Homilies for January 2016

Theotokos of Vladimir Icon

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of GodJanuary 1, 2016

Mary Our Mother
Purpose: God’s superabundant love for us invites us into the relationship of adopted sons and daughters; in Mary, we find a true mother.

Readings: Nehemiah 6:22-27; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21

I’m not sure how many of us here today have adoption as part of our stories. Statistically, many of our families have been formed  or expanded by adoption, and these adoptions happen in any number of circumstances. Whether closed adoptions, or the now-common open adoptions, local or international, adoption is all around us. Adopting a child is truly a path of love as children are blessed with a mother and father, and fear is defeated by courageous love.

The relationships forged by adoption are new and complex, in some ways. We might worry about many things: confusion for the child; fears on the part of the adoptive parents; fears on the part of the birth parents. All are valid concerns; all are part of the challenging reality for these families. But underlying adoptions, as I have observed them, is a profound love, and a path forward in generosity.

The key ingredients, which must be present for these intertwined relationships to work, are that the adults involved be courageous and generous, not letting their fears paralyze them in the face of the unknown; that they communicate well; and that the well-being of the child be their highest priority.

As we celebrate the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, and our Blessed Mother, we just heard St. Paul describe how we are invited into a relationship of adoption. Why adoption? What makes this the best image for God’s saving plan, and our new relationship in grace? Because God’s heart is a heart of love; his family expands with each son and daughter welcomed into his Church. Our adoption, which happens at baptism, changes the course of our lives. We are fully welcomed as heirs to God’s promises of faithful love. Then, we can echo Jesus’ child-like words, “Abba, Father”: this is a relationship of love and trust in which we humbly respond to God’s unconditional love for us.

As we tell parents at the celebration of baptism, this holy sacrament is not sufficient in itself. Even as we unpack the blessed consequences of our baptism/adoption for the rest of our lives, we must be attentive to the responsibilities of being part of God’s family. Parents, during the baptism, promise to raise the children, to the best of their abilities, in the fullness of the Catholic faith. It is a solemn and beautiful responsibility. Godparents promise to help, and we as a community pledge our supportand we must take this seriously.  Then, of course, as this child reaches an age of maturity, they must take responsibility for their own formation and their own faithfulness as Catholics.

No matter the particulars of our own family situations: whether you come from the most ideal, seemingly picture-perfect Catholic family, or whether your home life contains more scars and wounds than you’d like to acknowledge, your adoption has given you a mother who loves you. Perfectly.

We hear that Mary is Mother of God, and our mother, from our earliest days of Catholic formation. But do we allow this to be personal? Mary’s many titles reflect the many facets and attributes of her love: Our Lady of Perpetual Help; of Mercy; of Consolation; of Sorrows; of Victory; of Guadalupedefending life; the Untier of Knots, etc. These Marian titles all should inspire us to recognize how Mary longs for our hearts to be consoled and strengthened by being united to her Immaculate Heart, so close to the heart of Jesus. We are invited to turn to Mary with confidence and trust, as we turn to the most perfect of human mothers who wants nothing but the best for her children.

Mary pondered in her heart the miracle of Jesus’ birth, and the incredible graces poured out upon her fragile, outcast family in Bethlehem. God’s promises were just starting to be fulfilled in her life. This New Year’s day, as our world begins anew, we are invited to recognize the powerful relationships of love that give us stability and hope in a messy world. We are sons and daughters of the Most High God, adopted into the family of love of his Church, with Mary as our mother. Rediscover how your adoption into God’s family expands your world, with new opportunities to give and receive life and love. This has all been given to us for our benefit and our flourishing. In gratefulness, may we be courageous and generous, not letting our fears hold us back from following where Christ will lead us in this year ahead.


CCC, nos. 52, 270, 967-970, 1265-1270

Dale M. Coulter, “Adoption, Image, and God’s Love” at  http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/02/adoption-image-and-gods-love


The Epiphany of the LordJanuary 3, 2016

Everything Has Changed

Purpose: Once we see who Christ is, and realize his plan for our salvation, we cannot be, or live the same again. The only just response is to pay homage and make him known.

Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:2-3A, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

A good friend, a man I respect tremendously, is a man I consider a modern St. Paul. He is very upfront with people that he “has a past.” Without going into detail, he is quick to acknowledge that in his younger days he drifted far from his faith and lived a wild life. He was never lukewarm: he lived hard, but then once he discovered the emptiness of that path and experienced his re-conversion, he is now one of the most zealous Catholics I know. His volunteer work, his family life as a husband and father, and his authentic love for others all witness to how he clearly sees the Lord’s love for him and his plan of salvation.

