Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Word Made Flesh

After Jesus ascends, Spirit comes forth

Brett Fawcett
May 4, 2015
Ascension of the Lord
May 17, 2015

The skeptical philosopher Gotthold Lessing once wrote that it was impossible to know whether the miracles of Jesus, including the resurrection, had ever happened, since the historical distance between the events of the Gospels and our time is too great for us to have confidence in their accuracy. Lessing called this the "great ugly ditch" between us and Jesus which is impossible to cross. In today's reading from Acts, we hear that Jesus has, indeed, been taken "out of our sight." The disciples had asked him whether he was about to restore the kingdom, whether he was about to usher in the messianic golden age of global peace.

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Jesus has the heart of a good shepherd

John Connelly
April 20, 2015
Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 26, 2015

We truly understand Jesus when we see that he has a shepherd's heart. He is, as this week's Gospel tells us, the Good Shepherd. The merciful heart of Jesus is always oriented toward his sheep. His heart is focused on you, me and all his children. I remember watching a flock of sheep in a field shortly after my conversion. I walked up to the fence and observed them with fascination. I knew they had something to teach me about myself.

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Branches draw power from the vine

Lydia Cristini
April 20, 2015
Fifth Sunday in Easter
May 3, 2015

"Without me you can do nothing." The image of the vine and the branches in this Gospel is a familiar one. In John's usual style, it is both simple and profound. Jesus says we are completely dependent on him, and every good thing we do is because of him. This theme is echoed again and again in our faith; the Mass goes so far as telling us that the "desire to thank you is itself your gift." Even thanking God is a gift from God!

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In the moral life, we learn more about Jesus

Brett Fawcett
April 6, 2015
Divine Mercy Sunday
April 12, 2015

Every moral injunction in the New Testament should also be seen as a description of the character of Jesus Christ. Not only is the Christian moral life the imitation of Christ, it is also a journey of discovery about who Jesus really is. The more we grow morally, grow spiritually, grow in grace, the more we learn about Jesus Christ, precisely because we observe ourselves becoming more like him.

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Serving as Christ's disciple can mean paying a heavy price

Maria Kozakiewicz
April 6, 2015
Third Sunday of Easter
April 19, 2015

Peter is talking to a crowd, among which no doubt are those who had demanded that Jesus die. He is a witness to the death and resurrection of Christ. The people he is addressing can kill him or believe him. As he faces his inability to stay silent about the Saviour, and overcomes the natural fear of those who had already murdered once, he himself grows in faith to become the rock.

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We see road to heaven; its beauty is hidden

Kathleen Giffin
March 23, 2014
Resurrection of the Lord
April 5, 2015

When our children were little, we continued an Easter morning tradition that was part of my childhood. Somewhere in the house the children would find the beginning of a trail of small Easter candies, and they would gather together and begin to follow the path. There were all kinds of rules: they couldn't run on ahead to see where the trail ended, they had to follow the trail, one candy at a time, picking them up one by one in turn, oldest to youngest, or youngest to oldest. The ones who were more capable would help those who needed direction, patiently helping them to gather their candy in turn, slowly moving along the path until all the candies were gathered.

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In the midst of darkness, God's love shines forth

Maria Kozakiewicz
March 9, 2015
Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 15, 2015

This Sunday's readings can be frightening. When I read about the many transgressions of Jerusalem and the punishment that had to come and did come, I could not help thinking about our own times. If the Chosen People who did not know Jesus, who were not given the Holy Spirit, were so severely treated by God, what about us? We have the Gospels, the sacraments, the Holy Spirit and the 2,000-year tradition of the Church.

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Lenten renewal means taking the deep breath of prayer

John Connelly
March 9, 2015
Fifth Sunday in Lent
March 22, 2015

In this week's First Reading God gives insight into the call we all have. "I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts. . . . All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more." God's desire for all of us is intimacy. He wants us to know him. Not just to have ideas about him but to live in daily intimate communion.

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Difficult times can expose fire hazards

Kathleen Giffin

February 23, 2014
Second Sunday in Lent
March 1, 2015

My basement is ripped apart right now, stripped bare to concrete and studs. The catalyst was a flood just before Christmas that required the panelling and carpet to be ripped out. In the process, two significant fire hazards were discovered, one in some faulty wiring and another associated with the clothes dryer. Each had the potential to literally bring our house down. Neither was likely to have been discovered if not for the renovations we are now doing.

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God's law is more desirable than gold

Brett Fawcett

February 23, 2015
Third Sunday in Lent
March 8, 2015

It's easy to get to a point where we start to hear without hearing. How many times do we hear or recite the Our Father or the Hail Mary without paying attention to the fact that we're uttering meaningful words and not just a series of familiar, vaguely pleasant syllables? Perhaps the Ten Commandments, which we hear recited in today's First Reading, also falls into this category; how often do we stop and really read and reflect on those oft-heard ordinances when we see them hanging on a wall (usually on a poster in the shape of two tablets)? If we do ever stop and think about them, what is our reaction?

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