December 7-14, 2015Third Sunday of Advent (C), Dec. 13, 2015
Throughout the biblical tradition, in both the Old and New Testament, there are prophetic denunciations of sin, personal and corporate, that call people back to the ways of God. What often gets lost is that these exhortations are not intended primarily as threats to condemn but as wakeup calls for people lost in the false promises of the world. The prophetic call to repent is a gift of forgiveness, an invitation to freedom, a promise of love. It offers the...
December 7-14, 2015Fourth Sunday of Advent (C), Dec. 20, 2015
The coming of the Messiah seems to be so small, so little, that it is breathtaking when you recognize the truth of the incarnation as God’s majesty coming to live among lost humanity. God chose to be born as an infant among us, one like any other, the Messiah Jesus coming as a baby boy to a world so rough and cruel. He was a child utterly dependent upon his parents for his care and sustenance. He was so small, so little.
December 7-14, 2015
These days, when I am among friends at a dinner party or spending time with family members, I find myself looking at each one and thinking how blessed I am that these unique individuals are knit into my life. When I’m outside, I remember to keep an ear out for the birds singing. I was not always this present, nor was I so grateful. It took the barrel of a gun at the back of my head to bring me to life.
The day everything...
The church remains faithful if she keeps her eyes fixed on Jesus, but she becomes lukewarm and mediocre if she seeks comfort in worldly things. That was Pope Francis’ message on Monday as he reflected on the Gospel reading at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta.
Pope Francis noted that the reading from St. Luke’s Gospel tells the story of the widow who puts her two coins in the temple treasury box, while other wealthy worshippers make a great show of the money they're putting in. Jesus says...
Pope Francis said that the church must not be obsessed by money or power, nor worship “holy bribes.” Instead her strength and joy should come from the words of Christ. He was speaking at the morning mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday.
The Holy Father reflected on the reading from Maccabees, which tells of the people’s joy following the reconsecration of the Holy Temple, which had been destroyed by pagans and those obsessed by worldliness. The people of God celebrated, they rejoiced...
November 30, 2015Second Sunday of Advent (C), Dec. 6, 2015
Preparation for the coming of the Lord is not simply an individual task, though it incorporates personal holiness and love, but there is most prominently an ecclesial dimension, in which the whole people of God await Christ’s parousia so that they might return home to the Promised Land, the kingdom of God. To prepare, we wait for what God will do for us and we act to make God known to the world around us.
The text of Baruch,...
November 30, 2015
In the decade after Vatican II inculturation became a buzzword. Although popes have used the word only with caution, they have said on journeys to Asia and Africa that the Catholic Church in those continents ought not to be a slavish copy of the European church. As a consequence American Catholics began to conclude that Catholicism in this country should develop its own distinctive traits. In the past it had been a mosaic of importations from various “Old...
November 30, 2015
Maria and Manuel had shrunk. As bodies usually do, theirs diminished with the passing years. Maria stood rod straight, just smaller, while Manuel stooped, first over a cane, then a walker. His once-tall frame was pulled down by gravity stronger than his spine. The only evidence of his previous height could be seen when he was stretched out in his blue recliner, as he frequently was. There he relaxed and napped, especially during soap operas, his daytime...
“The whole world is at war,” and the rejection of the “path of peace” means that God himself, that Jesus himself, weeps. This was the message of Pope Francis to the faithful following the readings of the day at Mass on Thursday morning in the Casa Santa Marta.
“Jesus wept.” These were the words with which the Holy Father’s remarks following the readings of the day began on Thursday in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, echoing the words of St. Luke the Evangelist...
The single thought, humanism that takes the place of Jesus, destroys the Christian identity. We don't put that identity card up for auction. Those were the words of Pope Francis on Monday during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
The first reading of the day from the first Book of the Maccabees, tells of "a root of evil" that arose in those days: the Hellenistic King Antiochus Epiphanes imposes pagan customs in Israel, to the "chosen people," that is, the “church of that time." Pope...