St. Paul, while he was still Saul, was not a “wild man” in this sense; he was zealous for the Law of the Lord. He persecuted the Christian community because he believed that they were dangerous heretics: he believed that it was only in the strict observance of the Jewish Law that people would find salvation. On the road to Damascus everything changed. Jesus revealed that it is not the Law that saves, as Saul had believed. Instead, Christ gives him the Epiphany message: “the Gentiles are now coheirs {with the Jews}, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Paul had committed his life to what he believed to be the path of salvation; now Jesus revealed himself as the path: the one Way, but a way open to all.

I call this the “epiphany” message because it’s the heart of today’s feast. Our gospel account of the Magi reveals this same core truth: “the Gentiles are now coheirs {with the Jews}, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” The Magi have come from distant lands; they represent the search for truth in the human heart. Led by the star, they know that something cosmic and powerful has occurred. With the help of the Jewish scriptures they come to Bethlehem, and finally they behold the Holy Family and the Child Jesus.

The Magi not only reveal how the entire world is invited by the Light of the World to know him, to find him; the Magi also reveal the appropriate response once we are in his presence. “They prostrated themselves and did him homage.” We have come to this sacred liturgy to do the same. Here we find, in the sacramental presence of Christ, the fulfillment of God’s faithfulness. Here Jesus strengthens us and invites us to communion for eternity. In response, we humbly offer the best of what we can give to the King. This is liturgically shown in the offertory, as the bread and wine and the fruits of our labor are brought forward, and we ask God to bless our offering.

Today we also consider the gifts of the Magi. Can we offer the “gold” of our personal commitment to charity and truth? We know we are made for greatness, but so often we accept mediocrity. A commitment to living according to God’s highest intention for our lives is invaluable. Can we then offer the “frankincense” of our faith, as we confess with our hearts “Yes, Lord, I believe”? Our faith is a gift, but it’s a gift we both receive and must exercise, and in offering our faith to the Lord we ask him to strengthen our union with him. And finally we offer “myrrh,” the fragrant burial oil, which for us is offering to God our willingness to die to sin and be united to his Cross so that we can rise to eternal life.

Then, having had this true encounter with Christ today, we should also “go home by another route.” Everything has changed, once Christ reveals his plan for our salvation. We have seenno, we have received the Lord! Now we should be filled with courage and hope, in the words of the prophet Isaiah. “Rise up in splendor. Your light has come. The glory of the Lord shines on you.” We are now agents of this hope.

We are in the middle of this drama of salvation history, as Christ has already come and we have received the source of our salvation, yet the struggle for souls continues on this earth. In Christ Jesus, we have been given what the whole world is searching for. The ongoing mission of the Church, the transformation of our world in Christ, can have a burning core here, in this parish. If we really desire, as we sang in our Psalm: “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you!”then let us be bold, be a light, inviting others through our witness to come, see, adore.


This homily utilizes extensively the model provided by: Congregation for Divine Worship & Discipline
of the Sacraments, Homiletic Directory (2014). Available at: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/

CCC nos. 528, 748, 2466


The Baptism of the LordJanuary 10, 2016

Salvation Through God’s Gifts

Purpose: God and his Church desire our salvation. Jesus’ baptism reveals the Trinity’s presence, and invites us to receive the graces being offered; we must be willing to receive and live accordingly.

Readings: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Acts 10:34-38; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord is the final celebration of the Christmas season. Tomorrow, we begin “Ordinary Time” once again. But as you know, we are not in an “ordinary” year. The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy that Pope Francis inaugurated in December continues throughout this year, and we are urged by the Church to continue to experience the special graces of this time.

This Year of Mercy was marked with the opening of the Holy Door, which occurred at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, but then was repeated in every diocese around the world. Pope Francis asked every bishop to establish Holy Doors in the local communities, so that all of us can partake in yet another opportunity for healing, and the true treasure of the Church: God’s perfect, merciful love for us.

Today’s feast of Jesus’ baptism is a perfect time to highlight how God is so abundant with his merciful and saving love.

