Along with Advent comes the liturgical new year. This also means that the latest book in the Homilists for the Homeless series has now been published. A Prisoner and You Visited Me gathers homilies from a variety of well-known Christian leaders (like Richard Rohr, Jan Richardson, and James Martin) and lesser-known preachers (like me) in support of a good cause. As the title indicates, this year’s theme focuses on Matthew 25:36, where Jesus thanks the “righteous,” saying, “I was in prison and you visited me.”
This year’s book includes homilies for each Sunday and feast day in the coming church year (Year A, which means a focus on the Gospel of Matthew) that began on November 27 and extends through November 2023. It also concludes the three-year series that began during the pandemic in 2020.
The first of my contributions this year is for the third Sunday in Easter, where I reflect on embracing a Discipline of Celebration throughout Eastertide. My second homily focuses on the relationship between John the Baptizer and Jesus at the point when Jesus comes to John to be baptized and begin his formal ministry.
As with prior editions in this series, proceeds from the sale of this year’s book will be donated to charities that address the theme. This year’s three charities focus on ministry to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families.
Prison Fellowship is the nation’s largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, formerly incarcerated people, and their families. It is also a leading voice for restorative criminal justice reform.
Hour Children is a leading provider of services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women in New York State. Focused on women and their children, they support families during a mother’s incarceration and help families get back on their feet upon release. They do this by providing housing, childcare, job training, and mental health services.
Homeboy Industries is the largest gang rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. For over 30 years, they have stood as a beacon of hope in Los Angeles to provide training and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated people. Homeboy Industries founder Fr. Gregory Boyle also contributed a homily to this edition.
If you enjoy reading reflections on living the Christian faith (like mine on this blog) and/or would welcome the opportunity to read a variety of voices in a single volume, please support this project by purchasing a copy here. Consider also whether friends and family might also appreciate receiving a book as a gift.
Also, please join me in prayer for all those who are in prison today, including so many, around the world and closer to home, who are imprisoned unjustly and/or because of their faith in Christ. Thank you.