Stories for the Right Column of the Columns Page
Lent reminds us all that we are on an interior journey that does not end until the day we die. This journey takes us through deserts. It is a journey that brings us into a battle with our ancient and sinister foe. It is a journey that ultimately leads to victory through the cross. I do not enjoy suffering. I do not enjoy the desert days where God's presence seems far away. I do not enjoy the internal battles when the powers of darkness cause temptation, stress and anxiety.
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It is pretty safe to say the Transfiguration was a mountaintop experience for the apostles. Peter, John and James literally went up the mountain with Jesus and saw things they could not have imagined: Christ's divine glory revealing itself in blinding light, impossible visitors and the voice of God proclaiming Jesus' true identity. The Transfiguration happens in the middle of Jesus performing great miracles, but it also happens between two of the times Jesus warns his apostles of his coming betrayal and death.
Twice over the past five years, 25 faith community leaders have come together through the Capital Region Housing Initiative to sign a public statement expressing their support for Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. In this statement, the faith leaders committed their faith communities "to find new and creative ways . . . to address the issues of homelessness and affordable housing in our communities." The churches and faith communities signing this statement have found different ways to put the words of this public commitment into action over the past five years.
Love isn't as popular as we want to think. This may not ring true at first. After all, doesn't our culture celebrate love? The Beatles' All You Need is Love is one of the most popular songs in history; Romeo and Juliet is probably Shakespeare's most popular play; and more and more people are supporting same-sex unions on the grounds that true love should conquer all. Indeed, today's Second Reading - "love is patient, love is kind" - is one of the most widely quoted passages of Scripture.
Today's Gospel recounts Simon hearing the words "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." The message is cryptic and unexpected. Simon was not even part of the crowd listening to Jesus. Jesus entered his boat uninvited when Simon was preparing to go home, frustrated after a night of futile fishing. His life changed forever the moment Jesus stepped into his boat. He became a disciple, a priest and, eventually, the first pope.
Pope Francis recently highlighted "efforts to bring world leaders together at COP21 in the search for new ways to confront climate change" as optimistic signs of a bright new future for humankind. The pope's World Day of Peace message on Jan. 1, entitled Overcome Indifference and Win Peace, cites different reasons for a hopeful future. But Canadian efforts to lower our carbon emissions are vastly more complicated depending on the province in which you live.