October 27, 2014All Souls (A), Nov. 2, 2014
What happens when we die? This is a question most people ask at some point, perhaps especially Christians, who look forward to the resurrection at the end of time. But in the interim, prior to the general resurrection, what happens to those who have died? Where do they go? This is a confusing issue for more people than is often acknowledged. As a boy, I pondered the resurrection and assumed that when I died I would be “resurrected” straightaway into heaven to...
October 20, 2014Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Oct. 26, 2014
In the covenant code in Exodus, in which Moses reveals God’s prohibitions and commandments to the Israelites, we quickly learn that God is a God who hears the voices of the powerless, who sees the needs of the poor.
October 20, 2014
I was a seminarian in Rome when Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was elected Pope John XXIII. More than five decades later, I found myself in Rome once more, on April 27, at the canonization ceremony that celebrated Pope John’s holy life, as well as that of Pope John Paul II. I was one of 800 priests distributing Communion that day, and the experience offered me the chance to reflect on what these great men have meant to the church.
October 13, 2014Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Oct. 19, 2014
One of Jesus’ most famous sayings challenges us to consider a simple question: what do I owe to whom? The saying is mellifluous in the King James translation, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” It is teasingly straightforward, so straightforward that the saying cannot be made simpler, and yet its meaning is not obvious. What are the things due Caesar and what does not belong to God?
October 13, 2014
Six years ago I boarded a plane to Italy and left my family, friends and boyfriend of three years for what I imagined would be an amazing study-abroad experience. For months it was just that. I enjoyed traveling around Europe, immersing myself in Italian city-life, culture and cuisine. As my study abroad experience came to an end, my American cohort was invited by a friend of a friend to join him at his family hotel for the weekend. I felt grateful for one...
October 6, 2014Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Oct. 12, 2014
There is no more compelling image for the city of God than that of the banquet, drawing as it does on the common experiences of good food and drink. I remember the cities I have visited by the food I ate in them, so this picture of the feast resonates at a deep, human level. Feasts recall times of joy in our lives, of families gathered together eating in celebration.
October 6, 2014
Usually the daily noon Mass on campus is attended by the familiar dozen or so faculty and staff and students and neighbors; but today, to my amazement, there are 4-year-old twin boys in front of me, complete with parents, the father immensely tall and the mother adamantly not.
September 29. 2014Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Oct. 5, 2014
In biblical poetry a vineyard often represents the beloved. The prophet Isaiah begins to “sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard,” a song in which God’s affectionate care of Israel is recounted. The love song quickly becomes a lover’s lament, though, as Isaiah tells how the vineyard was prepared with tenderness, but since it produced “wild grapes,” it will now be abandoned. God speaks: “I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I...
September 29. 2014
I was seated at the back of the room as 60 or so inmates gathered for the weekly Tuesday night meeting of Criminals and Gangmembers Anonymous. Most of the members are serving life sentences, many with the distant possibility of parole, although a few are LWOPs, which stands for lifers without that possibility. To begin the session one of the group leaders stood before his fellow inmates and asked that they pause for a moment of silence. The room went quiet...
September 22, 2014Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Sept. 28, 2014
And more, much more than this, I did it my way,” sang Frank Sinatra. There is something life-affirming about doing it “my way,” charting one’s own path, following one’s conscience and talents and not compromising one’s values along the way. But when it comes to the ways of God, it is best to do it God’s way, as Jesus did in following the path to the cross.