Pastoral Sermons

What Father Martin Gets Wrong About ‘White Jesus’

Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) is among many largely forgotten Renaissance artists. While Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, and Raphael are household names (if mostly thanks to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Botticelli remains largely forgotten, his works bombarded quickly snapped teenage selfies by largely oblivious teenagers visiting Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. Nonetheless, Botticelli’s paintings are among the most exquisite [...]

The Beauty of Fr. Scalia’s Funeral Homily

Fr. Paul Scalia’s homily at the funeral of his father, Justice Antonin Scalia, was “remarkable in its moving profundity,” as one of my colleagues wrote. But why was the homily so good? Can we analyze it and understand why it was so perfectly appropriate and profound? Such reflections can be helpful to both pastors and [...]

Advice for Preachers on Sin and Satan

I once knew a pastor whose homilies were so awful, so bone crushingly boring, that I’d swear he composed them in the time it took us to sit down after he’d finished reading the Gospel.  In other words, three seconds flat. But while they may have been a tad bit thin theologically, they were always [...]

On Pulling Punches from the Pulpit

Casting broad generalizations about the state of American Catholicism is a hazardous business.  Yet from where I sit in the pew, pulpits are experiencing the phenomena of Sherlock Holmes’ hound that doesn’t bark.  More specifically, I am getting a sinking feeling that in this age of ideological political partisanship, bishops and priests are succumbing to [...]

The Fatherhood of God

In July and August of 1939, just before World War II began, Msgr. Ronald Knox gave five sermons on the "Our Father" -- my edition of his Pastoral Sermons does not indicate where, probably at Oxford. Some 60 years later, Pope John Paul II asked us to devote the final year of the 20th century [...]

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