National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Jan 3-16, 2014

Spreading Christ's light

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At first glance, our reading from Isaiah seems to come about a month late. Weren't we just singing with Handel about the people in darkness being caught up in light? Hearing that prophecy during today's liturgy reminds us that that the light, as John says, shone in the darkness that vainly tried to overcome it. Today we remember both the light and the cost and joys of sharing it. Isaiah addressed people forced from their homeland, people whose shared suffering created shared hopelessness, who were figuratively or literally blinded to the possibility of a better future.

Strength from weakness

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It's difficult to understand the original meaning of today's Deutero-Isaiah passage unless we restore the first six verses to the Lectionary selection. Isaiah 49:1-6 is generally referred to as the Second Song of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh. The disciples of the anonymous prophet (Deutero-Isaiah) responsible for Chapters 40-55 of Isaiah not only passed on his powerful oracles, they also included four reflections on what it meant for him to be Yahweh's mouthpiece. The first three are autobiographical; the last, biographical -- composed by his followers after his martyrdom.

The Bill Maher interview of Bishop Morrie you'll never see

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Bill Maher, the comedian and atheist, taped an interview with my classmate Morrie, the bishop of Paris, Kan., for airing on his HBO show over the holidays. It was pulled. Fortunately, I have a transcript. Here are the highlights, minus the laughs, oohs and ahhs.

Maher welcomes Morrie, who comes out dressed in a smile, a burgundy cashmere sweater, and non-iron khakis from Banana Republic. They sit.

Maher: Well, I must say I didn't expect a bishop to look so dapper. Did you lose your pointy hat on the way here?

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September 12-25, 2014

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