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Spirituality

Simplicity

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In today’s Gospel, the Lucan Jesus offers clear and concise directives to those who are to be his disciples in the world. First among these directives is the commission to go forth from the comfort of family and friends in order to bring the good news to the people and places Jesus would visit.

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Pope Francis Tweets

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On the outside chance some NCR readers might have missed some of Pope Francis' tweets, I've gathered some of them here. These nuggets of spiritual wisdom date back to mid-May: 

We cannot live as Christians separate from the rock who is Christ. He gives us strength and stability, but also joy and serenity.

A Christian is never bored or sad. Rather, the one who loves Christ is full of joy and radiates joy.

Let’s learn to lose our lives for Christ, like a gift or a sacrifice. With Christ we lose nothing!

Radically free

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When I was a child, the sisters taught us to pray the Angelus as the noon bell rang at school. Then, it seemed like little more than a rote recitation of Hail Marys punctuated by call and response. The faster it went, the sooner we could start lunch and recess -- and that was the real importance of the bell.

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Mercy Sr. Camille D'Arienzo's focus on forgiveness

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"I say in all humility, mercy is the strongest message of the Lord," Pope Francis told a group of parishioners his first Sunday as pope. "The Lord," he said, "never tires of forgiving, never! It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness. Let us ask for the grace of never tiring of asking for forgiveness because he never tires of forgiving."

The long haul

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One of the easiest ways to learn the uniqueness of any evangelist is to compare his final work with the sources he employed. That’s difficult to do with Mark and John, but it’s certainly easier when we’re dealing with Matthew and Luke.

A little honesty

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Some scholars of the Christian Scriptures insist we’ll never be able to get an accurate picture of the historical Jesus just by reading the four Gospels. They believe the portraits we find in those writings have been so deeply colored by the authors’ faith in him that the “real” Jesus has been permanently lost. Yet when pressed, even they admit there’s at least one thing about the Gospel Jesus that’s historically accurate: he was a friend of sinners. No one in the early church would have dared invent that characteristic.

What would you do?

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Two widows are featured in the sacred texts today. The text from Kings tells the plight of a Sidonian woman. With no husband, no inheritance rights and no voice, she was dependent upon her son, the man of the family. So it was with the widow of Nain in the Gospel: Her son, her only son, was her legal protector. When both widows lost their sons to death, they suffered not only the loss of a beloved child but also the loss of their rights -- or, as Bonnie Bowman Thurston has put it, they lost their “social security” (The Widows, Fortress Press, 1989).

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April 11-24, 2014

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