesied, as noted above in our quotation from today’s first reading, about the arrival of the Messiah, the anointed king who …

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 20 January 2019

“… You shall be called…Espoused. For the LORD delights in you and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you. (Is 62:4-5) This is the first Sunday celebrated in Ordinary Time since the conclusion of the Christmas liturgical season. Yet still we celebrate the echoes of Epiphany with the great gospel manifestation of Jesus at the Marriage at Cana where the Virgin Mary directs her son, the Son of God, to begin his miraculous ministry. Our …

Baptism of the Lord – 13 January 2019

The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying,”… one mightier than I is coming… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Lk 3:15-16) Just a few weeks ago we wrote in this column that the essence of the Advent season is “expectation”. The Church (that is, the Holy Spirit) instructs us today that the substance of the Christmas season is also one of glorious anticipation. Christmas concludes with the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, and as our quotation above from …

Epiphany of the Lord – 6 January 2019

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines (Is 60:1-2) The word epiphany means “appearance” or “manifestation”, specifically an appearance or manifestation of the divine – a glorious revelation occurring in world history. Still an epiphany is not for everyone to see. When an epiphany does occur there are only certain people chosen to perceive it. Epiphanies are especially given to those whose hearts are ready for religious wonder: the pious Jewish shepherds of …

The Holy Family – 30 December 2018

“Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. (Lk 2:48-50) There are solid families, broken families, dysfunctional families, and caring families, and some families that have been over time all of the above. Yet, how many families do you know that are holy families. Rather, how many families do you know that make it their …

4th Sunday in Advent – 23 December 2018

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. (Lk 2:15-16) There are few images more endearing to the Christian faith than the scene known as the Adoration of the Shepherds. It is a scene perhaps less noble yet more charming than the Adoration of the Magi. While the kings travelled many miles in caravan from …

3rd Sunday in Advent – 16 December 2018

“Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies; the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst…” (Zep 3:14-15) Angels appear often in sacred scripture. The term “angel” in Greek means “messenger” and angels have been, since the creation of man, the great messengers of God. The angels are also the great proclaimers of God’s glory in heaven. Interestingly, there is a not-too-serious debate among some Bible buffs as to whether or not angels actually sing. Those who …

2nd Sunday in Advent – 9 December 2018

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever… For God will show all the earth your splendor: you will be named by God forever the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship. (Bar 5:1,3-4) The observance of Advent has a penitential aspect. This aspect is not as pronounced as in Lent when penitence is palpable in its sorrowful expression of Christ’s Passion. In Advent we liturgically mourn over what had been lost. In a properly and spiritually dramatic fashion we attempt to pray like those faithful Jews who suffered …

1st Sunday in Advent – 2 December 2018

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars… And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Lk 21:25; 27-28) Those who pray the Rosary each day are blessed at least twice per week to meditate on that miraculous event known as The Ascension (if they follow the regimen of St. John Paul II and pray the Glorious Mysteries on Sundays and Wednesdays). Meditation is necessary since when we …

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