A different response: Mercy, not vengeance

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15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C: July 10, 2016
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Shame, two sons, and the sacrament of joy

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4th Sunday of Lent, Year C: March 6, 2016
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The joy of the Prodigal Father

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4th Sunday of Lent, Year C: March 10, 2013
Josh 5:9-12; Ps 34; 2 Cor 5:17-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Where is the most joyful place on earth? On this Laetare Sunday, nicknamed for rejoicing, where might we find joy? Where would we look for it? Where do we expect it most? …I’ll come back to that question.

In our Gospel reading today, we hear one of our Lord Jesus’ most famous parables—which is often called the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Now “prodigal” is one of those words we don’t use a lot in English today, except when we are speaking about this very parable; and so, for that reason, the word has partly changed meaning, so that some speak of a prodigal as “one who has returned after an absence.” But that isn’t the original meaning of the word, which instead means one who spends lavishly or wastefully. And so this parable takes its name from the way that the younger son lavishly spent all of his inheritance while away in the distant country: the prodigal son. (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…)

Jesus asks: “What do you want me to do for you?”

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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Oct. 28, 2012
Jer 31:7-9; Ps 126; Heb 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52

Immediately Bartimaeus received his sight. And the first thing he saw was Jesus: the eyes of Jesus, shining with power and love and healing; the eyes of the one who had given him his sight. And he followed Jesus on the way.

Jesus is famous for asking questions. Some years ago, the Jesuit Father John Dear began to write down every question Jesus ever asked in the Gospels—and he got to 307 questions, not even counting the questions that are contained in Jesus’ parables (see his book The Questions of Jesus). And one of Jesus’ most provocative questions is the one that he asks Bartimaeus in today’s Gospel reading: “What do you want me to do for you?” (more…)