Pope Francis on Divine Mercy

Here is the opening of Pope Francis’ homily on Divine Mercy Sunday. The gospel is the well-known account of the Sunday evening of the Resurrection: “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews…” It is the story we mostly remember as the story about “doubting Thomas.” But all the disciples were there. People who had heard the women’s account of having encountered the Risen Jesus. Perhaps the travelers to Emmaus had already returned. What they found was fear and locked doors. Continue reading

Easter Vigil – Pope’s Homily

“After the Sabbath” (Mt 28:1), the women went to the tomb. This is how the Gospel of this holy Vigil began: with the Sabbath. It is the day of the Easter Triduum that we tend to neglect as we eagerly await the passage from Friday’s cross to Easter Sunday’s Alleluia. This year however, we are experiencing, more than ever, the great silence of Holy Saturday. We can imagine ourselves in the position of the women on that day. They, like us, had before their eyes the drama of suffering, of an unexpected tragedy that happened all too suddenly. They had seen death and it weighed on their hearts. Pain was mixed with fear: would they suffer the same fate as the Master? Then too there was fear about the future and all that would need to be rebuilt. A painful memory, a hope cut short. For them, as for us, it was the darkest hour. Continue reading

The poverty of Lent

Here is another Lenten reflection question for you: What do St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis, and belonging have in common? It was almost six years ago, in March 2013, that Pope Francis famously, and perhaps controversially, said that he wanted a “poor church for the poor.” Not surprisingly, this raised an eyebrow or two. Many online commentaries excoriated the pope as an opponent of capitalism, socialist-in-religious clothing, or another South-American-reactionary-liberation theologian. Equally, many have concluded that Pope Francis wants Catholics to devote greater attention to poverty-alleviation social programs. Both miss the deeper meaning Pope Francis attaches to poverty. Continue reading

Lenten Advice

Every year, as Lent approaches, parishioners ask for advice: What should I do for Lent? I am always happy to help a sister or brother in Christ to make Lent a time of spiritual growth. Maybe this year you might want to “upgrade” your source of Lenten advice. Well, who better to pick for as your Lenten spiritual director than Pope Francis? Here is his advice for a Lenten period of deepening your spiritual life. Continue reading

Changing the Lord’s Prayer?

Recently, Pope Francis offered that the church should modify the translation of the “Our Father” to clear up the confusion around the phrase “lead us not into temptation.” “That is not a good translation,” the Pope said. The phrase in question appear in Matthew 6:13 and Luke 11:4 as μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν. The Greek verb for lead is “eisphero” and the original Greek word for testing or temptation is “peirasmos.” Continue reading

Pope Francis on Mary, Mother of God

popeHere is the full text of Pope Francis’s homily for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).  In these words, Luke describes the attitude with which Mary took in all that they had experienced in those days.  Far from trying to understand or master the situation, Mary is the woman who can treasure, that is to say, protect and guard in her heart, the passage of God in the life of his people.  Deep within, she had learned to listen to the heartbeat of her Son, and that in turn taught her, throughout her life, to discover God’s heartbeat in history.  She learned how to be a mother, and in that learning process she gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is to be a Son.  In Mary, the eternal Word not only became flesh, but also learned to recognize the maternal tenderness of God.  With Mary, the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise.  With Mary, he discovered himself a Son of God’s faithful people. Continue reading

Still working on it…

popeSeveral weeks ago I wrote “Not yet…” an article that acknowledged Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, the Joy of Love – and noted that I was glad people were asking me about it, but I needed time to read it, re-read it, and think about it. I can report that I have now read it, have re-read parts of it, and am still thinking about. What I can offer at this point is some thoughts from here and there – and offer them cautiously at that. Continue reading

Not yet….

popeTwo days ago, the 256-page, 60,000-word papal exhortation, The Joy of Love, was released to the waiting world. Since then, I have been asked for comments, quotes, opinions, and insight. Here is about all that I can respond: “Thanks for asking, but I haven’t had the chance to read it.” … or think about it, or pray about it, or muse about its content. So, have I read Pope Francis’ exhortation? Not yet. Continue reading

Being Christian

trump-and-pope-francisLast week there was a bit of an “exchange” between Pope Francis/ Vatican and Donald Trump/his campaign team. Someone asked me what I thought about it all. I had nothing to offer since it is my experience that the press accurately quotes the Pope but then again, any text without a context is generally a pretext for what one wanted to say in the first place. What did the Pope say, in context? The context was following the celebration of Mass at the US-Mexican border while returning to Rome. Keep in mind, this Pope has built his pastoral response to the world around the model of St. Francis’ compassion for the poor, suffering, or marginalized. His response should not have been too surprising. Pope Francis said, a “person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he says things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.” Continue reading

What?! Share My Faith?

This week’s post is from a Sacred Heart staff member, Ms. Jennifer Williams

quote-we-are-all-missionary-disciples-pope-francis-87-49-37Catholics, in general, are reluctant to talk about their faith in the presence of others. Why? It is easy to talk about church issues and controversies or moral values but not about our relationship with Christ or about how we recognize God’s action in our lives. It seems socially ungracious to “talk religion” around the water cooler or on the golf course or at the swimming pool. Maybe some Catholics have grown up without clear knowledge of their beliefs, and therefore, feel inadequate to explain or defend the faith. Others may feel that religion is a private matter. Continue reading