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Author Archive
 

 
Honesty With God About Our Envy

Sometime in the past year, I actually felt envious of Fr. Richard Conlin. I can’t remember exactly why, but it was either because people were leaving St. Anthony’s to go to his parish, Corpus Christi, or because he was getting more YouTube views. In one moment, it dawned on me: I’m insecure; he’s doing better than I am, he’s 15 years my junior, and he’s not even that good! Anyway, it wasn’t a big deal, but I bring it up because everyone can be tempted to envy, and, just as I’m being vulnerable right now (because it’s petty for an older priest to be envious of a younger one), I hope you can be, too, in your heart.
Publish date: 2021 - 9 - 19


 
Perfect Freedom is Found in Christ

In June of this year, I read an article by Sohrab Ahmari, an Iranian who converted to Catholicism in 2016, and about his anxiety as a new father. The anxiety wasn’t about his son’s health, education, or anything like that, but, “What kind of a man will contemporary Western culture chisel out of my son?”
Publish date: 2021 - 9 - 12


 
Change Myself

Let me get right to the point today: Whatever’s bothering us, or is on our mind, has made the day or week hard, don’t focus on that. Jesus wants us to look at ourselves instead. Other people aren’t our problem, we are. If something is stealing our happiness, that’s our choice. The key word in the Gospel today is ‘defile.’ The Pharisees and scribes believe that eating with unclean hands defiles a person, making them ritually impure so that they can’t worship God.
Publish date: 2021 - 8 - 29


 
Whom Will You Serve?

A number of us are struggling in our love of God, and I’m referring to those of us who are disciples, who chose to make Jesus the centre of our lives, but there are signs we’re falling out of love with Him. A number of you has shared how you’re feeling lazy, you’re avoiding coming to Mass in person for no good reason. This is shocking, because you’re the ones who love Jesus. I wouldn’t be worried if you were at the beginning of the spiritual journey, but I’m concerned because you made a commitment to Jesus and are going back on your promise. So, Jesus is leading us to renew and deepen our choice of love for Him.
Publish date: 2021 - 8 - 22


 
Did You Earn It, or Were You Given It?

When I was 18 years old, it was the end of the season at the Richmond Tennis Club, the coaches were handing out awards, and the final award went to the most valuable player. Nicholas was by far our best player, so I was shocked when I got the award. I knew why they gave it to me: It was my last year as a junior,
Publish date: 2021 - 8 - 15


 
Get Up and Eat

If a person wants to get in shape, they have to eat well and exercise—which of the two, according to most trainers, is more important? Eating well. There are lots of people who go to the gym but they don’t eat sensibly, and that’s why they can’t build muscle and lose weight.
Publish date: 2021 - 8 - 8


 
Having Compassion on Yourself and Others

When I was 25, volunteering at St. Joseph’s Medical Centre in New York, I always finished my days exhausted. When driving back to the seminary with Guillermo, he was always energized by his visits, while I reclined my car seat and passed out. His patients could speak, whereas I was assigned to patients who could not! I was depleted by trying to communicate the whole day with people who could barely respond.
Publish date: 2021 - 7 - 18


 
Living From an Overflowing Tank

Robert Morris once thought of his life’s mission as refuelling others: his wife, children, his church, and everyone who came to him. God told him in this metaphor, “Your job involves going… to fill up their tanks with the fuel from your truck.” But he was serving so often that it crept into his sabbath day of rest. It started with checking emails, then having meals to support people, and then scheduling work meetings.
Publish date: 2021 - 7 - 11


 
Boasting of Our Weaknesses

We’ve just started our annual Sabbath Summer season at St. Anthony’s, and here are my six recommendations for a restful, renewing, and re-creative summer: 1) Read good literature, because good books are the simplest way to renew the whole person, body, mind, and soul; 2) Go on vacation, because you’re so tired; 3) Waste time with friends, in the sense of enjoy their company and don’t try to accomplish anything; 4) Go on retreat,
Publish date: 2021 - 7 - 4


 
Spending Money on Mission

As mentioned two weeks ago, today we’re going to re-examine our financial generosity, because that’s the focus of today’s Second Reading. However, I had a significant change of heart two weeks ago when my third action item was to ask you to think about increasing your sacrificial generosity.
Publish date: 2021 - 6 - 27


 
Truth or Trendiness

I’d like to talk about the current situation surrounding the Kamloops Indian Residential School with a view towards truth and reconciliation. Keep in mind that I’m only addressing you, the parishioners of St. Anthony’s.
Publish date: 2021 - 6 - 20


