June 6-13, 2016Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), June 12, 2016
A tension in the church today mimics a tension Jesus felt with the religious experts of his own day: Why did Jesus welcome sinners without asking for a change or transformation, a turn away from their sin? Some Catholics sense something similar going on with Pope Francis. Why does Francis seem to water down the faith, welcoming in those who seem at odds with the teaching of the church? Jesus did, of course, ask sinners to stop sinning, as does Pope Francis;...
June 6-13, 2016Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), June 19, 2016
Matters of personal identity loom large in today’s culture. Yet elements of identity that once seemed stable, like gender, are often seen today as products of self-construction. These elements, which might also include sexuality and definitions of family, create a fluidity of self-identity that seems to leave no solid ground, no stable place.
Many Christians find that this sort of shifting ground wreaks havoc on traditional...
June 6-13, 2016
I walked with my 12-year-old nephew that balmy June afternoon through the manicured green Georgian campus of the The Gilman School in Baltimore. My sister had already rushed ahead to find us seats; my brother-in-law was parking the car; and my young companion’s older brother and soon-to-be-Hoya was long gone to assemble with his fellows for the graduation ceremony. I supported Matthew as he limped along because of a tense Achilles tendon. Dressed in my best...
"Walk in the presence of God without reproach." That’s how Pope Francis says we can journey towards holiness. During the homily at Mass at Santa Marta on Tuesday, the pope said that for this commitment to succeed, Christians must be able to hope with courage, open themselves up to discussion and freely welcome God's grace.
Holiness cannot be bought. Neither can it be earned by human strength. No, "the simple holiness of all Christians," "ours—the kind we are...
No Christian can exist without joy: that’s what Pope Francis said in his homily at Mass Monday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse. The pope stressed that even through life’s difficulties, the Christian knows he can trust in Jesus and find hope. The pope also reminded the faithful they should not allow riches to dominate their lives because they ultimately lead to sadness.
Christians live in joy and amazement because of the resurrection of Jesus...
Saying Jesus' path is serving others, Pope Francis urged Christians on Tuesday to overcome the lure of worldliness and human ambition and warned against social climbers who are tempted to destroy the other in order to reach the top. His remarks came during his homily at the morning Mass celebrated in the Santa Marta residence.
The Gospel reading where Jesus’ disciples were arguing among themselves over who was the greatest was used by the pope for his reflections...
May 23-30, 2016Body and Blood of Christ (C), May 29, 2016
The solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ emerged as a feast in medieval Europe through the urging of St. Julianna of Cornillon, a Belgian mystic and prioress who had visions that directed her to strive to establish a feast in which greater devotion was focused on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Because of her own caution as to the significance of her visions, and the ecclesial and political intrigues which she suffered, it would take many...
May 23-30, 2016Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (C), June 5, 2016
The account of Jesus raising from the dead the only son of a mother, a widow, recalls a similar story of the prophet Elijah healing the only son of a mother, a widow, in the First Book of Kings. The fact that the women are widowed is an important piece of information for understanding their situations, especially since they are without any children. A widow in antiquity could suffer terrible economic hardship if she did not have an extended family network or...
May 16, 2016
I recently reconnected with a friend I had not seen in over a decade, since our oldest children were toddlers. When I asked what she was doing, she replied, “I’m just at home.” It turns out she is “just at home” raising three children, volunteering for multiple organizations and taking care of an ailing and widowed mother in a city four hours away. Her answer is surprisingly common. Often these days, if you ask someone what they do, and if they are not at the pinnacle of a revered...
May 23-30, 2016
“In the year 2525 if man is still alive…” went the old song. Adapting it to Michigan today, the refrain would be: “In the year 2025, if Flint is still alive....” I certainly think that Flint is going to still be around a decade from now, but the key question is: “What will it—and other similarly distressed cities—look like?”
In the life of a city, a decade can matter a lot. I was born in Detroit in February 1957, and it had a distinct look and flavor to it then...