Loving isn't too difficult, right? Many of us are surrounded by kind, lovely people trying to do the right thing. Indeed, to "love ? your neighbor as yourself" seems like it should be easy enough. Treat people like you would like to be treated. Bring the new neighbors some baked goods (normal and gluten-free, just in case). Chat with the bank teller about his holiday weekend. Write an occasional card to your sister "just because." There were probably varieties of these acts of kindness in Jesus' day. Perhaps substituting figs for cookies. But "exchange pleasantries with the traveling cloth merchant" isn't the example Jesus gives.
"A man fell victim to robbers... they stripped him and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead." The righteous pass by the scene of the dying man. The hero of the story is the one on the margins of Jewish society, who perhaps would not have been welcomed, in other circumstances, by the man now in the ditch. His neighborly love causes him to halt his journey, to tend wounds, and to pay for the man's care out of his own savings. Are we interruptible? Are we attentive to the hurts of others? Are we generous with our money and possessions?READ MORE
Have you ever heard that the Gospel is radical?
In our times, we hear that word and think of fundamentalists, radical activists, or extremists - people who go beyond limits to achieve their goals and may not consider themselves bound by normal propriety or morality. Their ethos might not be so different from James and John in today's Gospel. "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" This isn't so foreign to some of the stories of the Old Testament. Yet Jesus rebukes them. He won't be exacting in the way his contemporaries expected. There will be no radical rain down of fire and brimstone. Jesus is radical in another way: the call to discipleship.
"They all ate and were satisfied." Why read the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves this Sunday? Here we see the mystery of our physical and spiritual realities intermingling. Too often, they can feel separate. When we go to Mass, how often we appear more ordinarily human rather than stretching toward the divine.
Perhaps our experience of the Eucharist is fairly mundane. We notice when a new sacramental wine has been selected. We feel the varying textures of the host and wonder if they'll ever bring back the one that tasted distinctly like wheat. As we shuffle up to the front and stride back to our pew, we notice the looks on people's faces and the clothes on their backs. We get distracted by the crying child, the man blowing his nose, and the mechanical sound of the air conditioner kicking in. How human we are, how earth-bound, how material!READ MORE
If God is one, how can He be three? The most intelligent theologians have racked their brains over the problem, and the most prayerful ones have surrendered to the mystery. How it can be, we can't explain. But what it means, we can join! Our God is an ever-unfolding relationship. Theologians speak of the immanent and economic Trinity. The Trinity is immanent in the sense that the Persons are close and entirely sufficient within Godself. In other words, God doesn't require us for God to exist. The word economic is rooted in the Greek word for management of a household or family. TheREAD MORE
El Espíritu de Dios viene de la mano de la paz de Cristo y debemos recibirlo con el Corazón abierto. Antes de irse, Jesús les promete a sus discípulos que enviará al Espíritu Santo: "Y cuando venga él, el Espíritu de la Verdad, los guiará, en todos los caminos de la verdad". (Juan 16:13). Las personas tienen la experiencia que el Espíritu siempre deja huella, cambia la vida, y produce efectos. Así es que, algunos dicen: "abrí mi corazón al Espíritu Santo y cambio mi vida, ahora soy diferente. Menos egoísta, más justo con mí esposa y mis hijos". Hoy es el día que Dios regala su Espíritu al mundo, y a cada uno en particular.READ MORE
I travel a good bit, which means I am away from my wife and children for decent periods of time. But what makes it easier for me, besides being able to share the Good News of Jesus with people all over, is that I know I will not be gone forever. I will return, and then all will be well again. I have been called by God to be away from them at times, but God always brings me back to them.
Each liturgical year, we celebrate Jesus' ascension into heaven. The feast speaks much to who Jesus is theologically. But in a very practical way, we also acknowledge that he has gone to be with the Father, but will return someday. Just as I return after a conference or visit with a parish to those God has entrusted to me and I love, Jesus will return to those entrusted to him and whom he loves.READ MORE
We all face obstacles in life. Perhaps it's a lost job, the death of a loved one, a sudden accident that places an unexpected dent in our finances. Sometimes the challenges are of our own making. Perhaps we've developed patterns of sin in our personal lives or our family relationships. We've all felt the jolting shock of, "This is all my fault." How do these things affect our relationship with God? Or, perhaps more poignantly, how do we now view God's relationship to us?READ MORE
I am struck by how Jesus addresses the disciples in the 21st chapter of John. They have been fishing all night, and when the dawn comes, Jesus asks, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They hadn't caught a thing, so he tells them what to do to finally fill their nets. These children thought they knew best, but they couldn't get the job done until they listened to Jesus. Like a child who needs a parent, these early followers of Jesus were learning that real maturity of faith requires trusting in and listening to the Teacher.
The stewardship way of life demands of us a certain maturity of discipleship. Just as a child is not yet ready to be a parent, an immature disciple may not yet be ready to sacrifice regardless of the cost or understand the true value of his generosity. So every day, we are challenged and called to respond, sometimes even with little cost to ourselves. But each step, no matter how small, brings with it growth. We are growing not only in maturity, but in the ability to trust in God and how to listen for the call as well.READ MORE