Word and Worship Articles

  • The Advent blahs; living in the joy of the Gospel

    Advent: Time to figure out which Commandments I’ve been breaking and squeeze in confession before Christmas. Is that the message of today’s readings? Sure, that’s part of it. But primarily an announcement is being made. God is going to do something! Read More
  • No need to read any further; practice what you preach

    Some Sundays in church I sit and listen to the Scripture readings waiting for something to strike me, but nothing does. All of it is good and important, but nothing shouts, “This is meant for you here and now!” But today I only have to get to the beginning of the first reading: “You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt” (Ex 22:20). What could be more “here and now” than that? This year, two members of my parish have been deported — the father of one family, the Read More
  • Take this call; give God what belongs to him

    This week’s readings move along smoothly, up to a point. Isaiah looks forward to God giving a wonderful feast for everyone. The psalmist sings of God as his good shepherd. St. Paul rejoices in being able to do everything in God who strengthens him. You couldn’t find a more comforting set of Bible texts. Then we get to the Gospel. Read More
  • Simple but challenging logic; in a vineyard

    To get the message of today’s Gospel, ask the nearest 6-year-old. The logic of Jesus’ parable is simple: If you refuse to forgive someone for a small thing they did to you, how on earth can you expect God to forgive your sins against him? Sure, a biblical scholar could take us through the text and its background and illuminate some points. But in the end, we would come back to the same message. The challenge of the parable is not to the head but to the heart. I can ask myself: Who has hurt me? How deeply? What injuries Read More
  • God is kind, patient and generous with his children

    I had a conversation with a group of colleagues who also happened to be parents of young children, and we were sharing stories of various parenting techniques that we observed. A couple of techniques and characteristics stood out as both exemplary and very effective. “The Look” was high on our list. Read More
  • Navigating difficult times with the Lord’s help

    When in England, I went to visit my nephew Dominic. He lives in a group home with several other mentally challenged young adults. Dominic, with severe Down syndrome, has no speech. On this visit it was clear that Dominic recognized me and even reached out to touch me, something he never had done before. I was deeply moved. Walking back to the subway my memory took me back to the time when he was born. Read More
  • How has God been revealed to you?

    I was 19 when my cousin came to live with my family. He was just out of the Marines. He was not doing very well and was lost in many ways. When we were children we had been close, but it had been a few years since we had seen each other, and trying to re-establish our friendship was hard. To complicate things, my faith was becoming very important to me, and he rarely darkened the door of a church. Read More
  • How do you meet Jesus, hear the voice of God?

    I once served on a parish committee that was tasked with developing a comprehensive design for the interior of our new sanctuary. The idea was to plan the entire decor so that all the artistic elements combined — stained glass, statuary, wall decoration, crucifix — would create a meaningful space to enhance worship.   Read More
  • Responding to the Resurrection, experiencing God’s mercy

    I’ve long wondered why “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad,” was the responsorial psalm chosen for Easter, the most important celebration of the year for Christians. Not that there’s anything inappropriate in it, but I’ve always taken it to mean each day is a gift from God, so appreciate it. The verse just never seems momentous enough. Read More
  • Following Jesus, experiencing merciful healing

    Why are you a Christian? What is it that has causes you to follow a man who walked the earth about 2,000 years ago, never traveled too far from his home and died a criminal’s death? Why do you go to church on Sundays and, for that matter, why are you reading this column? Read More
  • Looking honestly at ourselves, experiencing Christ

    Was the original sin of Adam and Eve a matter of simply disobeying God’s command to not eat of a certain tree when tempted by a snake? Or was it a deeper issue: falling prey to the devil’s false promise that they could attain equality with God by partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Read More
  • Being a light to the world, using God’s gifts

    When Jesus tells his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth,” his metaphor may have evoked bad memories and feelings of horror. At the least, it may have seemed a puzzling statement. Under Roman domination, Jewish peasant farmers had to pay several annual taxes. Most burdensome were the Temple tax of half a shekel to Jerusalem authorities and property tax to local magistrates levied at a sizable percent of their agricultural produce. If they refused or were delinquent, Roman soldiers would cruelly salt their fields to destroy their livelihood. The threat was terrifying. Read More
  • Daily Readings

    Daily Scripture readings for the weeks of February 3 and 10, 2019. Read More
  • Working through darkness, struggling against obstacles

    In my work as the Catholic campus minister at a large state school, I spend a lot of time commiserating with college students about their futures. Some come to the university with a definite plan. They know their major, the list and order of classes needed for their degree and what internships will best put them on track to reach their goals. But alas, such college students are the exception, not the rule. Read More
  • Daily Reading

    Daily Scripture readings for the weeks of October 15 and 22. Read More
  • Pondering the birth of Christ, role of Mary

    Why does Christmas bring out the best in us? Powerful enough to induce a 24-hour cease-fire with music among combatants in World War I, the image of an innocent infant in a barnyard manger offering peace and hope to a broken world causes hearts to pause and consider the possibility. Read More
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