Homilies for February 2021

For February 7, February 14, Ash Wednesday, February 21, February 28

February 7, 2021 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Jb 7:1-4, 6-7 • Ps 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 • 1 Cor 9: 16-19 • Mk 1:29-39  bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/020721.cfm

Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor. He spent his life struggling with his experience, trying to make sense of it. He wrote a play entitled The Trial of God. This play poignantly shows how pious and orthodox discourse can be unhelpful and dishonest in our conversations with God. In his play, God is put on trial following a Jewish pogrom in a Ukrainian village in 1649. Berish, a survivor of the pogrom, is appointed prosecutor. Sam is appointed to serve as God’s defense attorney. Recalling the Jews who had been killed in the pogrom, Berish blames God. Sam responds:

SAM: He spared you, and you anger Him. He spared you, and you hurt Him, you make Him suffer.

BERISH: Don’t talk to me of His suffering . . . If I am given the choice of feeling sorry for Him or for human beings, I choose the latter anytime. He is big enough, strong enough to take care of Himself; man is not.

Sam uses orthodox, if unhelpful, platitudes to shut down meaningful conversation. But it is later revealed that Sam is Satan himself. Wiesel reveals how platitudes, even if theologically correct, are often a way of avoiding real conversation about God and understanding Him. It is important not to gloss over life’s difficulties, but to discuss them with brutal honesty, even as did Job. We cannot allow our piety, our respect, our love of God to keep us from being honest, even to the point of arguing with Him. “He is big enough, strong enough to take care of Himself; man is not.” Indeed, like Job, our very salvation depends on this sort of honest and transparent relationship with God.

Difficult moments in our life require hard conversations with God and about God. We cannot shut them down. Far from being hurt by our feelings, God does not expect us to be polite, but invites our honest response. Thank God for friends who will listen to our honest response to God, even if it is not a polite response.

Job did not have these sorts of friends. In the first reading, Job enters conversation with friends who, having heard of the calamities that have befallen him, arrive to offer comfort. Job is depressed and confused. He knows that he has lived a good life and has loved God. Yet he is afflicted by God. His friends quietly sat beside him and offered him the solace of their concerned and friendly presence for seven days and seven nights, not uttering a word. Finally, it is Job who breaks the silence, vehemently cursing the day he was born. Job dramatically vents confusion and disappointment with God who has caused him to suffer. Certainly, Job continues to profess belief in God. But otherwise, he is profoundly confused. He is like the man whose wife died after many years of physical pain and suffering. “I believe in God,” the man said. “But beyond that,” he continued, “nothing makes sense as it once did.” In today’s pericope, Job is brutally honest as he strives to come to a new understanding of his relationship with God.

When we suffer as Job suffered, nothing else matters. Every moment of every day is consumed with wondering, “Why me? Why did this happen to me?” We are fortunate if we have someone in our life that will simply listen and help us to figure out things. A woman in a parish where I was serving was continually afflicted with physical pain. It is true she talked a lot about her pain. People in the parish were continually offering advice to help her get better. Once she told me, “I am resigned to living with this pain. All I am looking for is someone to listen. Too many people turn me off by offering advice.” These were the sort of friends that came to comfort Job. Their words were meant to cause Job to forget his troubles and to go back to his old ways of praising God. But Job’s life had been altered. He needed a new way of understanding that no pious platitudes, no matter how orthodox and correct, were going to offer.

It is important for our spiritual health to speak honestly about God, even when this is difficult. It is necessary for our spiritual health to have friends who don’t merely correct, but who listen, even when what we have to say is hard and difficult.

We have in Jesus a model for stable friendship that is rooted in listening. We have in Jesus a true friend who listens to us and will take everything we say to God His Father. Jesus is, certainly, a faithful listener who does not correct as much as he encourages.

