Debt Relief

I remember using the Lubyanka Metro station in Moscow when I visited the Soviet Union in 1983.

It is the closest station to Red Square. May the poor people who died there on Monday rest in peace…

…Some people have debts that they will never be able to repay. Terrifying to contemplate: I owe more than I will ever be able to earn. I cannot provide for my family. We are in a hole we can’t get out of.

Entrance to Lubyanka Metro Station, Moscow

But there is something a hopeless debtor can do: Get a lawyer and go to a bankruptcy judge.

In the clear light of a thorough reckoning, everyone acknowledges that the debts are hopeless. The debtor agrees to a feasible payment plan. Life becomes much more austere–no luxuries, humiliating oversight–but at least the cloud of hopeless debt is gone.

This is us, people.

We owe God a debt we could never repay. How can we make up for even a single sin? He is perfect, loving–our gentle Father. To displease Him for an instant is more than we could make up for in a lifetime.

We are bankrupt before God. The human race needs debt relief.

Let’s go to the Judge. Let’s get on our knees before the altar and the mysteries of the Sacred Triduum. Let’s beg God for a feasible payment plan.

Christ will pay off all our debts and give us an austere, humble way to redeem the rest of our lives on earth.

Springtime Revelations

Here is my Palm Sunday homily to my beloved Northeast Washington flock. Perhaps you websurfers will get something out of it…

Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. But not my will, but Yours be done. (Luke 22:42)

Not everything is immediately visible to the eye. It takes time for some things to be revealed.

Admit it: When I first arrived here at Holy Name, you thought to yourself: What in the world is this tall, quiet, nineteen-year-old white boy doing here as the pastor of our parish? You know you were thinking this.

With time, though, I hope something that was hidden has been revealed. I may be a stiff, quiet, young-looking white man. But: You can count on me to get up here and put the Word of God on you. I am going to preach Jesus Christ to you as much as any man—old, young, black, white, yellow, or red.

St. Albans School
Maybe this was hidden at first. Hopefully it has been revealed now.

God did not give you Barack Obama to be your pastor. Young-looking Father White–upper-northwest St. Albans boy, crewcut, glasses, goofy nerd—I am the pastor God gave you, and the white boy is just the one you need.

So we see: With time, hidden things can be revealed.

This happens every spring. Springtime comes. All the beauty of the earth, which has been hidden through the winter—that beauty is revealed to our eyes.

The Lord Jesus was conceived in His mother’s womb in the springtime. Our Lady consented to the Archangel Gabriel on March 25. The Holy Spirit overshadowed her, and the Word became flesh in her womb.

As soon as the Son of God became one of us, He declared His obedience to the Father. Christ prayed in Mary’s womb and said, “Behold, Father: I come to do your will.”

Throughout His pilgrimage on earth, the Lord Jesus always did the will of the Father, down to the most minute detail of His life.

“My food is to do the will of the One Who sent me…I do only what I see the Father doing…The Father works, so I work.”

But the full extent of Christ’s obedience lay hidden for most of His life. Everyone who knew Him saw that His will belonged to God above. But no one could have imagined just how perfect Christ’s obedience really was.

It was in Holy Week that the full measure of Christ’s submission was revealed. What was hidden in the Virgin’s womb was made visible when He went up to Jerusalem for the last time.

In the womb, He had said, “Behold, Father, I come to do your will.”

Then, in the Garden, He said: “Father, if it be possible, let this most bitter cup of suffering pass from me. But not my will, but Yours be done.”

Unusual Week to Come

Have you noticed how life can become boring and repetitive?

Days pass; weeks pass. We don’t even notice. The weeks are all the same, a dull routine.

This is the way it has always been. There were plenty of people living in Jerusalem at the time of Christ who were living dull, routine lives.

When Holy Week came, they missed it. It was just like any other week–just like the week before and the week after–part of the boring, meaningless routine of workaday life.

But what happened that week? The most important things that ever happened.

It is the week that lies at the center of all history, the week that makes life worth living, the week that makes all things new.

The Church exists to keep that week alive on this earth. We are at the threshold of our Church’s most important duty.

Holy Week is not just another week. It is not part of the dull routine. It is not a week that passes us by, un-noticed and instantly forgotten.

No. It is the center of our lives. It is the week out of which we live. It is the week upon which we focus all our attention and longing.

Our sacred mission is to keep next week holy, to live every minute of it with Christ–as if we were in Jerusalem with Him, following His every step.

Festival Day

Hail, thee, festival day!

