How Long?

Today someone asked me, referring to the recent events of Charlottesville and the WH response, “How long will this last?” It is a question that continues.

On March 25, 1965, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a crowd of 25,000 marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in support of voting rights for African-Americans. At the conclusion of the march, King delivered this speech, familiarly referred to as “How Long, Not Long.” The speech was defiant at times, referencing the violence that beset the movement at the time. In fact, a previous march on March 7 was met with a violent response from state troopers who beat and gassed marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. King’s speech makes it clear that the movement cannot be dissuaded after coming so far, encouraging the people to keep up the struggle. Continue reading

The Others: crossing over

Rahib_CanaaniteWomanA Framework to Understand Jesus’ Response. It is believed that the etymology of “Hebrew” comes from the Semitic root ‘apiru, which refers to those who cross over. It is an apt description when one considers the journeys of Abraham and Sarah, the travels of Jacob/Israel and his 12 sons, and the Exodus of the Jews to Israel – a narrative history of people who were “other” and yet willing to “cross over” because of the call of God. And paradoxically, the disciples are not willing to “cross over” to console this woman who is “other.” Continue reading

Between homilies…

In general, I enjoy the process of preparing a homily. I love Scripture and a large part of the preparation has to be to, again, dive into the text to connect it to the lives of those who will hear it. As “Fulfilled in Your Hearing” (US Bishops) notes: the purpose of a homily is the shine the light of the Gospel into the lives of the hearers. It is a noble purpose, but, alas, a human endeavor. Continue reading

Knowing Jesus

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” So said Pope Francis on June 15th of last year as part of a papal audience. But it is not original to Pope Francis; he is quoting St. Jerome, the great biblical scholar and translator from the late 4th and early 5th century. What about you? What is your comfort level with Sacred Scripture? Where would you place yourself on the scale? Continue reading

Summer Isn’t Over


Day 1: Choose to act mercifully.
Day 2: Share what you have with those in need.
Day 3: Seek out someone you can help.
Day 4: Choose loving words and actions.
Day 5: Let no one in your day feel ignored.
Day 6: Visit, call, or send a card to someone sick.
Day 7: Pick a bad habit and let it go.
Day 8: Pray for those who have died.
Day 9: Tell someone today’s Gospel message.
Day 10: Say something to someone feeling hopeless.
Day 11: Go to confession; ask forgiveness of your sins.
Day 12: Pick an “enemy” and pray for them.
Day 13: Say to someone, “I forgive you” and mean it.
Day 14: Say thank you to God and be joyful.
Day 15: Pray for one particular person.
Day 16: Do something extra nice for Mom.
Day 17: Speak out against injustice.
Day 18: Donate clothing to a shelter.
Day 19: Donate food to a food pantry.
Day 20: Extend a loving touch to heal a hurt.
Day 21: Do something unexpected and nice for Dad.
Day 22: Offer an act of kindness to someone suffering or
Day 23: Teach the Gospel by example.
Day 24: Be an instrument of peace .
Day 25: Be an instrument of pardon.
Day 26: Volunteer.
Day 27: Ask for forgiveness from someone.
Day 28: Find someone who needs a kind word.
Day 29: Share something with a friend.
Day 30: Write a thank you note.
Day 31: Say a prayer of gratitude to God for the last 30 days

What is it you believe?

There are many different scenes and settings in which this basic scenario can play out. Barbara Taylor Brown tells of a woman in her congregation who left church, her mind and attention already turned to many things. She did not notice a lost-looking man on the sidewalk staring up at the cross on the steeple. She excused herself and started to walk on her way when the man called to her, and, pointing to the doors of the church, asked, “What is it that you believe in there?” She started to answer and then was unsure of what to say, or how to say it, or if she should say it. After a long uncomfortable silence, the man said, “Sorry to have bothered you” and walked away. Continue reading

How do we know?

At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” (Mt 11:25-27)

The “wise and learned” are not named, but I suspect they are the folks in the towns mentioned in yesterday’s gospel: “Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!’”  Too wise and learned to be taken in by that huckster from Galilee. Continue reading

The harshest words

Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!” (Mt 11:20)

The opposition to Jesus’ ministry is beginning to grow. People are pushing back, asking for more signs, accusing Jesus of being in league with Satan, holding back refusing to believe, and all manner of other things. The division Jesus spoke about in yesterday’s gospel are becoming clear and present. In the midst of these encounters comes the ominous words: woe to you. Continue reading

Incredibly Special

In the 2004 movie, The Incredibles – and if you haven’t seen it… well, just stop reading this, go find a copy, and watch a great movie. Anyway, where was I…. there is a scene in the movie when Dash Parr, the super-powered speedster son of Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) and his wife Helen (Elastigirl), has just been told to hide his incredible speed and let the other kids have a chance at winning so that he can fit in and be normal. When Dash resists the suggestion noting that his speed makes him special, this dialogue ensues:

Helen/Elastigirl: “Everyone is special, Dash.”
Dash: “That’s just another way of saying no one is.” Continue reading