In today’s Gospel, from the time he leaves the synagogue, Jesus is healing and expelling demons. Peter’s mother-in-law is the first that he heals. Then, we are told, the whole town gathers at the door of Peter’s house so that he might also heal them. How did Jesus heal? Saint Mark gives us scant information. We are told only that he took Peter’s mother-in-law by the hand and raised her up. It is a tender scene suggesting that Jesus took some time to listen to her talk about her ailments. Indeed, listening must have been an important part of Jesus’ ministry of healing. Such listening, the listening that heals, is hard work. Deep listening with one’s whole mind and whole body takes a lot of effort. When another person listens to us in this way, we feel unburdened. We are able to make sense of our lives. It is no wonder that Jesus needed to escape early in the morning to pray. The Catechism of Catholic Church says that Jesus “sympathizes with . . . [human] weaknesses in order to free them” (Catechism 2602). Jesus needed to submit the weaknesses he encountered to His Father, so as not to be lost in them. Indeed, Jesus is the true friend that listens to what ails us, no matter how hard it is to hear.

Some years ago, I was living in Italy and trying to learn Italian. I came to understand that there are two types of listeners. There are those who listen in order to correct and those who listen in order to encourage. I remember one man, particularly, who listened in order to correct. I couldn’t finish a sentence without being stopped several times in order for him to correct my pronunciation. Certainly, my Italian must have been brutal on the ear! But his corrections merely discouraged me and made me less likely to speak. On the other hand, I encountered another type of listener. I remember, particularly, another man who spent hours listening to me. He would seldom respond by pointing out my mistakes. But he would show that he understood what I was trying to say by continuing the conversation. This was encouraging. It made me want to speak Italian and, gradually, he helped me to improve. Jesus — and His followers who help us on the way — are the kind of listeners who encourage rather than correct every mistake. Jesus allows us to be honest, even if our honesty is a bit impolite or difficult to hear.

The Good News of today’s scripture is that God “is big enough, strong enough to take care of Himself; man is not.” We don’t need to tiptoe around God . . . in fact, God doesn’t even want that. God has given us Jesus as our friend who listens and saves us.

February 14, 2021 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Lv 13: 1-2, 44-46 • Ps 32:1-2, 5, 11 • 1 Cor 10:31-11:1 • Mk 1:40-45  bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/021421.cfm

There is a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is physical. It is a mechanical sense. Sound waves enter the through the outer ear to strike the eardrum, making it vibrate. We can’t stop hearing. We even hear when we sleep. Hearing is not the same thing as listening.

Listening requires effort. Listening requires a desire. It requires focus. It is hard to describe a good listener. But we know a bad listener when we encounter one! The bad listener never shuts up. The bad listener never asks questions. If the bad listener does happen to ask a question, he/she certainly doesn’t allow time to answer.

Not too long ago, I was with two friends of mine. Mike had recently been in a car accident as he was leaving a popular local restaurant. His daughter, who was in the passenger seat, had a broken arm. Mike was talking about the guilt he felt about the accident and the fear of driving. The other friend interrupted the story about fear and guilt and said that he had been to that restaurant himself not too long before. He really liked the restaurant, especially their fried onion rings!

Mike knows that our mutual friend can be a very bad listener, but he loves him anyway. Mike just looked at our friend and asked, “Can I get back to my story?” If we know what a bad listener looks like, we know how great we feel when we encounter someone who really listens to us! Good listeners simply allow us to talk. Good listeners attend to our situation and they ask questions that relate to what we are saying. Good listeners are good at non-verbal communication. They communicate empathy. They let us know in all sorts of ways that they want to listen.

The primary service the Christian owes God is to listen. The primary service the Christian owes others is to listen. The ministry of the church is to listen.

In today’s gospel, we see a good listener, Jesus. We also see a bad listener, the leper! We are told that the leper falls down at the feet of Jesus and says, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” The gospel then says that Jesus was “moved with pity.” Then, “he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.’” The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith.”

Being a good listener, Jesus heard passed the awkward phrase “If you wish, you can make me clean” and heard a prayer for healing. Being a good listener, Jesus knew that the man was not just asking for relief from a physical malady. Lepers, as we heard in the first reading from Leviticus, were outcasts of the community. In order to reenter society, in order to go home, hug his wife, kiss his children and greet his friends, he needed first to be ritually purified by the priest. The book of Leviticus also indicates how this is to be done. Listening to the man and realizing that reentering society was as important as physical healing, he reminded him to go to the priest and to do what is prescribed in the law of Moses.

