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Monday, February 8, 2016

A House for His Glory

A Homily for Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time.

When encountering the numinous, Rudolph Otto once wrote, the only thing we can do is bow, bow very low and fall to the earth in worship and awe.  

Thus they sought God’s glory, erecting a Shekinah, a tabernacle, a smoke-filled tent where the gold-plated Ark of God’s presence was enthroned beneath cherubim wings.  

But that wasn’t enough for David or Solomon who built a temple of stone and cedar and gold, whose consecration we attended in the first reading today. They brought sheep too many to count, they brought sacred vessels of the finest gold and, finally, the Ark from the first temple and the tent.  They enthroned it and burnt incense until the cloud [once again] filled the temple of the LORD” so that in the Priest ever and encounter God’s glory.

And then, in the fulness of time, came the Sacrifice of Calvary, the source and summit of our salvation, where at the moment of the death which would destroy all death, the curtain across the Holy of Holies was rent in two, from top to bottom, and God became Emmanuel, dwelling not in a house of marble and gold, but in his Risen Body.

So where do we, the sons of Abraham and David, now find God’s glory?

Saint Leo the Great teaches us that the glory which was “visible [in the Risen Body] of our Savior has passed over into the sacraments” of his mystical body, the Church.  Thus in this earthy liturgy, what we do with bread and wine and candles and cross and words and chants this morning, is a share in “that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims,”

Here, we encounter the numinous, the glory of the unseen God.  Here we partake of the Perfect Sacrifice which is our life and our hope, bowing very low, in worship and in awe.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

John Allen at SJS - Streaming Video!

Here is a stream of John Allen's great evening with us at the Presentation Lecture Hall last night!  Thanks to all who worked so hard to make this possible!  The end of the video has some technical difficulties due to a fading battery.  Our apologies!


Monday, January 25, 2016

Tonight's event with John Allen, Jr is ON!

Friends, we are all finally almost home and tonight's event with Vatican analyst, author, and Boston Globe editor John L. Allen, Jr. is still ON!

Our chat will take place at the Our Lady of the Presentation Lecture Hall in Brighton's own Oak Square (680 Washington St, Brighton). It is free and open to the public, with ample free parking just a few doors further up the street at 710 Washington St.

We will be taking audience questions both during and leading up to the event. Please send yours to AskJohnAllen@gmail.com to be considered! Details are below. I hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Conversion of Saint Paul and the Seminarian

First, he has a history…with tents, a Cilician  Jew, at Gamaliel’s feet, a zealot of a somewhat violent temperament.

Just like you.  You have a history.  A narrative with inspired chapters and some whose pages you might wish to read more quickly. Like you. An engineer, or oceanographer.  A religious ed director, or a manager at Target.  Of  Dorchester, Providence or North Adams or Millbury.  Who used to sit at the feet of the Jesuits or the Dominicans or a secular brood.  Of a peaceful, unsettled or inquisitive mood.

Like you, as well when along the road he is blinded by the light and knocked off your high horse.  

Maybe it was after that relationship crashed and burned, or that old lady made you cry, or you found such solace sitting in front of the tabernacle or that course made such sense of it all or…  On whatever road, you, like Saul, were blinded by the light and knocked off your high horse, just left lying there by the side of the road.

But then what happened?  You’ve been blinded the light…now what?  You meet Ananias, who teaches you to see again,.to see rightly.  At first, you only see him, but then he teaches you about the “the God of our ancestors” and how “the Righteous One” has chosen you to “hear the sound of his voice” and “witness before all to what you have seen and heard.”

Maybe this Ananias has a last name like McLaughlin or O’Connor, Cessario or Scorzello or Salocks, Riley or McRae.  Maybe he’s Ananias Moroney or Pignato, but he is the one who God has sent to open your eyes and your ears that you might see and hear the one who is the blinding the light.

And then there is the mission.  You long for it.  You prepare for it in this holy house, where you can hear the voice behind the light calling to you:  ‘I chose you from the world…go out and bear fruit that will last”1 ‘Go into the whole world…drive out demons, speak new languages, lay hands on the sick” and proclaim my Gospel to every creature.’2

So, today we celebrate the feast of the conversion of Saint Paul, as we celebrate our own conversion and call, formation and mission, that we might be “witnesses to [Christ’s] truth in the world.”3


1 - Conversion of Saint Paul, Gospel Acclamation.

2 - Cf. Mark 6:5-18.

3 - Conversion of Saint Paul, Collect.

A Homily While Still Stuck in the Snow

The airports and train station remain virtually closed today, so it looks like Monday is the day of the great exodus from Washington D.C.  We celebrated Mass for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time in our hotel room this morning.  Here's my brief homily on dewfall, snowfall and the Holy Spirit.

They were hungry, with n’er a restaurant in sight, neither in the hotel nor across the street.  Hungry, in the desert and alone.  Except for a God who loved them enough to promise them Bread from Heaven; for “when the dew evaporated,” it left a hoarfrost of manna for them to eat.  He gave them bread, having all delight within it, in the quiet, unseen, gentleness of the dew come down from heaven. (Ex 14:13-15) 

And that was just the first time.  For whenever we are hungry, afraid or lost in the desert, the Lord covers our misery with a dewfall of his favors, a snowfall of his mercy.  He drenches a tired earth with his faithfulness and breathes hope into our souls. (Lam 3:22-24)

Did you notice how dirty and tired and dark the capitol looked the day we arrived.  On cloudy days, the district has a way of looking grayer than any other city.  But then we awoke…to streets and sidewalks and even the capitol dome all covered in white, anointed, cleansed and reborn.

And if God can do that with snow, imagine what he can do when he descends upon the earth will healing in his wings and sends the Holy Spirit to transform those two little unleavened hosts into the gift of finest wheat, the very victim offered on the altar of the cross for our salvation.

So, come Holy Spirit, descend like the dewfall upon these gifts, that they might become the real heavenly bread, his flesh for the life of the world. (Cf. Jn 6:30-31)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Still snowing...

The snow has picked up again, but a few of us ventured out, some for lunch and some for doing good deeds, like helping the police push a taxi stuck in the snow.
(Left to right) me, Monsignor Caron, Denis Nakkeeran, Matt Gill, and Brian Morris

Can you make out the Capitol Dome in the distance?

And it's still snowing...

About a dozen brave souls are still in D.C., leftovers from the March for Life, braving the storm.  We should all get back to SJS sometime tomorrow. Meantime, the blizzard is still raging in the nation's capital, sometimes with near whiteout conditions.  Cardinal O'Malley is stranded, as well, across the city from us.  Here's a photo of His Eminence with some of our best and brightest during the March yesterday afternoon.