1st Sunday of Lent 2011

Homily by Fr. John De Celles St. Raymond of Peñafort, Springfield, Va. This week we began 40 days and nights of Lent, in imitation of Christ who, as we read in today.s Gospel, began his road to the cross by going out into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. But why did Jesus do this in the first place—why did he go out into the desert? It may surprise us to find that Scripture tells us: “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” Why did Jesus choose to be tempted? … Continue reading

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2011

Homily by Fr. John De Celles St. Raymond of Peñafort, Springfield, Va. Tomorrow is Valentines day, a day when the world celebrates lovers. So let.s talk about love today. But not “love” the way the world thinks of it–love the way it truly is: the love the way God thinks of it. In today.s Gospel we find Jesus continuing the same Sermon on the Mount that we.ve been reading for the last 2 Sundays. Today Jesus is talking specifically about the 10 Commandments. Now, many people view the commandments as just a bunch of rules, rules that we keep out … Continue reading

February 6, 2011

Last week our Gospel reading was taken from the first part of the famous “Sermon on the Mount”, as we read the beautiful “Beatitudes” of Jesus. If you heard me preach last Sunday you may recall that I explained that the 8 beatitudes are a wonderfully positive, yet more demanding, presentation of the requirements of the 10 commandments. Today.s Gospel literally picks up right where we left off last week as the Sermon on the Mount continues with the beautifully positive images that we “are the salt of the earth,” and “the light of the world.” But again, these beautiful … Continue reading

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time 2011

Homily by Fr. John De Celles St. Raymond of Peñafort, Springfield, Va. 38 years ago today/yesterday1 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 1 January 22, 1973 that women have a fundamental right to abort their babies —the infamous Roe v. Wade decision. Since then pro-life advocates, including the Catholic Church, have been waging a peaceful war to mitigate and eventually overturn that barbaric decision. The war continues. Over the last 16 years or so I have preached on the evil of abortion, and the need to fight that evil at every turn, including in the public square and … Continue reading

Solemnity of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph 2010

December 26, 2010 Homily by Fr. John De Celles St. Raymond of Peñafort, Springfield, Va. Yesterday, of course, we celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The day when, in the fullness of time, the eternal God became one of us. But his birth didn’t occur in a vacuum. He didn’t just arrive on a cloud fully grown and ready to preach his gospel: no, he chose to be born into a human family, and so today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. On Christmas, at Masses during the day, we read … Continue reading

Christmas 2010

Homily by Fr. John De Celles St. Raymond of Penafort, Springfield, Va. “Merry Christmas.” Wonderful words, aren.t they? Yesterday someone left me a message on my voice mail, ending with a cheery “Happy Holidays.” It was kind of them, and I appreciated it, but I couldn.t help but thinking, “nooo…„Merry Christmas..” Because words have meaning. God bless „em, but “Happy Holiday” could refer to one of several “holidays” I really don.t celebrate—including “winter solstice.” But you say “Merry Christmas” and it means something wonderful: the joyful birth of God the Son, Jesus Christ. Words have meaning. Last night at midnight … Continue reading

Blessed Theodore de Celles

My column of August 1 was dedicated to all the great saints whose feasts are celebrated this month. But I left out one saint (actually, a “blessed”). He’s not very well known, in fact his feast is not even on the liturgical calendar. Even so, I keep his feast every year on August 18. He is the 13th century priest named Blessed Theodore de Celles, my ancestral uncle. As a young cleric Bd. Theodore joined the Third Crusade, and in Jerusalem developed a profound devotion to the mystery of the Holy Cross of Jesus. A few years after returning to … Continue reading

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2010

Homily by Fr. John De Celles St. Raymond of Peñafort Catholic Church, Springfield, Va. Last Wednesday, Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Of course, he is not the first public official to attempt to make so-called “gay-marriage” legal. But he is the first federal judge to find a US constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry each other. And while his decision will be appealed, probably eventually to the Supreme Court, it nevertheless signals the most important attack on marriage, family and American society in the history of … Continue reading