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Archive for the ‘Liturgical Calendar’ Category

The Trinity and a Girl Named Alice

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

A homily preached June 19, 2011, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, at the Church of the Good Shepherd

Do you remember that famous moment in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader said to Luke Skywalker: “I am your father”?

Talk about a shock. Now that’s a really bad surprise. Discovering your father is the most evil person in the universe is not going to be your best day ever. Imagine what Fathers Day was like for Luke after that. Awkward!

Now some have not had the best fathers, even some here in this church. And that complicates things today, not just because it’s Fathers Day, but because we as a global church are celebrating the Holy Trinity, and the idea of a Father is important in connecting to this mystery. (more…)

“I do believe, help my unbelief”

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Homily preached at the Church of the Good Shepherd, January 30, 2011, Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From ancient times, Christians have been visiting an area of rolling hills overlooking the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. There a church was built as early as the Fourth Century to mark the traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount. According to tradition, it was here that Jesus taught the Beatitudes, which we just heard in today’s Gospel reading.

The modern church that sits on this site was built in 1938. It’s a small, octagonal church with a central dome. The surroundings are expansive and vast. From a plaza beneath the church you can sit and look out over the Sea of Galilee. It is so easy to imagine listening to Jesus teach in the open air.

I’ve been to that spot three times, leading pilgrimages. Generally I would take the group into the Church, and we would listen to the same Gospel reading we’ve just heard, sitting in a circle around the altar. After a short period of reflection, we would go outside and discuss what the Beatitudes meant to us. (more…)

Making Peace by the Blood of His Cross

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Homily preached at the Church of the Good Shepherd November 21, 2010, Solemnity of Christ the King

Did you know that today’s celebration is one of the newest on our liturgical calendar? The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pius XI in 1925. In church years, that’s practically yesterday.

In his letter establishing this celebration, Pius XI carefully laid out his reasons as to why he thought this feast was necessary. His primary reason was to highlight the fact that our modern societies needed to be reminded that only by following the Gospel will true justice be achieved. Only the commandments of Christ the King can bring true peace and social cooperation. (more…)

The Two Doors

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Homily preached at the Church of the Good Shepherd, October 24, 2010

I don’t know how many of you have been to the Museum of Tolerance just down on Pico Boulevard. It is dedicated not only to remembering the Holocaust, but also many other forms of prejudice throughout history, and it’s definitely worth a visit. If you have time this afternoon, why put it off? It’s open today until 5 p.m.

The experience of self-examination begins right at the entrance to the exhibits. There are two doors. One is labeled “Prejudiced” and the other is labeled “Not Prejudiced,” and visitors are invited to enter through the door they think describes themselves.

Unfortunately, the door marked “Not Prejudiced” cannot be opened. Every visitor must humble himself or herself and enter through the door marked for the prejudiced.

In today’s gospel reading (Luke 18:9-14), we are also presented with two doors. One is labeled “Judgmental” and other is labeled “Non-judgmental.” But just like at the museum, we all must enter through the door marked “Judgmental.” (more…)

Holy Chaos

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Pentecost homily preached at Good Shepherd Church, Beverly Hills, May 23, 1010

I am a web developer. I work in Hollywood and live in Miracle Mile. So Wednesday evening I was driving south on La Brea. As you know, there are many Orthodox synagogues in that area, and the streets were filled with faithful Jews walking to synagogue. Whole families, everywhere you looked. Probably hundreds of people, all celebrating.

Wednesday was the great Jewish harvest festival called Shavuot, also called the Feast of Weeks because it is celebrated 50 days after Passover. At the time of Jesus, Shavuot was a pilgrimage feast, which meant that everyone came to the Temple in Jerusalem. Many came from distant lands, the conquered peoples of many nations. These Jews of the Diaspora spoke Greek as the international language of business and government; they even read the Jewish scriptures in Greek. They had a Greek name for this festival as well. They called it Pentecost.

Jerusalem was filled to capacity for this harvest festival. There were crowds everywhere, festive meals and parties. And in the midst of this chaos, something extraordinary happened. (more…)