Category Archives: CNS columns

Sunday Scripture readings, June 24, 2018: Happy birthday, John!

Among the saints, John the Baptist is one of the great ones. On the Catholic calendar, only three people have a birthday celebration: Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist. In the icon tradition of Eastern Christianity, Jesus is often shown seated on his heavenly throne, with Mary on one side and John on the other, appealing to him on behalf of the needs of the world.

      Yet John accomplished little. “He was in the desert” is about all we know of most of his life (Lk 1:80). He spent years being quiet and waiting. When God directed him to preach, large crowds gathered and his call to repentance had an impact on some people. But after a while, the crowds melted away. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Sunday Scripture readings, June 17, 2018: The fruit of walking by faith

Faith works wonders. To walk by faith, and not by sight, is one of the greatest challenges and joys of the spiritual life. This is the invitation to all in this Sunday’s Scripture readings.

      The saints show us how to grow in faith in the daily circumstances of life. Holy men and women, known and hidden, have over the centuries witnessed to the power of walking by faith. Take the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, whose feast day the church celebrates this coming week. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

In light of faith: Dignity

Christian or Muslim. Pro-life or pro-choice. Liberal or conservative. One of us or one of them.

      The list of the familiar dichotomies that divide us and change the way we think about ourselves and other people goes on endlessly — often to the point that I fear we cease to remember that we are all, in fact, people.  Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

Sunday Scripture readings, June 10, 2018: A little picture of the church

Today’s Gospel begins with one of those quietly astonishing statements that you find here and there in the Gospels: “Jesus came home with his disciples” (Mk 3:20).

It’s like you said, “Sarah picked up Justin at child care and went home.” Or “Ben got home just in time to read the children their bedtime story.” Nothing could be more ordinary — except that it was Jesus who went home. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Sunday Scripture readings, June 3, 2018: Living in eucharistic amazement

The Eucharist is the source and the summit of the Christian life. This teaching of the Second Vatican Council has come to life for countless generations of ordinary men and women of faith, particularly those who suffer persecution and martyrdom for believing in Jesus Christ. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

In light of faith: Lessons from two soon-to-be saints

I was thrilled to see the announcement that Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Paul VI and Blessed Oscar Romero during the upcoming synod on “Young people, the faith and vocational discernment,” and I was even more elated that their canonizations will take place on the same day.

      I read Pope Francis’ choice for this timing as a subtle signal that it’s time to turn the page on the tired division between “pro-life” and “social justice” Catholicism. Millennial Catholics intuitively grasp the integrity of the church’s sexual, social and sacramental teachings. Perhaps, then, this dual canonization is more for established Catholic leaders still caught up in culture wars than for emerging leaders engaged in missionary activity. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

Sunday Scripture readings, May 27, 2018: Are you in on this mystery?

If you ever watched “Wait Until Dark,” it’s hard to forget the scene in which thuggish, knife-wielding Alan Arkin suddenly springs toward blind, alone-in-her-kitchen-at-night Audrey Hepburn. What a moment! One reviewer called it “a terrific jolt.” For the way it reliably induces screams in the audience, my wife deems it the perfect preteen girls’ sleepover movie.

      The scene comes to mind when I hear today’s Gospel. On Easter evening, the disciples were in a room, talking. All at once, “while they were still speaking,” Jesus “stood in their midst.” They were “terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.” St. Luke doesn’t say they screamed, but I bet they did. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns