Homily stories

27 Nov 2022

First Sunday of Advent, Cycle A

Speak for yourself

James Earl Jones has one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood (think Darth Vader in Star Wars, Mufasa in The Lion King, and “This is CNN”). Yet you might be surprised to learn that as a child he stuttered terribly and dreaded public speaking.

27 Nov 2022

First Sunday of Advent, Cycle A

Seek higher ground

We knew eventually it would happen again, but we never knew exactly when. When we moved into our bungalow we soon discovered that most of the basements on our block would flood whenever the rains fell too quickly—including ours.

27 Nov 2022

First Sunday of Advent, Cycle A

The secret to staying awake

My mother never had difficulty staying awake—she would wait up for every family member until they were home safe in their beds.

20 Nov 2022

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Cycle C

In service of the king

In what has now become a cult classic, A Knight’s Tale, a 2001 movie starring Heath Ledger, tells the story of a young 14th-century English thatcher’s son who is encouraged by his father to “change his stars” by accepting an apprenticeship to a knight.

20 Nov 2022

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Cycle C

A kingly gesture

The celebration of Christ the King helps people to remember to put Christ first in their hearts—and in so doing put others first, too.

13 Nov 2022

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Mary, everywhere you turn

My dad’s four sisters are all named Mary. Well, not exactly. The youngest one is named Maureen—which is Mary in Gaelic. They all go by their middle names—in Maureen’s case, Grace, or Gracie. She is my Godmother. She passed away recently, unexpectedly, and far too young. 

13 Nov 2022

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Don’t be prepared

When Mother Teresa had to make a speech, she did not use notes or read from a prepared text. To get ready, she would simply withdraw to a church or chapel or other quiet place for a few minutes and pray.

6 Nov 2022

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Death revisited

I came across the program that I had put together for my mother’s funeral Mass more than a decade ago. It brought back many memories, beginning with the beautiful Billy Collins poem we put on the cover of the funeral program.

6 Nov 2022

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Don’t be absurd

Growing up, I recall hearing a recording of one of comedian George Carlin’s routines. In it, Carlin is a Catholic grade-school kid, the smart-aleck, troublemaking type. He poses a question to one of the nuns: “Sister, if God is all powerful, can he make a rock so big that even he can’t lift it?”

30 Oct 2022

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Say what??

Zach was the co-worker who made life miserable for everyone in the office. He spent the better part of his days playing video games and made others work late to cover for him. He repeatedly ran over budget and blamed mistakes and excessive spending on junior partners.