For Sunday, April 23, 2017,
2nd Sunday of Easter
1 Peter 1:3-9
All of the happenings in our world have people very concerned and worried. Whether its chemical weaponry, suicide bombers, religious persecution, or just violence in general, people—especially those who possess some kind of faith—are wondering what is God doing about all of this? Asking where God is when we experience hurtful and frightening things is normal. It may appear at first that God is deaf to our concerns, lacking empathy for our fears and suffering. Depending upon where people are on their faith journey, this apparent absence of God can easily lead them into a doubt where they begin to question the existence of God altogether.
For Sunday, April 16, 2017,
Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
John 20:1-9 or Matthew 28:1-10 or Luke 24:13-35
Our responsorial psalm sings: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” Easter is a time that invites rejoicing, gladness, and celebration, even when our life events might not feel so joyful, happy, or worth celebrating. But isn’t that what the Resurrection of the Lord is all about? From death, God raised Jesus to new life. From arrest, false accusation, and crucifixion, God brought about freedom, truth, and an empty tomb. From sin and darkness, God made possible reconciliation and light. We celebrate a paradox today, but the paradox reveals the mystery that God does not give evil the last word. God’s unconditional, merciful love wins the day, and the dark nights of our lives. Offered to us all, we are asked to respond by clearing out the old yeast of malice, wickedness, sin, and darkness, to let God bake us into the bread of kindness, goodness, forgiveness, and light. This is the day to rejoice and be glad. This is a day for hope. (more…)
For Sunday, April 09, 2017, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Human suffering cascades into our homes with the consistency of spilled oil. We can never seem to clean it up and the frustration leaves us sad and, most the time, feeling helpless. Beyond writing congressional representatives, contributing to charitable outreach and praying, we can’t escape the menacing cloud of knowing that half our brothers and sisters in the world are struggling with starvation, war, disease, or homelessness. I pray that we do not become immune to it all, but realize that those big starving eyes affect all of us and the entire world.
There is an incredible loneliness attached to suffering. In my last year of undergraduate work at a small Midwest Catholic women’s college, the Franciscan leadership reached out to Dr. Sterling Stuckey, now a professor of history at the University of California–Riverside, to teach a class in Black History. It was in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement and we were enthusiastic to find out more about the surge of justice that called us forth. Dr. Stuckey, facing an audience of well-mannered young white women, held back nothing. He taught black history with a passion and a fury that brought the reality of the slaves right to our study niches where we poured over the material. (more…)
For Sunday, April 02, 2017, 5th Sunday of Lent
John 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45
We are familiar with the story of how God created the first man, Adam. After forming him from clay, he blew into his nostrils the gift of life. This is different from the way God created any of the animals or any of the plants. By giving Adam his very breath, God was sharing his life with him. Breath is life. We are aware that someone is alive if he or she is breathing. To stop breathing—or to be unable to breathe—is to die.
The word “spirit” is closely related to the word for breath. We call breathing “respiration.” To stop breathing or to breathe out is to “expire.” Both of those words are related to the word for “spirit.” In this way we can understand the Holy Spirit to be the breath of God, the life of God. We have that life not only because we have been created by God, but also through the gift of faith. Through baptism and confirmation, in particular, God breathes the Holy Spirit into us. God shares with us his very life. (more…)
For Sunday, March 26, 2017, 4th Sunday of Lent
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
John 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
It’s a Miracle! Man Born Blind Can Now See!
Earlier today a man, blind from birth, encountered the man they call Jesus of Nazareth and apparently now he can see! It was Jesus who stopped and spoke to the man, rubbed clay on his eyes, and then instructed him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. Like magic, the blind man then could suddenly see! Of course, some of the authorities spoke out in dismay since this so-called healing took place on the Sabbath. Even his parents had very little to comment out of fear of repercussions. However, what’s the bottom line? Man born blind now can see!
Fake news for sure! Like my mother always said, “If a story is too good to be true, it probably is.” There are just so many fake news stories nowadays it can be very difficult knowing truth from fiction. We need to be very careful. (more…)
For Sunday, March 19, 2017, 3rd Sunday of Lent
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
John 4:5-42 or 5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42
As Ash Wednesday approaches each year, one of the first questions we Catholics ask is, “What should I give up for Lent?” And it’s a fair question because, as we know, penance is a traditional part of our Lenten observance.
So, how do you or your family and friends answer this question? Do you give up social media? Television? Chocolate or another favorite food? Soft drinks, coffee, or alcohol? While it’s true that taking a break from any of those can be good for us, we also have to ask ourselves if these sacrifices are really helping us to grow in our lives as Christians.
It’s important to remember that our word “Lent” comes from the Old English word for “springtime.” This gives us a wonderful insight into what the days between Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday are all about: a season when faith and the virtues of the Christian life grow and flower within our hearts and souls. (more…)
For Sunday, March 12, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Lent
2 Timothy 1:8b-10
Hidden Figures is a box office success! After the blunders at the Oscars, one could wonder if there wasn’t another in the omission of Hidden Figures. Perhaps there should be a category for the most “inspiring film.” The story of three brilliant black women mathematicians and their pivotal contributions to the NASA program encourages all to look beyond externals, to look beyond accepted stereotypes and prejudices, to think outside the box. Isn’t this a much needed message in our post-election world? (more…)
For Sunday, March 5, 2017, 1st Sunday of Lent
Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Romans 5:12-19 or 12, 17-19
Who do you trust? In his book, Soul Cravings, Erwin McManus tells an exceptional story about his two-year-old son getting caught crawling up the stairs. During one of his escapades, the father caught his son midway up the stairs and firmly told him to get down. In a normal two-year-old manner, the child exclaimed, “Daddy, carry me.” This interaction continued for a while and McManus remarks, “Then it happened. I never would have expected it. It took me entirely by surprise. He jumped.” McManus reached out his hands and caught his son. (more…)
For Sunday, February 26, 2017, 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Jesus tells us not to worry or be anxious at least four times in today’s Gospel. I don’t know about you but I find these words easier said than done. When deadlines loom or money seems short or I have done things I wish I could take back, I worry. Will I have enough time to finish this project? Will I have enough money to pay my bills? Will the person I’ve hurt forgive me? (more…)
For Sunday, February 19, 2017, 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time
There has been a surge of attention given to the WWII vets who are fast dying off. The remnant who are healthy enough are being taken in Honor Flights to the Washington DC WWII National War Memorial where their buses deposit their frail bodies. These gentlemen and women either walk or are wheeled to the negative pool where they can remember their contribution to America’s freedom. The large pavilion pillars marking the battle sites where many watched their buddies die, rise high into an open sky. It is all so surreal. Usually a state senator meets the vets to offer the gratitude of the country. After a lunch down in the district, they are flown back to their home state with awakened memories of harder days when the skies were blackened by grenades and gunfire. (more…)