Pam Driedger

God Does Not Need My Vote

“Oh Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? … Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.” Whether it is news about environmental degradation, or about the undermining of the democratic process, news about migrants dying as they try to reach a place of safety or news about the violence in Yemen or Syria or Hong Kong, news about increases in gun violence in Toronto or about the recent spate of suicides ...

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Boast in Suffering? Seriously?

In today’s second reading Paul appears to celebrate suffering: “we boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character …” Working in the hospital, I come face to face with suffering on a daily basis; but I cannot recall ever meeting someone who was glad for the suffering. Occasionally, people talk about offering up the suffering; and sometimes I hear people quote today’s scripture passage and comment on the fact that they already have more than enough character. But that is as far ...

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Death and destruction will not have the final word

Monday Paris, accompanied by the world, watched as the Cathedral of Notre Dame burned. In those hours so much seemed to be swallowed by flames, not just a phenomenal piece of gothic architecture, but also a tangible promise of hope, continuity and resilience. News image after news image showed the faces of people looking lost, bewildered and devastated … and it struck me that once again the Cathedral was serving the purpose for which it was built. It was helping people experience the many layers of ...

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Choosing Love

Over and over again I meet people in the hospital whose pain cannot be alleviated by medications, because even though they feel it in their body, it is soul pain. It is the pain of being out of synch with the world in which they live, the pain that grips when an important relationship (with self, with others, with nature or with God) has been severely damaged and a person can see no way past the brokenness.

One of the peculiar characteristics of this kind of soul ...

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The Holy Family

For most of my life I have associated the Feast of the Holy Family with homilies that emphasize the value of the traditional nuclear family in today’s changing world. For this reason, I approached today’s scripture passages with the assumption that I would be writing about the importance of celebrating the gift of family as ...

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Hear, O Israel

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!” These words, known as the Shema are the centerpiece of Jewish morning and evening prayer and the focus of all biblical teaching. Because there is only one God we are told: “Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your ...

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Be Strong; Do Not Fear

All we need to do is spend a few minutes listening to the news, or perhaps checking our Facebook or Twitter feed and we will find reasons to be afraid: fires burning out of control; storms ravaging communities; unprecedented numbers of refugees; wars and threats of war; economic uncertainty; abuse within the community of faith; gun violence in “peaceful” neighborhoods; devastating illnesses … ...

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What are you doing your best to achieve?

At first glance, today’s second reading appears to have two contradictory messages. We are told that we must obey the commandments of Jesus or there is no truth in us; but we are also told that if we sin, Jesus will be our advocate, and what he has done through his death on the cross is already an atonement for anything that we might do. As I pondered this apparent contradiction, ...

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Will you kiss the leper clean?

Many years ago I entered the hospital room of an elderly lady who greeted me with the words, “you shouldn’t have gone to all that trouble for me. I’m so ashamed. I was always been a clean person.” It took me a moment to realize that she was embarrassed because I had to put on a mask, gown and gloves before entering her ...

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Tis the Season to Hold On

“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term …” The opening words to the reading from Isaiah, set the tone for all of today’s readings. They acknowledge that there is pain in the world and the path of our lives can be filled with obstacles, ...

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