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The Word Is Life

Our sacred priviledge

I have neighbors who came here five years ago from a repressive dictatorship. They have overcome many hurdles—learning English, finding their way in our society, and finding employment. I am impressed by their appreciation for our democracy. After they became citizens, they were eager to vote. They are politically involved. They attend meetings to learn…

What does God look like?

The conviction that the God of Jesus is a loving and merciful God is very powerful in today’s gospel, featuring three parables to illustrate that conviction. Through the images of a man leaving the 99 sheep to find the lost one, a woman searching for a single lost coin, and ultimately a “prodigal father” welcoming…

Time to set priorities

I recently chatted with a young woman who had just completed a grueling music examination. She spoke of the long hours she spent alone in a soundproof room, doing scales and practicing her repertoire over and over, thinking often about the fun she was missing with her friends. She knew, though, that in order to…

A sudden rush of joy!

The image of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb captures the central mystery of our faith in a very personal and intimate way. Anyone who has ever suffered the loss of a loved one can identify with the darkness, grief, and confusion Mary experiences. She is so overwhelmed by grief that she does not recognize…

Live all life’s ups and downs with God

Today’s liturgy, like much of life at times, is marked by wild contrasts. One day Jesus rides into Jerusalem in triumph. He is greeted with joyful shouting: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The people greet the one who will fulfill all their hopes: their King, their Savior, the…

What do I see in the mirror?

I remember a time when I was filled with a strong and righteous anger, which I carefully nourished by collecting stories that proved my point. I went off on a weekend retreat, hoping to get some rest. The first evening began with the simple statement: “We are all sinners.” I still recall the strong feeling…

Standing in the presence of God

The Transfiguration has many allusions to the Old Testament. It occurs on a mountaintop, as did Moses’ initial encounter with God at Mount Sinai and the subsequent delivery there of the Ten Commandments establishing the covenant between God and Israel. Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets respectively. The color of Jesus’ clothes…

Remember…and choose!

In today’s first reading we hear the story of Jacob and his family, who went to Egypt during a famine. Later on, his descendants were perceived to be a threat and were enslaved. Later still, they continually recalled and gave thanks for their deliverance from this slavery. They remembered that they were led by the…

Understanding and peace

Today’s gospel calls us to forgive our enemies. As a person passionate about social justice, I hear this Scripture calling me to also consider empathy and dialogue. Can we identify the humanity and the inherent dignity in those who do wrong to us or to others? Can we love them in a way that also works…

The challenge of the gospel

In today’s gospel, Jesus’ confirmation of his mission in Nazareth’s synagogue causes great joy. Already impressed by stories of his deeds elsewhere, his neighbors expect much of him. Delight becomes rage, however, when he insists that his gifts are not exclusive—not for the benefit of the familiar few, for his local community alone. No longer…