National Catholic Reporter
A lay Catholic weekly, bi-weekly during the summer, that contains global up-to-date coverage of news of interest to thinking Catholics.
Bread for the World
A national faith based organization founded to lobby Congress on behalf of the hungry throughout the world.
Road to Recovery, Inc
Road to Recovery, Inc is the initiative of advocates for victims of sexual abuse. Advocacy is two-fold: 1. To provide a path for the healing of victims; 2. To confront perpetrators and those who cover up the sexual assault of minors and vulnerable adult.
A timely Catholic weekly published by the Jesuits. American keeps us up to date on both news and opinion relevant to timely issues and events.
This link will keep 'parishioners-at-large' in touch with current creative liturgy sources and resources that respect a variety of 'traditions' within the Church.
Voice of the Faithful
A 'movement' of lay Catholics 'inspired' by the abuse scandal calling for greater accountability of bishops to 'Catholics in the Pew.'
Survivos' Network for those Abused by Priests or Religious
A National Network of self-help support groups for people abused by clergy or religious.
Vital information about the disclosure of sexual abuse and related issues affecting Catholics in the pew and the manner in which Bishops continue to exempt themselves from accountability
A 'lay' Catholic weekly publication with an accent on an intelligent analysis and commentary on curent issues, trends and concerns of interest to Catholics.
Bill Moyers and Company
A must link for all who desire to be kept informed of the truth about 'truths' communicated by the commercial media and the political pundists who hsve another agenda that makes truth a precious commodity.
+ December 19th in Advent
“Expect extraordinary things to happen.”
Readings: Judges 13:2-7, 24-25 Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17 Luke 1:5-15
An angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Thou you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son. The woman bore a son and named him Samson. The boy grew up and the Lord blessed him; the Spirit of the Lord stirred him. [Judges 13:3, 24-25]
The angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayers has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will hear you a son and you shall name him John.” [Luke 1:13]
The editors of the daily lectionary were at their best when they assembled the Advent readings to guide us to the feast of Christmas. One after the other, they speak of the extraordinary interventions of God into human affairs. Though the texts name historical persons, they do not describe historical events. The bible contains ‘faith history,’ i.e., the authors are more interested in the meaning of events than in the graphic descriptions of divine interventions. And so they dramatize narratives about extraordinary births in order to underscore the belief that the ‘hand of God’ was at work in the unfolding of redemption and salvation.
As people of faith, we look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, especially during this time of the year. Yes, we look for miracles to change the course of human events—the end to all war, the healing of broken relationships, the cure of the sick and the paving of a new path to justice and opportunity for all people of good will everywhere.
But I think we are called to be the miracles and the miracle workers. No, not by doing magic but by rolling up our sleeves and applying the brain power and brawn power necessary to make a difference.
There are extraordinary people whom we might rightly designate as ‘messengers of God’—‘angels’ among us who by their words and deeds pave a path to peace. They are the ‘ministers of healing’ who touch the heart but who also touch the soul and help us to work things through. They are the hands of God who hold us up in difficult times and they let us know that whatever our diaspora, the Spirit of God is not indifferent to our needs.
The miracle is finding meaning in our lives whatever our call, whatever our trial or travail, whatever our disillusionment or disappointment.
Perhaps you will be that ‘angel’ to someone today.Daily Scripture Archive»
There’s still time!
Theater is an enduring vehicle for the expression and appreciation of life’s deepest mysteries. Drama or comedy acted out in rhythmic tones or staged simply in spoken words and dialogue has the power to open the mind, touch the soul and raise the spirit to heights unknown.
Although author and playwright Victor Hugo was criticized in his time for “vanity of character and shallowness of mind,” his devotion to the good, the beautiful and the true was admired as “instinctive and sincere.” “Les Miserables” is permeated with his unquenchable belief in the potential for good in the human soul. The major theme in the play — the struggle between good and evil in the soul of one man played out in the socio-political realities of the French revolution — is carefully interwoven and immortalized in the imagination of the audience.
Valjean is a simple character driven by “caritas,” an active, outgoing animating love for others. He helps the prostitute, Fantine. He protects his workers and gives constantly to the poor. In his melodramatic conversion, in his promise to Fantine and in his unparalleled commitment to protect Cosette, he confronts the power of hell and dies in the arms of Cosette at peace with himself and with his God. It’s a touching scene that melts even the most hardened heart and moves a witness to tears. The musical version is even more dramatic and powerful.
