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The Pruning of the Church and Our Response to It

July 17, 2018 9 Comments
The Pruning of the Church and Our Response to It

As we go through the Book of the Prophet Isaiah at Mass this week, we read of Israel’s painful purifications as well as the subsequent punishment of the surrounding nations. God permitted the nations to persecute Israel in order that she be purified, but the iniquity and sin of the nations and of this world […]

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Regrettable Ruins: A Lament for a Lost Church Building

July 11, 2018 9 Comments
Regrettable Ruins: A Lament for a Lost Church Building

Many years ago, I saw the movie True Confessions  (1981), which was about an ambitious priest who discovered the truer meaning of the priesthood. Although the film was seedy in places, the outcome for the main character, Monsignor Spellacy, was salutary. Robert DeNiro (who was more discreet and refined in those days) starred as Msgr. […]

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Is the Church a Cruise Ship or a Battleship?

May 17, 2018 5 Comments
Is the Church a Cruise Ship or a Battleship?

Some years ago, Fr. Patrick Smith, a friend of mine and a priest of this archdiocese, preached a sermon in which he asked if the Church was a clubhouse or a lighthouse. It seems that many people want the Church just to be a friendly place where people can gather. Many of these same people […]

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That at Least Peter’s Shadow Might Fall on Them: A Challenge to the Church in the Acts of the Apostles

May 16, 2018 3 Comments
That at Least Peter’s Shadow Might Fall on Them: A Challenge to the Church in the Acts of the Apostles

As this Easter Season is nearing a close, we do well to ponder the picture of the early Church described in the Acts of the Apostles. The kind of persecution and suffering they endured in those days should serve to remind us of the sacrifices we are often unwilling to make. Yet these early descriptions […]

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Your Life is Not About You, As Illustrated in a Biblical Story

April 19, 2018 1 Comment
Your Life is Not About You, As Illustrated in a Biblical Story

In Wednesday’s reading, the Acts of the Apostles sets forth an event that amounts to a tale of one Church in two cities or regions. It illustrates well a couple of points: that the Church is always in need of reform and that our lives are not merely about us and what we want. Let’s […]

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Some Advice from Mother Church, as Pictured in the Book of Ruth

August 24, 2017 6 Comments
Some Advice from Mother Church, as Pictured in the Book of Ruth

Given our brief sampling of the Book of Ruth in daily Mass, perhaps a reflection is in order. The detailed background to the text is too lengthy to go into here, but a few points will help. The story features three main characters: Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi. Boaz is clearly a picture (or “type”) of […]

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If You Truly Want to Have Something, Lose It – A Mediation on the Economics of the Kingdom

August 10, 2017 1 Comment
If You Truly Want to Have Something, Lose It – A Mediation on the Economics of the Kingdom

The Feast of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr, contains an important teaching on the economics of the Kingdom of God. As you might guess, they are quite paradoxical. The teachings come to us both through St. Lawrence’s life and the particular readings selected for his feast. When a persecution broke out in Rome in 257 […]

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Finding the Church in a Bach Fugue

July 31, 2017
Finding the Church in a Bach Fugue

Many of you have likely read the classic description of the Church from the 1951 novel Dan England and the Noonday Devil, by Myles Connolly. It is a wonderful reminder that the Church is not an institution, but a Body, made up of members who, each in his own unique way, give witness to the […]

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