Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Word Made Flesh

Following rules can bring life . . . or death

Lydia Cristini
April 18, 2016
Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 1, 2016

I have a friend who often gets on my case about all the "rules" of Catholicism: the ins and outs, the loopholes, the technicalities. For whatever reason, I know about a lot of these "rules," and my first reaction is almost always to defend them. They all come from somewhere; there's a reason for all of them. There's a reason we fast an hour before Communion; and what's wrong with knowing that if we have a good reason, we can ask for a dispensation from that fast from a priest? Nothing. There's nothing wrong with knowing that.

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Jesus returns to stir disciples' first love

Brett Fawcett
April 4, 2016
Third Sunday in Easter
April 10, 2016

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection and performs a familiar miracle: he asks them (commands them really, in that gentle way of inviting us to obey him that Jesus does) to throw their fishing nets back into the sea. Of course, once again, the nets fill up with fish, so many that they can't even pull the nets back into their boat. It's just like when Jesus first called his disciples and told them he would make them fishers of men.

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Martyrs' robes washed in blood of the Lamb

Maria Kozakiewicz
April 4, 2016
Fourth Sunday in Easter
April 17, 2016

"These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Who are those "who have survived the time of great distress?" My first thoughts run towards persecuted Christians, especially those of our times. We read about them in the Christian press, rarely in the mass media. Their numbers are in the hundreds of thousands. Some names we know; others are known to God alone.

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Fresh eyes, ears aid in renewal of faith

Lydia Cristini
March 21, 2016
Resurrection of the Lord
March 27, 2016

The resurrection: the most important event in human history. While this is true, it is also true that Christians talk about the resurrection a lot. We talk about it so much, in fact, that for some people, some of the time, it becomes ordinary or routine. "For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." Yeah, yeah, yeah.

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Receiving God's mercy, we pass it to others

Kathleen Giffin
March 21, 2016
Divine Mercy Sunday
April 3, 2016

The Second Sunday of Easter is a special day for all Catholics; in this Jubilee Year of Mercy we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. We have not long had this feast on our Church calendar; in 2000, our most recent year of jubilee, Pope John Paul II proclaimed this to be Divine Mercy Sunday. This jubilee year, it carries a greater significance for we celebrate it in the midst of a year set apart for us to reflect deeply on God's call to mercy and for us to become signs of mercy to the world.

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Feeling of being sinless can surge up within

Maria Kozakiewicz
March 7, 2016
Fifth Sunday in Lent
March 13, 2016

Today's Gospel enriches us with one of the best known - and most misused - messages of Christianity: "Do not judge others. You are not sinless yourself." I have had it thrown in my face in countless discussions on hot moral topics. I must not speak against euthanasia or those who promote it because I am throwing stones at them. I must not speak against abortion and abortion providers because that means I judge them and "Christianity forbids judging." Jesus' words "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" are used as a gag, even by well-meaning people and devout churchgoers.

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Meditate on your death in light of the cross

John Connelly
March 7, 2016
Palm Sunday
March 20, 2016

A great king does not ordinarily ride on the back of a common donkey. So the image of Jesus coming into Jerusalem in this way should cause us to reflect and pray. Jesus is a different kind of king. He is a king who comes with the most profound humility imaginable. He is a king who comes to suffers with us. He is the King of Mercy riding on a donkey into the lives of all who receive him. When I lived on a small farm in Radway, we had a donkey in the yard who would just stand there not doing much. I would go to the fence and talk to him, but he was stubbornly unimpressed and usually would not move.

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Jesus is the gardener of our souls

Kathleen Giffin
February 22, 2016
Sunday
February 28, 2016

The rhubarb patch in my garden began as a transplant from the one at my previous house; I dug up a piece when I moved and got it started in a part of the yard where I thought it would do well. Rhubarb can be slow to get established, so I was patient the first couple of years, knowing it needed time to spread and strengthen. But then I began to notice it simply wasn't doing what I had expected.

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Prodigal son offers a most selfish apology

Brett Fawcett
February 22, 2016
Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 6, 2016

The old confessional aides used to have the penitent ask herself questions like, "Have I omitted my daily prayers?" That sort of query has a legalistic ring to it, and it is probably not the right way to approach the subject, as though prayer is an onerous duty we need to clock in and fulfil every day. On the other hand, consider today's Gospel: the story of the prodigal son, which Charles Dickens is said to have called the greatest and most beautiful story ever told. But it has a painful (and realistic) edge.

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Jesus' cross calls us to battle against evil

John Connelly
February 8, 2016
First Sunday of Lent
February 14, 2016

Lent reminds us all that we are on an interior journey that does not end until the day we die. This journey takes us through deserts. It is a journey that brings us into a battle with our ancient and sinister foe. It is a journey that ultimately leads to victory through the cross. I do not enjoy suffering. I do not enjoy the desert days where God's presence seems far away. I do not enjoy the internal battles when the powers of darkness cause temptation, stress and anxiety.

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