 
Seeing Life as a Mission

Given that we’re celebrating the solemnity of our patron, St. Anthony, today’s homily is about celebration and mission. The Readings are about Jesus’ mission, and they’ve touched me deeply. The First Reading says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me… he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted” (Is 61:1). This verse refers to Jesus, but we share in His mission (Cf. CCC 1287).
Publish date: 2021 - 6 - 13


 
It Matters That God is Called ‘Father’

Why is God called ‘Father’? Can He be called ‘Mother’? In the Second Reading, we see an example of the unanimous tradition of calling God, ‘Father’: “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God… When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:14,16).
Publish date: 2021 - 5 - 30


 
Learning from the Best

St. Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Spanish nun, writes about seven mansions of the spiritual life. Describing the soul as if it were a castle of diamond or crystal, in which there are many rooms or mansions, with God’s dwelling place in the centre (Kieran Kavanaugh, St. Teresa of Avila, Collected Works, 270), the mansions describe the spiritual progress we can make.
Publish date: 2021 - 5 - 23


 
The Root of Our Sins

A famous priest, Fr. Mark Toups, teaches about spiritual healing using an apple and a potted tree. He says to his students, “Suppose this apple is your sin. Every time you come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, you bring in more apples…
Publish date: 2021 - 5 - 16


 
Three Characteristics of Happy Families

The classic Russian novel Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy, begins with this famous sentence: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The second part is clearly true, because everyone can be unhappy for any number of reasons. But is the first part true: all happy families are alike? Are there certain characteristics that make all of them happy?
Publish date: 2021 - 5 - 9


 
Men Taking Responsibility

Most of my early life, I ran away from responsibility: I procrastinated on homework; and if I didn’t get it done, I would make excuses. I never got a job, and the only chore I ever did was clean the house. I learned this from my father. Don’t get me wrong, I love my father, and he loved me—that was his greatest gift.
Publish date: 2021 - 4 - 25


 
Fullness of Life in Community

I wish all of you had a group of Christian friends who could encourage, challenge and pray with you, meeting weekly online or in a park. I wish that everyone who walked up our steps would be greeted by someone who would love them, talk to them and direct them to where to go next if they had more questions.
Publish date: 2021 - 4 - 18


 
How Jesus Deals with Our Failures

Jesus is the Lord of life, therefore, let’s look at how He resurrects life from our failures. Everyone knows that, when we fail, God forgives us and begins again, but we usually know this only intellectually.
Publish date: 2021 - 4 - 4


 
Being Christian in Public

Our final challenge in our Lenten wilderness experience is a call to courage. Most Catholics aren’t courageous about professing their faith in Jesus. We’ve talked many times about our fear of making the sign of the Cross in public, about sharing our Christian opinion with our friends because our stance isn’t popular, about discussing anything religious. We want to fit in above all else, and so we act like we’re not Christian.
Publish date: 2021 - 3 - 28


 
Renewing Our Hearts

Today, we’re talking about renewing our hearts, and two stories stand out in my mind as opposite starting points. One time, I was having a deep, late-night conversation with a friend, and I don’t remember how we got onto the topic, but he caught me off guard when he said, “I wish I weren’t having sex with my girlfriend.” Most people do want to have sex, but he was expressing a deeper desire. I never forgot his words because they came from his heart.
Publish date: 2021 - 3 - 21


 
Have Mercy on Yourself, Because God Does

Our theme today is: Have mercy on yourself, because God does. For the past three weeks, He’s challenged us to overcome our sloth, to take more responsibility in our prayer, and to root out poor language. If we’ve been with Jesus in the wilderness and facing our demons, we shouldn’t be exhausted, but should be tired. So, God wants you to rest.
Publish date: 2021 - 3 - 14


 
Change Our Words, Change Our Love

Let’s talk about the sins of cursing, profanity, and vulgarity. Most of us (not all, but most) would agree that such language is generally wrong. None of you swears around me. How would you feel if I swore? There’s a video by Jimmy Kimmel asking if children know any naughty words, and it’s insightful regarding our society: On one hand, the crowd cheers when a boy swears; on the other, they’re shocked when another boy uses a very disparaging word. So, there’s a tension: We feel vulgar language isn’t right, but it’s not that bad.
Publish date: 2021 - 3 - 7


 
Seeing Into the Future

Over the years, I’ve reminded you how God takes care of us in suffering, but today I’m challenging you to make it your own by doing a spiritual exercise.
Publish date: 2021 - 2 - 28