The promise of my Father

This coming Sunday marks the 7th Sunday of Easter (Year C); however, most dioceses will celebrate the Ascension of the Lord.

46 And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day 47 and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And (behold) I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” 50  Then he led them (out) as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. 51 As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. 52 They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and they were continually in the temple praising God. Continue reading

Witness to these things

This coming Sunday marks the 7th Sunday of Easter (Year C); however, most dioceses will celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. You can read a complete Ascension commentary on the first reading from Acts here.

The scene of the Ascension is the first account in the Acts of the Apostles. Acts tells how Jesus’ disciples received his Holy Spirit and continued his work after he ascended into heaven. From the opening linchpin of the Ascension, much of Acts is carried along a travelogue, following the Christian missionaries, especially Paul, as they spread God’s word  outward from Jerusalem. Similarly, Luke’s Gospel had put a unique stress on Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51 to the end of the book.).  Acts carries the journey to the “ends of the earth.” Continue reading

Things held dear

This spring has been a season of record-breaking floods across the Midwest, submerging farms, businesses and houses. The flooding this year could be worse than the historic floods of 1993, which devastated the region. In the coming days, the Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers are all at risk of spilling over their banks, levees, and inundating places like Sand Springs, OK, Jefferson City, MO, and a whole lot of small towns. The spillways in New Orleans are already open trying to get ahead of the coming waters. Places like Hardin, Ill., a village of about 900 people, sits in a particularly vulnerable spot on the Illinois River near where it flows into the Mississippi River. The city clerk updates river forecasts every 20 minutes to let the residents know if the village is about to become an island. It almost did on May 7th of this year. It will be a long weekend of watching and waiting. Continue reading

The Spirit comes

This coming Sunday marks the 6th Sunday of Easter (Year C). You can read a complete commentary on this gospel here.

Our passage is taken from the “Farewell Discourse” of Jesus contained in five chapters of John (13:1-17:56). In other words, we have but a few verses which are an integral part of a much larger passage. Accordingly, the Discourse can be outlined in a number of ways, though three main parts are fairly clear: Continue reading

Last words, first things

If you knew this was your last week, your last day on earth, what would you tell the people you love? Would it be advice? Your hopes for them? Would it be the dreams you have? Perhaps, the gratitude and love in your heart?  What would be your last words to the ones you love? Beyond the fact we’d really not like to think about it, even if we were ready to do so, this is something difficult, daunting, and delicate. Continue reading

A fraternity in mission

Occasionally, people will ask me “What order are you?” and other questions that eventually lead to the inquiry, “Where are y’all from?” I have noticed that people not native to the South have picked up that Southern expression. But it leaves me in a dilemma. I wonder if the one I am speaking with understands there is a difference between “y’all” and “all y’all”. So, I am not sure if they are asking where I am from (y’all having, in some cases, a singular use) or they are asking where all we friars are from (all y’all would have been clearer in use and intention). The answer to the question “Where are all y’all from?” might well be “Holy Name Province.” Continue reading

Love one another

This coming Sunday marks the 5th Sunday of Easter (Year C). You can read a complete commentary on this gospel here.

Perhaps we should place this short gospel passage in context. The public ministry of Jesus has drawn to a close with Chapter 12.  Here in Chapter 13 begins the “private ministry” of Jesus preparing his disciples for his impending death.  John13:1-17:26 is characterized by Jesus’ being alone with his disciples before his betrayal and arrest. While there may have been others present, such as those who were serving the meal, the focus is on the Twelve (so also Mt 26:20; Mk 14:17; Lk 22:14). The section begins with an account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and the prediction of Judas’ betrayal (13:1-30). Then there is a lengthy section known as the farewell discourse, which consists of teachings (13:31–16:33) and a concluding prayer by Jesus (17:1-26). Continue reading

Marian Apparitions

A part of our Catholic tradition includes appearances (apparitions) of the Blessed Virgin Mother, most famous of the many are Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fátima, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, to name a few. These appearances can be approved as “worthy of belief” by the local bishop or by the Vatican. The Church does not require belief in any apparition or other private revelation. However, she does exercise her maternal judgment for the protection of the faithful in declaring some apparitions to be inauthentic, others to be “worthy of belief.” Investigations into alleged apparitions are rigorous, and not done lightly. Continue reading

A name spoken

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

In many ways the stories of the Bible highlight people hearing God call their names and they respond by following. Noah heard his name called, built an ark, and saved lives. Abraham and Sarah heard their names called, traveled to a land not their own, and became our parents in faith. Moses heard his name and set his people free. The prophet Samuel heard his name called and responded, “Here I am Lord. Your servant is listening.” Hosea, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and all the prophets heard their names called and followed. Continue reading