Jesus reunites the leper to God by listening to his prayer, even if it didn’t sound like one! Jesus reunites the leper into the community by reminding him to present himself to the priests and to do what Moses prescribed.

Jesus saves in order for us to love, honor and obey God. Jesus saves us so that we might obey him and so that through our witness of glorifying God in everything we do, others might be saved. By obeying Jesus, we bring others to Christ.

The Latin word which means both “to listen” and “to obey” is auscultare. So too, for us in English, listening can convey a sense of obeying. The leper, however, neither listened nor did he obey. Because of this, he made it more difficult for people to come to Christ. The only thing Jesus asked was that the leper “tell no one anything!” But what did the leper do? He told everyone everything! The scripture says, “it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places.” We can say that because the leper told everybody everything that happened, Jesus switched places with him! It was now Jesus who, like the leper, could not go into the towns and villages. The leper was not saved for that! The leper was saved to obey Christ and by this obedience to bring others to closer to the Lord. But the leper’s disobedience made things more difficult for Jesus.

In the early church, candidates for baptism were called, “audientes,” which means “listeners.” Certainly, our baptism suggests that we have been saved to be good listeners, not bad ones. We are to listen to the Word of God and to the example of Jesus and His saints. Saint Paul, in the second reading, said it well: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Avoid giving offense, whether to the Jews or Greeks or the church of God.” We are to imitate Christ by listening to him. Christ’s goodness is all around us, giving us reason to glorify God.

Some years ago, I was pastor of a parish that had a large food pantry. Through this food pantry, the parish would give food to 1000 families a month. It would also help many more homeless people. Routinely, when the poor would come to receive their food, I would ask people how they were doing. Routinely they would respond, “I’m blessed, Father!” Indeed, they were listening, even in the midst of hardship. Indeed, they were listening and recognizing Christ’s generosity.

Jesus saves in order for us to love, honor and obey God. Jesus saves us so that we might obey him and glorify God in everything we do.

The Good News of this Sunday’s scripture is that God saves us to listen to Him!

February 17, 2021 – Ash Wednesday

Readings: Jl 2:12-18 • Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17 • 2 Cor 5:20-6:2 • Mt 6:1-6, 16-18  bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/021721.cfm

There is a famous Irish ballad by Percy French entitled, “Come Back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff.” The ballad tells the story of Paddy Reilly who has left his home in Ireland. His town was called “Ballyjamesduff.” Paddy Reilly is far from home, but he remembers the directions home: “Just turn to the left at the bridge of Fenagh and stop when halfway to Cootehill.” The ballad describes Ballyjamesduff as the Garden of Eden. It describes happy childhood memories. It recalls friends and family. It recalls home. The refrain declares that though he was far from home, Paddy Reilly heard whispering over the sea, “Come back, Paddy Reilly, to Ballyjamesduff. Come home, Paddy Reilly, to me.”

Lent is a season when we turn back to God who is our true home. Lent is a season when we make our way to God. We too hear the whisperings of God to return closer to him.

The scriptures tell us that the way home to God is through righteous deeds and almsgiving. The scriptures tell us that the way home to God is through fasting. The scriptures tell us that the way home to God is through prayer.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells how to practice prayer, fasting and almsgiving. “When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret and your Father who sees in secret will repay you,” he instructs us. “When you fast,” Jesus says, “anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. “When you give alms,” he says, “do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” We are to pray, fast, and give alms in order to communicate primarily with God. We do these for God, to make time for God and God alone.

Sometimes people think Lent should be about big things: like losing weight, stopping some bad habit or acquiring a good one. As good as these might be, they are not the reason for the season of Lent! There is only one reason for our Lenten observance and that is to make time for God who loves us and wants to transform our lives. In fact, if we take on a Lenten practice for any other reason than to communicate with God, then we already have our reward. As good as it might be for you, if you give up smoking for Lent primarily because you want to improve your health, then you miss the point. Indeed, Jesus will say to you, as he said to the hypocrites, “Amen, I say to you, you have your reward!” As good as it might be for you, if you fast primarily in order to lose weight and you lose 10 pounds during Lent, then you miss the point. Indeed, Jesus will say to you, as he said to the hypocrites, “Amen, I say to you, you have your reward!” If you come to morning mass every day of Lent primarily because you want to start getting up earlier, then you miss the point. Indeed, Jesus will say to you, as he said to the hypocrites, “Amen, I say to you, you have your reward!”

