The Crux of things

Everyone has their own habits as regards the consumption of news. I often scour CNN, the NY Times, CBS and Fox News – a way of seeing what is being said about the topic of the day – or even one network is even covering something. It is all revealing.

Once I week I check on Crux News, “Taking the Catholic Pulse.” Crux was founded by the Boston Globe, but is now independently owned. It dedicated focus concerns Catholicism in the United States Crux features deep coverage of the Holy See by the long-time Vatican watcher and reporter John L. Allen Jr. – a “go-to” interview by the national networks when things Catholic are headline news. Crux also employs Inés San Martín, as Rome Bureau Chief. San Martin is also a veteran of Vatican and European Catholic reporting.

This week’s article by Allen is interesting and worth the read. It is a reminder the American Catholic view is just one view in global, culturally diverse Catholic Church of more than 1.3 billion members: “Each Catholic culture brews a controversy made to order”  Take a moment and have a read.

Can you see it (part 2)

In today’s gospel we listen into the ongoing conversation of Jesus with the Pharisees. In yesterday’s reflection I asked, “what will you see?” Today we see part of the answer on the part of Pharisees. And buried in that reply is one small phrase that point to the fact that they heard and inferred clearly what Jesus was claiming: that he was God. They rejected that saying, “We have one Father, God.

It is often said that “the good” becomes the enemy when it keeps you from “the best.” Continue reading

Can you see it?

In today’s gospel we see Jesus in an encounter with the Pharisees as time rapidly approaches the events we know as Holy Week. One of the basic threads of this narrative is about the ability to see, to intuit, to recognize the swirl of events that are around you. At first glance they might seem random, chaotic, or singularly isolated. At second glance there might not be any greater clarity, but something edges up to the corner of consciousness – maybe only to be dismissed, to be misconstrued, lost, or attach itself in that nagging way some thoughts do. The thoughts that just won’t be on their way.

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A new life

The scene in today’ gospel (a woman caught in adultery) is a mixture of zealous righteousness that seeks to enact the law without pardon or quarter, the leadership who want to trap Jesus between mercy and the Law, and a woman caught in sin, fearing for her life.  The Law commands a stoning to death as punishment for her transgressions. More precisely the law speaks of the death of both the man and the woman involved (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22-24). The law makes it clear that stoning could only take place after a careful trial, which included the chance for the condemned to confess his or her wrong (m. Sanhedrin 6:1-4). Continue reading


Way back in the day, before this life as a Franciscan, I was helping out with a teen ministry program at my parish. I will always remember one comment a young woman made: “It’s not like I have a contract with God or anything.”

Contract: an agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for some consideration, often an exchange of goods and services. A contract includes a) an offer; b) an acceptance of that offer; c) a promise to perform; d) a valuable consideration; f) terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling promises; g) and the execution of all the above.  I am sure the lawyers and first year law students can provide a more precise definition. But my point is that contracts are hardly personal. I have signed contracts for car loans without ever meeting the bank representatives. And I signed an apartment rental contracts and never met the actual property owners. Who cares? It’s business, right? Did everyone get what they agreed to? Contract with God? Continue reading


As we noted in last week’s article, Francis expected his brothers to learn by imitation – and to understand that as Francis sought to imitate Christ, so too should the brothers. But in reality, the first generation of Assisi-area brothers simply did what Francis did: daily prayer, work at a local leprosarium, go to local churches to participate in Eucharist, eat, pray again, witness to the local Umbrian people near Assisi, and live a life in community.  You have to remember this was all new. Prior to this “Franciscan moment” the spiritual journey of medieval people consisted of being a monk or cloistered nun behind the walls of the monastery, being a priest and living close to the sacraments and the Scriptures, or being a lay person and hoping the other groups were praying for you. And then along comes this different, new, intriguing way of being spiritual in the world. And it was not set down in writing; it did not come with instructions. But sometimes is borrowed from the past. Continue reading

Saturday morning cartoons

Irina Bock is a Silicon Valley-based designer known for creating the Google Android logo. During this pandemic period she started drawing cartoons that highlight how our lives have changed during the pandemic and shared them on Instagram.  For those of us who don’t have that social channel, you can find a collection of some of her cartoons here. Here is a sample of one of the cartoon. Take a morning break and enjoy her insights and creativity.

Those who serve

Today I celebrated the Rite of Committal for a US Marine Corp veteran. Given our proximity to the Quantico National Cemetery, we are called upon several times a week to assist families with the committal of their loved ones – most often retired service members or their spouses. Sadly, we also serve when an active duty member is interned. They are mostly connected to the Marine Corp, but the hallowed grounds honor members from all branches of the military. Continue reading

Your phone and chaos

Chaos Theory is often misunderstood, misrepresented, and spoken of by lots of folks who toss around a term to convey the idea of complete randomness of this or that. The study of chaos is branch of mathematics that looks at apparently random states of disorder and irregularities that are actually governed by underlying patterns and deterministic laws. Those patterns and law might not be readily apparent, they are just highly sensitive to initial conditions.

But chaos as always been confusing and had many different meanings. The Greeks understood chaos as the primordial void. For the Roman poet Ovid, chaos was an unformed mass, where all the elements were jumbled up together in a shapeless heap. “Chaos” is held as a synonym of anarchy. Chaos (“19521 Chaos” to be precise) is also the name of trans-Neptunian planet out there in the Kuiper-belt. Just thought you would want to know.

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With a Father’s Heart

Pope Francis has declared his year to be the “Year of St. Joseph.” It is a celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph a Patron of the Universal Church. Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Pope Francis, in honor of this year, has provided the Apostolic Letter Patris Corde – With a Father’s Heart. It is a wonderful reflection of the attributes and characteristics of fatherhood – and also understands that St. Joseph serves as a model, not just for fathers, but for all who care for others. The Pope makes a special connection to all the front line, critical care, and essential workers who labor far from the limelight, especially so in this year of pandemic.

From Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Patris Code: WITH A FATHER’S HEART: that is how Joseph loved Jesus, whom all four Gospels refer to as “the son of Joseph”. Continue reading