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.
+ Thursday before Epiphany
Readings: I John 2:22-28 Psalm 98:1-4 John 1:19-28
Who are you… for Jesus?
This is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” [John 1:19]
When engaging in spiritual direction, I always begin the process by asking the question, “Who is Jesus for you?” Counselees often respond with the usual catechetical answer, “The Son of God… Redeemer, Savior of the world.” Some have arrived at the point at which they refer to Jesus as their best friend.
It’s a question I ask myself at this time of the year. It’s the right time to ask the question during this interim period between Christmas and Epiphany.
Jesus is everything to me. For a start, he is my best friend, my soul companion, my animator and the ground of my being. As I continue to battle trauma associated with advocacy for the abused, I don’t know what my life would be like without his presence especially when life seems to lose its luster and the going gets rough.
It also occurred to me that Jesus is also my neighbor next door; the beggar on the corner, the returning soldier from Iraq or Afghanistan, the handicapped child, the young woman dying of dreaded cancer… the list is endless.
It’s so easy to keep Jesus in the crèche but already he is waling in the shadow of the cross.
The second question is more difficult to answer: “Who are you for Jesus?”
Everything! After all, we were made in the image and likeness of God! God can’t do what God does best unless we do what we do best.Daily Scripture Archive»
Sometimes you just have to ride things out.
Despite the advances in pre-school education and sophisticated internet connections, children still learn best from their earliest at their ‘family table,’ (literal and metaphoric) the basic rules for successful living that include anything from good manners to dealing with crises and life-threatening situations.
Axioms and words of wisdom that flowed from my parents and grandparents at table still stick in my memory. Many of them did not have a full impact on my life until years later.
Indeed, as I grew up and got knocked around a bit by situations and circumstances beyond my control, I began to understand the import of my dad’s words of wisdom, “Ken, sometimes you just have to ride things out.” Life is not always under our control. The truth is, life is rarely under our control! One sage put it this way, “Life is what actually happens when you’re setting your goals.”
Jesus was a master teacher. In fact he was called ‘The Teacher’ or Rabbi. He was an itinerant preacher. I don’t think he expected his disciples to grasp the full meaning of his sayings just as I’m sure my mom and dad did not expect me to grasp the full meaning of their maxims as they spoke them. In fact Jesus’ companions would not see the light until after Pentecost. The full impact of my dad’s words didn’t hit until long after ordination.
When we come to this Eucharist every week and listen to the Scriptures, we bring a lot of baggage with us—our life story and our life stories. Each of us hears the words of Scripture in a way slightly different from our neighbor or even from other members of our family. We filter the words of the Bible through the lens of our human experience and connect them with real life issues and events—past, present and even future as we anticipate them but there is always at least one lesson for everyone.
It is interesting that Mark sandwiched this little exchange with Peter between two other exchanges. The first occurred earlier in this same chapter in Peter’s ‘confession’ of Jesus as the Messiah: “Now Jesus and his disciples set out for the village of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ and then he asked them, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Peter said to him in reply, ‘You are the Messiah.’ The other exchange is Peter’s response to the Transfiguration found in the ninth chapter: “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here.”
Mark was apparently making the point that Peter didn’t have a clue before or even after Jesus’ reprimand about what it meant to be ‘Messiah.’ Peter later denied Jesus at his arrest not once but three times. He didn’t get it until he himself faced his own ‘Gethsemane’ and crucifixion.
Many years ago as a young priest, I was on a retreat for priests at a seaside retreat house. The retreat director said something that has never left me. We were in the conference room that faced the ocean. As he was speaking, I was looking out into the sea but I was listening attentively. The conference was a meditation on the passion and death of Christ. He said to us, “You will never be worth your salt as a priest until you have accompanied Jesus at Gethsemane at least once.”
At the time, I thought I understood what he meant but I didn’t have a clue. After all, I had been a priest only ten years or so at that time and had yet to experience anything even close to Gethsemane—I just thought I had. The clerical world can be very closed and protected at times.
God did not send his son to suffer and die in protest or as a punishment to make up for humanities sins, he sent him to live fully and faithfully with enthusiasm for life. Jesus accepted his call but in doing so, it became clear to him that it would cost him his life, a strange paradox indeed. Jesus ‘rode it out’ to the very end but in the end was raised up in glory.
In a book entitled, “My Grandfather’s Blessings” by Rachel Remen I came upon this bit of wisdom:
“Whether we are aware of it or not, we will refine the quality of our humanity throughout the course of our lives. More and more, people seek spiritual techniques to help them do this. But joy and suffering will do this for you, too. Every lifetime offers countless opportunities to become more whole.”
“Life offers its wisdom generously. Everything teaches. Not everyone learns. Life asks of us the same thing we have been asked in every class: ‘Stay awake.’ ‘Pay attention.’ But paying attention is no simple matter. It requires us not to be distracted by expectations, past experiences, labels and masks. It asks that we not jump to early conclusions and that we remain open to surprise. Wisdom comes most easily to those who have the courage to embrace life without judgment [or condition] and are willing to not know, sometimes for a long time. It requires us to be more fully and simply alive than we have been taught to be. It may require us to suffer. But ultimately, we will be more than we were when we began. There is the seed of a great wholeness in everyone.”
There was a woman in my life other than my own dear mother who was a quiet and sometimes not-so-quiet mentor whom I met much later in my life as a priest. She was our housekeeper and cook at St. Joseph. Mary Lou also known by her own children and dear friends as “Lulu.”
She experienced her Gethsemane early in life with the death of her husband not long after the birth of the last of her eight children one of whom died at the age of two. Mary Lou knew all about life without ever having to go to theology class. She was a gifted cook but more than that, she was woman of homey wisdom who knew how to make lemonade when handed a lemon. She completed her daily tasks day in and day out and never asked why she was dealt a tough hand. She always found time to do nice things for others without fanfare.The Lord was her shepherd, no doubt about it and the Lord upheld her to the very end.
Rachel Remen concluded the introduction to her book with these words: “According to those who have returned from a near-death experience, we are all here to grow in wisdom and learn how to love better. As we each do this in our own ways, we slowly become a blessing to those around us and a light in the world.”