What will I do this year for Lent?

As I read this week’s gospel and hear Jesus’ counter-cultural instructions on how we should deal with the people God puts in our lives, I am reminded of one the biggest influences in my spiritual journey, Fr. Peter McKee.  When someone would ask him, “do you have a minute?” he would reply, “for you, I’ve got two.”  What a marvelous tone to set for the conversation to come.

Although this gospel comes up this year just prior to the season of Lent, it gives us a pretty ...

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The Ten Commandments

This week’s readings and gospel reflect the theme of the ten commandments. “Those who obey God’s laws will become great in the kingdom of God.”  It has been said that the Ten Commandments given by God are meant to protect His children from self-destruction; they are not harsh rules meant to enslave and oppress. They give us our boundaries; the boundaries that make our hearts pure and prevent self-destruction. 

Catholicism is a faith of rules and regulations.  Some people misunderstand our relationship with the church and our ...

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Stories of Faith, Bring Light in the Darkness

He was lying in a hospital bed on the palliative care unit.  His family was worried about his discomfort, his weakness and his approaching death.  His only concern was that everyone else would understand that there was nothing to fear. Where others were seeing the shadow of death, he was seeing the light of God’s promise; and he wanted to share that light. He asked if he could tell me a story that I could then tell to other people, so they would not be so ...

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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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Has Christ Been Divided?

Every year, the church designates the week of Jan. 18-25 as the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.” Coming so soon after the busy Christmas season, it rarely merits more than a mention in our General Intersessions. Last week’s snowstorm meant that few were able to hear even that. Today’s second reading from St. Paul, reminded me of last week’s importance and that the need to remind Christians to work together has been an issue since the church’s infancy. As long as humans have egos, and ...

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Light to the Nations

“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine …”

The new decade has not started well.  While January 1st dawned filled with hope and promise as all New Year’s seem to, much has happened in the few short weeks since to bring hope crashing down.  Australia continues to burn; three days into the year, an Iranian general is killed on orders from an American president, leading to the death of 176 innocent people; Puerto Rico is rocked by an earthquake causing untold damage ...

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Beloved and Enough

If you have had the privilege of visiting Israel, you may have seen the Jordan River and if you did, you may have noticed that the Jordan River is… unassuming, making it fitting that it would be the site where Jesus approached his cousin John demanding to be baptized.  The river resembles any number of small rivers and you might pass by without noticing it unless someone pointed it out to you. But this is the river in which Jesus was baptized, and where his ...

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On the Road Again

You may have noticed, or you will notice as you compare this Sunday’s gospel account with next Sunday’s, that the readings do not follow one another chronologically. In fact, they are in reverse. This Sunday’s gospel begins with “After the wise men left…” (Mt. 2:13 and following), but next Sunday’s gospel is about the arrival of the wise men (Mt. 2:1-12). I don’t know the entire reason historically or liturgically for this cart-before-the-horse reordering except to offer the following.

Copts (Coptic Christians primarily of Egypt) are ...

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Joseph – Our Model of Love

Seeing as we are in Year A of our three-year cycle of readings, most of our gospel proclamations will come from Matthew. As Matthew is one of the two gospels with infancy narratives (the other being Luke), we hear today of the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus. Unlike Luke, Matthew gives us no details of how Mary accepted the mission proposed to her by the angel to become pregnant via the Holy Spirit and to give birth ...

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Be Patient, Strengthen Your Hearts

This week, in the second reading from the Letter of Saint James, we are told to be “patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.”

“Being patient” is something we all have experienced. Patience is a hard discipline. It is ...

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