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From the category archives: Columns

Word Made Flesh

Pray, even when you cannot see the effects

Brett Fawcett
July 11/25, 2016
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 24, 2016

One thing we inevitably hear in the wake of great global tragedies and catastrophes is a lot of people telling the survivors that "our thoughts and prayers are with you." Lately, there's been another inevitable response: A chorus of people rejecting this, saying it isn't good enough. We need action, too, and, sometimes, people will even indignantly add: "Stop praying. God isn't doing anything." This may sound shocking and blasphemous to our ears, but we have to honestly consider the place where a retort like this could come from.

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Are we lucky to live in prosperous times?

Maria Kozakiewicz
July 25, 2016
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 31, 2016

"You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?" We all need a certain predictability to avoid major pitfalls in life. Still it is wise not to overdo the planning. Several people I know spare no effort to ensure they are in complete control of their lives. They live with pen and notebook in hand (or a laptop), and carefully plan their savings, investments and expenses. Everything they own is insured.

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God gives us his kingdom, and we rejoice

John Connelly
July 25, 2016
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 7, 2016

In this week's Gospel, the words of Jesus to his disciples should encourage us all: "Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom." We all have fears. Fear of death. Fear of being destitute. Fear of not being loved. Conscious fears and unconscious fears. I remember as a small child checking to make sure no monsters were hiding in my closet. I was afraid some unnamed fear was going to sneak up on me when I was alone.

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Our lives must be centered around Jesus

Kathleen Giffin
July 11, 2016
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 17, 2016

I've always been able to relate to Martha, the busy responsible sister. The story of Jesus' rebuke to her, in support of Mary who abdicates her responsibility to do her share in caring for guests, has long felt unfair to me. Yet at the same time I have great admiration for a friend of mine who has the capacity to be truly present to the people she is with, whether they are friends or strangers, even when that results in neglecting the job at hand.

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Pray, even when you cannot see the effects

Brett Fawcett
July 11, 2016
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 24, 2016

One thing we inevitably hear in the wake of great global tragedies and catastrophes is a lot of people telling the survivors that "our thoughts and prayers are with you." Lately, there's been another inevitable response: A chorus of people rejecting this, saying it isn't good enough. We need action, too, and, sometimes, people will even indignantly add: "Stop praying. God isn't doing anything." This may sound shocking and blasphemous to our ears, but we have to honestly consider the place where a retort like this could come from.

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Jesus walks with lambs in midst of wolves

John Connelly
June 27, 2016
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 3, 2016

In this week's Gospel, Jesus speaks these words to his disciples, "I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." This is an interesting image. Lambs are not normally sent among wolves. Wolves prey on lambs. They kill them and eat them. What is Jesus getting at? We live in a world filled with predators, a world where the innocent are preyed upon. A world where violence, abuse and war are considered normal.

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Salvation depends on grace of God

Lydia Cristini
June 27, 2016
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 10, 2016

The law and the heart; Jesus had a lot to say about this topic. Some of his harshest words were to the spiritual leaders of the day, who followed the law "perfectly" . . . and then used it as a stick to keep the rest of the people under a heavy burden. It is an easy trap to fall into: to feel like we earn our way into heaven by doing good. It creates a false sense of security, this belief that we can earn salvation. Then, when that happens, we often look down on people who do not follow the rules as properly as we do.

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The heart is an ever-bleeding wound

Brett Fawcett
June 13, 2016
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 19, 2016

Today's readings reminded me of when I recently witnessed someone snickering that a Catholic parish was named "Most Precious Blood." It was a good reminder of how counter-intuitive our redemption is: The Gospel defies the world by saying that life can come out of death. The First Reading describes how Jesus will be despised and rejected. Reformed theologian Jurgen Moltmann says that being despised is not the worst part; a successful person can handle being hated.

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Jesus gives freedom to be a 'failure'

Maria Kozakiewicz
June 13, 2016
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 26, 2016

Most of us fear poverty, especially in old age. Western Civilization is rooted in comfort of possessions and we instinctively strive to achieve it. Success in life is measured by what we own, not by what we are, because few people know what it means simply "to be." The standard minimum is a house with nice backyard, a good car, decent food and a vacation once in a while, preferably abroad. Not much - yet these things create our comfort zone. We tend to believe that this is what life owes us.

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Jesus wants to bring healing to our lives

Lydia Cristini
May 30, 2016
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 5, 2016

As someone who is fairly well acquainted with death, stories of Jesus bringing people back to life do not sit well with me. Perhaps it is because of a rash of deaths in the lives of several friends in the last six months. Perhaps it is because I would like to see people I love, again, even though they are long dead. Perhaps it is because they remind me of old hurts in my faith and prayer life when my 21-year-old friend died of cancer, despite a year's worth of prayers from many, many faithful people across our country.

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