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.
+ 5th Week in Lent
We all need a hero and heroine or two.
Readings: Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95 Response Daniel 3:52-56 John 8:31-34
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed: ‘Blessed be their God of Shaddrach, Meshack and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue his servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own. [Daniel 3:95]
Who is your hero or heroine? We all have at least one. Perhaps it’s a canonized saint. More likely, it is a relative or friend, alive or dead, who has inspired you to greatness or at least to perseverance in your day-to-day efforts to be faithful to your ideals.
Our heroes and heroines are/were not perfect. Even those who have been canonized were not born saints. Some of them were notorious sinners whose sins and failures became occasions for conversion. And there are no living heroes that do not have an Achilles heal or in the words of St. Paul, “a thorn” to keep them humble.
Martin Luther King was more than a ‘king’ in name. He was a hero and in the mind of many, a saint. But he was not perfect. As he struggled for the freedom, he succumbed to human weakness but in the end he paid the price that comes to martyrs.
There is great sadness when a ‘hero’ falls. The sadness is not that politicians and other prominent leaders including religious leaders have succumbed to moral failure but that they fight so hard to cover up their wrongs.
Jesus is the hero of heroes whose only Achilles heal was his powerlessness in the face of opposition. It was this powerlessness that empowers us to be faithful and not to succumb to the easy way out in deference to titles of honor and monetary rewards that accompany narcissism and idolatry.
Jesus was a true son of Abraham who though tempted in every way possible, remained faithful unto death.
It is only when we are willing to suffer the loss of all in deference to truth and integrity that we in fact gain all.Daily Scripture Archive»
God’s breath is everywhere.
“The Spirit is a-movin, all over, all over the land!” is the name of a folk ‘hymn’ that dates back to the hoot’nany Mass era. Although I appreciate church folk music, I do not yearn for a return to the ‘folksy’ venue of the sixties and seventies. It may have been lively but in hindsight much of the music was trite and the lyrics anemic.
Nevertheless, it was an honest attempt to synergize the community and energize the congregation to sing. It was also a wake up call to participate fully in the life of the Church at worship as well as in the streets. The theological point to be made was that all who are baptized into Christ become members of his body in the Church and are empowered by the same Spirit not only to be in grace but to act in grace.
That having been stated, the Book of Numbers echoed by the Gospel of Mark seems to be suggesting, however, that the Spirit of God is not restricted just to the baptized , certainly not just to Catholics.
In fact, the Spirit of God breathes where it wills and can find ways inside and outside the Church to activate goodness and unleash positive energy at any time in any place. Someone said somewhere that goodness lies just beneath the surface everywhere. In the face of so much evil in the world — totalitarian governments, oppressive leaders, and exploitive politicians — this statement may seem naïve or at least simplistic. Jesus faced the same reaction to much of what he preached and he paid dearly for it.
The popular scriptural commentator and editor of “Celebration,” a homiletic resource published by NCR, Pat Sanchez, supplied this reference to Mohandas K. Gandhi, a Hindhu in whom the Spirit of God dwelled and which “compelled him to befriend victims of injustice, discrimination and political greed and to make their cause his own.” This is what he wrote:
“I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever changing, ever dying, there is, underlying all that change, a living Power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates — and recreates. That informing Power is the spirit of God. In the midst of death, life persists; in the midst of untruth, truth persists; in the midst of darkness, light persists. Hence I gather that the Spirit of God is Life, Truth and Love.”
But Ghandhi was not the only non-Christian in history to have manifested the same charisma as did Medad and Eldad or those referenced by the disciples of Jesus. Pat Sanchez brought to my attention several other philosophers, poets and social activists such as Pandurang Athavale of India who said that “the breath of God, the Holy Spirit, is not anchored to the steeple of a church; it is truly free, active in all of creation and in the lives of people everywhere!”
Here’s another. “Chief Seattle was a Native American in whom the Spirit of God was truly alive. He called the spirit of God ‘Great’ and declared that same Great Spirit was the God of all peoples, whether they be red, white, black or yellow. Whether acknowledged or not, all were created by the one Great Spirit; all were made to be free to have land, to have sufficient food and shelter from the cold and the rains.”
An appreciation for the many ways God is manifested in other cultures and faith traditions does not necessitate any lessening of our religious convictions or commitment to our own tradition. Not every maverick leads us astray and those who are not with us are not necessarily against us! Indeed they may stretch our imagination and help to appreciate better the perennial truths to which we adhere.
John Paul II affirming the teaching of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans recognized the need for true religion to be enculturated, i.e., to recognize in the diversity of world cultures, certain underlying values that are inherent in nature and creation and therefore, in Christianity. As Roman Catholics, we are traditional, not traditionalists and therefore we remain open to other voices that may even help to broaden our understanding and appreciation of our own heritage.
There are numerous others outside the walls of our Church — the Dali Lama, Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu, and voices within our Church who speak a different language or who have looked at life within the Church through a different lens: Oscar Romero and Dorothy Day, Hans Kung, Leonard Boff, Charles Curran, Joan Chittister, and Edwina Gately, to name only a few. Each of them are from different cultures, social and educational backgrounds but there is a common thread which runs through every word they spoke and every action they performed: the abiding goodness of God and the expectation that the kings and princes of the earth as well as the most lowly servants within society honor the demands of God’s justice as expounded by the prophets of every religion in every generation. The letter of James is only a preface to the ‘Gospel of Justice’ and indeed applies to every age.
Wars continue to be fought over religion and the closed minds of many have led to the slaughter of the innocent in many lands, but violence is ultimately the venue of cowards and weapons of the tongue are the most vicious weapons of mass destruction.
God’s hands cannot be tied and or a governor placed on God’s grace.
But the voices that most challenge us may be the voices of those under our own roof as it were. These may be the folks who stretch our minds the most—children, many of them. They may help us to discover that there are more ‘both / ands’ than ‘either / ors’ in this world and in our Church. We would do well to focus on complementarities that unite rather than absolutes that divide.
So you see, it’s not just through Eldad and Medad or all the big wigs throughout the ages that the Spirit of God speaks loud and clear. It is through the little people who touch our lives day in and day out — grandmas and grandpas, teachers and coaches, “The Spirit is A-mov’n All Over…”