What do you do with the mystery of the Trinity?

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Most Holy Trinity, Year C: May 26, 2013
Prov 8:22-31; Ps 8; Rom 5:1-5; John 16:12-15

Today we celebrate the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. But what is a mystery? In books of fiction, a mystery is often a puzzle related to a crime that a detective is supposed to solve. But when we speak about the faith, it means something different. From what I have heard, it is something that you say when you want a child to stop asking questions! “No, I don’t know who or why or how! It’s a mystery. Beat it, kid!”

But, of course, that’s not really what a mystery of the faith is. A mystery is something that is initially out of reach of our human reason— (more…)

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The gentle yet blazing gift of the Holy Spirit

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Pentecost Sunday, Year C: May 19, 2013
Mass during the Day: Acts 2:1-11; Ps 104; 1 Cor 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23

On that first Pentecost Sunday, the disciples experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (CCC 731). We heard about this event in the first reading—and about the amazing events that followed, as they boldly spoke to others about Jesus in languages that they had not previously known. It was an amazing day—a day sometimes called “the birthday of the Church.”

But what is the Holy Spirit? Or, rather, we should ask: who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is one of the three Divine Persons in the Blessed Trinity. That is, to us has been revealed the mystery that the one God is a trinity of persons: (more…)

El don suave pero ardiente del Espíritu Santo

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Domingo de Pentecostés, Año C: 19 Mayo 2013
Misa del Día: Hch 2, 1-11; Sal 103; 1 Cor 12, 3-7.12-13; Jn 20, 19-23

En el primer domingo de Pentecostés, los discípulos experimentaron la efusión del Espíritu Santo (CIC 731). Oímos de este evento en la primera lectura—y de las maravillas que siguieron, de que hablaron con valentía a otros acerca de Jesús en idiomas que no habían conocido. Fue un día increíble—un día a veces llamado “el nacimiento de la Iglesia.”

Pero, ¿qué es el Espíritu Santo? O, más bien, deberíamos preguntar: ¿quién es el Espíritu Santo?

El Espíritu Santo es una de las tres Personas Divinas en la Santísima Trinidad. Es decir, a nosotros ha sido revelado el misterio de que el único Dios es una trinidad de personas: (more…)

Groaning, hoping, and the down payment of the Spirit

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Pentecost Sunday: May 18, 2013
At the Vigil Mass: Gen 11:1-9; Ps 104; Rom 8:22-27; John 7:37-39

The world is groaning. We heard St. Paul write in our first reading: all creation is groaning—is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves… we also groan. Why this groaning? You know. In the verses immediately before this passage, he speaks of the sufferings of this present time; of futility; of slavery to corruption. And we all know what that means. It means political corruption and terrorism; it means sickness and death; it means drudgery and depression; it means conflict and heartache. And so we groan.

And like children on a trip, we say: “Are we there yet?” Because we have hope. (more…)

Keeping Jesus’ word, from Old Law to New Law

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6th Sunday of Easter, Year C: May 5, 2013
Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Ps 67; Rev 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29

We hear our Lord Jesus say in today’s Gospel reading: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” What beautiful words! We want that kind of peace so much. In fact, the whole world wants that kind of peace. And our Lord Jesus offers it.

But we also hear him say: “Whoever loves me will keep my word.” Now that’s different, isn’t it? It’s one thing to offer peace; it’s another thing to require obedience. (more…)

Sigue a Cristo en el agua del bautismo

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El Bautismo del Señor, Año C: 13 Enero 2013
Is 42, 1-4.6-7; Sal 28; Tit 2, 11-14; 3, 4-7; Lc 3, 15-16.21-22

Cuando viajamos como pelegrinos cristianos a la Tierra Santa, uno de los sitios que buscamos es el del bautismo de nuestro Señor Jesús. Sabemos que San Juan Bautista bautizaba en el río Jordán, y hay unos puntos a lo largo del Jordán que se sugieren como sitios posibles. Y cuando llegamos, normalmente queremos tocar el agua, o aún entrar en el agua. Hay algunos que son bautizados allí en el Jordán—o probablemente rebautizados, si son cristianos que no entienden como nosotros que el bautismo es un evento transformativo de una sola vez y no repetible. Pero es natural querer seguir a Cristo en el agua. (more…)

Follow Christ into the waters of baptism

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The Baptism of the Lord, Year C: Jan. 13, 2013
Isa 42:1-4, 6-7; Ps 29; Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

When Christian pilgrims visit the Holy Land, one of the many sites that we seek out is the location where our Lord Jesus was baptized. We know that John the Baptist was baptizing in the Jordan River, and there are a few different spots along the Jordan that are suggested as possible locations. One of these is a location in the present-day country of Jordan, called “Al Maghtas,” just a little to the east of the current course of the Jordan River, where excavations in the mid-1990s uncovered the remains of a number of church buildings built starting around 500 AD to mark this very spot. (more…)

Spiritual zombies and the Divine Physician

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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Sept. 30, 2012
Num 11:25-29; Ps 19; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-48

The writer Ross Douthat, in his recent book on religion in America (Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, pp. 152-53), has observed that

Christianity is a paradoxical religion because the Jew of Nazareth is a paradoxical character. No figure in history or fiction contains as many multitudes as the New Testament’s Jesus.

And then he proceeds to list many pairs of paradoxical traits and actions that we see in our Lord Jesus. For example, he writes:

He can be egalitarian and hierarchical, gentle and impatient, extraordinarily charitable and extraordinarily judgmental. He sets impossible standards and then forgives the worst of sinners. (more…)

Zombis espirituales y el médico divino

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XXVI Domingo Ordinario, Año B: 30 Septiembre 2012
Nm 11, 25-29; Sal 18; St 5, 1-6; Mc 9, 38-48

Nuestro Señor Jesucristo siempre nos sorprende. Dice algo, y entonces dice otro, que no habíamos esperado. Hace algo, y entonces hace otro con contraste. Un escritor norteamericano lo ha llamado un “carácter paradójico” y provee ejemplos de pares de calidades y acciones paradójicas que vemos en nuestro Señor. Escribe:

Puede ser igualitaria y jerárquica, suave e impaciente, extraordinariamente caritativo y extraordinariamente crítico. Establece normas imposibles y entonces perdona a los peores de pecadores. (Ross Douthat, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, pp. 152-53; traducción mía)

Y observa que el cristianismo ortodoxo siempre ha sido fiel en abrazar y proclamar la totalidad de Jesús; (more…)

La semilla crece: su Reino, en su ritmo

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XI Domingo Ordinario, Año B: 17 Junio 2012
Ez 17, 22-24; Sal 91; 2 Cor 5, 6-10; Mc 4, 26-34

“¿Con qué compararemos el Reino de Dios?” pregunta nuestro Señor Jesucristo. Y nos cuenta dos parábolas en nuestra lectura del Evangelio, ambos comparando el Reino de Dios con el crecimiento de semillas.

En la segunda parábola, el foco es cuán grande es el crecimiento de la semilla—grande y quizá sorprendente. La semilla de mostaza es muy pequeña en el principio—sólo 1 o 2 milímetros—pero crece hasta un arbusto que puede ser de casi 3 metros en altura. Y así es el Reino de Dio, nos dice nuestro Señor: aunque empiece pequeñito e insignificante—en el mundo, o en una vida individual—crecerá hasta hacerse muy grande. (more…)