Keep the Faith Going!

This week’s gospel reflects the importance of faith in our lives. It is a lesson about faith and reminds us that faith is sometimes found in unlikely places. Jesus commends the man, a Samaritan, for his faith, which has been his salvation.

The gospel made me think about the concept of faith. I had a very positive example of strong faith~ “living proof”~ in my mother. Her faith sustained her through many trials, early widowhood, health issues, the obstacles that ...

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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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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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When Life Gives You Lemons….

Today’s gospel includes an odd parable that had me confused for years. Why does Jesus seem to praise a scoundrel whose biggest concern is saving his own skin? Perhaps a bit of background about the culture of Jesus’ time may help to explain this parable.

It was common in Jesus’ day for landowners to lease out smaller plots of land to tenant farmers who were often too poor to own the land themselves. If the landowner owned several tracts of land, he might hire a ...

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A Parable, a Painting and a Book

Two Dutch people spring to mind whenever I hear the parable of the Prodigal Son – painter Rembrandt and priest Henri Nouwen.

In 1986, Fr. Henri Nouwen spent several hours gazing at Rembrandt’s painting The Return of the Prodigal Son at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. One of Rembrandt’s last paintings, it was painted, Nouwen says, “after a life of suffering.” First captivated by the painting when he spotted a replica of it on a poster in ...

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Autumn Renewal

Many people tell me they have mixed feelings about this time of year because even though they happily anticipate the artistic beauty of autumn, they know the cooler, shorter days foretell the arrival of winter and all that entails in New Brunswick…what Sr. Joyce Rupp calls an “unforgettable sacrament of absence.”  I have been avoiding even the thought of it for a couple of weeks now, but Summer 2019 is nearly over, leaving memories of long days spent with friends ...

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The Body and Blood of Christ

Today we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Like with any wonderful celebration, we serve food and beverages. Unlike any other celebration, what we share in food and drink isn’t elaborate, but ordinary. It is unbelievable to me that something as ordinary as bread becomes so extraordinary in task. We hear about meals being prepared and shared for people. We hear of Jesus feeding five thousand people with very limited resources. Throughout his journey, ...

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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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To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good

In the last several years, there has been a gradual change in how countries, and even individuals, define themselves and their place in the world. Policies that promote separation and “walls” show a tendency to divide humanity by defining one another as either “them” or “us” and having one objective in mind – to keep “them” out and to protect what is “ours.”  I’m not immune to this attitude even in my own life, as I find myself more adamant about protecting “my personal space” and “me ...

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Witnessing to a matter of interest

The Gospel we hear proclaimed today, and the first reading taken from the Acts of the Apostles, are like the conclusion of Part 1 and the beginning of Part II of Luke’s story.  We know that Luke wrote both the Gospel attributed to him and the Acts of the Apostles.  Throughout the liturgical year, the only time we hear from Acts in our Sunday liturgy is during the Easter season when it replaces the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) as the first reading.  It is the fledgling Church which ...

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