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The Significance of Christmas for a Troubled America

Live Jesus. Know Hope. Share Love.


“I can’t wait for 2016 to end.” I have heard numerous people utter these words lately, and I know what they mean. 2016 brought the fifth anniversary of an atrocious war in Syria, Brexit, the election of a self-professed murderer to the presidency of the Philippines, not to mention another slew of shootings on US soil and countless terrorist attacks here and around the world. Of course, few of my acquaintances had any of the above in mind when they were wishing aloud for the end of 2016. They were thinking about this year’s vitriolic presidential election and its fallout.

Tensions ran high in this election not only because people felt the options of candidates have never been more unpalatable but also because of the widespread sentiment that the stakes have never been higher. Many people felt and continue to feel that their livelihood is threatened by encroaching foreigners, the…

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HOMILY: The Other Thief

Seek the kingdom…

Leaven in the World

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe | November 20, 2016

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons

PROTIP: You can take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading.

I’m not normal.

It’s a fact I’ve known for a while, but one that was really hammered home over these last few weeks of this election season.

For it seemed that while the nation were only capable of speaking of people in broad generalities, I couldn’t do that. For every time I would hear a certain group mentioned, I couldn’t help but think of concrete individuals that I have had the privilege of knowing over the years.

When I heard people lament about the white, working class…

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What Now?

A thoughtful response to the election from a conservative who voted against Trump…

Chartwell West

I’m not a liberal. I’m not a safe space, social crusader. I’m not a sore loser who can’t get over the fact that Hillary Clinton wasn’t elected president. The notion that I had to put what lukewarm support I had for a candidate behind her was a source of great frustration for me. I am, at my very core, someone with conservative foundations. I believe that men and women, whenever possible, should be free to live their lives without government intervention. My family and my Christian faith are the center of my life. I like my guns. Chances are, I’m better than you at using them. I’ve worked with and for the toughest most dangerous men on the planet-men you’ve read books about, men you’ve seen movies about. I’ll never claim to be one. But I’ve proven myself useful in their presence. I share this with you so you understand…

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Hallelujah and a Dose of Wisdom

Isn’t it beautiful how a song can connect us? I have friends across the political spectrum and many posted their sorrow at the passing of Leonard Cohen, many of us because his enduring song Hallelujah has become a canvas for so many artists and an unlikely door into our souls. Last night Kate McKinnon donned her Hillary suit one more time and played tribute to him, a heartfelt adaptation that was also a call to our better selves:

David Chapelle’s monologue contained multitudes, and closed with this story about his feelings during a recent BET sponsored party at the White House, and the history of how African Americans were treated in the Peoples House before Obama was elected:

I thought about that, and I looked at that black room, and saw all those black faces, and Bradley, and I saw how happy everybody was. These people who had been historically disenfranchised. It made me feel hopeful and it made me feel proud to be an American and it made me very happy about the prospects of our country.

So, in that spirit, I’m wishing Donald Trump luck. And I’m going to give him a chance, and we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one too. Thank you very much. (H/T to the Washington Post for transcription services)

Fr. James Martin offers similar advice to be “pro-unity and pro-voice.”

These two paths—of reconciliation and dissent—may seem contradictory. But this was Jesus’s dual path, and he invites us to follow him. He urged people to come together. “That they all may be one,” he said (Jn 17:21). But he was not afraid to speak out, even if it offended people. Even if, paradoxically, it caused disunity. “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Lk 12:51).

Catholics have a special responsibility to work with charity to reconcile in the midst of this divisive time. They also have the responsibility to stand up, clearly, loudly and passionately, for the rights of the poorest and most marginalized among us.

Today is the feast day of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, a missionary who cared for immigrant communities here in America. Our readings this week remind us of perseverance and that we are called to imitate Christ, to welcome the Lord who rules the earth with justice. It is a timely message as our nation proceeds from election to governance, from protest to vigilance and, hopefully, from hate and division to unity and love. I still believe the arc of the universe bends towards justice for all. I hope you will join me in praying the novena to Christ our King and meditating on God’s enduring mercy.

Pope Francis on Consumerism, Environmental Ecology, and Human Ecology


Since his election to the papacy, Pope Francis has made the care of God’s good gift of Creation one of the central themes of his pontificate. This is in a certain sense not surprising, given both the environmental legacy of his papal predecessors—Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John II, in particular—and his choice of the name Francis.  The pope explained that one of the reasons he chose the name Francis was to recall the environmental ethic of St. Francis of Assisi and to lift up this central element of the Church’s tradition.

Yesterday, however, Pope Francis recognized World Environment Day at his weekly audience with some of his most insightful and prophetic words to date on the Christian vocation to “cultivate and care for” creation (Genesis 2:15), as he discussed the way in which the “culture of waste” harms both “environmental ecology” and “human ecology.” This is a powerful…

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love this St. John Chrystostom quote… “Everywhere, no matter where you find yourself, you can erect an altar to God in your heart by means of prayer.”

St Anthony of Padua Religious Education

If it were impossible to pray in distracting occupations or in the presence of other people, then, of course, we would not have been commanded to pray always. St John Chrystostom says the following in his teaching about prayer: “No one can excuse himself from prayer under the pretext that he is occupied with daily cares or is not able to be in church. Everywhere, no matter where you find yourself, you can erect an altar to God in your heart by means of prayer.” And so it is convenient to pray while traveling or at a market, trying to buy or sell something, or sitting behind one’s trade; everywhere without exception it is possible to pray……. it is possible to pray at all times and under all circumstances, and gradually to pass from frequent vocal prayer to mental prayer and eventually to the Prayer of the heart and the…

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HOMILY: No Exceptions

We are all looking for a magic reset button that will erase the violence of these many days drenched in blood, a special tool that can make evil disappear.

“But our God has already given us that tool.

That one tool that can end the violence and the hatred. The one tool that can heal what is broken and restore what is lost.

And that tool is love.”

Leaven in the World

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time | July 9/10, 2016

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons

PROTIP: You can take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading.

I remember my very first day at Nativity Prep.

It was faculty orientation and our principal was introducing the school and its mission to all of us.  During those remarks, he shared something that I have never forgotten.

He looked at us and said, you have one job as an educator.  It is to love your students.  That’s it.  If you love your students, everything else will fall into place.

I remember thinking . . . That seems simple enough.

How wrong I was!

For no one warned me that not every student is easy to…

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