An extinction event

The title might suggest a post on an impending asteroid strike on the Earth leading to a global extinction event. Most extinction events are but the last gasp of a species, one populous and now no longer found. Perhaps extinction events are less global and more continental, as in, there are no more here, but on that other continent there are survivors. Such events take more than a lifetime, most often, but not always. Continue reading

The Word of the Year: Gaslighting

Source: Merriam Webster “Word of the Year 2022

In this age of misinformation—of “fake news,” conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls,and deepfakes—gaslighting has emerged as a word for our time. A driver of disorientation and mistrust, gaslighting is “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.” 2022 saw a 1740% increase in lookups for gaslighting, with high interest throughout the year. Continue reading

John of Montecovino: Franciscans in China

Ideograms for Rabban Bar SaumaServant of God – John of Montecorvino
Franciscan and first Bishop of Beijing

Writing earlier about St. Francis Xavier, I was reminded about a Franciscan missioner, John of Montecorvino, whose feast was November 29. Mention John of Montecorvino and most people – even most Franciscans – will say “who?” John was the first Catholic missionary to China, centuries before the efforts of other Catholic religious orders. It is a compelling story.  If you would like to read an interesting and accessible account of the travel within the context of an art historian comparing 13th century Italian and Chinese art, read Lauren Arnold’s: Princely Gifts & Papal Treasures: The Franciscan Mission to China & Its Influence on the Art of the West, 1250-1350 – fascinating book.

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Branch and Fruit

In today’s first reading, the Prophet Isaiah is speaking to the people of Israel in the 8th century before Christ. In earlier verses, he has reminded them of their responsibilities as the qahal Yahweh, the people of God – their duties to the poor, the orphaned, the widows, and the strangers among them. In the verses that come immediately before our reading, Isaiah is quite clear that their enemies, the Assyrians, will be the means by which they are punished unless they repent of their ways and soften their hearts. Continue reading

Jesus and John

This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday of Advent in Lectionary Cycle A. As is the tradition of the Church, this Sunday and next prominently feature John the Baptist. The gospel reading is the scene in which John first appears in Matthew’s gospel with his singular message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Mt 3:2). It is the gospel in which Matthew says of John, “A voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’” (v.3) The former passage sounds as though more Lenten in tone with the latter passage quite suited to Advent. Continue reading

Active Waiting

This morning’s homily was posted earlier today…. but it was different than the one I actually gave at the morning Masses. That sometimes happens. A shorten version of what I gave can found here. But I also offer you the insight of Rev. Jim Harnish, the now retired pastor of Hyde Park United Methodist in Tampa. I offer the text of his thoughts below. You can find his blog here. His post today is titled: A Time for Active Waiting Continue reading