Columns

Mercy is a verb more than a noun

Lasha Morningstar
May 4, 2015

Hearts sang when they heard Pope Francis proclaim 2015-16 extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. Mercy, said the pope, is "the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sins." If ever this world needed mercy, it is now. Usually this word means someone who has power over another forgives, gives the person who has done an alleged wrong, a second, maybe even a third or fourth chance.

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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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Mom taught mercy and compassion

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May 4, 2015

If my dad was drawn like a magnet to the book of Proverbs – pithy bits of wisdom about how to live a better life – Mom's centre of gravity was in the Gospel of Luke. All those stories about accepting Samaritans, seeking the lost and welcoming the prodigal were right up her alley. Hers was the Jesus who said "Be merciful just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6.36) more than the Jesus who said, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 6.48). If you wanted to be perfect, that was OK with her, but you had to be merciful.

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A symbol's history can reveal surprising meanings

Dr. Gerry Turcotte
May 4, 2015

It's hard to imagine getting through our daily lives without symbols. Few in the western world would fail to recognize a bright red octagon and not know it meant "Stop!" It's perhaps why there are so many funny additions to the sign. My favourites include the prankster who wrote "in the name of love" on one, or the person in a country town who crossed out "stop" and wrote "Whoa!" Not all symbols are as universally understood, however, and many have lost or changed their meaning over time.

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Churches, religious orders oppose carbon pollution

Joe Gunn
May 4, 2015

There are a plethora of responses to the climate crisis. What is your church doing, what policies are best and how can you support these efforts? In April, 75 Church leaders and lay people took part in the Église Verte/Green Church conference, after 25,000 people protested carbon pollution in Quebec's streets. The conference declaration, signed by Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), stated, "We question our energy overconsumption and our dependence on oil, which drives industry to meet this demand. . . . We are concerned about the growth of transportation of fossil fuels over vast territories. . . .

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Human spirit yearns for relationship with divine Spirit

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April 20, 2015

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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After crucifixion, rise and go forth into Galilee

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

April 20, 2015

Everything that's good eventually gets scapegoated and crucified. How? By that curious, perverse dictate somehow innate within human life that assures that there's always someone or something that cannot leave well enough alone, but, for reasons of its own, must hunt down and lash out at what's good. What's good, what's of God, will always, at some point, be misunderstood, envied, hated, pursued, falsely accused and eventually nailed to some cross. Every body of Christ inevitably suffers the same fate as Jesus, death through misunderstanding, ignorance and jealousy.

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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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Catholics called to play prophetic role in Alberta's electoral process

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April 20, 2015

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.

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Physicians should be allowed to follow their consciences

Lasha Morningstar
April 20, 2015

Be aware, dear reader. You might have to come to the defence of your doctor. Take a look at what is happening to Catholic, Christian and other doctors who are pro-life in Ontario. Their governing body, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, told them if a patient asks for a procedure they are unwilling to do because of their personal and/or religious ethics, they must refer the patient to someone they know will do the procedure.

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