Lent really isn’t about making big changes in our lives. It is about simply making time for God. The church doesn’t ask us to do anything big or very hard. We are asked to eat a bit less and avoid meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and to avoid meat on every Friday during Lent. The church recommends that we do something else to make this season holy in the way of giving alms, prayer and penance. Why doesn’t the church ask more of us during this season of Lent?

Perhaps it is because the church recognizes that our lives are routinely built around small things, not big things. Small things structure our day. Sometimes, we might even use these small things as excuses about why we don’t make more time for God. We find ourselves putting so much time into the small things (watching T.V., playing on the computer, wasting time, for example) that we find that we don’t have time to pray and give time to God.

Giving up meat on Friday during Lent is a small thing. When you find yourself wondering what to make for dinner on a Friday night, you should remember that you are giving up this little thing to remember that God loves you. Consider that moment as a tap on the shoulder by God who may have gone the rest of the day forgotten by you.

Again, when on Friday you forget and eat meat, think of it as a tap on the shoulder by God. Think that God is tapping you on the shoulder asking, “Remember me? Will you make time for me?” Giving even a moment to God will make an incredible difference in our lives.

Lent is a time when we make our way home to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The Good News is that when we make even a moment available for God, he can do amazing things for us!

February 21, 2021 – First Sunday of Lent 

Readings: Gn 9:8-15 • Ps 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 • 1 Pt 3:18-22 • Mk 1:12-15  bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/022121.cfm

Some years ago, a woman and man in my parish who had been married civilly many years before, asked that their marriage vows be validated and blessed by the church. In order to do this, the couple was required to prove that both of them had been baptized. Soon enough, the man’s baptismal record arrived from the church where he had been baptized as an infant. The woman, however, was having a hard time locating her baptismal record. She asked for the sacramental record at the church she attended as child and where she had always been told that she was baptized. However, they were unable to locate the record. She checked neighboring parishes. None of them were able to locate the record, either.

This caused the woman to fall into a depression. I assured her that family members who remembered the baptism could write a letter indicating that the baptism did, indeed occur. But she was not comforted. She remained distraught. She explained to me that her childhood had not been pleasant. Her parents continually fought. She herself suffered emotional abuse. She always felt that baptism was the one gift that her parents gave her and that it was the best they could give. Her baptism was always a reminder that despite their mistakes, her parents loved her very much and they wanted her to have the gift of faith in God, the best gift they had to give. The fact that there did not seem to be a record of that gift caused her deep distress.

In the reading today from Genesis, we hear that God made a covenant with His people. God placed a rainbow in the sky always to be a record of it. God promised by this covenant never again to destroy all creatures on the earth by a flood. This covenant was not just for Noah and his family who survived on the Ark. This convent was also for all their descendants. This covenant was also meant for all of the animals on the Ark and all their decedents. This covenant marked a new beginning between God and humanity. Indeed, it marked a new beginning between God and all His creation. Yes, to mark this covenant, God placed a rainbow in the sky. The rainbow was meant to remind God of the covenant He made with His people. It was also meant to inspire hope in all people for all ages who look on the rainbow. It was meant to remind them that they are, indeed, God’s new creation.

Baptism reminds us that we are part of God’s new creation. Baptism is a visible sign that we have put on Christ and that we have become part of Christ’s mystical body. Baptism is an event that fills every life full of hope and promise as God’s new creation.

From the very earliest days of the church, the story of Noah has been understood as prefiguring the sacrament of baptism. Indeed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1094) teaches that the mystery of Christ lies hidden in the Old Testament. When we read the Old Testament with eyes of faith, we see Christ and His sacraments unveiled. “By this re-reading in the Spirit of Truth, starting from Christ, the figures are unveiled,” it says. Thus, the story of the flood of Noah’s Ark is said to have prefigured the waters of Baptism which have made us a new creation. Just as God saved Noah and his family through the waters of the flood, so too God saves us through the waters of Baptism.

