Brennan Manning tells the following story which he calls “The Signature of Jesus”: An elderly man meditated each morning on the bank of the Ganges River. One morning as he finished his prayers and opened his eyes, he saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the water.
It was the last week of Jesus’ life. Some Greek Gentiles, sincere folks who had been attracted by the faith and practices of Judaism, had witnessed Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem and wanted to hear more. They approached Philip, one of the few apostles who spoke Greek, and said: “Sir, we would like to see Jesus!”
If we could travel in time, I would take us back 2000 years to the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus. What we would find would be that coins were minted by hand. Each coin started off as a round slug of a precious metal like bronze, silver or gold.
Today, we are presented with two mysteries. The first mystery is the Lord transfigured: Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets, the culmination of salvation history, the apex of God’s plan to draw all things to Himself, shining forth in glory as much as earthly light allows and human eye can accept.
The second mystery involves the apostles.
No sooner was the glory of the hour of the Baptism over than there came the battle of the temptations. It was the Spirit who thrust Jesus out into the wilderness for the testing time. The very Spirit who came upon him at his Baptism now drove him out for the test.
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.
A good question to ask ourselves this morning is, Where will these palms be in a month? Where will they be in two months? Will we find them three months from now as we pack for vacation, stuffed under the car seat, dry and cracked? Will we find them four months from now, perhaps carefully folded into the shape of a cross, tucked into the junk drawer or fallen behind a bedroom bureau?
On this 5th Sunday of Lent, we hear a very familiar story in the gospel of John, known to us as “the woman caught in adultery.” The first thing that comes to mind might be that Jesus is the victim of a trap by the religious leaders. They think they have him right where they want him – in a quandary from which he cannot escape.
The grand parable of the prodigal son describes, in splendid narrative detail, God’s mercy toward sinners. Somehow it summarizes the good news of the Gospel and is so central to the Christian imagination that readers and listeners throughout the ages have been profoundly touched by the story.
Last summer, I found myself with a few of our friars at a place I never really thought I’d be interested in visiting, thinking that it would be boring. After expressing a bit of hesitation, I was convinced, invited to strongly reconsider, to accompany them to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. Now, I certainly love nature and experience beauty in creation...
“It changed my life.” Think of those words. Ask yourself, “What would it take to change my life?” A winning lottery ticket? A better job? A surgical procedure? A new set of friends? If books and the internet are reliable guides, “What would it take to change my life?” is a popular question...
We are all engulfed in the electoral campaign where every two or three days a new poll is published to show the ups and downs of each candidate. Every few days, or at most each week, a new analysis is presented showing who is rising and who is falling in the public’s imagination. We get snapshots, short snippets of reality...