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.
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?