Following the waters of the flood and the waters of Baptism, God makes a special covenant with us. Through this new covenant of Baptism, we become God’s sons and daughters. We become part of Christ’s body. The grace that comes through baptism allows us to believe in God; to hope in God; and to love God. Baptism gives us the power to live and act under the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The grace that comes allows us to grow in goodness. In a word: we become a new creation through Baptism! Baptism is such an important event in our lives that many people remember the date of their baptism as they remember their birthday!

We don’t have to do things perfectly from the time we are baptized in order to be part of God’s new creation. We make mistakes. We fail. We sin. But none of this causes God to break the covenant He has made with us. We are still His sons and daughters. We are still part of Christ’s mystical body. We still possess the grace to believe in God; to hope in God; and to love God, even after we have sinned. God never gives up on us. In the second reading from the letter of Peter, we are told that even “after his death in the flesh, Jesus was brought to life in the Spirit and went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient” (1 Peter 3:19). God never ceases or tires from calling us back into His new creation. This great hope from God never taken away from us.

The woman I spoke about a moment ago who could not locate her baptismal record did finally locate it. After she discovered her baptismal record, she told me that she saw a rainbow in the sky. She remembered the story of Noah and she remembered God’s promise. The gift of faith that she had received from her parents, who loved her the best they could, made a difference. She was reminded that God never let go of her.

Baptism is an event that fills every life full of hope and promise as God’s new creation. Baptism reminds us that we are part of God’s new creation.

The Good News of these scriptures is that we are part of God’s new creation. The Good News is that God has made a promise and God is faithful. God always invites us to come close.

February 28, 2021 – Second Sunday of Lent

Readings: Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18 • Ps 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19 • Rom 8:31b-34 • Mk 9:2-10  bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/022821.cfm

Marcion of Sinope was an ancient heretic. His father was a bishop. Born in 85 A.D., only about 50 years after the crucifixion, Marcion of Sinope became a wealthy ship owner. One day Marcion cruised his ship into the Roman harbor and offered the early Church 200,000 Roman coins, a significant amount of money. The Church was overjoyed, of course. But then the Church began to raise its eyebrows. You see, Marcion believed that money talked. And he started talking about his heresy, which would soon overwhelm the early Church.

Marcion taught that God did not become human. God merely appeared to look like Jesus. Marcion asked, “How could God lower Himself to be born in blood and sweat and pain and come out between the loins?” Since Marcion believed that creation was bad, he could never imagine that God would be born like you and me. Marcion rejected the Hebrew Scriptures that taught that God created the world. According to Marcion, God could never have created this world since it is so imperfect, sinful, and loathsome. In fact, according to Marcion, some demon created this world we inhabit.

Since money talks, Marcion decided to make his own bible. He cut out the Hebrew Scriptures because he understood that God was love. How could a God who is love act as he acts in much of the Old Testament? Marcion cut out of the Bible anything that didn’t fit his understanding of who God is — including most of the New Testament. Marcion wasn’t a man who listened to tradition; he threw it out if it didn’t agree with him. Marcion wasn’t a man who listened to creation when it didn’t conform to his ideas; he rejected it as being created by Satan. But the early Church understood, as we understand, that Christian discipleship is about listening. As difficult as it was, the Church gave back the 200,000 to Marcion of Sinope and sent him on his way. The church continued to listen and question in their hearts what all of the scriptures mean.

Today the scriptures plead with us to listen. Today the scriptures plead with us to hold our tongues, suspend our judgements and listen. Today the scriptures plead with us to trust God and see the better choice.

The story of Abraham and Isaac is a story of Abraham listening to God. The scripture tells us that God was testing Abraham to see if Abraham really loved and trusted God. God told Abraham to take his son, his only son Isaac, and sacrifice him on Mount Moriah. Abraham could have argued with God. Abraham might have said, “God you’ve got this wrong. After all, you told Sarah and I that our descendants would outnumber the number of the stars. We’ve only got this one son, God. You must be wrong about this!” Or Abraham could have said, “God, how DARE you ask me to do this awful thing!” Abraham could have argued. After all, didn’t Abraham argue with God about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?

