Fr. Gregory Murphy. "Leaving Jerusalem" Torch. April 20, 2023 Luke’s story of Jesus reaches its climax when he triumphantly enters Jerusalem, is betrayed and executed, and rises from the dead – God’s vindication of Jesus, his life, works and teaching. Yet Cleopas and his companion (anonymous, in the story, perhaps his wife, some speculate, perhaps any disciple) have given up.
Sr. Genie Natividad, MM. "Mission on the Margins" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. January 22, 2023 What strikes me most about the readings for this Sunday’s liturgy — the gospel from Matthew in particular — is the way mission is to be carried out following the example of Jesus. He begins his OUTREACH to the people on the margins, the people in Capernaum. These people seem to be on the outskirts of Jewish (mainstream) society and bear a history of marginalization.
Julie Lawler. "Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. September 4, 2022 Today’s gospel reading leads us to reflect on and examine our priorities. What is most important? It is hard to choose between God and other commitments, but God is inviting us to choose God above all else, possessions and relationships, so that we can have eternal life.
John Bergsma. "Wisdom and Discipleship" The Sacred Page. September 3, 2022 One of the most famous German opponents of Adolf Hitler and Nazism was the Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whom the Nazis executed by hanging in April 1945 for his involvement in a plot against Hitler himself. Bonhoeffer’s most famous work was a meditation on the Sermon on the Mount entitled (in English) The Cost of Discipleship.
Mary Ortwein. "God and Family" A Catholic Moment. September 3, 2022 Our local St. Vincent de Paul Society distributes food on Saturday morning. The thrift shop is open. Wright Avenue is a hopping place by 9:30. Recently, we added one more service: two people sit ready to pray with anyone who would like us to pray with them. I take a turn once a month.
Fr. Benjamin Earl. "Counting the Cost" Torch. August 29, 2022 Of all the things the Church affirms, perhaps one of the least controversial is that prudence is a virtue. And anyone who has that virtue will know by second nature that if one is about to embark on a major project, a certain preparation is necessary. There needs to be a feasibility study, there needs to be planning, and there needs to be a budget.
Mary Ortwein. "The Ordinary 72" A Catholic Moment. July 2, 2022 Several years ago, I noticed that sometimes in the Gospels Jesus spoke to the scribes and Pharisees; sometimes he spoke to the people in general; and sometimes he spoke to his disciples. I got curious about what he said specifically to his disciples. Was there a different standard for them? I sat down one Sunday afternoon with an old Bible and a yellow marker. My intention was to mark the passages Jesus said to his disciples.
Sr. Janet Hockman, MM. "Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. February 6, 2022 I was walking on the beach late one afternoon on Tinak, Arno, in the Marshall Islands when I met Lanty, a young student. He was coming toward me with his bucket. I looked in and saw his very small catch. With a great smile he offered the fish. I was reluctant to take them knowing he fished for the family’s evening meal but refusing would be a deep hurt to hospitality. The gift humbled and disturbed me greatly.
John Bergsma. "Awe and Apostolate!" The Sacred Page. February 5, 2022 Our Readings for this Sunday combine two major themes: awe and apostolate. Both Isaiah and Peter are awed and ashamed to find themselves in the presence of God; but both are subsequently sent out (in Greek, apostello) on mission for the Almighty. We, too, feel our unworthiness and need of mercy in God’s presence, and also our responsibility to spread the Good News of mercy to all people.
Fr. Richard Finn. "Captured Alive" Torch. February 2, 2022 It’s unfashionable to say so, but God often makes us afraid! Just look at today’s readings. Isaiah’s vision of God leads the prophet to cry out that he is ‘lost’. In the Gospel, when Simon sees Jesus command the riches of the sea, when the fishermen fill the boats with their catch until they start to sink, Simon cries out in fear for Jesus to leave, so aware is Simon of his own sinfulness.
Fr. John Sivalon, MM. "Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. November 7, 2021 In Transfiguration Parish in Mwanza, Tanzania, a group of widows came together to initiate a support group for themselves. Called “Upendo wa Wajane,” (Widows’ Love), these roughly thirty-five women have joined together in a cooperative. They invest, borrow, and distribute to economically support one another.
Fr. Ken Thesing, MM. "Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. October 24, 2021 The followers of Jesus – the disciples as they came to be called – went through a long process of formation as they struggled to understand who Jesus was. They perceived Jesus as clearly human like them, but yet more. Attracted by his teaching and actions among them they felt called to “come and see,” and to follow him. They were constantly called to “see” beyond the human, to grasp what God was doing in their midst.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "The Danger of Possessions" A Catholic Moment. October 10, 2021 What is our idol? What is our wealth? What is it that we cannot let go? What are the things possessing us such that we have become prisoners of them, and by consequence going against the first commandment that seeks for unconditional priority to God? Why do we walk away sad? Those who have attained detachment towards worldly possessions will never walk away sad. Even if part of what they have or even the whole of it be sacrificed for the sake of Christ.
Fr. Joseph Veneroso, MM. "Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. September 26, 2021 I had the good fortune to study Scripture with Rabbi Asher Finkel. What made his lectures intriguing was that his specialty was the New Testament, specifically the teachings of Jesus. Rabbi Finkel offered insights into Jesus that most of us Gentiles could never imagine. One day he launched into an impromptu explanation of the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, saying that, to the Jewish mind, it made perfect sense for the Messiah to be born of a ritually spotless womb.
