My Christmas gift to you! Still sounding fresh and vibrant after almost twenty years! I want to express my gratitude to all who collaborated on this wonderful project so long ago -- 2004 -- in what seems like a different world. LISTEN AND ENJOY HERE -- YOUTUBE PLAYLIST!. The tracks are: In His Light Ave... Continue Reading →
Who are all those people, anyway?
The Genealogy of Jesus that begins Matthew's Gospel. Christmas Eve is becoming an increasingly popular time for families and individuals to come to Mass, which means most people hear the Vigil Mass Gospel which contains the long list of names of the ancestors of Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-25).... Continue Reading →
The Christmas Story
Where does our beloved Christmas Story come from, and how do we celebrate it? Today I gave a Banquet of the Word Presentation briefly outlining the liturgical season of Christmas and the sources for the story of Jesus' birth as we usually hear and tell it. It may be a surprise to find that not everything... Continue Reading →
Intro to Jesus and the Essenes
As promised in my previous "Coffee with Fr. Tom" sessions (especially the last two, here and here), I've compiled a brief reading list to introduce you to the Essenes and the increasing evidence that they were more significant than we ever realized in the human origins and formation, life and teaching Jesus - as well... Continue Reading →
Independence Day Talks: 1997-2006 (2021 Edition)
Last year, I republished the collection of speeches I gave at the T. Willard Hunter Oratory Forum during Claremont's annual Independence Day celebration in Memorial Park while I was pastor at Our Lady of the Assumption. This year, sadly, all public events were again canceled due to Covid precautions. Today, on the 245th anniversary of... Continue Reading →
In 2009, I had a radical prostatectomy after which the doctor assured me that there was no indication that the cancer had spread beyond the prostate itself. I don't recall exactly what the Gleason score was, but it was pretty low. For a number of years, my PSA level was virtually undetectable. A few years... Continue Reading →
U.S. Rep. Norma Torres sits at her desk, near a carving of a boat carrying mythical Maya figures.(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times) The excellent story about Rep. Norma Torres on the front page of today's LA Times, "Lawmaker sticks to her guns", reminded me that, in February 2006, she asked me, as Pastor of... Continue Reading →
Exploring: Redemption — so what?
Celebrating the Ascension gives me pause . . . It's really the culmination of Christ's redemptive action. It's not his "leave-taking." But what is that to you and me? My morning reading today brought together one theme from several very different perspectives: What is redemption / salvation anyway? And so what? Why the cross? What... Continue Reading →
Iraq, the Ultimate “Holy Land”?
An aerial photo shows the 6,000-year-old archaeological site of Ur amid preparations for Pope Francis' visit near Nasiriyah. (AP Photo) For nearly a decade I organized and led an annual pilgrimage to Turkey, which I (and Pope Benedict XVI) called "the Holy Land of the Church." More than any other spot on earth, including Rome... Continue Reading →
Pope in Iraq: Will It Have a Lasting Effect?
Here's a follow-up to John Allen's column a couple of days ago, this one written in the middle of his trip to Iraq. Yes, the Holy Father is very much in the news this weekend. John Allen does his usual masterful job of looking at the event from a broader perspective. Every papal trip is,... Continue Reading →