It is curious that Abraham didn’t say anything. He simply listened, and right away, took the boy Isaac to the place of sacrifice. Certainly, this is a story Marcion could not accept as an example of a God of love and he cut it out of his bible. Indeed, the thought that God would ask for child sacrifice even scandalizes us.

But there is more to this story. Maybe the story isn’t so much about God testing Abraham as it is about Abraham recognizing the better choice. Maybe the story is less about God testing Abraham and more about Abraham listening to God who is always pointing to the better choice. The scripture tells us that as Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice Isaac a voice from heaven said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy.” In fact, the voice from heaven called out Abraham’s name twice, “Abraham, Abraham!”

The scripture gives us the sense that Abraham was caught up in the work of sacrificing Isaac. The knife was raised, and Abraham was convinced that the Lord was asking him to sacrifice his only son. The voice from heaven needed to call out twice to shift Abraham’s perception away from his belief that God demanded such an awful sacrifice. Then Abraham came to his senses and understood that God would not ask him to sacrifice his son. The scripture says that “As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.”

Reflecting on this story, a Jewish midrash devoted to advice for respectful living identifies a list of special and miraculous things that were created by God on the last day of creation. On this list of special and miraculous things was the ram caught in the thicket. The midrash suggests that Abraham was so caught up in what he believed God was asking him to do that he missed seeing the ram in the thicket, which was destined by God at the time of creation to be the sacrifice in place of Isaac. According to the Jewish midrash, the ram was always there. Truly, Abraham recognized the better choice and that was the miracle.

During this season of lent, we make a special effort to listen . . . to listen and look up and see God working in our lives. We make a special effort to listen and to see God offering us a better choice for our lives. When we bite our tongue rather than mouth destructive gossip that might give us momentary pleasure, like Abraham we recognize the better choice. When the married couple finds a way to forgive one another rather than nursing a grudge, like Abraham they recognize the better choice. When the workaholic realizes time with family and friends is a treasure more valuable than overtime pay, like Abraham they recognize the better choice.

The scriptures urge us to listen to God in order to see the better choice. The scriptures urge us to listen and to look around to see God pointing to the better choice for our lives.

For us Christians, when we look up and see the better choice, it is always Christ, himself. Christ offers his human example and his divine assistance as the better choice. Christ is the better choice.

We are told in the gospel that Jesus took Peter, James and John up on a high mountain. There he was transfigured before them so that his clothes became dazzling white and his skin shone like light and Moses and Elijah were seen conversing with him. Then, from out of the clouds a voice was heard which said, “Behold this is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Right after the voice from heaven said this, the apostles looked around and “they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.” It was clear, Jesus was the one of whom the voice from heaven was speaking. It was clear that Moses was not the Son of God. It was clear the Elijah was not the Son of God. It was Jesus, who was the better choice!

When we listen to the Word of God and look around, we see Christ in our midst. When we listen to the cries of the poor and allow those cries to shape our sensitivities and do what we can to help them, we see Christ who said, whatever you did “for the least . . . you did for me” (Mt 25:40). When we think of others before we think of ourselves, we listen to Christ who said, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24). Whenever we receive Communion or fall down in worship before the tabernacle, we behold Christ who said, “Take and eat . . . this is my body” (Mt 26:26).

The Christian life is about listening and looking up to see the better choice, which is always Christ Himself.

Marcion of Sinope did not listen to anything that disagreed with his personal understanding of God. Abraham always listened and was quick to trust God, even when it seemed to him that God was wrong. The Good News is that when we listen, we see Christ transfigured before us, even as did Peter, James, and John.

Fr. Edward Linton About Fr. Edward Linton

Fr. Edward Linton, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, was ordained in 1991. He currently serves as Director of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education (ICTE) at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. Fr. Edward holds an M.Div. from Saint Meinrad School of Theology, an M.A. in English Literature from Middlebury College and a PhD in the Philosophy of Communication from Southern Illinois University. Previously, he has served as a College teacher, associate pastor, pastor, monastic guest master and Director of International Benedictine Formation at the Badia Primaziale di Sant ’Anselmo, Rome.


  1. An excellent resource for the preachers. May God continue to bless you and your ministry!