Exploring the Word

30 Apr 2023

Fourth Sunday of Easter; Good Shepherd Sunday, Cycle A

The cost of leadership

In a free society, people will always complain about their leadership. Whether we’re talking about the president of the United States or the person in charge of the preschool program, the person in command is automatically a target for disapproval and disappointment.

23 Apr 2023

Third Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

Mealtime insights

They were good walkers, those two headed out for Emmaus. Seven miles stretched between Jerusalem and that little village, and the day was already on the wane. After an agonizing week of triumph turned to failure and hope crushed by grief, they had decided to cut their losses and go home.

16 Apr 2023

Solemnity of the Second Sunday of Easter; Divine Mercy Sunday, Cycle A

Without seeing, we believe

Why do you believe what you believe? What makes you so sure that your faith isn’t simply wishful thinking? What do you cling to, when people challenge the tenets of religious belief? What makes the gospel more than just a ghost story to you?

9 Apr 2023

Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Sunday), Cycle A

Understanding Easter

Theological mysteries aren’t meant to be mysterious. When we talk about the Paschal Mystery—conveniently encapsulated in the acclamation, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”—we shouldn’t feel we are staring into a cosmic void.

2 Apr 2023

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Cycle A

Matthew’s Passion story

The gospels are often described as the four biographies of Jesus in the secular media. Nothing could be further from the truth. What kind of biographer would practically disregard the first 30 years of a person’s history, to concentrate one fourth to one third of his pages on the last week of his subject’s life?

26 Mar 2023

Fifth Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Now and at the hour of our death

The conclusion to the “Hail Mary” should give us pause. We ask the Holy Mother of God to keep us sinners in her prayer at two signature moments of our lives: now and at the time of our death.

19 Mar 2023

Fourth Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Got sight?

Walking in the dark valley is a lonesome business. Maybe that’s why Psalm 23 is the most popular prayer in the Psalter. Even folks who have not been very regular members of the sheepfold can recite a few lines of “The Lord is my shepherd” by heart.

12 Mar 2023

Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Living water for the asking

The Israelites are grumbling again. What is their problem? No matter what God does for them, they are never satisfied. A nation out of a childless couple? Check. A land for a race of wanderers to call their own? No problem.

5 Mar 2023

Second Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Seeing with new eyes

How do you see the world around you? “Charged with the grandeur of God,” as Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins did? Full of life, love, power, and possibility? Perhaps on rare occasions we perceive reality this way. Or maybe it only seems that way when we’ve fallen in love or won the lottery.

26 Feb 2023

First Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Conversations with the devil

Pull up a soft chair, the devil says. He’s such a gracious host, always concerned about our comfort. His living room is a tribute to the couch-potato life. As we sit, he fluffs the pillows and lays out the dessert even though we’ve just eaten a huge feast in the dining room.