Stories for the Right Column of the Columns Page
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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"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!
Why are the psalms important for Christians?
I believe the Canadian government's decision to bomb ISIL terrorist targets in Syria is morally wrong, militarily counter-productive and legally dubious. Of course, Canada should "do something," as popular parlance puts it, to counter the appalling and abhorrent crimes perpetrated in Iraq and Syria by ISIS – the mass killings, sexual violence, slavery, forced displacement, and the destruction of holy and historic sites.
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.
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.
Does our faith influence how we live out our political values? Do the urgings of our faith communities help determine how we read the news, how we shop and how we live our lives? More specifically, when we enter the polling booth, do we know and accept the teachings of our faith so they influence where we finally decide to mark that "x"?