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human condition

The Difference Between Penance and Punishment

July 15, 2018 0 Comments
The Difference Between Penance and Punishment

There is an old rabbinic story that speaks to the danger of being “unbroken.” It also illustrates the difference between penance and punishment. I am relating this story from memory and may have adapted it somewhat over the years, so if you know it in a different way, please be merciful! Here is (my version […]

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Seeing More as God Does

July 4, 2018 1 Comment
Seeing More as God Does

Today I’d like to reflect further on the Gospel reading from today’s Mass (Thursday of the 13th week of the year). It tells the story of the paralyzed man whom Jesus tells to have courage because his sins are forgiven. In one sense this is a rather peculiar response to a paralyzed man: Jesus looks […]

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Two Teachings on Discipleship from Jesus

July 1, 2018 2 Comments
Two Teachings on Discipleship from Jesus

In the Gospel for today (Monday of the 13thWeek of the Year) Jesus gives two teachings on discipleship. They are not easy, and they challenge us—especially those of us who live in the affluent West. Poverty– The text says, As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you […]

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What a Storm at Sea Teaches Us of the Christian Life

June 24, 2018 1 Comment
What a Storm at Sea Teaches Us of the Christian Life

The Gospel for the 12th Sunday in Cycle B is something of a storm journal. It presents a kind of picture of the Christian life as we journey through a stormy world with winds contrary to the gospel. There are distinctive stages, beginning with Jesus’ call to cross to the other shore. As we do […]

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Why Is There Such Strong Hatred for the Church?

May 22, 2018 17 Comments
Why Is There Such Strong Hatred for the Church?

In the final week of Easter, there were frequent references in the readings to the fact that the world would hate true Christians. For example, If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because […]

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The Fading Glories of the World, as Seen in an Attic

May 8, 2018 2 Comments
The Fading Glories of the World, as Seen in an Attic

The photo at the right, which I took in the attic of our parish school, reminds me of the ancient Latin phrase Sic transit gloria mundi (Thus passes the glory of the world). These are the symbols of victory in sports events, much trained for and fought for. Once they were proudly displayed in the […]

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The Battlefield of our Mind

May 6, 2018 3 Comments
The Battlefield of our Mind

There is a war we must wage in our mind. Indeed, the mind is the central battlefield of our Christian journey. The mind is where we “live,” where we are alone with our thoughts and with God; it is where we think, deliberate, and decide. Our “thought life” determines our ultimate destiny: Sow a thought, […]

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Our Most Primal Fear and the Source of Our Bondage

April 17, 2018 5 Comments
Our Most Primal Fear and the Source of Our Bondage

Let’s ponder a significant yet often overlooked text from Hebrews, which describes our most basic and primal fear. Our inordinate fear of what people think of us is rooted in an even deeper fear, one which is at the very core of our being. The Hebrews text both names it and describes it as being […]

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