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January 29, 2014
A few years ago, the Washington Post conducted an experiment in a Metro station in the nation's capitol. During morning rush hour, world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell, dressed in jeans, a tee shirt, and a baseball cap, played six exquisite classical pieces on his rare Stradivarius for 45-minutes. More than one thousand people rushed past him; only seven stopped to listen. A few tossed coins into his violin case. One of the conclusions from the experiment was that people were too busy and preoccupied to notice genius right in front of them.
January 22, 2014
Can you hear me now? A very clever cellular phone ad found a niche in the popular consciousness. Asked in varying situations, the question 'Can you hear me now?' suggested that, with this particular communication system, reception was good anywhere in the world. That is, of course, if you were open to receive the call. This all sounds like a vocation ad - not merely a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, but a vocation to a life of Christian ministry. In other words, God calls to all of us: 'Can you hear me now?' And, because God's communication system cannot be deterred by obstacles in buildings or by anything in the atmosphere, we will hear this call anywhere in the world, if we are open to it.
January 8, 2014

GRASPED BY GOD'S HAND

"I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people." (IS 42:6)

A frequently used technique in action films is a scene where a person is in danger, slipping off a cliff, or a building, or some other perilous perch. Someone grasps the person by the hand and desperately tries to pull him or her to safety. This is one of the images Isaiah gives us: God grasps the chosen servant by the hand and hangs on for dear life.

January 4, 2014

The title of today's feast "epiphany" means "manifestation" in Greek and we have to admit that the Gospel of Matthew illustrates this manifestation with a flourish. Today's feast is a filmmaker's delight because it is full of wonderful images...

December 26, 2013

On this Sunday after Christmas the Church celebrates the Holy Family. The Holy Family is, of course, Jesus, Mary and Joseph but in remembering this family of families, we also celebrate all families as sacred.

December 18, 2013

Theme: "Dare to Believe in the Impossible"

Birth announcements are usually good news, and therefore they are joyful! Family members and friends would send greetings and best wishes to the new parents. At "baby showers," women would gather to celebrate and give gifts to the expectant mother. Typical gifts related to babies include diapers, blankets, baby bottles, and toys. However, in this Sunday's gospel reading, Matthew's version of Jesus' birth announcement is noticeably stark and somber. It is filled with suspense and portends a possibly tragic outcome.

December 11, 2013

In Chapter 50 of Isaiah, the prophet says he has been given a well-trained tongue, to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. In this season of Advent, the readings we are given to hear today do indeed have words that rouse feelings and responses in us as we approach the great feast of the Incarnation at Christmas.

December 4, 2013

What is the relationship between the "peaceable kingdom" imaged in today's readings and our current urgent call to re-establish the ecological harmony that human actions have so profoundly damaged in recent years? There is a connection - but not a literal one. For example, take the line that says "the lion shall eat hay like the ox." As anyone who has ever had a cat around the house knows, felines may nibble a little grass here and there, but their digestive systems are made to thrive on meat. Cats are predators, built to hunt and kill for a living.

November 27, 2013
We are a Pilgrim People. At Thanksgiving time, when people in the United States hear the word 'pilgrim,' they immediately think of the Puritans who were some of the earliest European settlers of this country. However, the religious meaning of the word 'pilgrim' is often better understood in other countries, where pilgrimage is more a religious practice than a matter of migration. Many people make pilgrimages to Mexico to the shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe, or to Lourdes in France, or Fatima in Portugal. In fact, we read in the Pastoral Constitution of the Second Vatican Council that we are a pilgrim people. Just what does this mean?
November 20, 2013

ROYAL FORGIVENESS

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke 23:42)

In December 1997, Las Abejas, a group of forty-eight indigenous communities whose name means "the bees," came to the world's attention when forty-five of their members, mostly women and children, were murdered. They were killed by paramilitary troops while they were fasting and praying for peace in their rough-hewn wooden chapel in the village of Acteal, Mexico.