December 22-29, 2014Holy Family (B), Dec. 28, 2014
The truth of the supposedly clichéd phrase “every child is a miracle” hits home for most people when a child is born to them or an adopted child is welcomed into the family. The instantaneous recognition of the child never before seen is a spiritual experience made tactile as a mother takes the newborn in her arms and a father gazes at an infant who evokes on sight the deepest of loves.
December 22-29, 2014Epiphany (B), Jan. 4, 2015
A summer ago my family set off on a cross-country car trip from Minnesota to Vancouver, B.C., in part to pick up a wooden bench that my great-grandfather had made when my family immigrated to Canada. It was the first thing he built when he arrived. As an old man, he was too old to work in the fields, so he took care of his grandchildren as they played outside and he needed a bench to sit on.
December 22-29, 2014
I am the son of a florist, so I was reared to accept that there are no tin flowers. And even the least of them are like rainbows or sunsets: worthwhile natural deities. I worked side-by-side with my dad for 25 of the 50 years he spent in his tiny flower shop in a tiny Philadelphia neighborhood called Paradise. When my pop was in his shop taking care of his customers, he was truly in paradise. He taught me that flowers speak to the verities of the heart and...
December 8-15, 2014Fourth Sunday in Advent (B), Dec. 21, 2014
The fulfillment of hope, especially divine hope, fundamental hope, does not rest on intricately calculated human plans, in which we chart the future according to algorithms that never vary and on the basis of mathematical certainty await the fulfillment of our calculations. Perhaps this works for 401k plans, but Messianic hope is far more significant than investment strategies.
December 8-15, 2014Third Sunday in Advent (B), Dec. 14, 2014
Christians read the Old Testament today, understandably, in light of Christ’s fulfillment of the promises and prophecies found there. It is a simple thing to do, since the early church read the Old Testament in the context of Jesus’ incarnation and teaching and the experience of Easter and then formalized these readings and understandings in the texts of the New Testament.
December 8-15, 2014
In late December 2009, on a sunny Florida afternoon, my 81-year-old mother stepped across my sister’s kitchen, caught her foot on the hem of her pink bathrobe and fell onto the ceramic tile floor. She landed with sufficient force to break her right hip instantly, the hip opposite the one she had broken 10 years earlier and that had been successfully repaired.
December 1, 2014Second Sunday in Advent (B), Dec. 7, 2014
What comfort is there in waiting? Comfort is usually not found standing in line at the D.M.V. or waiting for an appointment at the doctor’s office as the minutes tick away. Then you simply hope, as frustration builds, that you can get out as quickly as possible and get on with your life.
December 1, 2014
‘I can no longer cope with the loneliness. At this point the future could not look any blacker.... I kept thinking I could work my way out of this horrible depression that grips me, but I can’t do it. Please forgive me if I have hurt you....”
November 24, 2014First Sunday in Advent (B), Nov. 30, 2014
Pope Francis said, on World Environment Day, June 5, 2013: “We are losing the attitude of wonder, contemplation, listening to creation. The implications of living in a horizontal manner [is that] we have moved away from God, we no longer read His signs.” He was referring to the physical environment, but he links the lack of awareness of our physical surroundings, nature and the human milieu to inattentiveness and distraction concerning the spiritual world....
November 24, 2014
On June 11, 2001, the U.S. Government executed Timothy McVeigh in the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. Six years earlier, on the morning of April 19, 1995, the ex-Army soldier and security guard had parked a rented Ryder truck in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Inside that vehicle was a bomb. At precisely 9:02 a.m., the bomb exploded, killing 168 people and injuring several hundred more.