Stories for the Left Column of the Columns Page
When Peter and other disciples were brought before the council because they had broken orders not to speak about Jesus, it was the Pharisee Gamaliel who saved their hides. "I tell you," Gamaliel said, "keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this understanding is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them – in that case you may even be found fighting against God" (Acts 5.38-39).
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The May 5 Alberta election is one significant opportunity for the baptized to assume their role as prophets and bring Catholic ideals to play in the public realm. A Catholic vote and other participation in the electoral process should express, not one's self-interest or personal tastes, but the values by which we are called to live our faith. Our actions should flow out of the great commandment – to love God and love our neighbour. Like God who is partial to the poor and marginalized, our first thought should be for those excluded from the vast benefits of living in our blessed society.
Always outspoken, a man who stayed close to home, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte was never seen as a likely candidate for pope. It must then have brought him a quiet chuckle when one of his closest friends among the cardinals – Jorge Mario Bergoglio – was elected to the papacy. The style of the two was similar – close to the people, especially the poor, willing to shoot from the hip, advocates of Church social teaching and no interest in playing Church politics.
One major theological disturbance of the 20th century was the undermining of belief in Jesus' resurrection from the dead. For too many, the meaning of the resurrection is not that Jesus rose from the dead but that his life challenges Christians to live more authentically. What matters, from this point of view, is not whether the corpse of Jesus remains in the tomb, but whether his spirit lives on in us.
One key fact not noticed in reports about Pope Francis' declaration of the Holy Year of Mercy is that it will coincide almost exactly with Year C in the Sunday Lectionary, the Year of St. Luke's Gospel. It begins Dec. 8 and will conclude on the feast of Christ the King, Nov. 20, 2016. Luke gives us the Gospel of mercy, a matter which Pope Francis will no doubt emphasize throughout the holy year.
Assisted suicide is now one of the main political issues facing Canada, yet the federal government will not discuss it. The Feb. 6 Supreme Court of Canada decision gave Parliament one year to pass a law to ensure mentally competent adults who suffer intolerably and permanently are able to take their own lives with a doctor's assistance.
The town was shocked! A young man was arrested in my community of Beaumont on terrorism-related charges. The story has been widely reported. According to one news source, the 17-year-old youth was charged with "attempting to leave Canada with the intention of joining the terrorist group ISIS to commit murder." Townsfolk could not believe that something like this could possibly touch our quiet family-oriented community. What were we to make of it?