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.
Exploring the Word
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.
In parishes across the Christian world, preachers commenting on the teaching of the Trinity will be sorely tempted to say something about Saint Patrick’s shamrock. Variations on this theme, in my experience, have included tricycles (three wheels, bearing the faithful along in one direction) and the U.S. government (three branches—executive, legislative, judicial—one purpose, to serve the people!).
Talk about a season for gift giving and most folks naturally assume you mean Christmas. That’s the time when God came to earth, took on human flesh, pitched a mortal tent, and dwelled among us, right?
It’s always fascinating to ask children what heaven is like. Their answers are quite detailed; many are happy to augment their descriptions with a full-color illustration on paper. The radiance of God in one way or another is depicted, as are various angelic beings, clouds, and the occasional smiling grandmother.
"Let not your hearts be troubled,” Jesus said in the familiar translation of today’s gospel. This is not the easiest of his teachings to follow, not by a long stretch. Our hearts are routinely troubled for lots of very good reasons.
For most of the church year, it is fair to say the gospel upstages the other readings used at Mass. Preachers may reach into the passage from Hebrew scripture to highlight the “promise” that the gospel “fulfills,” but the first reading serves largely as a backdrop for the main message.