The National Catholic Review

The Word

  • May 25-June 1, 2015
    Body and Blood of Christ (B), June 7, 2015

    Sometimes I find myself in a line-up with a bunch of strangers, shuffling down the aisle in church, and I forget that I am standing with my family on the pathway to heaven about to partake of the body and blood of Christ offered once for all time for the salvation of the world. Perhaps you have walked down that aisle with me?

  • May 25-June 1, 2015
    Trinity Sunday (B), May 31, 2015

    God chose the Israelites to be his people, his nation, his children. And so they are his children, a family established through the covenant God ratified with Abraham. At the heart of the covenant was the understanding that Israel “would acknowledge that the Lord is God” and that they would “keep his statutes and his commandments, which I am commanding you today for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you.”

  • May 18, 2015
    Pentecost (B), May 24, 2015

    The Greek word pneuma can be translated “wind, breath or spirit.” So when the sound at the door is “like the rush of a violent wind,” you should answer, and you had better be prepared to have your world turned upside down. Or right-side up. Because according to the Acts of the Apostles, that would be the Holy Spirit announcing its coming; and as Jesus promised in the Gospel of John, the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of truth,” who “will guide you into all...

  • May 11, 2015
    Ascension (B), May 17, 2015

    Still reeling from the trauma of the crucifixion and then the shattering of all earthly expectations by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, the apostles, trying to make sense of the common Jewish beliefs regarding the Messiah and the apocalyptic establishment of God’s kingdom, pose a simple question to Jesus prior to his ascension: “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”

  • May 4, 2015
    Sixth Sunday of Easter (B), May 10, 2015

    In the Talking Heads song “Once in a Lifetime,” the refrain repeats over and over: “Same as it ever was, same as it ever was....” Whether the refrain is meant to reflect the constancy of sameness or the inevitability of change is an open question. There is in life a tension between the predictability of change and growth and the permanence and stability of reality. The Easter experience of the apostles reveals to us to a number of ancient examples that bear...

  • April 27, 2015
    Fifth Sunday of Easter (B), May 3, 2015

    We might not say it outright, although unfortunately many of us do, but we are often not convinced that so-and-so is a true Christian. We might know the person well, by public reputation or just by name, or we might not know the name of the person at all who bothers us, or worse, with their words and behavior. From a friend’s Facebook post came this comment about a Catholic politician: “You can’t be Catholic if.... And this is one of those if’s.” Thank...

  • April 13, 2015
    Third Sunday of Easter (B), April 19, 2015

    To what do the apostles and the other disciples witness when they are called to be witnesses to Jesus Christ? On the one hand, they bear witness to his death: “but you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life.” Yet, even here, the witness to the crucifixion is tied intimately to the resurrection, for the verse continues, “whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” The...

  • April 13, 2015
    Fourth Sunday of Easter (B), April 26, 2015

    In 4 Ezra 5:18, a Jewish apocalyptic text of the first century A.D., Ezra is asked by “Phaltiel, a chief of the people” whether he knows “that Israel has been entrusted to you in the land of their exile? Rise therefore and eat some bread, and do not forsake us, like a shepherd who leaves the flock in the power of savage wolves.” The image is similar to that found in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down...

  • April 6, 2015
    Second Sunday of Easter (B), April 12, 2015

    Many Catholics today are rightfully dismayed by divisive arguments among fellow Christians over matters as diverse as liturgy, the pope, politics and morality. Only the strong of heart dare venture near online comboxes on certain Catholic websites. Such disagreements, oftentimes petty, sometimes significant, stand in sharp contrast to the second summary in the Acts of the Apostles on the state of the early church.

  • March 30, 2015
    Easter (B), April 5, 2015

    All the Gospels recall that on the second morning after Jesus was laid in the tomb, Mary Magdalene and other women were the first to arrive at the tomb to care for Jesus’ body, but his body was not in the tomb. It would be a strange account to concoct. Why? James Dunn says in Jesus Remembered, “As is well known, in Middle Eastern society of the time women were not regarded as reliable witnesses: a woman’s testimony in court was heavily discounted.