Tag Archives: MBressler

Dismas: A Journey of Forgiveness

The only place I felt forgiven was in the Catholic church. The individual who expressed this sentiment is a convicted felon, a young man who served time and has continued to serve time through the seemingly never-ending punishments meted out by society after the door closes behind you on the way out of prison. I didn’t know much about returning citizens until three years ago when I joined a task force of Advocate for Justice, the Archdiocesan Social Action Collaborative. So often when we speak of the criminal justice system, we speak in terms of …

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Why Not Me?

“Why not me?” This is the response that a person I know gives to people who ask the big question about her incurable disease: Why is this happening to you? And, in fact, I think that her answer is really the only one that makes sense. Religions spend a great deal of time trying to explain why bad things happen to good people, and the answers are many and varied. Perhaps it is divine retribution. Or it is God teaching someone (the afflicted, the surrounding community, the world) a lesson. Maybe it is all part …

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The Morning Offering

My commute to work is not very long, less than ten minutes even if I miss all of the lights. It isn’t precisely what one would describe as a scenic drive, traversing down Madison Road through Oakley and into Madisonville. I pass businesses, stores, a very large megachurch complex, bowling alley, and the Children’s Home. Despite this mundane backdrop, I find this three mile drive to be often breathtakingly beautiful and inspiring. Generally speaking, I am on the road somewhere between 7 and 8. Depending on the time of year, the sun is somewhere over …

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The Call

When my children want to talk on the phone instead of sending a text message, I know something big is happening—and my first instinct is that bad news is coming. Earlier this summer, my younger daughter called to tell me she was engaged. I was so thrilled that she was delivering joyful news, especially as she had just gone through the experience of watching someone she loved die after a courageous battle with brain cancer. It was so wonderful to hear the joy in her voice. A conversation with my eldest son a few weeks …

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“The Poor You Will Always Have:” It’s Not A Prediction!

If I hear one more person take the phrase “The poor you will always have with you” out of context (almost always as an excuse to avoid asking the hard questions about poverty), I may have to scream. I have heard this statement used countless times as Jesus’ prediction of the state of the world. The poor will always and forever be here, so don’t worry about trying to eliminate poverty. It’s clearly God’s will.  Jesus said so. NO, HE DIDN’T!!!!! Please, read the entire sentence. What Jesus in Matthew 26: 11 said is, “The …

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The Word of God is Like…

When I teach my students at Xavier, we talk about the parables of Jesus and I always tell them that their potency is often lost on us because they were stories told to a culture that we no longer experience. We aren’t fishers or farmers in first century Palestine. We don’t have the same social mores. We don’t understand how the parables defied expectation and provoked thought.  Here is my attempt at a modern day parable that occurred to me as I was driving to work on this lovely spring day. There was a homeowner …

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What Does This Say About God?

I ask my students at Xavier this question fairly regularly. When we read various creation stories, some of them quite bloody and violent and compare them to the accounts in Genesis. When we talk about the stories of the birth and crucifixion of Jesus. When we talk about suffering. What kind of God do we believe in? I get the impression that many people take a pretty dark view of God. They seem to think that bad things happen because God wants them to. God is teaching us a lesson or punishing us or testing …

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Rounding Third and Heading for Home

This year, opening day fell the day after Easter. Two events that serve as harbingers of spring—no matter what the weather is—in the closest possible proximity. They are days that give us hope that winter will be ending sooner than later and that the long, hot days of summer can’t be far off.  (I personally am much fonder of heat than cold, so this is a time of celebration for many reasons.) For me, this time of year also signaled that I am in the home stretch of my “initiation” into life at a new …

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An Oasis During Lent

A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of a week’s vacation in Costa Rica. This was hardly a sacrificial experience for the 2nd week of Lent, as I played in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean with my oldest daughter and two granddaughters, lounged on the huge verandah, and fell asleep to the cacophony of what sounded like a million tropical insects. We did eat modestly. Beans and rice were on the menu for dinner most nights. The area where we stayed is far from the tourist centers, and so the small local …

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Weddings Are A Day; Marriages Are For Life.

There are scads of television shows related to weddings. In most of them, it would appear that the groom is little more than accessory—someone to provide an accent to the bride, who is the star of the show. God certainly doesn’t seem to play much of a role in these affairs. When I watch these shows I wonder how long the actual marriages last. If the entire focus is on creating one perfect day, how much attention is being given to the days, weeks, months and years that follow?  I wonder if these young couples …

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