Hard Fall, Hard Praying

The Lord has called us to be His disciples, to put out into the deep waters of this world, and fish for men.

Terrifying and bewildering as it may be for us to be summoned for duty by the good God Himself, we cannot say, ‘depart from me, Lord.’ Or, rather, we can say it—but He won’t do it.

So we must engage everything that comes our way as Christians, as servants of Christ. He guides our ship; He’s the captain. He will not take us out any further from shore than we can handle—even if, to us, it may seem like He has guided us out into the remote and uncharted expanses of the ocean.

mccarrickThis Sunday is our Lady’s birthday, which is when the wild ride of the fall flurry of activity usually begins. From all appearances, our nation, the United States, is in for a difficult, a taxing—potentially a very painful fall.

The fax machines and the internet connections at the US Bishops’ Conference have been running hot. We priests have orders to preach on immigration reform this Sunday. We are for immigration reform. The bishop who ordained me, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, published an inspiring short essay on Sunday in the Washington Post, outlining our Catholic vision for immigration reform. (More to come on that, in this Sunday’s sermon.)

But on Sunday we will also read the parable about the king preparing for war, and how he must prudently study the situation before marching to arms.

The Pope and the American Bishops have asked all of us faithful Catholics to pray for peace in Syria. We are against a US military strike. We pray that it will not occur. I will lead a rosary for peace on Saturday. Maybe all of us could recite the rosary at 5:30 pm, no matter where we are-—and we will all be united spiritually—and with our Holy Father, too, who will pray in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday evening for peace in Syria.

Like I said, I think this weekend is just the beginning of the hard praying we will need to do this fall–for our nation, for our leaders. From where I am sitting, I see a perfect storm brewing over Washington.

(May it please God that my spiritual meteorology is wrong here. May it please Him that the fall of 2013 doesn’t wind up feeling like the fall of 2001 and the fall of 1963, all rolled into one. But I am afraid that this fall will wind up feeling like that.)

Let’s pray: May the Holy Spirit of wisdom and truth enlighten and guide all those who hold reins of power.

…The good news is: The Beast is back in town! (Kinda.)

Michael Morse Orioles 2

Michael Morse Orioles

St. Francis Day Sermon

A year ago our Holy Father Pope Benedict made a pilgrimage to Assisi to welcome guests from all over the world to pray together for peace. Together they marked the 25th anniversary of a similar pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Francis, which had been led by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

In Assisi, Pope Benedict contrasted the state of the world a quarter-century ago with the state of the world today. The great threat of violence between the world’s nuclear super-powers, which hung like a cloud over the 1980’s, had vanished without further bloodshed, God be praised. But violence still threatens us as much as ever, and the Pope cannily explained the two-fold source of this threat.

Continue reading “St. Francis Day Sermon”

Peace of Christ, Delivered

Jesus said to His Apostles, “When you enter a house, wish it peace.”
(Matthew 10:12)

Why did Pope Benedict declare a Year of the Priest?

When you are expecting a delivery, you look for the UPS man or the FedEx man. When he arrives, he hands the package to you. You might ignore the UPS man and focus on the package.

Delivery_ManOf course, the UPS man or the FedEx man is just doing his job. But the fact that there is a UPS and a FedEx to get our deliveries to us is pretty amazing. These companies deliver all over the world.

There is one delivery that is uniquely wonderful, uniquely important: the peace of Christ. This is a delivery that comes to us from some place other than earth.

The Lord came down from heaven to give us His peace. And He established a company that delivers divine peace to every city, town, and village, through generation after generation, until the end of time.

The priest is the like the FedEx man—just doing his job.

But maybe Pope Benedict is asking us all to step back and appreciate the marvel of this delivery system. The system is so solid and reliable, we easily take it for granted. But where would we be without it?