The National Catholic Review

The Word


  • July 4-11, 2016
    Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), July 17, 2016

    Ma rtha was made for our time: busy with many things, seeking to be recognized and also, it must be said, trying to do her best. We meet her in Luke’s Gospel when Jesus comes to visit the two sisters, Mary and Martha, in their home. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and “listened to his word,” while Martha was distracted by “much service.” Indeed, Martha was so distracted by her own work that she complained that her sister was not helping her, a complaint that rings true in our own day as...

  • July 4-11, 2016
    Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), July 10, 2016

    In Colossians, traditionally understood to have been written by the apostle Paul, Christ is described as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation,” and it is said that “in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.” This presentation of glorious majesty, apart from reflecting the reality of Christ’s lordship, seems also...

  • June 20-27, 2016
    Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), June 26, 2016

    There are different ways to understand freedom. There is childhood freedom, which remains linked to the carefree days of summer, peddling furiously to the playground to join friends in a game of baseball or to go swimming. The summer idyll reflects freedom from responsibility. Others view freedom as the choice to live your life however you choose, unencumbered by religious morality or authority figures. This is freedom as license. There is also the liberty...

  • June 20-27, 2016
    Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), July 3, 2016

    In the Apostle Paul’s letters, especially in Galatians, Paul sees boasting as the core of the spiritual sins that haunt the church. Boasting reflects more than just a problematic personality or character trait. For Paul, boasting in anything other than Christ is a sign of the “old creation,” a refusal to be transformed by Christ into a “new creation.” The cross, though, is the emblem of how the old ways are made new in Christ....

  • June 6-13, 2016
    Eleventh 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, 2016
    Twelfth 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...

  • May 23-30, 2016
    Body 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, 2016
    Tenth 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 9, 2016
    Pentecost (C), May 15, 2016

    If you have a teacher, you are a student and you have things to learn. There are, naturally, students who believe they know it all or, even if they do not, are not compelled to learn anything else. They are comfortable with what they know. Some students, too, are simply bored and uninterested. Whether they know a little or a lot, they are not inspired to put in the work to learn something new. These issues are cast into an interesting light when we recognize...

  • May 16, 2016
    Holy Trinity (C), May 22, 2016

    Even careful readers of the Bible who are attentive to the church’s tradition can read the biblical texts that informed the doctrine of the Trinity and see three persons, each acting separately from the others. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” Later in the same passage, though, Jesus declares that the Father “will...