Epiphany of the Lord

Epiphany and the End of the Christmas Season. Today we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, commemorating the visit and adoration of the Magi to the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The Orthodox Church and many of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches also effectively celebrate the Epiphany as the commemoration of the birth of Our Lord, i.e., Christmas. Epiphany has historically been celebrated on January 6th since at least the 3rd century, but the U.S. Bishops long ago moved the celebration to the Sunday falling between January 2nd and January 8th (inclusive), in order that more Catholics would be able to … Continue reading

The Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God

Anno Domini 2017. In recent times, we have been encouraged to use the designation “CE,” short for “Current Era” or “Common Era,” to count the years, i.e., 2017 CE, rather than traditional “AD,” short for “Anno Domini,” meaning, “Year of the Lord.” To me, this is nothing but political correctness run amuck, since the Current/Common Era is still counted by reference to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ in the year 1. So, I refuse to yield to the tyranny of political correctness and will continue to use the traditional and rational “AD,” and encourage you to do so, … Continue reading

The Nativity of Our Lord

Dear sons and daughters in Christ: ​I pray that this Christmas will be a time of true holiness and joy for you and your families. That you will rediscover the pure, innocent love of God made flesh in the face of the tiny Baby Jesus. May He shower you and yours with his love, and “every grace and heavenly blessing.” And may His Holy Mother hold you in her loving arms, as she once so tenderly held Him. For those who are traveling, may He send His holy angels to protect you on your way, and lead you safely home … Continue reading

Fourth Sunday Of Advent

4th SUNDAY OF ADVENT. You may not have noticed, but this year is the longest season of Advent possible, 4 full weeks, 28 days. That’s because this year Christmas falls a full week, 7 days, after the 4th Sunday of Advent, on a Sunday instead of on a Saturday or weekday. Some years, for example, Christmas falls on the Monday after the 4th Sunday of Advent, so that Advent would only be 3 weeks and 1 day long, 22 days. I like this extended Advent, and pray and hope all of you have made good use of this extra time … Continue reading

Third Sunday Of Advent

Habemus Espiscopum—We Have a Bishop! On Tuesday of last week (December 6) the Most Reverend Michael Francis Burbidge was installed as the 4th Bishop of Arlington. The Installation Mass at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More was a joyous occasion, with over 200 priests, 30 bishops and 3 cardinals attending, along with a standing room only congregation. It was an interesting sign to us that Bishop Burbidge took his cathedra (the Bishop’s chair at the Cathedral) on the Feast of St. Nicholas: not only is St. Nicholas famous for his current Christmas role as the gift-giving “Santa Claus,” but during … Continue reading

Second Sunday Of Advent

Advent and Confession. Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas, not simply by buying presents or decorating the house, but by “preparing the way of the Lord” into our hearts and lives. We begin by reflecting on the words St. Matthew uses in today’s Gospel to summarize the entire message of St. John the Baptist: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Of course, this repentance begins with the Sacrament of Baptism, which is both the sign of personal repentance and the conferral of the Divine grace of forgiveness of sins. But after Baptism we eventually find … Continue reading

First Sunday Of Advent

Advent. Today we begin the Season of Advent, 4 weeks preparing for the celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. Sadly, the culture around us has turned the days from Thanksgiving to December 25 into a time of nonstop sales, shopping, television specials, radio carols, and, of course, “Christmas parties.” All this can tend to turn the Advent season of preparation into a pre-mature and secularized Christmas celebration, virtually making superfluous the actual season of Christmas that begins on December 25 and runs for 3 weeks after that. We have to be careful of getting caught up in … Continue reading

Our Lord Jesus Christ – King Of The Universe

Offertory Commitment Sunday.  Last Sunday I preached on the importance of parishioners giving to our offertory collection—the source of almost all our funding in running the parish. In many ways it was a hard homily to give and to hear. Thank you all for listening so intently and patiently. During my homily I talked about the need to recognize the many gifts God has given each of us, and our need both to be grateful and to use those gifts for the good purposes God intends for them. And I asked you to spend time praying and discerning about how … Continue reading

Thirty Third Sunday In Ordinary Time

Election: Praised be Jesus Christ! Some thoughts on last Tuesday’s election. To paraphrase President Gerald Ford, our long national nightmare campaign is over. And, by the grace of God, we have avoided a new nightmare by not electing a president who would continue to press the current president’s pro-abortion, anti-religious-liberty, anti-marriage-and-family, anti-common-sense agenda, not to mention months or years of congressional and FBI investigations and possible indictment and/or impeachment. On the other hand, I pray we haven’t elected a president who will present us  with merely an alternative nightmare, building on his past examples of boorishness, marital infidelity, callous and … Continue reading

Thirty Second Sunday In Ordinary Time

Vote Like a Catholic. This Tuesday, November 8, Virginians go to the polls to elect our President, Vice-President and U.S. Representatives (and to vote on some local referenda). Sadly, many, including many Catholics, will vote for candidates who embrace abortion, “same-sex marriage,” and the undermining of religious liberty, common sense and reason. Many others will stay home and not vote at all. But as the Church teaches so clearly: “Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter…: it demands a public witness to our faith…. [I]t is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social … Continue reading