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Sunday readings

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…

We ourselves are holy ground

We learn from her mystical writings that St. Teresa of Ávila sat and spoke with Jesus as one would speak with a best friend. One evening, Jesus asked Teresa her name, and she replied using her religious name, saying, “I am Teresa of Jesus.” Teresa was then bold enough to ask Jesus his name, to…

We are God’s beloved

Why was Jesus baptized? Surely, not for the forgiveness of sins. Rather, by his baptism, Jesus identifies with us; he takes on our shortcomings. Through his baptism we identify with Jesus: the words spoken by God about Jesus—“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”—are spoken about us as well. To know…

The Lord is with us!

In today’s gospel, Elizabeth sees and celebrates the presence of the Lord. It sounds so simple, really, but this recognition and rejoicing elude many of us. The Lord is present right here in our midst, and yet we miss him. Maybe we are focused on all that needs doing during this busy time, or perhaps…

There’s hope for us all!

It is sometimes difficult to understand the appeal of someone like John the Baptist. Who would want to go into the wilderness to hear some religious fanatic tell us to repent so that our sins might be forgiven? In our own lives, it is often an extraordinary event or situation that impels us to seek…

Jesus comes to the rescue

We seem fascinated with calamities and disasters on a grand scale. We’ve only to look at recent box office successes at the movies. Attracted to these end-of-the-world plots, we are also deeply terrorized, praying these graphic images on the screen will mercifully vanish. In today’s gospel, Jesus is using language and conveying images that are…

In your poverty, what do you still have?

A poor widow puts two small coins into the collection plate. Not much of an event, not much of a donation. However, Jesus immediately sees her real identity. Jesus loves her, in her poverty and in her radiance. Though neither materially poor nor widowed, I too am a “poor widow,” as perhaps are you. Like…