More precious than gold

Just last Friday, the first reading was from the Letter of James, in which he admonished the faithful to endure: “Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered” (James 5:11). In yesterday’s first reading we listened to the opening passage from the First Letter of Peter: “although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials” (1 Peter 1:6). And today we hear the letter’s continuation. Continue reading

Are we there yet?

The familiar complaint and plea from the backseat of a long road trip – or what seems long to the one voicing the inquiry. And the longer the destination looms in an unclear and uncertain future, the more mischief blossoms in the back seat. “He’s touching me” / “she on my side, make her move over / “they won’t let me sit by the window.”  It is not the jealousy, envy, malicious slander, and defamation that James has been admonishing the community about, but it bubbles up from the same source. Continue reading

Until the end

This week all the first readings are from the Letter to James. The book is less letter and far more a work akin to the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament. Consider the opening of James which is from the first reading for today: “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) Continue reading

You just don’t get it

ADULT-MOTHER-DAUGHTER-TALKINGEver been in a conversation with someone – usually not an easy conversation – when the other person, exasperated with you, the conversation, or whatever just blurts out, “You just don’t get it, do you?”  ….and there it is… the end of the conversation.  Just a few words, well delivered that can kill  conversations or end relationships.

I suspect that along with exasperation, it can often be delivered with the characteristics that St. Paul warns us about: “all bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, reviling [and] malice must be removed from you.” We might well add to his list: “You just don’t get it, do you?”  None of the above fulfills the proposal to “be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” Continue reading

The grace to persevere

Eight years ago, the Mars Chocolate North America company wanted to rejuvenate their product line of candy bars. Their creative partner, the global firm BBDO, helped them to launch a national campaign with the basic message: “you are not you when you’re hungry.” The television advertisements were wildly popular with stars such as Betty White and Aretha Franklin appearing in them. In all the tv spots the person just wasn’t themselves until a concerned fried offered them a candy bar. The Aretha Franklin spot always cracked me up. On a long cross-country drive one of the backseat passengers is complaining about everything – and while doing so appears to be Ms. Franklin. The backseat companion encourages the complainer to eat a candy bar because “When you’re hungry you turn into a diva.”  Continue reading

In Maria’s wake

In thinking about this morning’s gospel, I begun to muse about the women in Jesus’ life and public ministry. The ones mentioned today, the ones at the foot of the cross, the ones who helped to grow and sustain the nascent Christian church. I have always wondered if those at the foot of the cross – those who witnessed the horrific death of Jesus – saw the Resurrection with different eyes and heart. Was it different to have been at Gethsemane, run away, heard about the crucifixion, and then be there in the upper room to witness to the resurrected Jesus? Was it different from those who saw the fullness of His suffering and death and to experience in their hearts what it truly meant to conquer death? Continue reading

Incredibly Special

In the 2004 movie, The Incredibles – and if you haven’t seen it… well, just stop reading this, go find a copy, and watch a great movie. Anyway, where was I…. there is a scene in the movie when Dash Parr, the super-powered speedster son of Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) and his wife Helen (Elastigirl), has just been told to hide his incredible speed and let the other kids have a chance at winning so that he can fit in and be normal. When Dash resists the suggestion noting that his speed makes him special, this dialogue ensues:

Helen/Elastigirl: “Everyone is special, Dash.”
Dash: “That’s just another way of saying no one is.” Continue reading