Fr. Andrew White, S.J.
Don’t forget that this is the 376th anniversary of the first Holy Mass in the English-speaking colonies.

It was offered on St. Clement’s Island in the Potomac River by Fr. White!

…Annunciation Day and Holy Week are always in the spring.

In the spring, many things that have lain hidden finally come into view. The goodness of the earth reveals itself.

In the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the instant when He was conceived and became man, the Word of God declared to the Father: “Behold, I come to do Your will!”

For many years, this perfect obedience lay hidden within the soul of Christ.

Then, during Holy Week, it was fully revealed.

March 25, 1995

Fifteen years ago, Pope John Paul II gave us his encyclical letter on the Gospel of Life. In this letter, the Pope coined the phrase, ‘the culture of death.’

Here is a short summary of the encyclical:

God gives us life. The innocent are always threatened by violence. In our day and age, the greatest threats are abortion and euthanasia. All Christians are bound to fight for the right to life. The Gospel demands that we be militantly pro-life.

In other words: We are a LAME Catholics if we do not adopt the point-of-view of the innocent unborn in all our political positions. We owe it to the innocent and defenseless unborn to stand up for them and to fight for them.

The fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish abortion and euthanasia, and even to make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline.

Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable.

Even certain sectors of the medical profession, which by its calling is directed to the defense and care of human life, are increasingly willing to carry out these acts against the person. In this way the very nature of the medical profession is distorted and contradicted, and the dignity of those who practice it is degraded. (paragraph 4.2)

Courtroom Drama

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery.

They said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

They went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

She replied, “No one, sir.”

Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.” (John 8:2-11)

Let’s step into this gospel passage. Let’s get into it ourselves, like a scene on a stage. Where do we fit into the scene? Let’s find ourselves in it. The Lord Jesus, the Pharisees, the adulteress, the bystanders…where are we?

Continue reading “Courtroom Drama”

38 Days and a Season

Your unworthy servant wore his sailboat cufflinks for 38 consecutive days. We hit 70 degrees yesterday afternoon. The garden-of-cufflinks springtime has begun!

…Listen, the Georgetown Hoyas got knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the first round. Supposedly, it was a “big upset.”

It was NOT a big upset. It was disappointing, not surprising.

You can put your brackets where you want to put them. I am a sane college-basketball fan, not a mad one.

I am going to take the 2009-2010 Hoyas season to the memory bank, where it belongs. It was a good season.

The NCAA tournament is an unpleasant appendage.

I am just glad to have followed my homeboys all through the unforgettable winter.

So Predictable

To the peanut gallery which accuses me of being boring–

–to the free-spirits who cringe when they hear how I live out of my little black calendar, get up at the same time EVERY day, scrupulously maintain a slavish routine, observe the rules of every authoritative book, and fantasize only about whether it will be raining or sunny on the day of my funeral–

–to the interesting people who roll the way they roll and go with the flow, I say:

I admit it. I plead guilty. I am tedious.

May the court be merciful. Please take the following into account in sentencing me:

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.

But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon…It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. (G.K. Chesterton–Click HERE for more.)


Come on, seventy degrees. Come on, baby. So close. Don’t be afraid. Come to papa!

…The Law of Moses bound the Chosen People to a weekly day of rest.

The Law of Death gave the human race rest from sin.

But this is the everlasting Sabbath: To believe in God and the One Whom He has sent…

…On the art beat:

The Sacred Made Real” in the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art is NOT TO BE MISSED.

If you do not visit the National Gallery of Art between now and May 31, you will have MADE A BIG MISTAKE…

Opera buffs:

Did you know that Scott Joplin wrote an opera? It is called “Treemonisha.”

They performed it recently at the Atlas Theatre, in my humble Northeast Washington parish.

Here is some of the cast singing one of the ditties:

…St. Patrick’s day is great. But let’s face it. The big day of the week is Friday, the Solemnity of St. Joseph.

All the laws of penance and abstinence fall by the wayside in honor of the holy Patron of the whole Church. (Click HERE if you want to get siked-up for St. Joseph’s day.)

Parable Comparison

A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them…(Luke 15:11 and following)

Did you know that there is also a Buddhist parable of the Prodigal Son?

Let’s compare the parable of Buddha with our beloved parable of Christ.

In the Buddhist parable, there is only one son. The son departs from the father’s house, but he does not take any money with him when he goes.

In the Lord Jesus’ parable, the wealthy father gives his younger son his inheritance, even though the son has no right to it until the father’s demise.

Continue reading “Parable Comparison”