Persistence and Prayer

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 29th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

1 Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, 2 “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. 3 And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ 4 For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, 5 because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” 6 The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. 7 Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? 8 I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”  (Luke 18:1-8) Continue reading

Being Grateful

In the first reading, we hear the end of the story of Naaman, a Syrian general, who has just been cured of his leprosy. But we don’t get to hear the start of the story. It turns out that when Naaman comes to Israel he encounters the prophet Elisha. Naaman has come bearing all manner of riches and gifts, but Elisha wants none of it. He simply instructs Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan. Pretty simple and ordinary, yes? Continue reading

God’s Plan

There is the natural part of us that tends to speak in generalities or platitudes when we attempt to address God or our relationship to God. Unsurprisingly, after all, the core of it all is a mystery. Believers have struggled for centuries to express the ineffable, the mystery of the divine. Yet we still have hopes: “I want to have God first in my life.” So, what does that look like? Ineffable as God is, what does “first in my life” mean in concrete terms? If you don’t have an idea of what it looks like, how will you know when you have arrived? “But do you ever really arrive?” As they say, if you don’t have a destination then any road will get you there. Continue reading

To live in anger

I am not normally given to posting op-ed pieces from online sources. But there was an op-ed piece that caught my attention, more specifically, this:

….anger cannot be the sole fuel propelling us on life’s journey. We also need love, for without it, we are no better than those who fear us. To live with anger is to live powerless. That’s not to say the oppressed should never be angered by the actions of their oppressor. Only that anger can spark a movement, but it should not order its steps. Not if the goal of the movement is peace.

…not if the goal of the movement is peace… Continue reading

Boundaries, Faith and Gratitude

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 28th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

11 As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was entering a village, ten lepers met (him). They stood at a distance from him 13 and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” 14 And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; 16 and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? 18 Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” 19 Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 18:1-8)

Continue reading

Fences and bridges

During WWII there was a platoon of Army Rangers deployed well behind enemy lines on a critical mission during the European campaign. A single sniper bullet had killed one of the platoon members. The mission had to continue, but they just could not leave their friend as a stranger in a strange land, buried in an unmarked grave that they might never again find. They remembered a small Catholic church in the area. So, under the cover of the moonless night, they approached the church and rectory, and knocked on the door. After a while a single light came on in the house. Eventually, the door cautiously opened, and the parish priest even more cautiously greeted them. Continue reading

Francis of Assisi

In a 13th century text called the Il Foretti (The Little Flowers), a story is told about St. Francis in which a brother friar came to him and asked, “Why after you? Why is the whole world coming after you, wanting to see you, to hear you, to follow you?” Some 800 years after the life of St. Francis, this question remains. What is it about this unpretentious figure from the early 13th century that continues to exert such a perennial fascination for Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and agnostics alike? What is it that has made Francis the subject of more books than any other saint? Why has he inspired artists, led ecologists, peace activists, and advocates for the poor to claim him as a patron? Why has he inspired countless tens of thousands of men and women to follow his Rule of Life in religious and secular communities? Continue reading

God breathed

Monday was the Memorial of St. Jerome, best known for his translation the Vulgate Bible. St. Jerome translated from OT Hebrew and NT Greek into Latin. He famously said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”  Advice we should all take to heart.

The first reading on the Memorial is from 2 Timothy and, in part, reads: “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim 3:16). The phrase is theopneustos (Theos, God, pneō, to breathe). It would sound odd to our ears, but I would rather like the translation to be “All Scripture is God-breathed.” Continue reading

Faith and Service

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 27th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

1 He said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.” Continue reading