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»
It’s all about the human heart
Were my grandmother here this morning, having reared seven children, she might caution me, “Anyone who knows as little as you do about marriage would do well to stay out of the pulpit!”
Notwithstanding the temptation for the preacher to call in sick, this is one of those occasions on which the homilist is tempted to dilute the meaning of the text with well-meaning exegesis or on the other to get bogged down in a ‘catch-22’ moralistic diatribe.
There is something more going on in this exchange. For one thing, the Pharisees were playing games with Jesus. One commentator referred to them as “gotcha games “. They were attempting to discredit Jesus before his listeners. There were two schools of thought, each claiming to have the truth on their side. If Jesus took one side, he would lose the other. It was a no win situation.
Instead, “Jesus turns it all upside down, as he so frequently did. It’s not really about legalities of divorce all; it’s about the human heart.”
The Dali Lama said: “We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of other’s actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from other’s activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with one another.” (Dali Lama of Tibet as quoted in Preaching Resources, CELEBRATION: A Comprehensive Resource, Celebration Publicatioins.org.2009)
People who are truly in love do not marry with the intention of splitting up but divorce happens when something as precious as love withers and dies. It’s a symbol of brokenness, failure and pain in which we all share when love loses its energy. Genesis gives us a very different picture of Adam as he cries out, “At last I have a companion who is my equal, made as I am. Of my very own flesh and bone.”
My friend and mentor, Fr. George Wilson summed it up in these words: “He is tapping into one of the deepest desires in the heart of every human being, of you and of me. We long for intimacy with someone who is a peer, a partner, a companion on our life journey; someone with whom we can share ourselves fully, safely and without fear; someone we can face eye to eye; where there is no higher and lower, no superior and inferior – whether that supposed superiority is based on gender (male is superior) or race (white is better) or clerical status (priesthood is higher) or class (rich controls poor) or national pride (America will never a partner, it stands above all the other nations). We are drawn by the dream of a world where no one of us is the caretaker of another. We long to be able to be transparent and know that we are fully accepted.” (George Wilson, SJ, St. Agnes, Cincinnati, 2006)
Thomas Merton was a man in search of pure love that he discovered through his many conversions could be found only in his total surrender to God and in the love of humanity. One is not possible without the other. On one of his visits to Louisville for a doctor’s appointment, as he stood on the corner of 4th and Walnut Streets gazing at the busy shoppers and passersby, of a sudden he was overwhelmed with the reality of God’s presence in all those people and that somehow he felt a solidarity with all of them. It was a moment all too brief but it transformed his monastic vocation as one that could not separate him from the world but which connected him with the good of all humanity.
But that vision didn’t last and he continued for the rest of his life to wrestle with the demands of love knowing that, in the words of St. Augustine, “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts will not rest until they rest in you.”
Marital love is one form of intimacy that is a paradigm for the love that God has for all humanity in Christ. Monastic life is another. “Faithfulness is more than filling a legal commitment. It’s all about the heart. It is possible to fulfill all the legal requirements of marriage and never be physically unfaithful and still miss the point, as is possible in all our relationships, with each and with God. We are all partners with God in the continuing work of creation. It’s all about being a peer, being equal and not making the other an object or a plaything; of knowing the other as flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone, looking eye to eye.” (Ibid.)
Robert Fulgham tells the story about a touching experience he had with his daughter. “It was Molly’s job to hand her father his brown paper lunch bag each morning before he headed off to work. One morning, in addition to his usual lunch bag, Molly handed him a second paper bag. This one was worn and held together with duct tape, staples, and paper clips.
“Why two bags?” Fulghum asked.
“This one is something else,” Molly answered.
“What’s in it?”
“Oh, Just some stuff. Take it with you.”
At lumch time as he ate his lunch, he tore open Mollys bag and shook out the contents: two hair ribbons, three small stones, a plastic dinosaur, a pencil stub, a tiny sea shell, two animal crackers, a marble, a used chap-stick a small doll, to chocolate kisses and thirteen pennies.
Fulghum finished his lunch and empted everything into the waste basked.
On his return home, Molly asked him, “Where is my bag?”
“You know the one I gave you this morning?”
“I left it at work. Why?”
“I forgot to put this note in it. And besides, those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really like – I thought you might like to play with them but now I want them back. You didn’t lose the bag, did you?”
Molly had given him her treasures — all that a seven year old held dear. Love in a paper sack, and he missed it. Back to the office he went.
After supper he asked Molly to tell him about the stuff in the bag. Everything had a story or a memory or was attached to dreams and imaginary friends. He himself had given her the chocolate kisses and she kept them for when she needed them.
Oh, on the note she had forgotten to place in the bag was written, “I love you daddy.”
Fulghum concludes the story: “Sometimes I think of all the times in this sweet life, when I must have missed the affection I was being given. A friend of mine calls this – “standing knee deep in the river and dying of thirst.”