THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS, who do not usually say grace before meals, did so before their Thanksgiving meal. If many are like me, they might have tried to mention a list of blessings they have received from God such as health, jobs, friends and other gifts and blessings. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. I just hope it does not suggest that the blessings mentioned exhaust the actual blessings and gifts that God has bestowed on us.
BACK IN OCTOBER I had to prepare a Sunday homily on St. Matthew’s Gospel (22: 1-10) about the parable in which the king invites people to a wedding feast for his son but many refuse to come. In my homily, I wanted to help the members of the congregation understand more deeply what we do when we celebrate a Eucharist.
ANYONE WHO READS this column regularly knows that I think it is difficult to be a religious believer in our society. There is little in the secular humanistic culture that supports faith. Because of this, I am often on the lookout for some play, film, novel or television show that might present some Christian values that might support religious faith.
I HAVE BEEN reflecting lately on two great mysteries, each from a different perspective: one philosophical and the other theological. The philosophical perspective I use in philosophy classes at St. John’s University; the theological perspective I use in my personal life and in my preaching. I suspect there is something of an overlap in the sense that each type of reflection – to some extent – influences the other even though, for the most part, I may not be aware it.
I CANNOT recall the first time I heard the parable told by Jesus about the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20: 1-16a). My guess is that my initial reaction was that it was not fair that those who spent the entire day working did not receive higher wages than those who were hired at the last hour. I probably thought that those who worked many more hours were not treated justly.
BROTHER MICHEL Bettigole, O.S.F., died on Sept. 2 of this year, and reading his obituary brought back many memories.
SOME READERS of this column have from time to time suggested that I am too hard on secular humanists.
FOR THE FEAST of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ this past June I wanted to give a homily that would help members of the congregation to appreciate the Eucharist more deeply. Of course, I want to do this every Sunday, but the feast was special and I wanted to say something that I might not say every other Sunday of the year.
I may be in the minority, but I enjoy graduations. Often, I find them inspiring. Large numbers of students who have put in long hours of study and years of commitment are being rewarded. Parents and other relatives and friends are gleaming with pride and joy, rejoicing over the accomplishment of the graduates. I am especially moved at the graduation of someone I have taught or with whom I have a special relationship.
I EXPERIENCED A wonderful evening of celebration and sharing on Thursday, Aug. 24. All those who will be honored at the Great Irish Fair in Coney Island on Saturday, Sept. 16 were invited to St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights to meet and to celebrate Irish heritage with one another and friends.