Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Word Made Flesh

God's storm is the pangs of a new birth

Brett Fawcett
June 15, 2015
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 14, 2015

Today's Gospel reading tells the familiar story of Jesus, asleep in the boat in the midst of a storm, awakened by his agitated apostles to calm the wind and the waves. Mark presumably recorded this story as a consolation to the persecuted Church, but what consolation are believers supposed to derive from it? Are we supposed to assume that Jesus will calm all the turbulent problems of our lives?

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Devil's linking God to death destroys faith

Maria Kozakiewicz
June 15, 2015
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 28, 2015

God did not make death nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. The devil is a persuasive liar. One of his greatest victories takes place when he persuades us that God is the source of death, that he sends death upon us. If accepted as an article of faith, the belief that "God made death" becomes a huge wrecking ball. I know many people who, having lost a parent or a beloved sibling, especially at an early age, turned their backs upon God permanently.

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Eucharistic presence transforms hearts

Lydia Cristini
June 1, 2015
Corpus Christi
June 7, 2015

Theoretically, the Eucharist is one of my favourite topics. Ever since I attended a Youth 2000 retreat the summer before my Grade 12 year, the Eucharist has been a central, if not the central, focus of my faith life. Until then, no one had told me the meaning of the wafer and wine I took at Mass, at least not in a way I really understood. At 17, when the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal told us about the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, it changed my life.

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We plant seeds and God makes them grow

Kathleen Giffin
June 1, 2015
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 14, 2015

We planted some seeds in the garden a few days ago, my granddaughter and I. She carefully laid the pea seeds one after another in a row all by herself. Together we scattered the tiny carrot and lettuce seeds. She has been over to the vegetable patch a few times since then to check on their progress; the spinach peeked through yesterday but still no sign of the peas, which of course she is most interested in.

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The Spirit's truth brings new life

Maria Kozakiewicz
May 18, 2015
Pentecost
May 24, 2015

Pentecost is one of the most powerful and mysterious feasts in the liturgical calendar. It is also the least understood. Unlike Christmas and Easter, Pentecost lacks visual symbols that would make it easier to comprehend. It does not appeal to non-Christians, and thus (thankfully) it does not yield to commercialism. Pentecost is about what is "within" us, not "without." Can the unbelieving world capture the wind of the Spirit rushing through the world? Can even we, the baptized, visualize what really happens in the coming of the Spirit?

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Holy Trinity is a feast for families, parishes

John Connelly
May 18, 2015
Trinity Sunday
May 31, 2015

All of us came from a family. Our family may have been less than perfect. It may have been broken or it may have seemed ideal. One thing is certain: Our family has a profound effect on us all. Authentic family life is one of the deepest longings of the human heart. This weekend we celebrate Trinity Sunday. This is a call to reflect on family. God is a family. A Trinity. Three distinct persons in one God. A communion of life and love.

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Laying down your life is the greatest love

Kathleen Giffin
May 4, 2014
Sixth Sunday in Easter
May 10, 2015

Yesterday I had a delightful time in my garden with my granddaughter, who is almost four. She wanted to know what she could eat from the garden, so we found the first of the spring chives and the early violets. Then we searched for other flowers, finding the crocuses that she picked to put in her playhouse and the February Daphne, which I don't think she quite figured out how to smell.

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After Jesus ascends, Spirit comes forth

Brett Fawcett
May 4, 2015
Ascension of the Lord
May 17, 2015

The skeptical philosopher Gotthold Lessing once wrote that it was impossible to know whether the miracles of Jesus, including the resurrection, had ever happened, since the historical distance between the events of the Gospels and our time is too great for us to have confidence in their accuracy. Lessing called this the "great ugly ditch" between us and Jesus which is impossible to cross. In today's reading from Acts, we hear that Jesus has, indeed, been taken "out of our sight." The disciples had asked him whether he was about to restore the kingdom, whether he was about to usher in the messianic golden age of global peace.

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Jesus has the heart of a good shepherd

John Connelly
April 20, 2015
Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 26, 2015

We truly understand Jesus when we see that he has a shepherd's heart. He is, as this week's Gospel tells us, the Good Shepherd. The merciful heart of Jesus is always oriented toward his sheep. His heart is focused on you, me and all his children. I remember watching a flock of sheep in a field shortly after my conversion. I walked up to the fence and observed them with fascination. I knew they had something to teach me about myself.

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Branches draw power from the vine

Lydia Cristini
April 20, 2015
Fifth Sunday in Easter
May 3, 2015

"Without me you can do nothing." The image of the vine and the branches in this Gospel is a familiar one. In John's usual style, it is both simple and profound. Jesus says we are completely dependent on him, and every good thing we do is because of him. This theme is echoed again and again in our faith; the Mass goes so far as telling us that the "desire to thank you is itself your gift." Even thanking God is a gift from God!

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