The baptism of Jesus is strange, on the surface. John the Baptist was preaching a “baptism of repentance,” calling the people of Israel to repent of their sins, and prepare for the Messiah. Jesus, free of sin, himself the Promised One, had no need of repentance. And in the other gospel accounts of this baptism, we hear John’s objections. But Jesus comes to the waters of the Jordan. He is in perfect solidarity with sinful humankind. In the words of St. Paul, “He who knew no sin became sin for our sake.” (2 Cor 5:21)

At this moment, where Jesus publically stands in solidarity with sinners, God reveals himself as the Holy Trinity. The voice of the Father is heard: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” The Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus “in bodily form like a dove.” This revelation of the Trinity helps show us God’s way of acting in our world: (1) God is One, always acting together; (2) The three Persons are distinct in their relation to one another; God is One, fundamentally, yet the three Persons reveal how God is a communion of love.

To keep going deeper for just a moment … this great mystery of the Trinity can be put next to the great mystery of our very existence. God didn’t need us to “complete” anything, yet, this dynamic relationship of lovethe Trinity itselfcreated us to share in his abundant love. And when we failed to love him in return—when we chose sin instead of obedience—God chose to offer us salvation through the perfect offering of the Son. Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice is infinitely more powerful than our disobedience and selfishness.

This is the core of our faith. The plan for our salvation is that through faith in Jesus Christ, being made a new creation through baptism, and incorporation into his Church, we are then temples of the Holy Spirit, and adopted children of God. Throughout our lives, God wants to continue to pour out his love, and his presence, into our lives. This is grace. Grace is God’s very life, his powerful, transformative presence that re-creates us in his image.

Grace is what the Church wants us to receive abundantly in this year of mercy. Grace and mercy are the reasons that the Holy Doors have been established all around the world, and in our own diocese here. Jesus himself is “the door,” as John writes in his gospel (John 10:9). We must come to him, and we do this most profoundly in approaching the Holy Eucharist, and receiving Jesus in faith. The Holy Doors are an additional, “extraordinary” way that the Church shows that Jesus is the way. From the treasury of the merits of Jesus, which the Church administers from Jesus’ commissioning, the Church offers a plenary indulgence for those who come through the Holy Doors. In the simplest terms: the Church wants to be generous with mercy and grace, as God has been generous, beyond imagination, in giving us his life and our salvation.

Even though God has given us everything, this world is still messy and difficult. Jesus’ baptism shows how God comes to where we are. Knowing that we need ongoing strength and help, God continues to come where we are. The Sacraments are the first, privileged way God comes to us. Then, there are many additional avenues of his grace—including his Word, and the gifts of his Church. This holy year is one of those gifts. So a trip to {the nearest Holy Door} is more than worthwhile. Make it a priority, soon!

The mission we now have is to receive what God offers so generously. We must be aware of the gift, then open and willing to receive the gift, and then, furthermore, ready to share the gift. The gift is God himself. As we head into “Ordinary Time,” resolve that this year we won’t miss the “extraordinary” opportunities being offered. Now is the time, now is the season, for going deeper: deeper in our knowledge and love of God, deeper in our commitment to living and sharing all that he offers.


CCC nos. 689-690 (the joint mission of the Son and Holy Spirit), 1471-1473 (on indulgences)

Rev. Kenneth A. Baker, S.J., Notes for “The One and Triune God: Missions and Divine Indwelling,” International Catholic University at http://icucourses.com/pages/025-12-mission-and-divine-indwelling

Congregation for Divine Worship & Discipline of the Sacraments, Homiletic Directory (2014). Available at: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time—January 17, 2016

The Wedding Feast

Purpose: Marital imagery, and the celebration of the wedding feast, in particular, is centrally important in Scripture, and helps us to understand the depth and nature of God’s plan.

Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-11

I have to admit, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with weddings. The celebration of marriage itself is absolutely wonderful. Especially when the spouses have a living faith, and they know they are doing something holy, marriage is just so beautiful. Weddings of family and friends have been some of the true highlights of my priestly ministry.

It’s the “pomp” surrounding weddings that can be tough. There’s a lot of pressure and stress sometimes. It can distract from what really matters. On top of this, while wedding receptions can be fun (theoretically), they aren’t really my thing. No offense to anyone, but if I were to update Dante’s Inferno, one level of Hell would torment souls with the latest “teen pop” songs, and the “Electric Slide.

