The National Catholic Review

The Word


  • 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 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 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...

  • May 2, 2016
    The Ascension of the Lord (C), May 8, 2016

    The ascension is a proof of the significance of the incarnation and, as a result, the significance of each of our lives. Certainly, the ascension directs us to the uniqueness of Jesus, as God and man, and specifically to Jesus’ enthronement as Lord, but it also points to the uniqueness and value of each human life. Because Jesus’ human being does not cease with his resurrection or his ascension, Jesus’ incarnation, the particularity of his human personhood,...

  • April 25, 2016
    Sixth Sunday of Easter (C), May 1, 2016

    When discussing questions of tradition and change in the church, whether at the parish level or that of the universal church, “peace” is not the first word that jumps to mind. The tensions in the life of the church today, though, mirror those at the time of the Apostles.

    Acts 15 outlines the deliberations of the Council of Jerusalem, which took place around A.D. 49 or 50. Prior to the gathering, certain disciples of Jesus in...

  • April 18, 2016
    Fifth Sunday of Easter (C), April 24, 2016

    Psalm 145 says that “the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” God’s steadfast love for humanity is the through note that brings harmony to the psalms. Even more, deep engagement with the psalms transforms the reader and brings harmony to the soul. Brian E. Daley, S.J., writes in The Harp of Prophecy that the church father Athanasius recognized “in this mimetic, modeling role of the psalms an anticipation of the...

  • April 4-11, 2016
    Third Sunday of Easter (C), April 10, 2016

    The Gospel of John presents the apostles after Jesus’ resurrection as getting on with their lives, even after he had appeared to them, in as normal a way as one could expect. Peter and a number of the other disciples, including Thomas, James and John, were at the Sea of Tiberias when Peter decided to go fishing, which is what fishermen do. The rest of them said, “We will go with you.” They fished all night and caught nothing, and then Jesus appeared on the...

  • April 4-11, 2016
    Fourth Sunday of Easter (C), April 17, 2016

    The Revelation of John seems to shroud everything in mystery and mythic language, but it is, as its title proclaims, a revelation, an unveiling of that which was hidden. Sometimes an image in Revelation, a simple description of a mysterious scene, reveals more than we are initially aware of. The Lamb sits upon the throne of God in Revelation. So normal is this image that we forget that John is showing us that the Lamb is also God. The high Christology of...

  • March 28, 2016
    Second Sunday of Easter (C), April 3, 2016

    Christian apologists will sometimes argue that the truth of the Gospel is proven by the willingness of Jesus’ disciples to die for their faith in Christ. The apostles were, indeed, willing to die for the truth of the Gospel, but if we grant that willingness to die for a religion, a movement or a cause speaks to the truth of a belief system, we would have to admit that many people in the past and today, who have died willingly for all sorts of causes in all...