Homilies for December 2017

Adoration of the Shepherds by Guido Reni
(photo of star by the Hubble Space Telescope)

Homilies for the First Sunday in Advent—December 3, 2017
Readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/120317.cfm
Is 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7; Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37.
Author: Fr. Gregory Maria Pine, O.P.

Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: “Watch!”

Throughout the Gospels, the Lord exhorts his followers to stay awake. In his final days, he tells his apostles so directly in his end-times prophecy and, again, at his agony in the garden. And to this point, vigilance has featured prominently in his teaching and especially in his parables: The enemy plants weeds in the field at night. The bridegroom arrives at night. The master returns at night. With these many warnings, he impresses upon his followers a certain urgency and gravity: Keep watch.

This comes as no surprise. In no wise can the Christian indulge in the slumber of unconversion. There is no standing still in the spiritual life; if you’re not growing, you’re diminishing. And yet, there is something slightly disconcerting about how Christ describes it. The Lord seems to take a strange delight in delaying—almost as if he wants to catch us off guard. We cannot help but ask why? And though the logic may seem strange, we can come to appreciate that there is wisdom in his timing. So in what remains, we’ll consider briefly why the Lord delays and why we keep watch.

First, why delay? The Scriptures testify that there is purpose in Christ’s every movement. The Lord does not embark upon his campaign of salvation with ill-considered haste. Rather, he does so with deliberate intention. From an early point in the Gospels, he foretells his paschal mystery and advances towards it with a kind of inexorable desire. So too, this time of delay before his return is the fruit of the same purpose. Even this has its place. In tarrying, he is saving.

We know from his first coming that Jesus does not overwhelm the heart of man with the revelation of his glory. His providential designs are more subtle, more attuned to our conversion. Rather, the Lord proffers an invitation, and as the giver of human liberty, works interiorly by his grace to elicit from us a truly free and personal response. At his first coming, Christ prepares for himself a people in Israel, a tabernacle in the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a body in the Incarnation. So, too, at his Second Coming, his providential delay prepares for him a Church filled with desire. And just as the Old Covenant anticipated the New, so our present poverty anticipates the riches of his return. With the prophets, our hearts cry out: “Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you.” Our present hope, and nagging unrest, is itself his gift, lest we settle for something short of everything. For, “No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him.” And so, his delay is tailor-made to increase our faith, our desire, and ultimately our fulfillment.

Now, that’s all well and good, but the Lord could have kindled our desire, and deepened our hopes, in any way he thought fit. And what is more, it didn’t necessarily need to take this long. So why the crucible of patience? Why keep watch?

The short answer is that it makes us like our Savior Jesus Christ. To be like Christ is the very heart of Christian life. The Christian is called, not merely to be kind or nice or to follow the rules well. He is called to be like his Lord and Savior in his passion, death, and resurrection. This Christ-conformity is first given at baptism, and it grows in the sacramental life, and in the intimacy of prayer. In God’s wisdom, he wills that our likeness to Christ grow according to its own mysterious laws. Each is invited to follow Christ, to imitate Christ, and so enter gradually into perfect communion with him. Over the course of the whole of a life, Christ invites the soul into greater intimacy, and bestows upon it his many gifts, each in its proper order.

The most difficult of these gifts to receive is a share in his suffering, but it is indispensable. Without the cross, our Christ-conformity would always be incomplete, for it is precisely at this point that friendship with him is most profound. We must meet him at his most vulnerable; we must meet him in death. And so suffering enters each human life according to God’s permission. For some it is violent. For some it is dull. But, often it is the slow death of patience. And so, by his delay he permits us to suffer his absence and so, mysteriously, to become like him.

And so as we await the Lord’s return, it is the place of man to wait and to beg. The delay of the Lord is the time to suffer his passion in our members, and so become like unto him in glory. For by this last and greatest grace, we shall not be lacking in any spiritual gift as we wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he will keep us firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. So wait for the Lord. His day is near. Keep watch. Take heart.


Homilies for the Second Sunday of Advent—December 10, 2017
Readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121017.cfm
Is 40:1-5, 9-11; Ps 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14; 2 Pt 3:8-14; Mk 1:1-8.
Author: Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, OP

There’s no sound in the world like it.

