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  • What do you want?

    Last week, Jesus addressed that question to James and John who wanted places of honor in God’s kingdom. Today, he addresses it to a blind man…and to us.

  • When’s a Marriage Not a Marriage?

    In his private talk with his disciples, Jesus is quoted as being more forthright. He calls divorce and remarriage adultery. At the same time, this stance contradicts our nearly universal human experience. Can we resolve this contradiction? Obviously, Jesus is appealing to an ideal of marriage. We have to ask, is every committed union of two people—even a solemnized commitment—a real marriage? What is a marriage, anyway?

  • God Doesn’t Make Garbage

    Strangely enough, the reward and punishment paradigm has no place in an adult spirituality. The basic problem with it is that, once people get beyond the toddler stage, the pleasure principle isn’t effective—although the success of advertising shows we’re still vulnerable to it. As we mature, we begin to realize that rewards don’t deliver what they promise. Once we attain them, we see them as the temporary tawdry counterfeits for happiness that they most often are. Punishments don’t fare any better.

  • Getting Your Own Way

    What are you willing to give to get your own way? How much effort are you willing to expend? What are you willing to pay? to sacrifice? What’s it worth to you?

  • Jesus Was a Failure

    “Who do people say that I am?” Listen to the news. Listen to the talking heads. Listen to the preachers. Watch the Jesus documentaries on the Discovery Channel. Fine. “But who do you say that I am?” “You are the Christ.” The Messiah. The anointed king who’ll save us. You’ll make everything better. You’ll supply us with money, power, and prestige. You’ll lighten our burdens, cure our diseases, and bring our dead back to life.

  • Can you hear me now?

    Which do you think would be more difficult, to be born sight-impaired or to be born hearing-impaired? I’ve always thought that blindness would be worse: not being able to see the beauty of the world or the faces of my loved ones, and not being able to get around easily without some sort of assistance. That’s what I thought until I started meditating on today’s gospel. “And the people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment.” That’s when I began to understand things somewhat differently.

  • The “Law-Abiding” Christian

    The more spiritual you are, the more conscious contact you have with God, the more mindful you become—the more religious you are—the less hold any laws will have on you. You will instinctively know what the right thing to do is by following the law of love in your heart, and you will do it.

  • The Dangers of Understanding

    Then you, being rooted and grounded in love, will have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.

  • Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    Once that which was special ceases to be special, what’s left to focus on but the discordant and ugly? Those are the things our consciousness starts to focus on when the harmonious and beautiful has faded into the background.

  • Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    I’m certain that something happened on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. All four gospels record the event. Some scholars suggest that, when the bread and fish were distributed, people who had brought food with them took it out and began sharing it with others. In that case, it was a miracle of compassion and generosity. But, it doesn’t matter.

  • Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    Some think they can do a superficial read and exhaust what the Scriptures have to tell us. Almost always, to find the depth of meaning that lies beneath the surface, we have to dig. So, let’s dig.

  • Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    You are disciples. You are prophets. You’ve been summoned; you’ve been empowered; you’ve been sent. For the past few Sundays, we’ve been talking about God’s power—his δυναμις (dynamis). When the gospels spoke of Jesus performing miracles, they used the Greek phrase “doing powerful deeds.” And that is what each of us has been called to do.

  • Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    We are very used to hearing prayers addressed to “Almighty God,” aren’t we? We were taught that God is all-knowing (omniscient), all-present (omnipresent), and all-powerful (omnipotent). But is this true in real life? You may think I’m being heretical, but, no, it is not strictly speaking true. God’s power—God’s might—God’s δυναμις (dynamis) that we were talking about in last week’s homily—is limited. Nothing limits God’s power, but the divine will itself. God freely introduced limitations in order to create.

  • Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    What is a miracle? By now, you should know that nothing in the world of faith is as simple as it seems at first glance. Taking religion at face value may be appropriate for little kids, but real faith is a very adult pursuit. We know what happens when people apply childish faith to adult issues. It doesn’t work.

  • Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    There are some people—some of them quite well-known—who preach a message of conflict and fear under the guise of the Christian gospel. It seems as though studying the Scriptures is no defense against missing the message.

  • Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

    Jesus taught in parables. Some in the crowds who listened to him got the message; some did not. The disciples were the fortunate ones, not because Jesus spelled out the meaning of his parables for them, but because they had a chance to talk about them with him and dig deeper.