The Peace Pulpit: As we celebrate the Feast of Ascension, let us remember that the same Jesus the disciples knew -- fully human -- is also Son of God in power.
If the influential Catholic writer Thomas Merton were alive today, he would likely have strong words about police brutality and racial profiling.
Back in 1963, Merton called the civil rights movement "the most providential hour, the kairos not merely of the Negro, but of the white man."
His words echoed Saturday among black pastors at a conference, titled "Sacred Journeys and the Legacy of Thomas Merton," hosted by Louisville's Center for Interfaith Relations. The event marked the 100th anniversary of Merton's birth.
Soul Seeing: It wasn't until I was 50 and was frank with a couple of contemporaries that I learned I had been a normal Catholic boy.
At the Intersection: The absence of feminine images of God makes it easier to default to women as unclean or sinful.
The lessons today really demand our close listening, our paying very close attention, trying to absorb what they tell us because really, this is the core message of the Gospel. A year or so ago, Pope Francis published what he called an exhortation, a letter to the church. He called it "The Joy of the Gospel" -- Evangelii Gaudium. It's been circulating around the world now.
Pope Francis' devotion is profound but simple: Mary is a mother to every believer; Jesus would not leave his followers orphans.
Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968) is often regarded as the greatest Protestant theologian of the 20th century. Some have called his body of work "a theology of the Word."
He exercised profound influence on other 20th-century figures, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, Jürgen Moltmann and John Updike. Barth actively opposed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, and vigorously attempted to prevent the Nazis from establishing a state church.
Religious identity used to be "inherited." "Cradle Catholic" is shorthand for born into the faith; within Judaism, the faith is passed through a Jewish mother to her children unless they grow up to proclaim a different religion.
As I was reflecting on these Scripture lessons during this past week, I was reminded of a book that I had read quite a long time ago that had left a great impact on me. It's called Jesus Before Christianity. In other words, before there was a structured, organized, institutional church, in the very beginning -- Jesus before all that organization took place. It's written by a Dominican theologian priest, Fr. Albert Nolan.
Love. Love. Love. This Sunday's readings open doors to the complicating depths of love. John's Gospel offers us a formula that can be and should be applied to our lives together today: Remain in my love; this love is joyful and whole; this love generates friendships; and fruits of love will remain.
Remain in my love