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.
Stones are good things. They lend themselves to sturdy construction. They keep foundations secure amidst the storms. They hold back the torrent of water that may cause flood and destruction. Stones can be life savers. Bread, too, is good. It nourishes, it delights, it satiates. Our lives consist of both stones and bread...
“Do not judge by appearance….not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.” [1 Sam. 16]
We often hear the word “grace” used in religious conversation and may wonder what grace really is.
Drawing water from the well was a commonplace task for women in the time of Jesus, a daily, almost tedious repetition of going to the well, bringing water home, and doing the household chores, day after day after day. And would she be given any recognition for this, any approbation, or involved in a meaningful conversation about her opinion?
Every year, on the second Sunday of Lent, we recount the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountaintop. We hear that Jesus “takes leave of” the busy and demanding activity of his ministry and steps away to devote time to prayer.
One of my Augustinian brothers had a favorite saying. I’m not sure of the origin nor the author of this statement but it is certainly appropriate for the beginning of the Lenten season. The saying is: “O God of new beginnings and second chances, here I am again.” So here we are again in the Lenten season, engaging ourselves with the challenge of the gospel.
“My LORD has forgotten me?” - It is so easy for a person to feel abandoned by God. You likely know, as do I, people who feel God has wronged them, has “forsaken” them due to financial strains, health issues, or the death of a loved one. You likely know people who experience God as the very reason for their suffering or oppression. It is easy to feel forsaken.
Human wisdom can design a machine to illuminate the darkest of earth’s night sky, yet God’s wisdom can shine upon the soul, and transform a human heart. And those are the moments when the voice of Wisdom cries out all around us, for that Wisdom is the grace of God. But yet, at times, does it not feel that God’s wisdom fails to translate into our lived experience?
Free to Choose - Right from the beginning of creation, there were choices to be made by us humans. Arguably, the greatest gift we’ve been given by God is our free will. Despite not always using it well, we really wouldn’t be human without free will, would we?
One of the greatest pilgrimage sites in the world today is that of Lourdes, France. Every year, five million people of all faiths and backgrounds travel to this southern French town to pray at the grotto where Mary, the Mother of God, appeared in 1858 to a young peasant girl, now St. Bernadette Soubirous. Since March 1, 1858, the Church has recognized 65 miracles at Lourdes.
When the prophet Zephaniah speaks of the “humble and lowly,” he refers to the remnant of Israel who would be left after the day of the Lord’s wrath as a sign. They seek God and justice, and keep the Covenant alive as they await the Messiah. They are the ones that represent the hope of the future...
A text from the story of the Apostles affirms that “in God we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). But one wonders how this translates into an experience of faith, how this becomes a reality in our relationship with God. Today’s gospel gives us a glimpse into it while Jesus, passing by, speaks just a couple of words to some people and they followed him
One of our teachers at St. Augustine Prep in New Jersey recently posted on Facebook: “Today I was asked why I bother teaching Theology. I responded that I am a beggar who teaches other beggars where the bread is. That’s why!” Our theology teacher, like many of us, understands his part in pointing others to Christ.
Over the years we reminisce about our childhood and the “magical” season of Christmas. We pestered our parents to tell us one-more-time the story of the Wise Men (Magi) coming from far distant lands in search of a king foretold by the stars. Many could not wait until their parents set-up the family crèche. Each day throughout Advent we would move the Wise Men a little closer to the cave where the baby Jesus would appear on Christmas day.
One of my fondest childhood memories is of my Dad teaching me how to ride a bike on the church parking lot. In retrospect, a paved venue was probably a poor choice, considering the number of times I came in sudden contact with the ground, and also given that this was well before the days of protective headwear. Still, it was a wonderful experience...
Among my favorite Christmas stories is one that has little direct connection to Bethlehem or angels and shepherds, or carols or even Hallmark movies. Rather, it’s an episode from the television series “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Raymond, the favored son of the family, decides to give his parents the gift of a toaster for Christmas, inscribed with a message of love from his wife, his children and himself.
We have heard these words so many times we may overlook the significance of what they mean. The birth of Jesus came about because of the cooperation of ordinary human beings. We know that Mary was an ordinary young girl - chosen to do extraordinary things - but she was still ordinary in the sense that she was of the usual stock and family and characteristics of her time. Joseph, too, was an ordinary, hard-working laborer, a well-respected member of the community but definitely an “ordinary Joe” of his day. Both were rather remarkable for their “unremarkableness.”