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From the category archives: Ralph Himsl

Ralph Himsl

Celebrate the virtue of each Advent week

Ralph Himsl

November 28, 2011
Second Sunday in Advent
December 4,2011

Some traditions assign particular, how shall I say – virtues to each Sunday in Advent: hope, peace, joy, love for each of the first to the fourth respectively.

Memory tells me that we mark the Third Sunday of Advent as Gaudete Sunday, quite in line with the tradition. As Catholics, we have a leaning toward historical roots that prefer Latin for an idea when we wish to assign it a special elegance. So we refer to the Third Sunday of Advent as Gaudete Sunday, always with the explanation, "Gaudete means rejoice".

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Make your life your living witness to God

Ralph Himsl

October 24, 2011
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 30, 2011

The Gospel readings for recent Sundays have Jesus engaged in discussions with priests, scribes, elders and Pharisees - community leaders in Jerusalem. He berates them in personal confrontations.

Even in their absence, as in today's Gospel, he discusses their failings in a forthright manner. He acknowledges their intimate knowledge of the law - the scribes for example, made copies of its texts and so knew them well. But their failure to live by its requirements drew Jesus' ire.

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God's vineyard demands righteous tending

Ralph Himsl

September 26, 2011
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 5, 2011

The English language and no doubt many languages have an expression that covers the trap implied in the words, "I don't mean to criticize, but . . ." The use of these words seeks forgiveness of those listening for what follows. I find myself about to step into that trap.

Today's Gospel plunges us into a serious discussion between Jesus and some Temple bigwigs, the chief priests and elders.

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Acquire the wisdom of humility in daily life

Ralph Himsl

August 29, 2011
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 4, 2011

In an earlier column on these pages, it proved desirable to refer to the work of the Anglo-American poet and 1948 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature T.S. Eliot, specifically, his words in Four Quartets, "The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless."

Those words read well and lofty. While I often measure the thought they express and admire the insight, my own day to day encounter with humility and wisdom has a simple, homely form.

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Reading the Bible inspires, reveals treasures

Ralph Himsl

July 4, 2011
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 3, 2011

Readers may remember when last fall, Pope Benedict encouraged us to read the Bible. As I remarked then on these pages, his urging came timely on for me and happily as I had not more than a month before started on that very mission.

Even so, it embarrassed me, because I should have done such reading long ago. I can almost hear a reproach - "And he calls himself a Catholic!"

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Ascension — Jesus sealing message of hope

Ralph Himsl

May 30, 2011
Ascension — June 5, 2011

Truth will out! And few better places for such an admission than in the text of an essay on the readings for Sunday Mass, you might say. Not a great truth though — merely an acknowledgement of a temptation to write a most trite introduction, "The feast of Ascension commemorates one of the most remarkable events in the life of Jesus."

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Love compels you to forgive sins

Ralph Himsl

April 25, 2011
Second Sunday in Easter — May 1, 2011

An age ago or perhaps even more than two, in the faraway city of Saskatoon, gleaming so brightly as it seemed on the Prairies, I sat in an audience transfixed by the speaker, James Mahoney, then bishop of the Diocese of Saskatoon.

Memory tells me that he spoke on the "three things that last" from 1 Corinthians 13.13, the justly famous faith, hope and love. He spoke for 35 minutes with insight, good sense and humour, without a glance at a note.

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Blind man has personal epiphany

Ralph Himsl

March 28, 2011

If we confine our acquaintance with the Gospels to the readings set out for the Masses, we run a risk of missing an interesting something, namely the difference in the writing style of the evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

By way of example: Reading the complete Gospel of Luke and that of John makes the point. Luke's Gospels, often so spare in their details can occasionally read like a police report, like a response to Sgt. Joe Friday's challenge to witnesses in Dragnet, that TV series of long ago. "All we want are the facts," he would growl.

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Abide by God’s will in all that you do

Ralph Himsl

February 28, 2011

The readings for this Sunday's Mass led me once more to a realization that I might have thought had long since found a secure place in my mind. I mean the understanding that biblical texts require an approach unlike that used by a reader of novels or history. Biblical texts want thought and meditation. Quick perusal with the smug satisfaction of a duty done and a dismissive "Well, that's it then," will not do. more . . .

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Let your light shine like a beacon for others

Ralph Himsl

January 31, 2011

Late last fall, I resolved to read the entire Bible, all 2,000 pages of the New and Old testaments. A seemingly daunting task even when taken in relatively small daily portions. Nevertheless, with last night's reading, I completed 300 pages, laying the book aside, a marker somewhere in the Book of Judges. more . . .

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