Being an insider appeals to some aspect of our psychology that loves to be recognized as special. But it’s also highly practical. If you know the password, for example, your call will be answered by a live person instead of a machine.
Exploring the Word
Today’s gospel is not a go-to guide for pyromaniacs. But it is about passion, the fire that consumes hearts, lives, and sometimes whole generations in its intensity. There is passion with a small “p,” like the kind that overwhelms acolytes of Marilyn Monroe or Cary Grant films who are still captivated by her screen radiance and his ebullient charisma.
As any teacher or public speaker knows, the best way to deliver a message is to tell a story that drives the point memorably home. Rest assured that people will lose the handouts, shelve their notes, and forget the PowerPoint display in short order. But an evocative story has staying power.
Just this morning, I was talking to Qoheleth on the phone. He’s the landlord of a friend of mine who has fallen behind in her rent. Qoheleth’s not a bad guy, when it comes down to it—actually has a sense of humor and is quite pleasant.
The telemarketers keep calling despite local and national legislation, exempt listings, and the continual abuse of phone operators by irate would-be customers, those calls come every day, starting earlier and going later every season. And so does the “spam” of email or messaging.
Contemplatives and actives: Can’t we all just get along? It’s not like a battlefield exists out there somewhere, with a line drawn in the sand between those who pray and those who serve. No serious Christian is against worship or thinks that practicing what one preaches is irrelevant.
A lot about religion gets relegated to the overcrowded room of “mystery”: unknowable, unprovable, intangible, invisible. In theological terms, mystery is that which cannot be fathomed by human reason alone, or which depends upon the gift of divine revelation to be grasped.
It is not good for human beings to be alone, no less a personage than God once observed. Hermits and misanthropes notwithstanding, the need for belonging and community is fairly well substantiated by our experience.
Recently I was asked to give my testimony in a Presbyterian church. As the guest speaker at a weekend conference on the gospels, I had already given two talks before this assembly. But this was different.
Where did the feast originally known as Corpus Christi come from? Many believers will be hard pressed to explain the difference between Maundy Thursday and the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, and for good reason.