From the category archives: Columns

Maria Kozakiewicz

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
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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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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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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Innocent suffering helps save the world

Maria Kozakiewicz

January 26, 2015
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 8, 2015

I have just talked to my friend who works with severely handicapped children. One of them, a girl aged 13, died suddenly, after a life of cruel limitations and suffering. As my granddaughter is the same age, my heart trembled at the thought of what the girl's family must be going through. Suddenly this unknown child became very dear to me. The early teens is the most beautiful time of a child's growth, comparable with the budding of roses or gentle unfolding of leaves on trees in April. I thought about Job, the symbol of suffering, and also about another small girl, whose dresses, toys and other simple mementos I saw in a church in Rome.

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Pagan Magi retained a sense of wonder

Maria Kozakiewicz

December 29, 2014
January 4, 2014

The star of Bethlehem, which shines in the Gospel of Epiphany, has long puzzled me. The ancient pagans of both East and West believed in oracles, dreams and prophetic utterances. They believed that gods communicate with people through nature and that the stars are part of this mysterious language as they may predict events to come. Thousands of years before Jesus was born, sign interpretation became a specialized art. Most of it was obviously fraud. Popular forms of divination were rejected by the Jewish faith, although it admitted the existence of some God-inspired individuals and a few God-sent dreams.

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I am useless as a leveler of hills, filler of valleys

Maria Kozakiewicz

December 1, 2014
Second Sunday in Advent
December 7, 2014

When Advent comes with its message of "prepare the way for the Lord," I panic. Not because of the message of the final days. In my mind this vision is inseparable from expectation of rest, peace and joy – and the meeting with love incarnate. The levelling of hills and filling up of ditches is what worries me. In my life I see nothing but ditches and hills, not a bit of a smooth road built. How is Jesus to come to me through these thorny brambles? How will he cross the stagnant lake of my sloth? And, if I want him to come, where do I start? Is there a place where he will be able to set his foot in me?

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