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From the category archives: Word Made Flesh

Word Made Flesh

God calls us to follow his mysterious plan

Kathleen Giffin

December 15, 2014
Fourth Sunday in Advent
December 21, 2014

Last night I watched Madi, my three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, help set the table. She clutched her little handful of forks, and walked around the table carefully reaching up to place one beside each plate. Of course, we didn't need her to help, but giving her the job is a step on the way to more responsibility, and it makes her feel as though she is important in the family, that she can contribute and do her share. It was lovely to watch, this meticulous and careful fork placement, and it got me thinking about my role in God's work. Just as Madi can't grasp the full breadth of what is involved in making the meal I had cooked, so I am also not aware of all the ways God is at work in accomplishing the good in which I am so graciously given a role as helper.

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Shepherds' plight is keen reminder of why Jesus came

Brett Fawcett

December 15, 2014
Christmas Midnight Mass
December 25, 2014

When we hear the familiar Nativity story from Luke's Gospel, we often forget that the shepherds who heard the angels' message went back to being shepherds afterwards. They may have had a privileged, beatific, empowering encounter with the newborn Messiah; they may have been some of the first evangelists in history; they surely left the experience with a newfound joy that swallowed up all other emotions they felt for days thereafter. But, when all was said and done, they went back to being shepherds.

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I am useless as a leveler of hills, filler of valleys

Maria Kozakiewicz

December 1, 2014
Second Sunday in Advent
December 7, 2014

When Advent comes with its message of "prepare the way for the Lord," I panic. Not because of the message of the final days. In my mind this vision is inseparable from expectation of rest, peace and joy – and the meeting with love incarnate. The levelling of hills and filling up of ditches is what worries me. In my life I see nothing but ditches and hills, not a bit of a smooth road built. How is Jesus to come to me through these thorny brambles? How will he cross the stagnant lake of my sloth? And, if I want him to come, where do I start? Is there a place where he will be able to set his foot in me?

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Ask the Spirit to guide you in your struggles

John Connelly

December 1, 2014
Third Sunday in Advent
December 14, 2014

In this week's Second Reading St. Paul offers these inspired words, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5.17). Imagine if we actually did this. What if we all made prayer the continual focus of our lives? It is easy to say that everything we do is prayer. But we can dig deeper into this mystery of constant prayer. The Catholic Catechism says, "Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: If we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin. How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from him?" (2744).

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Clear criteria divide sheep from goats

Kathleen Giffin

November 17, 2014
Christ the King
November 23, 2014

With the feast of Christ the King, we come to the end of the liturgical year and our last consideration of end things before returning to the expectation of Advent. The separation of the sheep from the goats, the Gospel passage chosen for this year, is the most sobering and challenging of Scriptures. It is Matthew's account of the final judgment and the criteria that will divide all people between those who will enter God's kingdom and those who will go to endless suffering. It is a simple criterion; either we respond to those in need, to those who suffer, or we don't. We either have compassion that is put into action to the extent we are able or we don't.

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God 'comes down to reveal his weakness

Brett Fawcett

November 17, 2014
First Sunday of Advent
November 30, 2014

p>Today is New Year's Day, liturgically speaking. November is when the Church looks forward the Second Coming, and now we leave this time of preparation to enter another one, Advent, where our eager anticipation of Christ's second Advent becomes a meditation on those who longingly waited for his first one. This expectation is expressed in the First Reading. Isaiah cries out, "O, that you would tear the heavens and come down," and reveal "your presence" to the whole earth. There are two ways that someone can beg God to "come down" and reveal himself. One is a demand that God vindicate himself, that he come out of hiding and prove to his enemies that he is who he says he is.

 

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Roman basilica a sign of emperor's gratitude

Maria Kozakiewicz

November 3, 2014
Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
November 9, 2014

The huge Lateran Basilica whose anniversary of dedication we celebrate this Sunday has a long, interesting history. bA nice villa once stood there. Then, beginning in the second century, the land housed the barracks of the imper-ial cavalry bodyguard. The end of the third century and start of the fourth saw the most cruel and massive persecutions of Christians ever. Hundreds of thousands died in horrible ways because they refused to renounce Jesus. The Church seemed to be dying.

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Talents to be used for Christ's mission

John Connelly

November 3, 2014
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 16, 2014

Talents. We all have them. Some are used, some undeveloped, some buried completely. The parable of the talents reminds us we are here for a purpose. Are we living the mission we are created to live? Are we using our talents to shine the light of Christ in our world today? All of us have probably wondered if the life we are living is the one we are destined to live. We question God and question ourselves.

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Love lets you live outside the law

Kathleen Giffin

October 20, 2014
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 26, 2014

Several years ago I attended a presentation by Christopher West on the theology of the body. At one point he asked an audience member if he wanted to murder his wife. Everyone laughed and the man said no, he didn't want to murder his wife. Whereupon West said, "Then you don't need the law to prevent you from murdering your wife." The point, of course, is that the "law" is there to keep us conformed to God's ways when our heart is not yet in conformity with God's ways. When our heart and mind is in union with God, we no longer need the law to tell us what to do.

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Loved one's death can shake a person's faith

Brett Fawcett

October 20, 2014
All Souls' Day
November 2, 2014

Many devout believers in God have had their faith severely shaken by the death of a loved one. Even the great Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, almost lost his faith when his wife died of cancer. It can be hard to believe that a God of love would allow us to experience something as cruel as grief. Yet grief is not a sin, even when it causes us to doubt God's goodness. Indeed, in our First Reading from Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah bluntly expresses this sort of tortured grief over the destruction of Jerusalem and the massacre of the Jews.

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