Agnes Beirne

Reflection – R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

……in humility regard others as better than yourselves.” 
(from today’s second reading)

It is hard to be humble when you are entitled.  If one learns that the Creator has chosen one group over all others and has also learned from the best science of that time that one half of the Chosen are meant to rule over the other half, then to be humble is even more difficult.  In the Bible these are familiar ideas.  The prayer of the Pharisee thanking God for his gifts was sincere, ...

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Reflection – The Mystery of Faith

James Cameron’s movie, “Aliens” is a good metaphor for many of the world’s great religions.  Near the beginning of the movie when the astronauts go into a cave to find the alien being their ship’s instruments had indicated while they were in orbit, they cannot find it.  We, the audience watching the movie, know they cannot see the monster because they are inside of it.  We cannot see our own Faith objectively because we are “inside” of it.  At least, we are inside of a community of ...

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Reflection – Inheritance

In the name of the Father

The first reading on this Trinity Sunday tells us about Moses on Mt. Sinai when he broke the cuneiform laws carved into tablets and transcribed, transformed and translated them onto papyrus.  In that same reading Moses gives a new name for God, the first “Lord”. ‘Lord’ in the reading, stands for the traditionally unspoken “I Am”.  Moses is stating a new First Commandment–“I Am Lord and God Almighty”.  

Those cuneiform tablets came with Abraham when he left his traditional home between the Tigris and Euphrates ...

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Reflection – Imagine

Imagine what it must have felt like for the apostles to follow behind Jesus entering Jerusalem as King David did, to the shouts and cheers of the crowds.  Finally He (and they) were being awarded the recognition and praise that the Christ deserved. HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST!  What was their understanding of the Christ?  I imagine that the picture most people had, and have, was much like this:  a triumphant conqueror who will put everything in the world to right.  He will get rid of the Romans.  ...

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This Little Light of Mine…

When we were children, we trooped up to kneel at the communion rail on the Feast of St. Blais for the priest to bless our throats with two crossed candles.  In Luke’s gospel reading we learn of a ritual that is no longer practiced.  Today is also Ground Hog Day, recalling what was once the Candlemas bear.  These things led me to reflect on rituals and the rules surrounding them.

Some years ago, I was looking after two children, a boy 10 and a girl 12, who were ...

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A New Beginning

When the Babylonians gathered the intellectual, spiritual and political leaders from various areas of Israel and settled them in Babylon, there was an unexpected result. Those descendants of the 12 sons of Jacob, thrown together by tragedy, shared with one another the various strands of the traditions, laws and histories since their ancestors left Egypt. The result of their collaboration is our Bible.

Biblical scholars call one of them “the Priestly Writer” and credit him for the great Creation Hymn, ...

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What is ordinary after Pentecost?

There are two version of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church. In one, (Acts 2:1-12) a roar of wind is heard outside the room and tongues of fire appear on the heads of the apostles. After, they go outside and preach to people of many nations and languages. In another version, (Jn 20:22-23) the Risen Christ appears to the apostles and breathes on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive, ...

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Figure It Out

My friend, Byron, wrote and successfully defended his PhD dissertation on the Apocalypse.  After he died, I was given a copy of his work, although before that, he had told me his understanding of what the Apocalypse or the Book of Revelation was all about.  There were two points that Byron made to me.  The first was that it was a message sent to particular Christian communities at a very definite time in history, a time when they had just survived a terrible persecution and were facing a new ...

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The Burning Bush

In this week’s first reading from Exodus, the voice in the burning bush said that I was known to your fathers as “God Almighty” but now “I Am Who I Am.” The sacred letters that form this new name of God, “YHWH” were so sacred that whenever these letters were read out loud they were replaced by the word which in English is “Lord.”

But in English we are not so reluctant to use these words. “I am…” is ...

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