A Japanese parishioner of mine went on a tour of the Holy Land. His pilgrimage took him to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, where he was gazing with admiration at the people praying there so devoutly. Overcoming his shyness, my friend approached a man and asked politely if he came here often to pray before the holy stones. “I sure do,” replied the man.
It happened 30 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. I was visiting my family in the States after a 5-year stint in Japan. But now the holiday was over, tomorrow I would be returning to Nagasaki. We were having a farewell party with parents, brother and sister, and ten little nephews and nieces running about the house.
Great things can happen on mountain tops. And great things can happen on the plains below as well. Today’s gospel has great things happening in both places.
First, the mountain top. In a totally unexpected gesture, Jesus gives a brief glimpse of his full person to three of his disciples, Peter, James and John.
We live in a consumer-driven society. Happiness and life satisfaction are associated with having the latest device, seeing the latest movie, being the most popular on the various social media sites. All too often, though, when we attain these “status symbols,” we find that we are not quite as fulfilled as we thought we would be. Satisfaction and happiness still elude us until the next greatest thing comes our way.
One of the most extraordinary experiences of being a prayerful Christian is our engagement with the Holy Scriptures. Each of us has had that moment, whether sitting in church during a Sunday liturgy or weekday mass or praying with our personal Bibles, where the Scripture speaks a word to the very heart of our personal concerns.
The word of God is like a seed that falls on good ground that will yield a fruitful harvest. By using the imagery of a farmer whose seed falls on good and bad soil, Jesus offers us a meditation that can help us examine our consciences to see and understand what might be the condition of our receptivity to God’s word growing within us.
I try to listen intently whenever I listen to the Gospel being proclaimed. But whenever I hear the Carpenter of Nazareth telling a story about building a house on rock or making farm tools out of wood, my ears always perk up.
Who among us does not recognize the celebrated phrase of St Augustine from the opening paragraph of his Confessions: “You made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” (Confessions, I.1.1)?
Visiting the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., is a moving event. The magnitude and gravity of this disgrace against human dignity is symbolized by several displays that help the visitor understand the immensity of the horror...
In his encyclical on the Church as Mother and Teacher (Mater et Magistra), Pope St. Juan XXIII asked us to look at the world, to judge the circumstances in the light of the values of the gospel, and then to act so that the world is transformed into something closer to the reality of God’s plan. This process of See-Judge-Act is especially helpful as we celebrate today one of the great solemnities of the Church, the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi.
I have often heard priests say that Trinity Sunday is the most difficult Sunday of the year on which to preach! That has not been my experience at all during my 47 years of priestly ministry. I think that the problem is that many preachers focus on what the theologian Karl Rahner calls the immanent Trinity, that is the mystery of Godhead that God in Godself is. This mystery is excellent fodder for the ruminations of theologians but is not truly helpful “for us and for our salvation.”
Today we celebrate Pentecost. The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles describes the event for us: there was a noise like a strong diving wind and it filled the entire house. Tongues as of fire appeared and came to rest on those in the house. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak as the Spirit enabled them.
There are two points which I would like to share with you today, the Seventh Sunday of Easter. The first is how we are all connected and related to one another, as members of God’s family and particularly as Christians and Catholics, as members of the Church, the Body of Christ. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
Have you ever felt like an orphan? Maybe when a parent died, or when a friend died or left you? When my own mother died suddenly-she was sixty-four and I was thirty-three-it felt like the world ended. How could it go on? How could I go on without her?
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled.” (Jn 14:1) Don’t let them? Do I have control if my heart gets troubled or not?
It is easy for Jesus to say that I shouldn’t let my heart get troubled as I experience the death of a close relative or friend, as I myself have a serious ailment or I experience the serious sickness of someone close to me, as I deal with an addiction-my own or someone else’s, as I experience a divorce, as my parents are fighting, or as I am out of work. How can I prevent myself in these situations and many others from being troubled?
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” We have heard for ever that Jesus came to save us from our sins, but we cannot forget that that salvation includes having an abundant life. We need to keep focused on the goal of our salvation: LIFE, and ABUNDANT life!
About 15 years ago, I was on a cruise through the Greek Isles. It was a wonderful trip I was sharing with a fellow Augustinian friar. One day after the afternoon excursion, the Captain came on the loudspeaker saying our departure would be delayed due to the tragic death of a crew member who died in a car accident while on shore.
Growing up, my older brother and I would often spend weekend days in spring or summer doing yard work and landscaping at our home under the supervision of my father. Powerful memories stay with me from these times when, during really hot days, my father would remove his t-shirt and we would notice that both of his shoulders were strangely deformed...
Easter is the most important feast of the Church and world. As St. Paul says “If Christ is not risen from the dead, our faith is in vain.” Jesus rising from the tomb gave proof to all of His claims to be Son of God and Savior and Messiah.
Palm Sunday is, in a most profound way, a study in contrasts! It mirrors well, therefore, the sometimes conflicting, puzzling condition we find within ourselves, of which both Saint Paul and Saint Augustine speak so openly regarding their personal experience.