Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Word Made Flesh

Salvation depends on grace of God

Lydia Cristini
June 27, 2016
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 10, 2016

The law and the heart; Jesus had a lot to say about this topic. Some of his harshest words were to the spiritual leaders of the day, who followed the law "perfectly" . . . and then used it as a stick to keep the rest of the people under a heavy burden. It is an easy trap to fall into: to feel like we earn our way into heaven by doing good. It creates a false sense of security, this belief that we can earn salvation. Then, when that happens, we often look down on people who do not follow the rules as properly as we do.

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The heart is an ever-bleeding wound

Brett Fawcett
June 13, 2016
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 19, 2016

Today's readings reminded me of when I recently witnessed someone snickering that a Catholic parish was named "Most Precious Blood." It was a good reminder of how counter-intuitive our redemption is: The Gospel defies the world by saying that life can come out of death. The First Reading describes how Jesus will be despised and rejected. Reformed theologian Jurgen Moltmann says that being despised is not the worst part; a successful person can handle being hated.

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Jesus gives freedom to be a 'failure'

Maria Kozakiewicz
June 13, 2016
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 26, 2016

Most of us fear poverty, especially in old age. Western Civilization is rooted in comfort of possessions and we instinctively strive to achieve it. Success in life is measured by what we own, not by what we are, because few people know what it means simply "to be." The standard minimum is a house with nice backyard, a good car, decent food and a vacation once in a while, preferably abroad. Not much - yet these things create our comfort zone. We tend to believe that this is what life owes us.

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Jesus wants to bring healing to our lives

Lydia Cristini
May 30, 2016
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 5, 2016

As someone who is fairly well acquainted with death, stories of Jesus bringing people back to life do not sit well with me. Perhaps it is because of a rash of deaths in the lives of several friends in the last six months. Perhaps it is because I would like to see people I love, again, even though they are long dead. Perhaps it is because they remind me of old hurts in my faith and prayer life when my 21-year-old friend died of cancer, despite a year's worth of prayers from many, many faithful people across our country.

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Those forgiven much can love the deepest

Kathleen Giffin
May 30, 2016
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 12, 2016

Years ago I became friends with a man who had a deep faith. Early in our friendship, he told me how his life had changed from a self-indulgent way of living to a life with the vibrant faith that was now so evident. He had been raised a Christian, but like many of his generation had left his church as a young teenager to follow the ways of his culture and generation. As a young adult, he experienced a spiritual hunger and found himself exploring many spiritual paths, none of which brought any conviction or peace.

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In death, Cecilia showed belief in Trinity

Maria Kozakiewicz
May 16, 2016
Trinity Sunday
May 22, 2016

In an ancient, fifth-century Roman church in Trastevere lies the body of a young woman named Cecilia. Cecilia, a well-born, wealthy woman died because she would not renounce Christ. Her Roman persecutors tried to kill her discreetly, by suffocating her in her bath at home. The young woman survived and, while bearing the torture, sang. Finally, a soldier used his sword to cut her neck, but failed to kill her instantly. Her body was initially buried in the catacombs of St. Calixtus. After a few centuries, she was to be moved to the church in Trastevere.

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Live in God's kingdom by trusting Jesus

John Connelly
May 16, 2016
Body and Blood of Christ
May 29, 2016

I have been thinking lately about what it means to be powerless. If a car is powerless, it cannot move. If the power goes out in my house, I cannot use my appliances. We don't like the idea of not having any power. Money gives us personal power. Our media devices give us power. But Jesus says something amazing in the Gospel of John: "Without me, you can do nothing" (15.5). We should let that soak into the core of our being.

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Family's struggle a reminder of call to hope

Kathleen Giffin
May 2, 2016
Ascension
May 8, 2016

These last days I have spent a lot of my time thinking about and praying for a young family in our parish who are in great difficulty and uncertainty. Two weeks ago the father of two young children was in an accident which has resulted in a coma that is expected to continue for some time. While many signs point to a good recovery, there is also uncertainty and suffering, especially for his wife as she stays with him, day after day, praying for his healing.

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Love is the universal language of Pentecost

Brett Fawcett
May 2, 2016
Pentecost
May 15, 2016

Pentecost is an important and special time for me. I was raised in the Pentecostal Church, and my parents are both ordained Pentecostal ministers. On top of that, I received the sacrament of Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday. I remember being fascinated to discover that there were charismatic Catholics - people who prayed and worshipped the way that I was used to Evangelicals praying and worshipping, but who also loved Our Lady and the Eucharist.

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God will meet us in the present moment

John Connelly
April 18, 2016
Fifth Sunday of Easter
April 24, 2016

The scriptures constantly point us to life's spiritual dimension. This week's Second Reading from Revelation says, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more for the first things have passed away. And the one who was seated on the throne said, 'See, I am making all things new.'"

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