"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

Filed under: Homilies — Tags: , , — komonchak @ 10:15 am

Holy Thursday – March 30, 1972 – Seminary

We celebrate in these holy days the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The passage of the Lord from death to life is the memory, and these rites are the act of remembering, that make us the people of a new covenant, a holy nation, God’s chosen people, proclaiming the mighty deeds of him who called us out of darkness into his own marvellous light. We recall the events in which Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, was made both Lord and Messiah, and in discovering our Lord, we discover ourselves as the Church.

As the New Testament readings for this service make clear, we attend upon the founding of the Church, the giving and the revelation-in-the-giving of what makes the Church the Church. For we hear in these readings of the service of the Lord. In the Gospel, we see Jesus, Teacher and Lord, rise from table and stoop to the service of his disciples. Peter protests, for as yet he does not understand; death and resurrection will make it clear what Jesus does. But when he persists in his protest, he is answered by the word of the Lord: “Unless I wash you, you will have no part with me.” As so often, Peter stands for the disciples, uncomprehending, still having to make their own transition from the way men think to the way God thinks, having now to accept their Lord in the form of a slave.

We are Peter, and we are not differently placed. (more…)


April 5, 2014

Fifth Sunday in Lent – Cycle A

Filed under: Homilies — Tags: , , — komonchak @ 6:27 pm


With the scriptural readings we have heard today, we are already placed before the great mystery which we will celebrate two weeks from today, the triumph of Christ over death. Rarely do the Mass readings concentrate so clearly and so exclusively on a single theme, and today’s is the one around which our faith centers: resurrection.

It centers around resurrection, first, because Christianity arose out of a conviction that Jesus of Nazareth, the one who had been crucified, had been made Lord and Messiah in the Spirit that raised him from the dead. (more…)

March 30, 2014

Fourth Sunday in Lent – Cycle A


As we move closer and closer to Easter, the Liturgy brings us ever deeper into the great Mystery which was realized in the death and resurrection of Christ and which became the mystery of our lives in our baptism. In today’s readings, we are invited into one of the great Easter themes: the dawning of light at the resurrection of Jesus and its shining forth into our transformed lives.

The symbolism is put to great effect in the reading from St. Paul: “There was a time when you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Well, then, live as children of light.” (more…)

March 22, 2014

Third Sunday in Lent – Cycle A

Filed under: Homilies — Tags: , , , — komonchak @ 7:48 pm

At first sight the readings we have heard today may appear not to have too much to do with one another. We have first the mysterious account of the water-producing rock in the desert, the beautiful and powerful description of basic Christian hope in St. Paul, and the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in the Gospel. But, particularly during Lent, the Church follows a logic in its choice of these readings, and a closer look will reveal linkages between the readings that point towards aspects of our Christian existence which the Church wishes us especially to focus on during Lent.

Let us begin with the Gospel account. It is a narrative typical of the literary and theological genius of St. John. (more…)

March 16, 2014

Second Sunday in Lent – Cycle A

Filed under: Homilies — Tags: , , — komonchak @ 9:31 am


The account of the transfiguration of Jesus stands out in Matthew’s Gospel; it is a unique epiphany between the revelations described in the account of Jesus’ birth and infancy and those that follow upon his resurrection. A host of biblical symbols are gathered. It takes place on a mountain, where God traditionally reveals himself; a bright cloud appears as in OT epiphanies; a voice is heard from heaven; the two greatest figures of the Old Testament are present, Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets; Jesus is transfigured, transformed. There could be no doubt in the minds of a Jewish reader of Matthew’s Gospel that a major encounter with God, a major revelation by God, is occurring. (more…)

March 1, 2014

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 27, 2011 – St. John’s, Goshen

The passage we have just heard from the Sermon on the Mount is among the most familiar and the most beautiful in all the Bible. We can see the Lord Jesus pointing to the birds in the sky and to the lilies of the field in order to assure his disciples, that is, to assure us, that our heavenly Father surely has even greater care for us than for those fine and fragile creatures of this earth.

These lovely verses are bracketed by the challenge that Christ sets out today, a challenge in its own way as great as the ones we have heard the last two weeks in which he asked us to tear murderous and lustful and deceitful vices up by their roots in our hearts. (more…)

February 22, 2014

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 20, 2011 – St. John’s, Goshen

With today’s Gospel we hear the last two of the solemn statements in which Christ explains what the greater righteousness is that will be required if one is to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Once again, he goes beyond the minimum that a commandment might require and demands instead the maximum that love may desire. (more…)

February 15, 2014

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

Filed under: Homilies — Tags: , , — komonchak @ 11:42 am

Sixth Sunday of the Year – February 11, 1972 – CNR

“Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This sentence is a sort of sub-title for the Sermon on the Mount. It indicates the central meaning of Jesus’ moral demand, and the final purpose of Christian moral effort.

“Righteousness” is not a word we use often. In the Bible, it refers especially to the right-standing of man, that is, one’s being what one should be before God and man. It is not so terribly distant from modern terms such as authenticity or integrity of character. But, how is this “right-standing” determined or measured? (more…)

February 8, 2014

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

Filed under: Homilies — Tags: — komonchak @ 4:44 pm

Fifth Sunday of the Year – February 6, 1972 – CNR

In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus use two similes to describe the role of the disciples in the world. They are to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” The latter image is the one stressed in the Liturgy by the use of the reading from Isaiah, where light is promised to Israel if she will turn to feeding the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and homeless, clothing the naked, assuring justice for the weak. The image of the salt is less often remarked. Originally, it was probably addressed by Jesus to the Jewish people as a warning: if they do not recognize the hour and the Messiah in their midst, they will be discarded as insipid salt. Matthew has placed it at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, as a warning to the disciples, who inherit Israel’s function in the world and therefore stand under similar judgement.
The images are good ones as an introduction to the Sermon in which Matthew has gathered the major portopm of Jesus’ moral teaching (and which we shall be hearing in the coming weeks). They suggest some reflections on our responsibilities as the Church in the world. (more…)

February 2, 2014

The Presentation of the Lord

Filed under: Homilies — Tags: — komonchak @ 9:44 am

Feast of the Presentation – February 2, 2014 – St. John’s, Goshen

Today’s feast of the Presentation of the Lord is considered so important that it takes precedence over the usual sequence of Sundays. Traditionally it has been the occasion for the blessing of candles so that it is sometimes called Candlemas and is considered to bring the Christmas season to an end.

That seems to be the focus of the Gospel reading for which the reading from the prophet Malachi was chosen to prepare us, the prophecy that the Lord will come to the temple, “the Lord whom you seek, the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.”

The people so in wait, so seeking, are then personified in the figures of Simeon and Anna in the account of the manifestation of the Lord in Luke’s Gospel. (more…)

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