It always amazes me how the Gospel lessons that are assigned as they are for this particular Sunday every year, even though they are there the Sunday after Easter every year, they fit in so well with what we've been talking about all day. It's almost as though we had designed these three lessons for this evening, but they are the teachings for the whole church this weekend. They are very important and they do fit in with what we are talking about today: how to stop violence and build peace.
The Peace Pulpit
Editor’s note: This homily was given at an Easter vigil Mass on March 30.
Surely this is the longest liturgy of the Word that we have during our whole church year, and you might think it would be a merciful thing if there were no homily. But the book says that the celebrant is to give a homily, so we have to do something. It's certainly worth it to spend just a few moments reflecting on all that we have heard tonight, but especially on the Gospel lesson, which climaxes everything that has led up to it.
Editor’s note: This homily was given at a Palm Sunday Mass on March 24.
As we were reminded at the beginning of our ceremony this morning, we have been engaged for five weeks in this season of Lent -- the season when we try to undergo a deep conversion of life, a total turning around of our values and our attitudes and our actions. Now, we enter into the final week of Lent when we, perhaps, must try to even intensify our efforts -- at prayer, alms-giving, acts of charity and discipline.
Editor's note: This homily is from a Mass held March 17.
When I stand in this pulpit, it is impossible to miss the extraordinary banner that you have draped across the choir loft in the back of the church. As you leave this morning, or any morning, you, too, must notice those exciting words: "The Spirit is loose and she is wild." When I reflect on all the things that have happened here in St. [Lucie] Parish, I fully understand how that is true. The ministries of charity and mercy and love are so abundant here.
Yesterday, when I had been reflecting on these Scripture lessons over the last few days and was trying to complete my reflections, I was visited by a couple of friends from another diocese nearby. They told me of what had just happened in that diocese, where, like so many other places in our country, parishes are being closed. This particular parish was closed, but the people said, "Well, the bishop can take the building, but he can't destroy our community. We're still a parish family."
These lessons today fit in very well with our retreat. Two of them speak about the need for repentance, for changing our lives, being converted, so we need to listen to them deeply, but it’s important not to misunderstand what God is trying to teach us through this word today.
The Peace Pulpit (with audio): There is much we can learn from Satan's temptation of Jesus in the Gospel. Listen to Bishop Gumbleton's latest homily.
Now, to reflect on this Gospel in the Scripture lessons of today at the beginning of the Lenten season, it's important to put this incident of Jesus being tempted within the framework of the Scriptures that have already been proclaimed to us about the baptism of Jesus and the mission that God gave to him at his baptism.
The Peace Pulpit (with audio): The culture of violence in this country means we have not taken Jesus' message seriously. Listen to Bishop Gumbleton's latest homily.
The Peace Pulpit (with audio): Jesus came not for a few, not for the chosen people only. He came for all. Listen to Bishop Gumbleton's latest homily.