National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

The Peace Pulpit

Here is the mission

 | 

This is the homily for the Confirmation class at St. Constance Parish in Taylor Mich.

This is a moment that is very, very important for each one of you. It's a moment when the spirit of Jesus enters into your heart, into your spirit, in a very deep and special way, so this is a moment that can really change your life. So it's important, not only that Father Leo and your teachers feel you're ready, but it's very important that you feel you're ready for this sacrament, and what's even more important than that, that you really want to be confirmed.

Why haven't they gone?

 | 

A forgiving, a reconciling community

I think most of us are very quick to think of Thomas as the doubting one, and yet if we think about what happened as recorded in this gospel lesson, it's perhaps the other disciples who were more doubters than Thomas, because you can almost imagine Thomas saying to himself, "Look, they're telling me Jesus is alive, he's risen from the dead. They've known this for a whole week, yet here they are still in this room, hiding, afraid, and Jesus had said to them, 'As God sends me, I send you.' Why haven't they gone?" So maybe Thomas is the one who shows us the way of faith because immediately as he sees Jesus, he falls down, "You are my Lord and my God," and then it's after this that the disciples evidently begin to really hear what Jesus has said.

God's vision is still present, if you could only see it

 | 

On the night when the church assigns nine readings for the liturgy of the word, it might seem extreme for me to add one more, but I really think that in order to get the full sense of what is being spoken to us tonight through God's word, it's important to listen to the very beginning verses of the letter to the Hebrews: "God has spoken in the past to our ancestors, through the prophets, in many different ways, although never completely. But in our times, God has spoken definitively to us through God's son Jesus. Jesus is the radiance of God's glory and bears the stamp of God's hidden being."

Good Friday meditation

 | 

Editor's Note: If you are looking for a Good Friday meditation starter, you can't go wrong with Bishop Thomas Gumbleton's reflection on the Passion of Christ:

In John's Gospel, as we will hear on Good Friday, Jesus even dramatically shows them who is the greatest. It's not the one who has the highest place, the one who has the most power, the one who has the most prestige; as he says in today's gospel and then shows in John's gospel, it's the one who is willing to serve.

In John's gospel, Jesus does that very thing. Dramatically, he takes off his outer garment, puts a towel around himself, and then goes before each disciple and like a slave, Jesus washes their feet. What an extraordinary example, and yet how many of us have really listened to these words, listened to what Jesus does and watched him in action so that we can follow?

Read the full reflection: Jesus teaches us how to die, not how to kill

Jesus teaches us how to die, not how to kill

 | 

Certainly with the reading of the Passion of our Lord as we've just done in this Gospel of St. Luke, there are very, very many things for us to reflect upon. I think that we really ought to do what is proclaimed to us by the prophet in our first lesson, where the prophet says, "God has taught me so I speak as God's disciple. Morning after morning, God wakes me up to hear, to listen like a disciple. God has opened my ears."

In Jesus, there is no barrier

 | 

To delve deeply into the scripture lessons today, to hear them deep within our hearts, I think it's very important and really the key to understanding these lessons, to listen very carefully to that very first sentence that St. Paul proclaims in our second lesson: "Brothers and sisters, whoever is in Christ is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, new things have come."

A turning point in our lives

 | 

If we listen carefully to the scriptures today, especially the gospel, we are enabled to do something really quite extraordinary, to really enter into the very thinking of Jesus. Into his prayer life. Into his struggle. To understand this, how this happens if we listen, we should remind ourselves of last Sunday's gospel, which was as it always is on the first Sunday of Lent, an account of the temptations of Jesus, where the devil is trying to get Jesus to turn away from what God has asked him to do. At the end of those three temptations, Luke in the Gospel says, "And the devil left him for a time." This implies that Jesus was going to continue to be tempted, just as we are. He was fully human, so temptations would possibly come back into his life.

Have no fear when the heat comes

 | 

Most of us are very familiar with the beatitudes as they are proclaimed in Matthew's gospel. The first beatitude especially seems to be an easier way of hearing what Jesus is saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit. Theirs is the reign of God." But Luke simply says, "Blessed are the poor," the poor -- those who are without, "theirs is the reign of God." Matthew also does not give the four woes as Luke does, "Woe to those who are rich." When we hear those words proclaimed by Jesus, I think it makes all of us a bit uncomfortable because we know that we have so many blessings.

So we really wonder, I think, well, for many reasons about these words of Jesus, but especially about "Blessed are the poor." How could Jesus say that in a world where we confront, if we have any awareness at all, an extreme degree of absolute poverty for over a billion people on our planet? Absolute poverty means they have nothing. They're living in misery, desolation. What word can you use to describe that situation for those who are absolutely poor? How can Jesus say they are blessed?

Pages

Subscribe to The Peace Pulpit

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

August 29-September 11, 2014

08-29-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.