I can’t be too negative toward wedding receptions, though, because Jesus makes very clear that he favors them, and he wants them to be a major celebration. Most people know that the wedding feast at Cana was Jesus’ first public miracle. The Church holds this up as part of how Jesus elevates the natural bond of marriage to a Sacrament: what is good in itself (the “water” if you will) is transformed to something much richer (the “wine”). Jesus’ presence and grace makes marriage truly holy and sanctifying.

Furthermore, no image is more frequently and vividly used in Sacred Scripture for the relationship between God and his people than this spousal, marital imagery. Our first reading from the prophet Isaiah is a perfect Old Testament example: “As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so shall your God rejoice in you.” Scripture often emphasizes how even when we (or God’s people, generally) are unfaithful and unworthy, God purifies us, and chooses to have this covenant relationship nonetheless.

There is powerful imagery throughout the New Testament for how Jesus himself is the bridegroom, who gives everything in love for his bride. {Note to homilists: see the B. Pitre book below for more.} This culminates in the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb described in Revelation. The groom honored and presiding at this heavenly wedding feast is Jesus the Christ; his bride is the Church, for whom he has given everything. We must keep in mind that this is our story, this is our destiny. Heaven, our true home, will be an experience of joy, union, and life to its fullest, that the inspired Scripture describes in terms of the perfect wedding banquet. It’s worth bringing this to prayer.

Today’s prayer, this celebration of the Holy Mass, is where it all comes together for us. This is our wedding banquet that anticipates the feast of Heaven. We emphasize this right before we receive the Eucharist: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”  This “supper of the Lamb” is exactly the wedding feast of the Lamb, the celebration of the self-giving and life-creating union of Jesus and his Church. Receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood, soul and divinity, in the Eucharist is the closest we come now to the overwhelming reality of beholding the vision of God in Heaven.

This presence of Christ in us, received and nourished by the Eucharist throughout our lives, fuels us from within. No matter what our individual states in life or vocations may be, we are made for relationships of self-giving and fruitful love. How we live this out is as unique as each of our individual lives and situations. But the union we share, in being bonded to Christ, and fed by him, is deeper than our differences. We are known, we are loved. His perfect, merciful love invites us to say “yes” to a life much richer than simply living for ourselves.

If this is how God views his relationship with us, what does this mean for how we live? He is not asking for just one more demand in our busy lives. God is inviting us to make sure we have our priorities straight, which frees us for what is truly good and worthwhile. With a real relationship with God, simply starting with time offered in prayer and listening, we can more easily reject the “hamster race” of never-ending obligations and burdens. Then, the human loves that shape our lives—whether it is your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends —these are in the light of God’s love and truth. We love others better and more completely when we accept God’s priority in our hearts.

So prioritize the time, openness, honesty that will strengthen this relationship in the week ahead. God rejoices in you; he has chosen you as his beloved. As you approach the altar of the Lamb today, be filled with the total joy that is fitting for the occasion.


CCC 1324-1335, 1604

Joseph Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, Ch. 8 “The Principal Images of John’s Gospel” (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2008).

Brian Pitre, Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
(New York: Image, 2014).


Third Sunday in Ordinary Time—January 24, 2016

Agents of Mercy

Purpose: United as one in the Body of Christ, his Church, we each have a crucial role in being agents of Christ’s mercy. The Jubilee focus on the works of mercy is a great opportunity.

Readings: Nehemiah 8:2-4A, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

One of the reasons for this “extraordinary,” or unscheduled, Jubilee of Mercy, initiated by Pope Francis, is that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The church is still receiving Vatican II, still processing what happened at Vatican II. The Council was primarily about making the eternal truths of the Church more effectively shared, and applied to, a changing and challenging world. As the world continues to change so quickly—and it is an increasingly hostile environment for the faith—we are part of the ongoing mission to proclaim the eternal truths of the salvation of Jesus Christ ever-new.

One of the big themes that many people took away from Vatican II is the idea that “we are the Church.” That phrasing was not found in the Council itself. What the Council did teach is that all of us share equally in the dignity, and the responsibilities, of our faith, and there is a universal call to holiness. So if, for various reasons, any of us have a lingering top-heavy mentality about the Church: that “The Church” means primarily the clergy or the consecrated religious, and the 99% of the Church—the lay faithful—don’t have much of a role … then that desperately needs to be changed.

We just heard St. Paul declare in his first letter to the Corinthians: “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.” This beautiful, familiar passage vividly describes how in our individuality, we are many parts of this one body, the Church. We are united in a true communion with one another, with Christ our Lord as our head. Within this body of the Church, we are of equal necessity and dignity, though we may do different things, or serve in different ways.

