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The least are greatest


How often do we secretly find ourselves standing with James and John, hoping for the public recognition of being with Jesus in glory? Having read the Scriptures and learned something of manners, few of us would be as unsophisticated and obvious as they were. (Matthew 20:20-23 makes their mother the petitioner, thus salvaging something of the brothers' reputation.)

With God, all is possible


Have you ever felt that the challenges of being an authentic disciple are just too great? Have you ever been overwhelmed by Jesus' teachings? Love your enemies; pray for your persecutors. Offer no resistance to injury. When a person strikes you on the right cheek, turn and offer him the other. In giving alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Do not lay up for yourselves an earthly treasure. Store up treasure in heaven. Forgive without limit. Do not turn away the borrower. Sell what you have and give to the poor. Judge not, lest you be judged.

Light touching my soul -- 40 years later, I'm finally ready to look at this intense moment of grace


I slid into the fourth pew from the back on the left side of Dahlgren Chapel at Georgetown University. It was a 1975 summer evening with a soft sun backlighting the five-paneled stained-glass window featuring the Sacred Heart of Jesus behind the altar. It was quiet, a solemn quiet. I was on my knees and then, in a slow-moving but eerie transition, I was no longer in the fourth pew from the back on the left side of the chapel in Georgetown University.



"They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate."

This affirmation of the intent and sanctity of marriage, first set forth in the Book of Genesis and then repeated by the Marcan Jesus, may appear to be a beautiful but impossible ideal -- as seem so many of the teachings postulated by Jesus in the Gospel. But Jesus was not a proponent of the impossible.

Settle in around the headstone for a picnic


I grew up among grandparents who went every year to their birthplaces for the family grave-cleaning and dinner on the ground. Back to Tolar and Kosse and Colorado City, they went to chop weeds and mow and plant and keep the graves of their parents and siblings. They brought baskets of food -- fried chicken, and green beans cooked with fatback and new potatoes, and peach pie, and cornbread -- to eat when they broke from work at midday.

The status trap


Pope Francis has tried to warn us that the word of God is unruly, that it accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking (“The Joy of the Gospel”). Frankly, the unruliness of the word has been a problem for God’s people from their very beginnings, and today’s readings show us how and why.



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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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