It can be shrill and passionate, like a shrieking herd of goats, or it can be soft and placid, painting the kinds of dulcet tones that lull children to sleep. This music can even be downright calamitous. This may well surprise you, but I’m describing Sacred Harp singing.

Sacred Harp singing is an American tradition of spiritual folk music which originated in New England in the 1780s. By the 1820s, this distinct body of hymns had migrated to the South where it was preserved in rural communities. Everyone knows its most popular tune: Amazing Grace. Sacred Harp singing is not, by any means, a polished music. The melodies are simple, and the harmonies—frankly—are a little primitive. You can’t usually listen to Sacred Harp music performed in concerts, rather, it’s shared in local singings, where lovers of the music gather to raise their voices in anthem. There aren’t rehearsals. The singers simply gather, pick up the music, and begin to sing for one another, and for God.

And yet, the effect of this boisterous acapella warbling can only be described as transcendent. Entering into a Sacred Harp singing, by contemplating the words, loving the melody, and sharing it in the assembled choir, lifts the singer up in the wall of sound. The exultant, revelatory style of Sacred Harp singing hints at the heraldic role of Zion. This is truly an echo of Zion’s song: “Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm.” (Isa. 40:10).

1. Zion’s song is a song of comfort.
Isaiah the prophet declares, “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end…” This extraordinary consolation is offered to the Jewish people in exile. To a suffering, displaced people, the LORD promises, through his prophet, that brighter days are on the horizon. This exhortation is not simply to recall the past fidelity of the LORD. On the contrary, the song of comfort tells that God is doing something new. The familiar, well-known melodies of Sacred Harp singing, come to life because each singing is a new experience of the music. That’s what Advent is. It’s a new look, a new coming to know the comfort and consolation of God.

Centuries later, John the Baptist would take up again Isaiah’s song of comfort and consolation. John cries out, “I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” The LORD is preparing for a grand work of consolation. Like Israel of old, we, the followers of Christ, must look for the consolation God offers us in time of trial. His consolation comes, as certainly as the sun rises, and brings with it the light and love which alone comforts the sorrowing heart.

2. Zion’s song is anticipatory.
We, like Zion, expect the Lord to do marvelous things. Just like all those who revel in Sacred Harp singing, eagerly anticipating the next gathering, we look to the horizon of our hearts where we long to see the rising work of the Lord. Isaiah shares the preparation which the LORD will do for his people’s homecoming. The prophet says, “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley.” The changing landscape makes it possible for Israel to easily return from exile. So too, the LORD will make the rugged landscape of our hearts smooth, and fill in the valleys of our sorrow. Jesus Himself makes it possible for us to hear the call of repentance once proclaimed by John the Baptist, and upon hearing this call, Jesus gives us the grace to be transformed in the light and love of his coming.

3. Zion’s song is jubilant.
Finally, the song of Israel is jubilant. Pope Francis speaks of what it means to be joyful, saying: “A Christian is one who is invited… to join in the feast, to the joy of being saved, to the joy of being redeemed, to the joy of sharing life with Christ. This is a joy! You are called to a party!” Hearing the heralds singing of the coming of Christ is nothing short of an invitation to the deepest joy that can be had.

Sacred Harp singings capture something of this rapturous joy. The singers often shout ecstatically, making it impossible to hear anything but their song. There’s a deep enthusiasm, a deep passion which carries them away. That kind of expansive joy is what Jesus offers. It’s the joy where “one day in its presence is better than a thousand elsewhere.”

May the consolation of the songs of Israel ring in our hearts this Advent. May we busy ourselves in anticipation: waiting for, and even hastening, the day of the LORD. And finally, may the jubilant songs of joy echo in our hearts, as we await the coming of our King.


Homilies for the Third Sunday of Advent—December 17, 2017
Readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121717.cfm
Is 61:1-2a, 10-11Lk 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54; 1 Thes 5:16-24Jn 1:6-8, 19-28.
Author: Fr. Edmund McCullough, O.P.

 I am the voice of one crying out in the desert.

