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Hoar Frost and Online Homilies

Chances are, if you've been around the Newman Center for any period of time, you've heard me speak fondly of Father Thomas, our priest in Alaska and my daughter's godfather:

This is him on a snowshoeing expedition we took one day. I turned around during a water break to find him facedown on the snow, staring at it. "Hoar frost!" he mumbled.

"Huh?" I asked, having never heard the phrase.

"Hoar frost! Look!" he said, still marveling at some invisible thing laying on top of the snow. So I walked back over to where he was kneeling and took a look. And here's what I found:

Hoar frost! It was at least an inch thick on top of the snowy field, and the way it looked changed as we continued snowshoeing--sometimes it was geometric as in the photo above, sometimes it looked like shards of feathers, sometimes like shards of glass.

Why do I bring this up? Two reasons: first, because the Old Testament reading last week said that the manna God sent down from heaven rested on the ground like hoar frost. And most people haven't actually seen hoar frost. So there you go, now you know! That's what the manna looked like!

The second reason? Because one of the things I love most about FT is that he is always present enough to notice the small things, whether it's hoar frost, or the way you act when something's on your mind, or the nuances of a Scripture passage. And that sensitivity to detail yields some truly great homilies. Rare was the Sunday in Juneau that we'd leave Mass without some new gem of knowledge from the homily, and FT has been smart (and kind) enough to share his homilies online! So, there's a new link in our spiffy "Helpful Links" area on the right side of the "For Students" page: one for Father's Thomas' podcast!

One of the most frequent comments I hear from young people after Mass is that they didn't "get" the homily or they daydreamed off in the middle and missed it or they felt it didn't apply to them. Hey, the priest can't hit a home run every time, but that doesn't mean you can just ignore the teaching part of Mass! Seek out another homily online:

  • Pope Francis consistently hits it out of the park during his daily and weekly homilies at the Vatican and you can find them here and here.

  • Check with your home parish. Many of them are posting either transcriptions of their weekly homilies or recordings of them from Mass (and if our parish ever starts doing it, you'll bet I'll link to it here!)

  • And check out Father Thomas' blog and podcast site: Semper Gumby in Alaska. He posts all of his homilies and they are consistently spectacular. Open one up on your phone and give it a listen while you're on the treadmill, or walking to your morning class, or as you relax at the end of the day. I promise you'll deem it a good use of your time!

Happy listening! (Oh, and check out the other links in that area of the site--they're all pre-screened to be Guaranteed Awesome)

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