Indeed, drama softens hardened hearts and moves the disengaged to action. It also has the power to expose the reality of evil that lays beneath the veneer of the self-possessed and the arrogant that claim jurisdiction over the lives of others as if it were possible to unseat the eternal God or dismiss his universal embrace of humanity.
We have before us this weekend, three dramatic readings — the first a biblical cartoon, excessive in its humor, the second an urgent appeal excessive in its demands and the third a gracious invitation excessive in its naiveté. Yet all of the readings have the potential to move us to a new level of understanding of the kingdom of God and the beauty of discipleship in Christ.
But could we not cite other personalities alive in real time who have allowed themselves to be drawn into the circle of Jesus’ disciples such as Tom Johnson who travels to Sierra Leone every year to assist the indigent to get surgical attention or Joe Collins who builds homes in Guatemala—“From houses to Homes,” or human rights attorney John Sifton whose efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan have made a difference in the lives of many. But there are many other unsung heroes and heroines who are making a difference in Rwanda, Sudan, and in so many places here in our own country—human rights activists and social service workers making God’s presence felt.
We are all ordinary people who come weekly to this table of God’s word to listen to the demands of divine wisdom and to the table of Eucharist to be transformed as a community into the living body of Christ through the bread blessed and broken for humanity.
As I mentioned earlier, the book of Jonah is a biblical cartoon. You really need to read the entire four chapters of this short humorous didactic novel against the backdrop of the narrow nationalism of post-exilic Judaism.
Jonah was a reluctant prophet whose judgment of pagan Nineveh –the Baghdad of Assyria and now known as Mosel in northern Iraq—was inconsistent with God’s opinion, which favored their conversion.
The letter of Paul demanding complete abandonment of the world including marriage and the attachment to any human emotion is indeed an overstatement to make the point that nothing should cloud the pursuit of eternal values and eternal goals. Paul of course, was writing in the conviction that Christ’s second coming was imminent.
The ‘kindom’ of God is our destiny and all else must be subordinated to that end. Paradoxically, it is the pursuit of God’s glory that brings happiness on this earth and lasting beatitude in heaven. To think and act like God is the very reason for our existence. “God made me to know him, to love him and to show forth his goodness in this life and to be happy with God forever in next.” [Baltimore Catechism] It’s a definition that still works for old and young.
The Gospel is no respecter of personal desire or of a “business as usual” attitude of mind. The disciples – ordinary men—were invited to abandon fish, fare and family for a more noble purpose — the pursuit of justice, love and peace, with Jesus leading the way. This would require the willingness to embrace all humanity as one family.
Though our life stories are surely less dramatic than that of Valjean, or Jonah or Paul or any of the Apostles, yet we are challenged to broaden the context of our daily routine and open up to the fullness of God’s grace in our lives wherever we live, whatever our call or career. There is a standing invitation to do so. Our acceptance will move us from protectionist spirituality to a more outgoing all-embracing Gospel oriented life.
It’s not likely that a walk through Nineveh or Mosel or New York or Chicago or Morristown crying out “Forty days more and this town will be destroyed” will change the hearts of anyone. In fact, such a statement might well result in a free ride to the psychiatric unit at the nearest hospital. Massive conversions don’t happen that way except in evangelical tents or stadiums but these are not usually lasting.
Far more effective in today’s world I think, is a more subtle approach that arouses the curiosity of onlookers about our indefatigable pursuit of justice and goodness in the ordinary affairs of life. Actions still do speak louder than words.
If we are caught up in Christ by the love of the God we cannot see, we will become conduits of God’s grace for others whatever our call and career. In fact, our unique vocation is lived in and through our marriage, our job, our public and private political life and our volunteer service. That’s where the rubber meets the road.
Ask RCIA candidates why they made the decision to become a Catholic and I suspect they will tell you because of one other person of faith and action who touched their lives in a unique way.
The implications or an ordinary life lived extraordinarily well can be dramatic and our response can have a significant impact on local and global issues.
There’s still time to get the lead out and get moving.