Funeral Homily for Lawrence J. Hogan, Sr.

“Dear family members, distinguished guests, dear friends,

“Some forty years ago, as a newly-ordained priest a former congressman and the then-current Prince George’s County Executive was a parishioner at St. Joseph’s in Landover where I was an assistant pastor. My first or second weekend was the first time that I was privileged to meet Larry and Ilona and it was the first time they were less than privileged to listen to my very first attempts at preaching. Little did either of us imagine that someday I’d be doing this!

“In those days I didn’t follow politics quite as closely as I do today so it was only gradually that I realized what a varied and interesting career Larry had. In everything he did there seemed to drive, passion, and commitment – so much so that one might say he was in perpetual campaign mode. It’s not that he was perpetually running for elected office. Rather he was strenuously working for that which he believed in. He readily ‘took to the field’ of life – striving to achieve what he believed to be right and good for his family, for his county, for his state, and for his country.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Divine Mercy Sunday Homily

“In the last few days we’ve seen videos of angry confrontations on airliners. Throughout the country there are angry demonstrations about many things. Whether you drive on the Beltway or a downtown thoroughfare, someone is likely to blow their horn at you or cut you off or maybe shout at you. The Internet, especially the social media, is filled with angry, disparaging comments, comments that often ruin the reputations, even the lives of others. Perhaps in the last few weeks or months you have witnessed an angry confrontation in the workplace or a social setting. How can we miss the anger that infects not only our politics but also endangers the very peace of the world itself? Yes, there’s a lot of public anger in the media, on the Internet, in the streets, in the workplace, and among the nations.

“But public anger, alas, is not the whole story. There is also the private anger that is so easily harbored in our hearts – anger against family members, co-workers, enemies, even our friends. Anger and disappointment over the unfairness of life, over missed or denied opportunities, even anger and disappointment with oneself. How many people harbor grudges throughout their entire lives and even take these grudges and resentments to the grave?”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Wednesday, Octave of Easter; 25th Anniversary of The Gift of Hope

“It is a joy to share with you this wonderful anniversary – the 25th Anniversary of The Gift of Hope – and to do so in the midst of the Octave of Easter, the intensely joyful eight-day celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection. It’s like having eight Easter Sundays in a row!

“Easter is preeminently a celebration of hope. As Pope Francis notes, hope is not mere optimism that things will get better. Rather, hope is a gift that enables us to trust in the Lord’s promises, to experience the new life of grace here on earth, in the midst of our trials, while pressing ahead toward the fullness of life in heaven. St. Teresa of Calcutta, at Cardinal Keeler’s invitation, established this home on the foundation of the hope that is ours in the Risen Lord. Indeed, it was only a few weeks ago that we commended Cardinal Keeler to the Lord and I like to think that Mother Teresa greeted him upon his arrival in eternity – and that the Cardinal was even happier to see her there than when he welcomed her to Baltimore a quarter century ago . . . We pray that Cardinal Keeler now experiences the fulfillment of all he hoped for, in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Easter Sunday 2017 Homily

“John the Evangelist’s account of the Resurrection tells how Mary Magdalene came the tomb of Jesus while it was still dark. There she found the stone removed from his burial place. The Gospel of Matthew also tells how the stone was rolled back as do the evangelists Mark and Luke.

“Upon seeing the stone rolled back, Mary Magdalene’s first thought is not that the Lord had been raised from the dead but rather that someone had stolen the Lord’s body. In fact, widespread rumors of a grave-robbery were used by the authorities of the day to explain why the stone was rolled back and the tomb was empty. Yet the evidence offered by the burial cloths inside the tomb tells another story. It is unlikely that grave robbers would have unbound Jesus hand and foot and equally unlikely they would have neatly rolled up the burial cloths and put them in a separate place. No, all this doesn’t look like the work of robbers but rather the handiwork of God in whose Spirit Jesus was raised from the dead.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Holy Saturday Vigil Homily: Unearthing Jesus

“Perhaps it’s just me – but I often experience Holy Saturday as a day of deep silence, a haunting stillness. After the joy of the Last Supper and the immeasurable sorrow of the Crucifixion, Holy Saturday commemorates the day when Jesus lay in a borrowed tomb. As Jesus’s friends and followers attend to the details of his burial, and the tomb is sealed with a great stone – a certain heaviness hangs in the air … surely for the disciples who participated in that event so long also but also for me and I daresay for many others living at the present time.

“For, on Holy Thursday, as Jesus sat at table with his disciples, we felt the warmth of the Upper Room, even if betrayal was in the air. As Jesus wept in the Garden for our sins, we could at least make a feeble attempt to pray along with him. As Jesus walked toward Calvary and was hoisted upon the Cross, we could at least ‘look upon him who was pierced’. But on Holy Saturday, the Savior lay in the tomb. The Redeemer is hidden. We feel his absence. There is a chasm of silence. Even the world around us somehow seems a little less noisy.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Good Friday Homily: “The Good Friday Leadership Institute”

“Leadership is a hot topic these days. There is endless commentary about political leadership around the world. Opinion leaders delight in demonstrating that such leaders have feet of clay – that is to say, for all their power and influence, these leaders have some fatal flaw that could bring them down. The spotlight directs its glare also onto another form of leadership – celebrities. Like it or not, celebrities from the sports and entertainment worlds greatly influence the character and direction of the culture we live in. Some live virtuously and serve generously; others display arrogance and vulgarity.

“In the meantime, people of all persuasions are uneasy about the culture we live in. Almost everywhere there is a cry for better leadership. We look for good leadership in government, education, healthcare, business, and, yes, the Church. We want parents to be good leaders for their children And while it’s not easy to be a good leader in today’s jaded and cynical culture, the fact remains, every community needs and deserves good leadership.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Holy Thursday Homily: “Connecting the Dots”

“We’ve all heard the expression, “connecting the dots”. It’s a popular way of speaking and so it’s not very exact. In general, though, it refers to the human experience of coming to see how things and persons are related one to another. For example, I might meet the father of a family in one church, greet the mother of that same family in another parish, and visit their children in a Catholic school. Then, one Sunday, the whole family comes to church together. Previously I had no idea they were members of the same family but now I do. Having connected the dots, I have a better chance to get to know this family better.

“Connecting the dots can be exciting – as when we discover interrelationships in and among various branches of knowledge. Connecting the dots can also be illuminating; for example, while praying quietly we might discover how one vice gives rise to another or how one virtue reinforces another. I consider these prayerful “eureka moments” a special gift from God.”

Read the complete homily HERE.