In the Gospel lesson, Jesus reminds us, as he had proclaimed many times before to his disciples, "If you really want to be my disciple, take up your cross and follow me." And if we listen carefully and deeply to the lessons of today for a few moments, I think we will discover in a very deep way what Jesus means by that, and also we will be aware of the challenge it takes truly to follow Jesus. And first of all, I think it's important for us to realize that in what Jesus is to undergo.
Young Voices: More than five years ago, I had an idea for a column: a column of young voices in the National Catholic Reporter.
Soul Seeing: Could it be that a good quantity of human loneliness is due to an absence of poetry?
Column: Humans are hardwired to tell stories and to respond to the stories of others. More and more, I find they inspire my spiritual life.
This coming week, we will mark the 35th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero. His life offers a key to understanding the readings of this last "ordinary" Sunday of Lent. According to those who knew him, Romero was always a faithful priest and bishop, totally dedicated to being a pastor and servant of God. His area of growth in holiness, like ours, was to amplify his perspective, to understand with the heart of God. Before speaking more of him, we turn to today's Scripture.
Now as I was reflecting on the three lessons today -- the Gospel lesson perhaps most of all, but all three lessons -- I was reminded of the encyclical letter that Pope Francis published, with the first one he wrote as his own encyclical letter at the beginning of his time as being bishop of Rome, and it's called "The Joy of the Gospel."
Young Voices: If there is anyone on the planet who if given the opportunity would not change something about him- or herself, I would love to meet them.
A small c catholic: I wish I could report to you that Merton's piercing insights have become outdated and even irrelevant because we have rid the world of violence.
Making a Difference: Writing a column on social justice and peace offers me plenty of timely issues to choose from.
Our readings for this Fourth Sunday of Lent make us privy to the slow development of the Christian understanding of salvation. We begin with a reading from 2 Chronicles that sums up much of Old Testament salvation history: God gives the people good things, the people sin and are punished, God saves them again -- and the pattern repeats itself.