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Maria Kozakiewicz

Martyrs' robes washed in blood of the Lamb

Maria Kozakiewicz
April 4, 2016
Fourth Sunday in Easter
April 17, 2016

"These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Who are those "who have survived the time of great distress?" My first thoughts run towards persecuted Christians, especially those of our times. We read about them in the Christian press, rarely in the mass media. Their numbers are in the hundreds of thousands. Some names we know; others are known to God alone.

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Feeling of being sinless can surge up within

Maria Kozakiewicz
March 7, 2016
Fifth Sunday in Lent
March 13, 2016

Today's Gospel enriches us with one of the best known - and most misused - messages of Christianity: "Do not judge others. You are not sinless yourself." I have had it thrown in my face in countless discussions on hot moral topics. I must not speak against euthanasia or those who promote it because I am throwing stones at them. I must not speak against abortion and abortion providers because that means I judge them and "Christianity forbids judging." Jesus' words "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" are used as a gag, even by well-meaning people and devout churchgoers.

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God's call comes when least expected

Maria Kozakiewicz
January 25, 2016
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 7, 2016

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.

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Ancestral traditions shallow without foundation of faith

Maria Kozakiewicz
December 21, 2015
Christmas Midnight Mass
December 24, 2015

You will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." I need Christmas - as most of us do - and I need it in winter. We, dwellers of the Northern Hemisphere who have been slipping into darkness for weeks, crave light and joy.

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Christ the King will come to judge the earth

Maria Kozakiewicz
November 9, 2015
Christ the King
November 9, 2015

Where will I be when Christ the King will come in glory? Shall I be alive or long dead, come from the bottom of purgatory? Shall I be fair and full of joy – or weeping and “gnashing my teeth?” Will our misguided humanity be utterly lost and confused by that time or will it have regained its moral compass and faith? Will my small cross that hangs above my desk be a hidden and forbidden object, the Church hidden underground and words of Mass whispered in the light of one candle? All these questions have no answers.

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Tiny crucifix restores faith, soul

Maria Kozakiewicz
October 12, 2015
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 18, 2015

I have a little crucifix on the wall above my desk. Nothing much, some 15 cm high and made of plastic. I found it on a top shelf at a Goodwill store, where odd figurines, strangely shaped cups and plaster Christmas trees await an interested eye. The crucifix was almost invisible, as it lay flat between a large, colourful merry-go-round and a statuette of a wizard holding a glass bowl.

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Walking the Gospel's talk takes deep faith

Maria Kozakiewicz
August 30, 2015
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 13, 2015

One advantage of prolonged foreign travel is that you meet many new people. They sit by you as you wait for your plane. They ask to share your table in a crowded restaurant. They share the same bench in the park. And they talk. They tell you their life's stories, share with you their joys and sufferings. Should you, God forbid, end up in a hospital, you hear stories so personal that you might even be a bit shocked. In southern Europe, Italy included, people are far less reticent than in Canada. The same applies to my native Poland.

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Bread plays many roles in the biblical story

Maria Kozakiewicz
July 27, 2015
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 2, 2015

This Sunday's readings are all about bread. In our day, bread is maligned as a dangerous source of deadly carbs. But for at least 10,000 years, bread, as opposed to meat, was the food of civilized humans. Bread was the staple food of humanity and thus became a powerful symbol of goodness, plenty and also of home.

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Devil's linking God to death destroys faith

Maria Kozakiewicz
June 15, 2015
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 28, 2015

God did not make death nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. The devil is a persuasive liar. One of his greatest victories takes place when he persuades us that God is the source of death, that he sends death upon us. If accepted as an article of faith, the belief that "God made death" becomes a huge wrecking ball. I know many people who, having lost a parent or a beloved sibling, especially at an early age, turned their backs upon God permanently.

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The Spirit's truth brings new life

Maria Kozakiewicz
May 18, 2015
Pentecost
May 24, 2015

Pentecost is one of the most powerful and mysterious feasts in the liturgical calendar. It is also the least understood. Unlike Christmas and Easter, Pentecost lacks visual symbols that would make it easier to comprehend. It does not appeal to non-Christians, and thus (thankfully) it does not yield to commercialism. Pentecost is about what is "within" us, not "without." Can the unbelieving world capture the wind of the Spirit rushing through the world? Can even we, the baptized, visualize what really happens in the coming of the Spirit?

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