Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Let the Children

Many of us were charmed by Pope Francis' touching and blessing children.  The disciples of Jesus were not charmed.  In Mark 10:13-16 Jesus is annoyed with them for trying to keep children away from him.  He says, "Let the children come to me....for as such is the Reign of God."
In that time in history children were "nobodies."  None of the sentiment and concern that we show them today.  They were powerless, dependent, receptive.  Jesus says that's the kind of persons who make up the Reign of God.  We come as dependent as children and accept God's gift of gracious love.
(I recently got Windows 10 and have not until now been able to figure out how to compose a new blog)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

An Inclusive Church

Happy Autumnal Equinox!  A time for change.
I've read that some Catholics object to Pope Francis' meeting with certain groups.
"John said to Jesus, 'Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.'  But Jesus said: 'Do not forbid him....For whoever is not against us is for us.' (Mark 9:38-40)"
Notice John says "he does not follow us."  John sees the disciples as an exclusive group.  Is it the group of disciples with whom the stranger has a problem?  It must not be Jesus because he is casting out devils in the name of Jesus.  What is it about the disciples that puts off the stranger? 
The passage challenges us to ask ourselves what is it about us Catholics and our leaders that keeps people from joining us, even though they believe in Jesus.  Perhaps we have been concentrating too much on who must be excluded.  Pope Francis represents a more inclusive Church.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Flight 93 Revisited

On Tuesday a friend and I made a pilgrimage to the site in southwestern Pennsylvania where Flight 93 was crashed on September 11, 2001.  This monumental visitor's center is the most recent addition to the site. It is designed to trace the path of the crashing airplane as it came over the small hill and plunged into the earth about a mile farther on.
The stillness in the air encourages prayer.  My prayer to Love, whom we sometimes call God and Allah and Yahweh, is that we see how terrorism and racism contradict the truest beliefs of Christianity and Islam and Judaism.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Inexhaustible Future

Here is my oversimplified summary of the way John Haught offers for thinking about The Divine in his chapter, "Future."
Think about the transient character of this moment.  This moment is always giving way to the next.  Each next moment comes from the future. Often the future brings us what we long for, but after reaching a long sought goal or after having our dreams realized, we begin to feel an unanticipated emptiness when the initial joy of accomplishment begins to fade.
Our experience of the particular futures we have hoped for and been disappointed by convinces us that we are capable of growing indefinitely into an inexhaustible future that stretches out before us.  The name of this infinite and inexhaustible future is God.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

One Such Child

Yesterday morning when I read next Sunday's Gospel (Mark 9:30-37) the first image that came to me was that of the dead body of the three year old migrant boy washed ashore on the Turkish coast.  In the Gospel Jesus says, "Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me."
On further reflection I thought of Jesus living in children waited to be adopted.  I thought of Jesus living in the children of our relatives and friends who may still seem lost.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Suffering Messiah

"Who do you say that I am?" asks Jesus halfway through Mark's Gospel (8:27-38.)  That is the central theme of this Gospel.  Peter answers that Jesus is the Messiah.  Jesus from now on will be at great pains to help the disciples understand that he is not simply a triumphant Messiah but a Messiah who must suffer before entering his glory.  Peter and the disciples don't want to believe that.
Neither do we.  We hate to think that the Cross is essential for Jesus and for any of us who want to follow him.  With the help of Jesus within us, we take up our cross.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Karl Rahner, one of our best theologians in the last century, suggested we stop using the name "God" for a while because it calls up too many wrong ideas.  He thought it would be best that it be something future like "Whither."   I don't know what the German word might be, but the English would be something like "Where To?"
In his book, What Is God, John Haught says we can think about The Divine as the infinite, inexhaustible future.

Friday, September 4, 2015


My brother-in-law died Wednesday night.  Please pray for him and our family.

"Death is not extinguishing the light;
  it is putting out the lamp
  because the dawn has come."

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


When Jesus healed a man who was deaf and had trouble speaking (Mark 7:31-37,) he said, "Ephphatha - Be opened."  While I am not deaf (at least not very) and I can speak without a lot of difficulty, I hear Jesus telling me to be open to hearing new ideas, even when I find them not to my liking.  He also enables me to find the words I need to share new ideas with others.