God expects us to work

Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year C), March 18 (Jos 5:9a, 10-12/2 Cor 5:17-21, Lk 15:1-3, 11-32)

The manna from heaven and the fruit of the Promised Land are both testimonies to God’s loving kindness and provident care. But they also testify to something else: human doubt and unbelief.

We author our own misfortune

3rd Sunday of Lent (Year C) March 11 (Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15/1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12/Lk 13:1-9)

Many traditions insist that to name and define God is a form of betrayal, for whatever can be named and defined cannot be God. But that doesn’t stop us from trying our best to have a name and a face for God. Not only is it more personal, it also gives us (we think) a greater sense of possession and control.

What is truth?

Myra was suffering profoundly. Some people blame themselves when life gets tough, taking everything inside. Some, like Myra, take everything outside, blaming everybody but themselves.

Real faith is trusting in God no matter what

Second Sunday of Lent (Year C) March 4 (Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Phil 3:17-4:1; Lk 9:28b-36)

The people of the ancient world took their covenants, contracts and promises very seriously. No need for dense legal language, for the agreement was sealed in blood, carcasses and curses. At the end of this account of God’s covenant with Abraham, he is promised land — very specific land, where other people are already dwelling — and he is promised this land in perpetuity. 

God will not forget those who are faithful

Many are accustomed to think of the New Testament as being theologically disengaged from the Old Testament, but nothing could be further from the truth.

We all share the same limitations

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Feb. 18 (1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-25; Psalm 103; 1 Corinthians 15:45-50; Luke 6:27-38)

Most of us love to see the movie villain get his or her comeuppance. There is a palpable sense of glee and satisfaction in the audience, sometimes even erupting into applause. Be honest: how many of us have fantasized about having our own enemy — whoever it might be — right where we want them? I think that is probably a common experience.

The God of life has final say

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Feb. 11 (Jeremiah 17:5-8; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20; Luke 6:17, 20-26)

Is trust in other people such a bad thing? Couldn’t our world use a bit more trust and less suspicion and cynicism? At first glance, the passage from Jeremiah seems to defy common sense. But if we read carefully, it is clear that trust is not the real issue. It is this: what is the source of your inspiration, power and strength?

Love and grace reach out to wherever there is need

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Jan. 28 (Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19; Psalm 71; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30)

Where do visionaries, reformers and prophets get their courage and perseverance? Their diaries and writings often reveal that they are quite ordinary people, with all the fears and weaknesses that are part of humanity. Many of them struggle with self-doubt, loneliness and fear. And yet they go on — they stand up for justice and compassion despite the opposition of the world and often their own co-religionists.

Healing is always possible

When Dave waved hello I thought, as usual, what a strong, friendly face he has. Today, those good looks were obscured by haggard gray gauntness, somewhat incongruous under the curly hair and jaunty boyish cap. He asked me how I was, flicked his cigarette, and nodded: "I'm OK. I'm back on drugs, but it's all good."

Orienting ourselves to God

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Feb. 4 (Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8; Psalm 138; 1 Corinthian 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11)

The readings from Isaiah and Luke illustrate the ambiguous attitude many people have towards the sacred and the holy. On the one hand, we claim that we yearn for God's presence, and we complain that God seems so distant. But on the other hand, we are petrified at the thought of an encounter with the divine or holy.

Jesus heals, liberates, gives hope and courage

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Jan. 21 (Nehemiah 8:1-4, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1; 4:14-21)

The Israelites were unaware how far they had strayed from the path of God. Although the prophets hammered at them unceasingly that their exile in Babylon was due to sin, their actual transgressions had perhaps remained unclear in their minds. But they are ignorant no longer, for the public recitation of the law has hit them hard.