The classic rock band from the 1970s and 80s, Journey, is not a Christian rock band, but one could look at the titles of some of the songs and see an implicit spirituality. There is Faithfully, Open Arms, The Wheel in the Sky, and, of course their most famous song of all, Don't Stop Believin'. Interestingly enough, the composer of all of those above songs was the keyboardist for Journey, Jonathan Cain.
"Fr. James, what's your favorite food?"
Ah, one of the questions I am asked quite frequently by children (and sometimes adults).
"Deep dish pizza."
"Which deep dish, Fr. James?" comes the follow-up.
"Lou Malnati's," I respond without hesitation.
On August 6th, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped "Little Boy" on Hiroshima, killing instantly 140,000 people and completely obliterating everything within a mile and a half radius. Buildings ten miles away were brought down from the blast. Over 200,000 more would die shortly thereafter from radiation. The atomic bomb destroyed just about everything and everyone. Just about.
Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 12, 2018
Something about the smell of baked bread captures my attention more than other smells. Maybe you as well. I don't know what it is. My hunger for food is aroused, and my desire to fulfill that arousal is increased, when I walk into a Subway or pass a bakery.
Two things have me musing on this reality. First is the line from St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, our second reading this weekend: "So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma" (Eph 2:1-2).
St. Teresa of Avila was asked to write about prayer, and so she came up with an image of a garden. Watering is a particularly pertinent chore this time of year, and one I particularly hated as a child, so perhaps the great mystic's words can be of help.
A miracle from the sky. That is what the crowd wants when they ask Jesus, "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?" (John 6:30). The people need a display of fireworks from heaven to confirm their faith.
The crowd is not way out of line in asking this. When God made the covenant with Noah, massive rains for forty days came from the sky. When God made another covenant with Moses, thunder, lightning, and a smoke-show appeared as well. When the prophet Elijah's mission was confirmed, he was taken up into the sky in a fiery chariot. It was not uncommon for God to provide aerial signs in the Old Testament.
Karst is a type of terrain characterized by hidden rivers and lakes. Typically the terrain consists of limestone, as this easily erodes, and the section of stone underneath the surface has been dissolved. Most cave systems in the world are karst areas. Likewise, there are "karstic" rivers, which can flow below the ground at points. If the soil is dense, the water will be on the surface; if porous, it will be underground.
Poor Philip. He must have felt like Jesus was picking on him. Why couldn't Jesus have looked to someone, anyone else for this dilemma? Why was Philip singled out?
"When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, 'Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?' He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do" (Jn 6:5-6).
Do you have daily routines that ground you in something you consider important? A ritual of sorts that makes you recall your motivating factor or your original desire for something or someone? I, for instance, try each morning as soon as I wake up to make a sign of the cross and then nod in the direction of the only picture I have in my bedroom: that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It reminds me of why I am a priest: because I love Jesus Christ more than anything in the world.
Jeremiah was a prophet in Ancient Israel when Babylon destroyed Israel. He was a shepherd trying to help his confused flock. Unfortunately, there were fake shepherds competing with him: bad influences who led the people astray. "Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture" (Jer 23:1).
When Jesus Christ came around 600 years later, there were no shepherds, good or bad. "When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things" (Mk 6:34).
Are there shepherds 2000 years later? Yes. They are the Catholic priests.
Little Li grew up in communist China in the 1950s. Taught by nuns in her local parochial school, the ten-year-old once asked the nuns why Jesus didn't instead say, "Give us this day our daily rice?" One day communist soldiers came into the village and, after ransacking the school, ordered everyone into the church. The commandant blasphemed Christ and had his soldiers fire at the tabernacle. He then proceeded to take the ciborium out of the broken door and fling all the consecrated hosts over the church. After locking Father Luke, the pastor, inside a coal bin in the church, he threatened that anyone who went into the church would be shot.
The Twelve must have felt a mix of fear and exhilaration. Here they are, relatively new to Jesus and his mission, sent out to preach repentance, drive out demons, and anoint those who were sick (cf. Mark 6: 7-13). This is quite a tall order. It would be difficult for someone who knew the faith inside and out and had a great experience of ministry from which to draw. Yet the apostles barely know Christ and are still very uninformed about his message. We can be certain the apostles were nervous, to say the least. Would they be able to answer questions? Would they know what they were doing? Would they make mistakes?
Some people crave privacy, others the company of others. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor who spent three years in Nazi concentration camps, yearned for solitude. Crowded in barracks and observed constantly by guards, prisoners were never alone. Frankl wrote: "It is well known that an enforced community life, in which attention is paid to everything one does at all times, may result in an irresistible urge to get away, at least for a short while. The prisoner craved to be alone with himself and his thoughts." (Man's Search for Meaning, 61).
More in this category:
- Doing Good Can Be A Fight
- Why God, why?
- The Best and the Brightest
- Happy Birthday, Saint John the Baptist!
- Growth & Transitions
- Follow the Leader to Victory
- Crazy is as crazy does.
- Supporting our Priests
- Lamb of God
- Hill Country
- Who is your Divine Person?
- Blue By You
- Are you ascending?
- Paratrooper Padre
- Mighty Mother
- In Communion with Nellie
- He's a Mind Reader
- The Bard
- The Good Shepherd
- Keep it Short
- School Mass Homily
- Baseball Season
- Got faith? Have love.
- Salvation History
- Ready, set, sprint!