Thursday, December 4, 2014

Glad Tidings

Have a good time!  Not a wish that many would expect from God or from religion. I'm reading a presentation of the Catholic faith that complains about how dreary we have made religion seem.  Advent is a perfect time to celebrate the pleasure and happiness that God wants for us.  The story of Jesus is named "Gospel," "Good News."  Twice in one verse of Sunday's first reading from Isaiah the prophet announces  "glad tidings."  The angel that appears to the shepherds at Bethlehem says, "I bring you good news of great joy."  In the name of God, let's have a good time!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Good News?

Why is the absolute failure of the disciples good news?  ("Gospel" and "Good News" translate the same Greek word.) The great Scripture scholar, Father Raymond Brown, says, "The mystery of Mark's Gospel is that God succeeds and accomplishes his purpose amidst human failure."  Throughout Mark's story about Jesus, his disciples just don't get it, yet Jesus does what he came to do because he loves them and us. 
It is truly Good News that God doesn't count on us.  Too often we see "Gospel" as requiring a lot of effort on our part.  It's Good News because it doesn't set limits to our lives; it expands them. Jesus is the one who does the work.  The Gospel is not about being good or bad.  It's about being loved.
(Click on the picture to count just a small number of the geese that arrived.)

Sunday, November 30, 2014


We human beings cannot live without hope.  Unlike other animals we are blessed - or cursed - with the ability to think about the future and to take action to shape that future.
As the days grow shorter and darkness grows,
we hope that the sun will not abandon us.
As we work with Francis to build a Church for all,
we hope that people and priests, bishops and pope
will work together.
As we wait in Advent for the Coming of Christ,
we hope that he will lead our world into new life.

Friday, November 28, 2014


"Mark 13 speaks to those who expect too much and to those who expect too little.  It is especially pertinent for those who have forgotten to expect anything at all."
Lamar Williamson, Jr.
quoted in Imaging the Word, Volume 3, United Church Press.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Love who loves us, thank You!

We've had about 8 inches of snow today.  Hard to choose among this morning's scenes.
In Terrence Malick's mystic movie, To the Wonder, the last words on the screen are "Love who loves us, thank You."  Not a better prayer for this holiday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christ in those Who Need Us

Jesus tells us that the mercy we show to those who need us is really shown to himself.  He is not speaking figuratively.  As we grow in our awareness that Jesus is really living in us and loving us, we can't help but grow in awareness that he is living in everyone else.  He says that his real presence in those in need is the motivation to show mercy to them.  This doesn't take effort.  The love of Jesus living in us flows out to the need of Jesus living in them.  All we do is surrender to that flow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Near the end of Matthew's Gospel Jesus lists the actions on which we will be judged.  He lifted them right out of the Baltimore Catechism's "Corporal Works of Mercy"!!  Show care for the hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, sick.  Jesus changed the catechism's "homeless" to "stranger" or "alien."  And he left out the "dead."
"Mercy" is the name of the whole list.  It's also the byword of Francis' papacy.  If we want to know where he is leading the Church, it is toward mercy.  It's also, Jesus says, the basis on which we will be judged.