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Many people live and die without seriously reflecting on the most important issues of existence – what is a human person, what are the origins of good and evil, why must I make peace with those I have wronged, what is our ultimate destiny, can I make this world better, is there a God and, if so, how does he relate with humanity?
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Alberta's addiction and mental health system is doing a good job of providing resources for those in crisis situations, but is doing poorly in providing counselling, information and screening resources that would help prevent crises from developing. That is a main finding of a report by University of Alberta professor Cam Wild.
Most of us have done it and we've probably all had it done to us. Someone has something against you and, instead of talking to you directly, they report you to your superior. Today, we would call this dysfunctional communication. One might also call it a form of abuse.
The woman's words were desperate. Her baby was stillborn. She tried to reach her pastor to arrange burial for her infant and for whatever reason could not find him. Struggling with her grief, she called another parish clear across the city.
Sometimes while presiding at the Eucharist or preaching, I scan the faces in the front pews. What do they reveal? A few are eager, attentive, focused on what's happening. But a goodly number of faces, particularly among the young, speak of boredom, of dram duty and of a resignation that says: I have to be in the church just now, though I wish I was elsewhere.
As a child I never quite understood the meaning of Lent. It was clear in my young mind that it had something to do with brutal sacrifice. How else to explain giving up my beloved sweets for what seemed an immeasurably long period of time. I did try once or twice to convince my parents that giving up vegetables would be infinitely more useful and that it would save my mother needless cooking, but, mysteriously, they never supported my suggestion.
Two weeks ago, Judge Denny Thomas of the Court of Queen's Bench issued an unusual injunction which delayed implementation of Bill 46, the Public Service Salary Restraint Act, which had been hurriedly passed in the Alberta Legislature last December. This was the latest act in an ongoing drama of collective bargaining between the Alberta government and 22,000 provincial employees represented by the Alberta Union of Public Employees (AUPE).
I love Lent. All liturgical periods in the Church are full of wisdom, love and the beauty of God, but Lent, followed by Easter, is the summit of them all. It is the supreme homecoming for us, with the door thrown open to all by the Father. As migrant birds return to safety of familiar lakes and forests, we return to Jesus through the sacrament of Reconciliation. We become whole again.
All of my children, when they were young, enjoyed the game of jumping off a high place so they could be caught by their father. My granddaughter has refined the game a little. She, at two and a half, doesn't jump, she falls. She will stand on the counter while her father lies on the floor nearby and simply fall into that space above him, absolutely certain that he will catch her.
I have a question about St. Faustina's prayer: "Eternal Father, I offer you the body and blood, soul and divinity of your most beloved Son and Our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world."