Power Or Service

Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.  You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 10:21-22 On this Feast of St. Stephen we find ourselves somewhat[read more]

Waiting in the Dark

Thus says the Lord God: / Lo, I am sending my messenger / to prepare the way before me. Malachi 3:1 Yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening with my cousin and his wife.  To be with them is always an extraordinarily enriching experience, and one filled with significant, and so enjoyable, conversation.  They have[read more]

Prayer and Breaking Through

Today’s readings, as we spiritually await the coming of God into our lives and world, may give us pause. The messenger of God, who announces to the barren wife of Manoa and to childless Zechariah the great gift of a longed-for child, comes to them as “fearsome” or “terrible.” In the case of Zechariah the immediate effect of this visitation is that he is struck mute, unable to speak. He is quite literally unable to communicate in speech the experience of God’s messenger he has undergone.[read more]

Getting Beyond Ourselves

Matthew’s infancy narrative uniquely features the figure of Joseph at its center. So little is revealed about him, and yet, as we approach the end of Advent and the coming of Christmas, he challenges us to awaken to the Divine presence, activity, and call in our own lives. No matter what our intentions each year, the final days before Christmas inevitably have about them a sense of the hectic and compressed. There never seems to be enough time to do all that must be done in preparation for the coming celebration. So caught do we become in the stress of[read more]

Living Formatively

Given his audience, Matthew begins his gospel by asserting the credentials of Jesus as the long awaited Messiah. This is not unlike the practice throughout antiquity of introducing a god through his or her lineage. The later gospel of John will begin with Jesus’ Divine lineage, but for Matthew it is vital to establish that Jesus is indeed the longed for and promised Messiah. For us, however, the lineage of Jesus is a reminder of the Divine and human interaction through which the Kingdom of God is revealed. It includes men and women of every stripe and experience. Their lives,[read more]

Overcoming Disconnection

Reading today in Matthew of yet another lack of communication between the chief priests and the elders and Jesus is a reminder of how difficult true communication and connection is for us. The longer we live out our experience of life the more we savor the moments of true communication and communion and the more we suffer so often when we remain at a distance and disconnected from others, even those we most desire to know and be known by.[read more]

Knowing the Way

“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” Matthew 11:18-19 Most of us are[read more]

Our Lady of Guadalupe

“With her dark skin and Indian features, the Lady offered an image of divine compassion for a demoralized people.  Speaking to Juan Diego in his own language, she presented herself in terms of compassion and solidarity, not power and domination.  Through him, she called the Church to heed the voice of the poor, to serve[read more]

Rest For Our Souls

At the parish where I attend Sunday liturgy, there is a custom of a member of the parish giving a brief personal reflection after communion during Advent. Last Sunday the woman who is often the leader of song at the Saturday evening mass spoke. She has a very good and strong voice, and there is a joy and vibrancy in her singing that is unmistakable. She began her reflection with a question she is often asked which is why do you seem so joyful as you sing. She mentioned that this is due in part to her basically joyful disposition[read more]