John the Baptist says several “no’s” before he gives a “yes.” The authorities have asked him about his identity. He’s doing such astounding works. So who is he, anyway? What does he have to say for himself? He says he’s not the Anointed One. He doesn’t call himself a prophet. Then, he gives a “yes.” He says he is a sound, a cry, a word.

A word needs a Speaker. The Baptist is spoken by God to the world. He does not put stock in an independent identity. He doesn’t say, as he could have: “God sent me for a task.” He roots his identity entirely in being a message. He’s a prophet indeed, the last and the greatest of them. But his life is entirely “Another’s” expression. He takes refuge in being “merely” God’s own message to His Chosen People. He lives as a word of warning to them, but also a word of hope.

Of course, the Baptist’s mission was unique. He was the trumpet blast announcing the decisive event in the history of the world: the Incarnation and Redeeming work of the Only Begotten Son of God. But the lives of all the great saints are such eloquent words. As Psalm 19 puts it, “their voice has gone out to all the earth, their words to the utmost bounds of the world.” The life of St. Teresa of Calcutta was a “word” that roused the world. The sound of her life pricked some very dull consciences, and made them marvelously alert. St. Francis of Assisi was a “poem” of Almighty God, addressed to a greedy and materialistic audience.

Speaking of Francis, the Holy Father has reminded us that we are sent out to “wake up the world.” We are such “words,” too. We Christians are “words” of Christ. He is sending us as a living message to the world that he loves. We are that note of hope, and of warning to our own era. It is not enough to depend on the stored up eloquence of our Christian inheritance. We ought always, of course, to look to the deposit of faith, and to the eloquence of the great saints. But we must heed the command of all those voices to become saints ourselves. Every last baptized Catholic is called to the perfection of charity. We are being invited, individually, to love God with the utmost intensity and ardor.

We can become perfectly clear “notes” sung by the Divine Cantor. All the notes can come out clearly and beautifully. We are all little parts of a much greater piece of music. This piece of music is the unfolding of Divine Providence. It is the sung story of God’s own making. And we are invited to be a small part of it. Sometimes, this Bard utters pauses for emphasis in this piece of music: the sound of John the Baptist in the desert is such a pause. And then came a great movement of sound which filled all the earth in preaching of the Messiah.

All marvelous sound is preceded by deep silence. As Advent comes to a close, let us pause in quiet. The silent stargazers of the East, and the vigil-keeping shepherds of Judea, heard the first notes of the song of their redemption. Let’s keep silence with the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who pondered all these mysteries in silence, and whose life is wrapped in it. We have very few words of hers, that greatest of Christians. If we participate in her silent waiting, perhaps the notes will strike us this Christmas. Then, Christ will use us as words, to speak to the noisy and distracted world He loves so dearly.


Homilies for the Fourth Sunday of Advent—December 24, 2017
Readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/122417.cfm
2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Ps 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29 ; Rom 16:25-27 Lk 1:26-38.
Author: Fr. Athanasius Murphy, O.P.

Waiting is a hard reality of life. Commercials, checkout lines, pages loading, trains coming, vacations approaching. If we tallied up all our waiting between the things we plan, we might find that there’d be just as many minutes given to downtime as there are offered to scheduled events. Not only does the idea of waiting seem to bother us, but the problem seems to worsen the closer we get to arriving at what we’ve been waiting for. Waiting for the day of Christmas, for example, may be tolerably easy in late November, but when it’s December 24th, and we’re told that we’re still celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Advent, then the time before Christmas day may seem like an eternity.

For many of us, these hours, or moments, before Christmas are filled with a longing, expectant waiting. But what are some ways that we end up coping with waiting? In the first reading for this Sunday, David, the king of Israel, tried to cope with his waiting by building a house for God. Building up the kingdom of Israel would take time, but David decided that he was finished waiting for a temple to be built in Jerusalem, and that he would make plans to build the holy sanctuary himself. For this behavior, the Lord gave David a clear lesson in waiting: “Thus says the Lord: Should you build me a house to dwell in? It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel … it is the Lord who will build a house for you” (2 Sam 7:5, 8, 11).

