The National Catholic Review

The Good Word

A blog on Scripture and preaching from John W. Martens, America's Word columnist, and the Rev. Terrance W. Klein, the author of Vanity Faith.

September 2016

  • Sometimes the most important line of a conversation comes after it’s concluded, when you’ve already moved from substance to trivialities. Not long ago, I was walking with a woman toward the door of a funeral home, where her family had been making arrangements. As we got ready to part, she said, “I do believe in the resurrection, but it’s so hard to picture an afterlife.”

    I agreed. Her comment reminded me of a passage from...

  • Years ago, after my father had lost the grocery store and had gone to work as a custodian at the parish, he would discuss his day at the dinner table. People used to do that. I should have paid more attention because he was usually talking about something that had broken down, something I’ve now inherited.

    Remember how, sometimes, things could get so bad that Batman had to call upon Superman, or vice-a-versa? The hero of my Father’s story was always Glenn Breford, a local heating and...

  • The radio went silent a few minutes before nine that Tuesday morning. I was preparing to celebrate Mass at St. Augustine Parish, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Typically, I was still in my room, hurrying less the Mass start late. I do remember thinking, that’s odd. NPR just disappeared from wherever it is that NPR comes from. For me, it was just “the great out there.”

    They had been reporting that a plane had hit a tower of the World Trade Center. It hadn’t been all that long since a small...

  • Dear Father John: Yes, you’re welcome to stay at the rectory while you’re in town for your father’s funeral, but I should warn you that they are redoing the floors downstairs, so there is no living room, no dining or, even, kitchen table.

    We’ve all done it. Felt pressured to extend an invitation, which we then whittle down into something no one would accept. It didn’t work. Father John responded that he felt better staying at the rectory, where he would not need to retreat from his...