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Showing posts from February, 2020

Open the Tabernacle: 7th Sunday OT

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Fr. Bill Peckman was pastor a few years back of St. Clement Church in Bowling Green, Missouri. He was also chaplain at a summer camp (sounds like a great guy). Well this one particular July weekend he was away at camp, so it was a visiting priest who opened St. Clement for the 9am Sunday Mass. He immediately saw, and even more immediately smelled, that the church had been vandalized. Fr. Bill made the three hour trip back; I’ll let him describe it: “My Church sits dormant.  It is lifeless.  No sacraments can be celebrated in her right now.  Late Saturday night, she was desecrated.  Her confessional, baptismal font, holy water font, presider’s chair, lectern, altar, and tabernacle were smeared with human feces.  The Holy Oils were emptied into the carpet.  Her books used for Mass destroyed.  Her vestments soiled with wine.  Worst of all, the Blessed Sacrament within the tabernacle desecrated…” Think what an outrage that is. What a direct and targeted offense, not just to other peopl

What is WRONG with you? (Lent 2020 and the Predominant Fault)

To spare you wasting your time I’ll disclaim right off the bat: this sermon is long and didactic and really only applies to people who have something really wrong with them. I mean character-wise. So if that’s not you, feel free to tune out. But maybe don’t do that too fast. I heard a famous psychologist say from clinical experience that pretty much everybody has some character flaw that’s darn near fatal, something that would quickly wreck their lives if they let it. He wasn’t speaking in a religious context but I related what he said to what I’d been reading in the Catholic tradition, especially books about spiritual direction. It’s about trying to identify and work on your predominant fault. That term “predominant fault” might sound fancy but it’s a very simple idea: that most of us really have one fault that’s our main problem, that would be really good to diagnose and focus on. Experience as a priest, I’d say, would tend to agree. Even people who are doing really well and hav

Return to Your Temple: Presentation of the Lord

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I'm going to try to tell a 600 year story so I hope you grabbed a bulletin to read. It's especially challenging because the context is the Babylonian Exile, and I don't presume many of us know much about that. I think most Catholics could do a decent job telling the story of Noah. I think most of us could probably tell the Exodus pretty well. Maybe we could sketch out the basics of the time of King David. But how many of us could say much at all about the Exile? For many Catholics, maybe the word is kind of familiar, they’re aware in a vague way that it was a thing, but maybe couldn’t really begin to say what exactly it was. And yet, the Exile takes up more Biblical real estate than any of those events I described. It’s the main context of most of the Prophets. If you held between your finger and thumb the part of the Old Testament that’s centered around the Exile, you’d be holding pretty much the last third of the whole thing. The tenth chapter of the Prophet Ezekiel i