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Enlivened by joy

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When all the graced visionaries have prophesied, when the healers have soothed every pain, when all the fettered are set free, when the naked and the shamed are clothed with justice and dignity (Isaiah), one will come among us -- one in whom hope and healing, freedom and salvation will find their most eloquent expression (John). He is the one for whom we wait with joy (1 Thessalonians). On this, the third Sunday of Advent, Isaiah, Paul and the two Johns (the evangelist and the Baptizer) call the assembly to cultivate that joy and allow it to sustain us. Ours is good news.

Federal panel named for former inmate looks to reform prisons

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Chuck Colson turned seven months behind bars into an opportunity to start over. Now the Justice Department is looking to his example as it tries to reform the federal prison system.

The bipartisan Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections kicked off its work at the Capitol on Tuesday, with former Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., R-Okla., its chairman, declaring its charge to make the federal prison system safer, less costly and more humane.

Meet the pope’s astronomer, who says he’d baptize an alien if given the chance

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With Christmas just around the corner, Br. Guy Consolmagno gets a lot of questions this time of year about the star of Bethlehem that led the Magi to Jesus in the manger.

Consolmagno is an astronomer -- a planetary scientist for the Vatican observatory, in fact -- who specializes in asteroids and meteorites, the very sort that may well have been the famous “star” described in the Gospel of Matthew.

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