We may appreciate this image even more if we have experienced illness or frailty. When we are well, we often take for granted how all the parts of our bodies work so flawlessly together. It’s often not until we are sick that we appreciate how each part of the body is needed and works in harmony.

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are strengthened to function better, each and every one of us, as agents of mercy within our Church of mercy. If the members of the Church do not live with mercy, how can the Church as a whole be merciful? (Or mercy-full?)

Very specifically, we are invited, individually, by our Holy Father to grow in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy during this Jubilee Year.  When he announced the Jubilee, Pope Francis made specific mention of these works of mercy. While every Catholic should be familiar with them, I suspect we can all benefit from a brief reminder, and some ideas as to how we can put them into action

So, firstly, the corporal works of mercy: “corporal” because they are physical, bodily. Our faith is not something that is private, or turns us inward to just “God and myself.” Our imitation of Christ and the saints means that we are attentive to the true needs right around us.

These corporal works of mercy mean that we should: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. Our time is our most precious resource: do we give of ourselves, in real and personal ways, to show love and care for others? Do we honor the humanity and the dignity of the people so close to us, many of whom suffer and struggle in ways that are hidden —but who will benefit from our presence? All of us, without exception, are called to extend the merciful presence of Christ as we can, in our communities and unique situations.

The spiritual works of mercy likewise are ways that we continue the loving ministry that Our Lord demonstrated, and countless saints have followed. We are to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.  It strikes me that there is a strong theme in many of these spiritual works of mercy: we must start with truly hearing others, loving them enough to appreciate who they are, and where they are struggling. Then, with patience and uncompromising charity, we can gently guide them toward deeper relationship and union with God, who loves them more than we can imagine. We must comfort, forgive, willingly bear sufferings ourselves, and then, with humility and relying on the Holy Spirit, we can instruct, admonish, and counsel without our ego or pride being an obstacle.

We show mercy to others because we have first received Divine Mercy from our loving God. We are all now called to be sources of transformative love in our Church, for our world: members of his Body, agents of his mercy. Be bold in accepting your role, which is absolutely essential for our Church to be healthy and whole, and to be an invitation for all to receive wholeness in Christ.


Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus  at https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco_bolla_20150411_misericordiae-vultus.html

USCCB resources on the Jubilee of Mercy, especially the Works of Mercy: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/jubilee-of-mercy/index.cfm

Lumen Gentium, especially 39-42.


Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time—January 31, 2016

Loving in the Truth

Purpose: The Christian call to love is inseparably connected to truth; to lead others to truth is a profound form of loving them.

Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:13; Luke 4:21-30

“Grant us, Lord our God, that we may honor you with all our mind, and love everyone in truth of heart. …”

This is a beautiful prayer. We just prayed this as our opening, the Collect, for Mass today. To love everyone in truth of heart should be one of our basic commitments. But as simple as it sounds, we often have a battle within our hearts over what it is to truly love.

Parents, when your child wants to go do something that you believe would be harmful to them, or put them in danger, what do you do? You make a judgment, considering your child’s well-being, that they may, or may not, go. Your decision is focused on what is best for them, because you love them. Good parenting means active parenting, and intervening as needed because you want the best for your children.

What about being a good friend? A parent has a particular responsibility for their children, but with friends we have a different relationship. If your friend is considering something you know will be bad for them, what do you do? Is it loving to just let them go exercise their own choices and freedom, without intervening?

These are not simple questions. Even as I am being very general, we can all think of many situations where we struggle with what it means to really care for others. We want to respect people’s freedom. We don’t want to offend. Plus, of course, we do not want to push people away. But what is the relationship between love and truth, and what is our responsibility in sharing the truth in love?

The starting point is to be very clear about what love is, and what love is not. To love someone is to want the best for them, and to be willing to act on their behalf. If we want the highest fulfillment and flourishing of the other person, who we love, then ultimately we want them in Heaven. Nothing is more important than that they come to see God face-to-face.

St. Paul’s description of love in today’s second reading is one of the most beautiful, poetic descriptions of love that we have, and it is commonly chosen by spouses for their weddings. It is beautiful, but it is not sappy sentiment. Paul challenges us to mature and sacrificial love. Love must be united to truth. The truth is that we have choices every day, for good or evil; we grow closer to God or we grow away from him.

