I’m going to kill you! HA HA HA!

I find the readings for the Mass of the 5th Sunday of Lent to be among the most exhilarating collections of readings for the Mass, with its recurring promises of resurrection culminating in the Gospel story of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the tomb. I reflected quite a bit on them over the weekend of the 5th Sunday, and during the following week, I came across what I guess is by now a well-traveled “sermon jam” drawn from recordings of Ravi Zacharias, which asks what, for Christians, should perhaps be considered the fundamental question that aris...

Who has time to listen?

Rummaging through some old journals this week while taking a measure of introspection, I came across the following in an entry from March 29th, 1990. I’ve cleaned it up a bit for publication, but it remains essentially the thought of my 29 year-old self. Reading old journals is a fascinating exercise in self-awareness, but I’m throwing them out, anyway… Who has time to listen? Running around in hectic disarray, death edges closer to each of us by the minute, yet who has time to stop to listen? What would we hear if we did? Common wisdom has it that we le...

American Religion’s Dismissal of Apostolicity

Quote of the Day for Wednesday, November 24th, 2010: Henri de Lubac, from The Splendor of the Church, translated from the 2nd French edition (1953) in 1956, and re-published by Ignatius in 1999 (p.86f): When we recite the Credo we profess our belief in the Church; and if we believe that the Church is both a universal and a visible community, then we cannot – without betrayal of our faith – be content to grant that the universal Church is made visible and concrete to the individual by that particular community which is his, regardless of the separation o...

“If the Dead are Garbage, then the Living are Walking Garbage.”

Every now and again, I find myself disputing with advocates of human cremation over the propriety of the process. Cremation has very rapidly become the preferred option, in certain sectors of society, for dealing with the corpses of the deceased. Whereas at one time its appeal may have been pretty much strictly economic to those not strongly influenced by oriental, non-Christian culture (or anti-Christian sentiment), it is these days often pitched as a morally compelling solution to a looming Malthusian crisis of usable land – the argument being that bur...

Giving Thomas His Due

Today is the day we hear in the Gospel reading about the Apostle Thomas doubting the resurrection until he sees and feels the wounds on the body of Christ. Much like Mary Magdalene, I think Thomas gets short shrift at the bar of history. It is true that Thomas was not with the other ten disciples when the Lord first appeared to them on Sunday evening. In his homily today, my pastor explained how it should serve as a lesson to us that his not being with the community in their time of trial following Jesus’ execution led to his missing the appearance...

Mary Magdalene, Redux

I kept thinking about Mary Magdalene today. I had a hard time finding an appropriate portrait of her to include in the post I wrote last night, and I got to thinking today that perhaps she hasn’t been very well represented over the years. She is often depicted in low-cut dresses, or in other ways linked to the idea of being a woman of loose morals. This is no doubt on account of her being associated with the woman of ill repute in Luke 7:36-50 who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears – of whom Jesus said she was forgiven because she loved ...

Mary!

The Gospel reading for Mass today (Jn 20.11-18) contains one of the great literary images in Scripture. Mary Magdalene, after having found the tomb of Jesus disturbed, and fetching Peter and John, stayed behind at the tomb, weeping, after the others had left. After conversing briefly with two angels she saw inside the tomb, she turned away from them in her tears, and in doing so, encountered the risen Jesus – whom she mistook for the gardener. After a few brief words, she turned away from him, too. And then Jesus spoke a single word to her that wh...