"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."
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.
Soul Seeing: The world stopped 23 years ago: April 19, 1990. Three-and-a-half-year-old Elizabeth closed her eyes and slumped.
According to a Pew Research Center study, almost 50% of gay Americans are not religiously affiliated and about a third have felt unwelcome in a house of worship at some point.
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.
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).
From the beginning, believers in Jesus had no doubt as to the wondrousness of the gift they received in Eucharist.
Paul’s faith in this great mystery is clearly evident in today’s second reading. His description of Jesus’ great gift predates those of the evangelists and reflects the growing faith of the early community.
Since the Council of Nicaea’s definition of the Trinity in 325 -- three persons in one God -- isn’t spelled out as such in Scripture, it’s challenging to give a biblical homily on this day. Perhaps we should begin with the commandment: “You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them” (Deuteronomy 5:8).
Peace Pulpit: Each of us is blessed with gifts and then called to service, to minister within the community and, as part of the community, to minister to the world.
Each year 90,000 parents in the U.S. confront the profound suffering that follows the death of a child or adolescent.
Some of those rely on faith to help them through their grief. Others look to psychiatrists, who offer therapy or prescribe antidepressants to help ease their patients’ pain.
On May 18, in a move that could add to the tension between religion and science, the American Psychiatric Association changed a controversial diagnosis regarding how grief relates to mental health.