Unfortunately, we are faced with many distortions of love today. There is a lot of bumper-sticker or Twitter-length sloganeering about “love is love,” claiming we must simply accept all choices and arrangements that people might choose on their own as “love” to be celebrated. What is missing is Truth. “What is truth?” asked Pontius Pilate, in words that continue to echo into our time. Truth is the person of Jesus Christ; truth is also written on the human heart, and is open to our response.

In many ways, the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. And our societal obsession with tolerance is certainly much more “indifference” than it is love, if it is not in accord with the truth. We must have the courage, matched with prudence and humility, to speak the truth, in love, in season and out of season.

Even if it is uncomfortable, and asks much of us, to lead others to truth is a profound form of loving them. This loving intervention, or fraternal correction, is a spiritual work of mercy ,and part of how we show we genuinely love others. This is very different than judging them, or holding ourselves above anyone, which is often the reflexive attack against Christians. No. The key is that our standard is Jesus, and his law of love. We are all striving, imperfect, but pursuing God’s truth.

If this means that your children do not attend some movies with their friends, and they are really upset: let them be upset. You are responsible for the content entering their minds, not Hollywood.

If we notice a family member or friend is gradually drifting from their faith, love them enough to speak up. Suggest you come to Mass together, and share a meal after. We need to be a community of living faith.

When a family member is discerning marriage, and they start to downplay the role of faith in a potential spouse, challenge this. If marriage is their vocation and, therefore, their path to Heaven, a spouse that will help them, and not hinder them, in growing closer to God is crucial. It’s stunning how so many Catholics do not consider the importance of sharing their faith with their spouse as they anticipate sharing their whole lives together, not to mention raising children together. We must simply share the truth of how important this is.

None of this is arrogance or pride; in fact, it can be very humbling to put ourselves out there, and to take that risk to stand with God’s commandments and truth. We must pray for the Holy Spirit to lead us in humility and love, filling us with a spirit of courage. “Love never fails.” May we not fail to love.


CCC nos. 1765-1766, 2465-2492.

Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, and, Caritatis in Veritatae.

St. John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor.

Fr. Daniel K. Hess About Fr. Daniel K. Hess

Fr. Daniel K. Hess is a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. After serving as chaplain and religion teacher at Lehman Catholic High School, and parochial vicar at Holy Angels Parish, Sidney, Ohio, he is currently studying dogmatic theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He holds a MDiv and MA in Theology from the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary's Seminary, a JD from Notre Dame Law School, and BA from Franciscan University of Steubenville.


  1. Avatar bill bannon says:

    The wedding at Cana never uses the literal words of Christ to Mary in the liturgy even though the literal words are in the official Bible of the Catholic Church, the New Vulgate….” Quid mihi et tibi, mulier?” What to me and to you, woman. Instead of that, all inferior translations have Christ sounding self involved with the matter not being crucial to Him alone as in the NAB in the U.S.: ” ” When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’
    And Jesus said to her, ‘ Woman, how does your concern affect me. My hour has not yet come.’
    His mother said to the servers, ‘ Do whatever he tells you.’ ”
    This nuance of the self involved Christ of most inferior translations rather than the united to His mother version…what to me and to you…has led many into complex son/ mother argumentative interpretations of the passage ( Augustine and Chrysostom).
    I’ll leave you with this anomaly. Mary hears a definite ” yes I’ll help” from Christ because she immediately instructs the servants to follow Christ’s instructions. But only the Vulgate translation opens the door to that aspect of the real meaning of the interchange. Fr. Manuel Miguens in his research noted that Christ is telling Mary that His hour to suffer has not come yet because in John “hour” always means the Passion.
    In other words, Mary approached Jesus with worry in her face as to asking him for a miracle because she was thinking he might soon be arrested after this first public miracle at Cana. Christ is addressing her worry when he says, ” what to me and to thee, woman. My hour ( to suffer) has not yet come.”
    Chrysostom, having an inferior translation much like the NAB thought Christ was referring to the exact time of doing his first miracle…by the word ” hour” and thus Chrysostom has Christ criticizing Mary for asking for a miracle too soon.
    Most translations depict a Christ rude to his mother but the Vulgate alone uses the proper Semitic idiom…” what to me and to thee”. Pray that someone puts that proper wording in the liturgy someday and that Fr. Manuel Miguens’ meaning of “hour” becomes known by more clergy in their subsequent homilies.