The first act of the apostles after Jesus’ Ascension was to find a replacement for Judas. Of all the things they could do, they chose to focus their attention on finding a twelfth apostle. Why? Twelve was a very significant number to the Jews, representing completeness. There were twelve tribes of Israel, so if the disciples of Jesus were to symbolize a new Israel capable of evangelizing the whole world, a twelfth apostle was needed. But Jesus had chosen the original twelve. Now that he was gone, how would they know whom to choose? In …Read More.
To say goodbye is the hardest thing… but in order to heal, we have to let go of grief and move on. We have to come out of the shadows and embrace the Light. GETTING STUCK IN PAIN When my father passed away in 2006, I got stuck at the foot of the Cross – crushed by the pain of losing my Dad, strangely finding comfort in Christ’s sacrifice. I had been performing “I Thirst” concerts – a powerful musical portrayal of the Crucifixion story – and with each note, each line, I’d get deeper …Read More.
It’s a Friday in Lent and two Catholics go to a local Fish Fry. We’ll call one Mary and the other Joseph. At first glance, the two don’t seem very different. Both were baptized as infants; both attended 12 years of Catholic schooling. The difference is that Mary attends Mass each weekend; Joseph attends infrequently. A recent study (see Sherry Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, especially pp. 43-44) indicates that the most significant predictor of whether a Catholic attends Mass each weekend or not depends on how the person answers this one question: Do you believe …Read More.
One of the most challenging, most exciting and most meaningful of the “jobs” I did as a Director of Religious Education for the thirty years that I was in that profession was working with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). It was a process for those who were exploring entrance into the Catholic Church that lasted as least nine months and for some longer. During that time those in this process listened to presentations on Catholic doctrine/teaching, asked questions and discussed the answers with sponsors, catechists and among themselves, and slowly discerned whether …Read More.
Typically, when I ponder the event of the Annunciation, I spend much time considering Mary’s act of faith in light of my own struggles with trust. I presume I am not alone in this way of thinking about the events recounted in Luke 1. However, today I would like to expand this reflection: 1. The “yes” that came first. Before Mary uttered her “fiat,” God was at work. This Fact is worth serious consideration and should surprise us. The struggle with sin following the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, the constant turning to idolatry, …Read More.
Luke 9:24-25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself? What are you living your life for? What is the purpose? If it is to satisfy your ego…it is to satisfy your “false self.” As I have said in the past, “ego” stands for: “Edge God Out.” The false self will never be satisfied. It subsists on a program for “happiness” set up in childhood in which every whim and …Read More.
February 23, 2014: 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles. Give to the …Read More.
February 16, 2014: 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37 Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom …Read More.
February 9, 2014: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Gospel: Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. …Read More.
January 19, 2014: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Gospel: John 1:29-34 John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from …Read More.