One of the joyful moments of being a priest is witnessing the vows of couples who are married in the Church. There is firm resolve in their words, a look of love on their faces, and often tears of joy. In the marriage vows, they promise to be true to one another in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. They conclude by saying, “ I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” How inspiring to see them make this commitment of love, not knowing how the future will open before them. But no matter what happens, they will have the strength and support of their mutual love and presence to one another.READ MORE
One of the values of reading history is to benefit both from the good and the bad that happened. If we do not we are certainly doomed to repeat the mistakes made in the past. We have so much good to build on from the knowledge that has been handed on to us.
Technologically we have advances that people even less than a century ago could never have dreamed of. Last Tuesday as I was praying the breviary there was this passage from the prophet Ezekiel where God said to him: “The sins of the house of Israel are great beyond measure; the land is filled with bloodshed, the city with lawlessness. They think that the Lord has forsaken the land, that he does not see them. I, however, will not look upon them with pity, nor show any mercy. I will bring down their conduct upon their heads.” It was not God who abandoned His people, it was the people who turned away from Him. Is that not happening now with the violence, anger, hatred, and divisions we have in our nation at this point?READ MORE
The first reading at Mass last Sunday made a veryclear, challenging point. Before I comment further I offerthe reading here. It is from the book of the prophetEzekiel 33:7-9:
Thus says the LORD: You, son of man, I have appointedwatchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me sayanything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked,“O wicked one, you shall surely die,” and you do notspeak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, thewicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold youresponsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked,trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turnfrom his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall saveyourself.READ MORE
“You should not have done that.” “What you did was wrong.” “You hurt me.” “You made me angry.” None of us likes to hear these words and it is not so easy to say them to others without fearing anger in return. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 18:15-20) Jesus lays out a three-step procedure to confront someone who is doing evil. His goal is not to make us self-righteous judges, but to guide us to peace and truth with one another. But before we even think about correcting the faults of others, we need to look into our own hearts and atone for our sins with an inner resolve not to deepen the division we have with others and offer sincere apologies. The longer we let divisions and hurts fester, the longer piece is kept from the hearts of all involved.READ MORE
And they lived happily ever after. This line was part of many fairy tales that were told years ago. It is a good thought but at times we are challenged to see things and people from another point of view that causes us to react rather than readily accept. That is the case in the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 16:21-27) which is a continuation of last Sunday’s Gospel where Peter realized and proclaimed Jesus is the Son of the Living God. As we see today, Jesus continues the conversation and says He is continuing on to Jerusalem where He will be rejected and put to death. Peter’s reaction was: “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” Peter is not only trying to protect Jesus, but he is also trying to protect the status quo where he is comfortable with all that Jesus is doing. Peter did not live in this world happily ever after. Like Jesus, he encountered opposition and rejection and was finally crucified himself because of his faith. But he lived fully in the image in which we are all created.READ MORE
Who do you think I am? Most times when we ask that question, it is in a situation where we think someone is asking us to do something that we consider inappropriate or crazy. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 16:13-20), Jesus asks that question in a much different tone. He prefaces that question with the first one where He asks the disciples: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” In that question, Jesus is showing that He is one with us in our humanity as He calls Himself the Son of Man. That is an easy question for the disciples to answer. All they have to do is tell Him what they have observed and heard. The probing question is next: “But who do you say that I am?” Now Jesus is getting personal. They have been with Him, heard His preaching, and witnessed many miracles. Peter hits the nail on the head as he replies: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Even though Peter gives the right answer, he still does not completely understand who Jesus is. Jesus sees the goodness in Peter and tells him in reply: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” He goes on to give Peter the authority to speak and act in His name: “I give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Peter does not have it all together yet, but Jesus knows he will come to total and complete trust in Him. What an awesome responsibility - to speak and act in the name of Jesus.READ MORE
It doesn’t take much today to bring out anger, criticism, condemnation, hatred, and investigations. All we have to do is turn on the news, read a newspaper, or get involved in conversations with family and friends where one or all of us are angry. In the Gospel (Matthew 15:21-28) for today’s Mass, we see a woman who could have gotten very angry and critical with Jesus and His apostles. Her daughter was tormented by a demon and she believed Jesus could heal her. She pleaded, begged, and humbled herself before Jesus with respect, and in the end, her faith accomplished what she sought - a cure for her daughter from Jesus. Jesus clearly brought out the best in her: her maternal love for her daughter and her trust that Jesus could do what she asked.READ MORE
One of the joyful memories I have is taking my nieces and nephew out for a few hours when they were little children. They are my brother’s children and grew up in Greenport. Our favorite place to go was the beach. We would do simple things like make boats out of clamshells and then sink them by throwing rocks at them. My nephew and I would climb a large rock at the water’s edge on the sound and take smaller rocks up with us to throw into the water. He was truly amused by the plop, plop, plop sound. How good it was to experience the simple innocence, complete trust, and joy of children.READ MORE
Back in 1956 my father was an auto mechanic at a dealership in Greenport. One day a car came in that had hit a telephone pole and bent the frame in the front section. My father bought the car at a very good price and would go to the garage after supper to lift the body off the bent frame and put it back on a new frame. He took me with him the night he put the body back on the frame. I laid in the trunk holding the head of the bolts with a wrench while he was underneath tightening the nuts to make the union of the body and frame secure. Together we did what could not be done alone. My father was a very strong man and I was just a skinny eleven-year-old.READ MORE
The Truth: What is the meaning of life? Fr. Larry Richards tackleslife's biggest question with straightforward, timeless, andoften jolting answers. In this one-of-a-kind, life-affirmingreality check, he unlocks the mysteries of our existenceand opens our hearts and souls to the meaning of life.The Truth will give you concrete answers on how to live.