God never asked David, or any of the prophets, to build him a fixed dwelling. Rather, it was the Lord himself who would build that sacred place of worship. The Lord himself was the one who needed to build the house of Israel, and anyone who tried to erect such a house without God would labor in vain. The Israelites were called again to wait during their exile from Jerusalem during the Babylonian captivity. Following their exile east of their home, the Lord spoke to the Israelites through the prophet Jeremiah:

When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you…plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope…when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the Lord” (Jer 29:10).

Did the people of Israel know with certainty about God’s visit to them in Babylon? Were they aware how their exile would end? Having so much time spent away from their true home, there would be the strong temptation to forget about the promised land, and even forget about the God who promised to be with them. Yet, their waiting was not in vain. This time in exile, before the Lord’s arrival, was a chance to trust God again with renewed faith and hope: faith in the Lord’s promise, and hope in the plans for their welfare that they could not fully see at that time.

In the Gospel for this Sunday, Mary is the archetype of someone who is able to give meaning to her time in waiting. Consider the moment just before she gave her “yes” to God through the Angel Gabriel’s message. She sees the angelic visitation, and as surprised as she is, there is at least one moment where she is considering the message from God before she says “yes”. Christ has not been incarnate yet. He is waiting for Mary’s response. What was she doing just before she said “yes”? What was going on in her heart? How was she waiting for this visit, even if she didn’t know that it would happen? That moment is a time of waiting that is pregnant with grace and meaning. It is a moment that is not quite Christmas, but is so close, having its own meaning, its own grace, its own value.

Advent is essentially a season of waiting. It is a season so close to Christmas, but it has its own meaning, its own grace, its own value. This Advent, God has desired to give each of us graces to prepare us to receive the incarnate Christ into our hearts. We wait for God Emmanuel to come among us as a child, born of Mary. When we are asked to wait, we can try to fill up that time with some plan or schedule that we make our own. But this would just be to lose sight of what God has in store for us by his divine plan. God wants to visit us at a time that is best for us, even if we don’t know when that time will be, even if it comes to us unexpectedly. The proper response in moments of waiting is to have hope—hope that no matter how distant we are from God, it is the Lord himself who will come to visit us. And in the time before his arrival, we can wait, like Mary, with longing expectation.


The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)(Mass during the Day)—December 24, 2017
Readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/122517.cfm
Is 52:7-10; Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6; Heb 1:1-6; Jn 1:1-18.
Author: Fr. Athanasius Murphy, OP

I. Joining of opposites in love
What is the most beautiful expression of love we can consider? Many would think of the love between two people that are equally alike, such as the love between two friends, or the love found in matrimony between spouses. But there’s also something to be said for the love between opposites: the union of heaven and earth, of eternity and time, of infinite divinity and frail humanity. Such is the love we celebrate on Christmas, when the eternal Word became flesh out of love for us.

At a Christmas liturgy, St. Gregory of Naziansus, the famous “St. Augustine of the East” known for his speaking style, had this to say of the incarnation:

Christ is born, give glory; Christ is from the heavens, go to meet him; Christ is on earth, be lifted up. “Sing to the Lord, all the earth,” and, to say both together, “Let the heavens be glad and earth rejoice,” for the heavenly one is now earthly…Who would not worship the one “from the beginning”? Who would not glorify “the Last”?(St. Gregory of Naziansus, Festal Oration 38, 1).

The Incarnation of the Eternal Word in human flesh is the most radical joining of opposites creation has ever witnessed. The glory of God in his eternal Son is now perceived in the weakness of our human flesh. Yet, Scripture does not normally speak well of human “flesh,” typically calling it a type of indulgence, or rebellion against God’s command (Isa 22:13, 44:15, 19), or emphasizing the transience of flesh in contrast to the permanence of God’s glory (Isa 31:3, 40:5, 49:26). Only once in Isaiah does the prophet speak about both the weakness and transience of flesh, along with our ability to know and see the glory of God precisely through this flesh. In a passage we heard from earlier this Advent, Isaiah speaks of the comfort that the Lord brings to his people, and how their flesh, though it be as weak as grass, will indeed see God’s glory.

Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isa 40:4-6).

A passage that joins the opposites of mountains and valleys, hills and plains, also joins together the contraries of human flesh and divine glory. Though this flesh of ours is grass that withers, a flower that fades, it is this same human flesh that is prophesized to see the glory of God. This prophecy is fulfilled in the incarnation, when the eternal Word, in all his glory, joins himself to the grass of our flesh in love, and our feeble humanity beholds the glory of Christ this Christmas day.

II. Why the opposites are joined
As beautiful as this mystery of the Word becoming flesh is, have we ever stopped to consider what reason God had, as the Creator, to become a creature, or why the divine, as eternal deity, assumed what is human? St. Athanasius of Alexandria gives his famous “divine dilemma” about God’s desire to reconcile his creation to himself, while also respecting his infinite wisdom in intitially creating us.

What, then, was God to do? What else could he possibly do, being God, but renew his Image in mankind, so that through it men might once more come to know him? And how could this be done save by the coming of the very Image himself, our Savior Jesus Christ? In order to effect this re-creation, however, he had first to do away with death and corruption. Therefore, he assumed our human [nature] in order that in it, death might once for all be destroyed, and that men might be renewed according to the Image. The Image of the Father only was sufficient for this need. (St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation, Chapter III.13).

As mere human beings, we alone could not have accomplished or merited the incarnation, for we were only made after the eternal Image of the Father, the eternal Word. It was the Word of God himself, who could re-create man made after the complete Image of the Father.

III. The joining of opposites in love leads us to understand whom we are imaged after
Christ’s incarnation was an expression of our humanity to the fullest. And it is in this expression of our humanity that we come to learn who we really are. The eternal Word’s becoming flesh was the avenue by which God was to teach of us just how priceless our lives are. St. John Paul II, in his encyclical letter Redemptor Hominis, wrote on how our desire for love is a basic need of life, fulfilled only in the incarnation:

Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. (St. John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis, chapter II. 10, 13).

As John Paul writes, it is, in fact, Christ’s incarnation that fully reveals man to himself. In this beautiful joining of heaven and earth, divinity and humanity, we find the greatness, dignity, and value that belongs to our humanity. In this mystery of the incarnation, we become “newly expressed” and “newly created” (RH, 10,13). If we can see the incarnation as the cause and means of our transformation in grace, then we will bear fruit, not only of adoration of God, but also of a deep wonder at our lives made and restored in the image of God.

The joining of opposites occurs at Christmas in the most beautiful way possible. Christ is born, give him glory. Christ is come to earth to lift us from the earth. Christ is come from the heavens, go to meet him there. Let the heavens be glad and earth rejoice, for both heaven and earth, as opposite as they are, are joined by the bridge of love that is the Incarnate Word. May we cross this bridge of Christ’s humanity to reach his eternal divinity in heaven.


The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph—December 31, 2017  
Readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/123117.cfm
Sir 3:2-6, 12-14; Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5; Col 3:12-21; Lk 2:22-40 

Author: Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P.

In the very first paragraph of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read these words: “God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life.” God needs nothing—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit live a life of utter love and happiness. And yet, for our sake, they created us so that we might learn to know and love them, and ultimately share in their happiness. We are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The Christian life is ultimately one of coming to share in the infinite love of the Father and the Son, which is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

The opening prayer for today’s Mass reminds us of another group of three persons: the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus:

O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards.

The Holy Family is a model for living the blessed life that God has created us to live. God has given us this model as a shining example, a family that inspires us, rather than making us envious. Joseph and Mary offer an extraordinary witness to spousal love and parental care. Though called to live out their married love in an unusual way, the marriage of Mary and Joseph reminds us that the ultimate aim of marriage is not the earthly home, but the joy of the house of God.

Joseph and Mary allowed their love to be bound by the bonds of God’s love. The love of God had become man, or rather “boy” — and that love now became the center of their lives. In Jesus Christ, the joy of the house of God had entered the house of Mary and Joseph—and yet, this Joy had no place to rest His head. From the moment in which the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, the upright man’s life had been turned upside down. The God who had become Man for us men, and for our salvation, brought with Him certain challenges. Joseph’s hope for an ordinary marriage and family had to be put aside, in order to embrace the marvelous plan God had decreed for him.

