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Archive for the ‘Social Justice’ Category

“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…)

“You shall love the alien as yourself”

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

A parishioner wrote me a very kind and thoughtful letter that took issue with my remarks on immigration in a recent homily. Because I knew him to be an educated and professional person, I decided to respond with a rather comprehensive explanation of how our Catholic tradition views immigration. Because I feel that others may benefit from the letter I sent to this parishioner, I am posting it here, although it is a bit longer than the usual blog post: (more…)

Meeting Joseph at the Home Depot

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Homily preached at the Church of the Good Shepherd on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 19, 2010

Who is Joseph? When we look at the Holy Family, we see Jesus, about whom we know so much. We see Mary, who holds a place of honor in our hearts. But what about Joseph?

We know so little about him. But maybe we know more than we think.

We learn a little about Joseph in today’s gospel reading. Here we see a truly heroic figure whose courage is somewhat forgotten. (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…)

Rome Must Lead on Dealing with Clerical Abuse

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Tomorrow Benedict XVI will sign a letter to the Catholics of Ireland, expected to be a formal apology for the long national nightmare the Irish have experienced as a result of discovering decades of horrific sexual abuse and torture of thousands of children by clergy and religious. The text is scheduled to be released on Saturday.

We in the United States have endured several years of shocking revelations of how our trust in clergy has been violated in the most appalling ways, not only by the priests who abused children but even more by the subsequent coverups. This has cost us some $2.6 billion that cannot be used for parishes, education and the poor, and a decade of unrelenting shame that has more importantly left thousands of people traumatized for life and tens of thousands so justifiably enraged that they can no longer participate in the life of the Church.

But our experience here pales in comparison to what the Irish have endured. Not only is their bill now about €1.2 billion during a debilitating recession (in a nation of 6.3 million, to keep perspective—about 1.5 times size of the entire Catholic population of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles), but the crisis has reached catastrophic proportions in that predominately Catholic nation, with hundreds of thousands estranged from the Church, the once-full seminaries depleted and thousands of walking wounded trying to recover from childhoods of cruelty and prolonged torture. Some wonder if Ireland can ever again have a Catholic culture. (more…)