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From the category archives: Opinions

Kathleen Giffin

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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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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We see road to heaven; its beauty is hidden

Kathleen Giffin
March 23, 2014
Resurrection of the Lord
April 5, 2015

When our children were little, we continued an Easter morning tradition that was part of my childhood. Somewhere in the house the children would find the beginning of a trail of small Easter candies, and they would gather together and begin to follow the path. There were all kinds of rules: they couldn't run on ahead to see where the trail ended, they had to follow the trail, one candy at a time, picking them up one by one in turn, oldest to youngest, or youngest to oldest. The ones who were more capable would help those who needed direction, patiently helping them to gather their candy in turn, slowly moving along the path until all the candies were gathered.

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Difficult times can expose fire hazards

Kathleen Giffin

February 23, 2014
Second Sunday in Lent
March 1, 2015

My basement is ripped apart right now, stripped bare to concrete and studs. The catalyst was a flood just before Christmas that required the panelling and carpet to be ripped out. In the process, two significant fire hazards were discovered, one in some faulty wiring and another associated with the clothes dryer. Each had the potential to literally bring our house down. Neither was likely to have been discovered if not for the renovations we are now doing.

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Small gestures can fulfill yearning for love

Kathleen Giffin

January 12, 2014
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 25, 2015

Gordon Neufeld tells a story of meeting a young man who had extraordinary success in overcoming an early childhood of abuse and neglect. When asked what had sustained him to continue to choose life and goodness instead of the despair and self-destruction so typical of those who suffered as he had, he told this story: Someone had taken him to church once when he was young. He was sitting by the aisle when, at the end of Mass, the priest walked by in the closing procession.

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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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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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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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A bad memory hangs in my closet

Kathleen Giffin

September 22, 2014
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 28, 2014

Somewhere in the back of my closet is a small cream coloured sweater, the kind of thing you would wear over a summer dress to cover your shoulders if it is cool out. I've never worn it; yet there are certain memories attached to it that are uncomfortable to recall. I purchased it in a consignment store in Calgary a few years ago. I was there on one of my periodic "have to buy new clothes for work" shopping trips. I had gathered up quite a number of items, all with good prices, and was in the last consideration of what I was going to take and what I would leave behind when a new customer came into the small shop.

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Protect us from false words of reassurance

Kathleen Giffin

August 25, 2014
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 31, 2014

This Sunday's Gospel contains Matthew's account of one of Peter's famous stumbles. Jesus had revealed the great events that lay before him, that it was soon time for him to go up to Jerusalem and undergo his suffering, death and resurrection. Peter is scandalized by those words and says to Jesus, "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you."

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