In medieval art, there’s a curious tradition of depicting Joseph tearing up his stockings as Mary holds the newborn Christ. In their utter poverty, they did not have even swaddling clothes in which to wrap him, and so the Carpenter crafts an improvised solution from his own clothing. The Mother gives of her very flesh to bring the Christ into the world, while the Foster-Father gives only of his clothing—and yet, each one gives all they have.

The Book of Sirach hints at the paradox that, though the Son was in the Form of God, he took on the form of a servant: “God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.” The Son of God, who created and sustains Joseph and Mary with his mighty word, submits himself to their authority as Son of Man. Through this human obedience, he anticipates his ultimate act of obedience to the Father: “Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” The Designer of the Universe becomes an apprentice in the Carpenter’s Shop. The Word conforms his words to his Mother’s mode of speech. Why does he do this? “Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them.” The Son of God became like us in all things but sin in order to atone for sins. The one who does not need to be preserved from sin, frees and preserves us from slavery to sin.

At this Mass, in which we fulfill the prescriptions of the law of the Lord to “do this in memory of me,” we have a foretaste in the eternal delights of the house of God. Let us pray that, through the intercession of Mary and Joseph and the mercy of Jesus, our families may be strengthened in the bonds of charity so that we may together delight in eternal rewards.

Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P. About Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P.

Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P., a native of Newtown, PA, entered the Order of Preachers in 2010, and was ordained a priest in 2016. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville where he studied humanities and mathematics. He is currently assigned as an associate pastor at St. Louis Bertrand Parish in Louisville, KY, where he also serves as an adjunct professor of theology at Bellarmine University. 

Fr. Patrick Briscoe, O.P. About Fr. Patrick Briscoe, O.P.

Raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Fr. Patrick Briscoe, O.P., presently serves at St. Pius V parish in Providence, Rhode Island, and teaches at Providence College. Fr. Patrick graduated from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, where he majored in philosophy and French literature. Since joining the Dominican Order, he has served in campus ministry, as a missionary in Kenya (alongside the Missionaries of Charity), and at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Following his ordination to the priesthood, he worked on special assignment for the Knights of Columbus in Krakow, Poland, as an organizer at the World Youth Day Mercy Centre.

Fr. Edmund McCullough, O.P. About Fr. Edmund McCullough, O.P.

Fr. Edmund McCullough, O.P., was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. He entered the Order of Preachers in 2011, and was ordained a priest in 2017. He is a graduate of Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD, where he studied Spanish and political science. He is currently finishing his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. 

Fr. Athanasius Murphy, O.P. About Fr. Athanasius Murphy, O.P.

Fr. Athanasius Murphy, O.P., a native of Long Island New York, entered the Order of Preachers in 2010, being ordained a priest in 2016. A graduate of Providence College, he is currently assigned as an associate chaplain at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P. About Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P.

Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P., presently serves at the parishes of St. Vincent Ferrer, and St. Catherine of Siena, both in New York City. Born in California, and raised in Indiana, he studied at St. Gregory's Academy, the University of Notre Dame, and the Dominican House of Studies. In addition to his pastoral ministry, Fr. Innocent writes and lectures on topics related to the liturgy and sacred music.


  1. Thank you Fr. Pine, for your homily in this collection. I appreciate very much your addressing the very important exhortation from the Lord to be watchful, be alert – even with “a certain urgency and gravity.” In a Scripture Study group in which I participate, I have observed a surprising interest and attentiveness to specifically eschatological matters in Scripture. They are not fixated on the subject, nor in dread or fear exactly – I would say they are “concerned.”

    I bring this up because if my little universe of experience in this one parish is in some way universal, I would suggest that Catholics want and need to hear much more, specifically and from authoritative sources, what the Lord has passed on to the Church about these days to come upon us: what can we expect? What are the signs to look for? How are we to prepare, that that day not come upon us unexpectedly?

    So thank you for saying what you did say – and maybe more would be better, and greatly appreciated.