John Bergsma. "Living as Prophet of God" The Sacred Page. September 20, 2021 The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that we are baptized into Christ’s prophethood, but if you cornered any typical Catholic coming out of mass on a Sunday morning, they would vehemently deny having any prophetic gifts, because “I’m not Charismatic.” Well, the prophetic role of the Christian is not limited to people involved in the Charismatic Renewal. The Readings for this mass are, in a sense, united by a theme of prophethood, discussing what it means to follow in the footsteps of Christ and his prophetic charism.
Fr. John Patrick Kenrick. "Childlike but not Childish" Torch. September 13, 2021 Today’s reading from the book of Wisdom is very appropriate for the times we live in when adherence to faith and to Christian values is often mocked by the secular world and even some Christians can be found apologizing for what many people see as unenlightened attitudes. The mistake made by ‘the godless’ in this reading is all too clear – they think that they have all the necessary evidence to make an informed judgment.
John Bergsma. "The Paradox of Discipleship" The Sacred Page. September 11, 2021 We have been getting a number of rousing challenges from Jesus in the past several weeks, as our readings have followed the progress of his ministry, and Jesus repeatedly makes clear that following him is not going to be easy in any way. This Sunday we get another challenge from Jesus to “fish or cut bait” in our relationship with him. Paradoxically, however, if we think we are going to preserve our lives and comfort by turning away from him, Jesus warns us: long term, that’s a bad strategy.
Fr. Robert Ombres. "By Way of the Cross" Torch. September 6, 2021 Today’s gospel is demanding. It is demanding because it makes us think about ourselves at a deep level, and because it makes demands on us. As Christians we are disciples of Christ, we take our most fundamental identity from being in him. Baptism, we believe, can never be undone and it changes us at a level so fundamental that it can be described as ontological. By baptism we die to our former selves and enter a new, risen life. What we believe about Christ literally, that he died and rose, is to be believed about ourselves sacramentally.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "Called to live in the true spirit of God’s Law" A Catholic Moment. August 29, 2021 Ritual washing using drinking-water: William Barclay in the ‘daily study bible’ tells the story of an old Jewish rabbi in the Roman prison diagnosed with acute dehydration which would have led to his death. The prison guards insisted that the rabbi had been given his quota of drinking water. So the prison doctor and the officer in charge instructed the guards to watch the rabbi and ascertain what he was doing with his ration of water.
Fr. Dermot Morrin. "Not Just our Lips" Torch. August 24, 2021 It was after Jesus had fed the 5000 and before he fed 4000 more, that the Pharisees and the scribes from Jerusalem made their approach to Jesus. Having fed so many with just five loaves of bread and two fish, they would have Jesus answer questions about how some of his disciples ate it! But Jesus did not dismiss them or their concerns. Rather, he shifted the focus from hands defiled to what defiles a person, because the state of your heart is far more important than the state of your hands, and not just before you eat, but in everything you do.
Fr. Richard Conrad. "Looking Harder" Torch. August 17, 2021 Most Christians, most preachers, who reflect on this Chapter reflect on the Holy Eucharist. They are right; John wants us to do so. All the same, we might ask why John doesn’t tell us plainly about the Eucharist in his account of the Last Supper. Perhaps it’s because he was writing for a non-Christian audience – he tells us towards the end that he wants his readers to come to faith in Jesus. Maybe he felt that people who haven’t come to faith can’t grasp something so strange and precious as the Eucharist.
Fr. Toby Lees. "Rest in God" Torch. July 14, 2021 With some Gospel passages you can relate to the experience of the Apostles and disciples immediately, but I have always struggled to understand when people have told me ‘they had no time even to eat.’ There have been times when I didn’t happen to have anything at hand to eat, but never a time when something was at hand and I didn’t have time to eat it!
Fr. Luke Doherty. "A Dusty Job" Torch. July 6, 2021 There is a sense in the Gospel of Mark that it was critical that the apostles go out as missionary disciples and preach what they have been taught. And it had to happen now, not later. They are instructed not to bring a second tunic with them on their journey, which basically means they need to go out with the clothes they had on and pack nothing else. As if there was a fire alarm going off and they were to go out and preach with an urgency.
Fr. Robert Ombres. "Living Provisionally" Torch. January 18, 2021 The readings for Mass today may seem impressive, but also very distant from us. We can admire from a distance whilst remaining unchanged. Jonah, for all his reluctance, was a prophet, and at great cost to himself as his life became disrupted by God. Simon and Andrew, brothers who made a living by fishing, when Jesus told them to follow him in a very different way of life immediately left the tools of their trade and followed him. Soon after, Jesus saw James and John at their work. He called them and they left their father in the boat and followed him. These were costing separations from work and family towards an uncertain future. This is only chapter 1 of St Mark’s Gospel, and the rest of the Gospel (combined with the other gospels) will tell what that undisclosed future in following Jesus would bring.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "It costs a lot to follow him" A Catholic Moment. September 8, 2019 The teachings of Christ are often incomprehensible with the logic of the human mind and the principles of the world. It’s as if his intention is always to toughen the path of his followers in order to make them true and authentic. Yes, Christianity is not a secular institution, and the gospel is not a mundane ideology. It is the imitation of the life of Christ, who won our salvation only through the way of the cross.
Chris Bodewes. "Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. September 8, 2019 Today’s Gospel can leave you thinking that being a disciple of Jesus is an impossibility. Who among us can hate the most cherished people in our lives, our families? But that is not what is meant by this passage. In Luke’s time, hating meant preferring someone to another. And it is very possible to take a preference for God, to give our relationship with God a certain priority over other people and things that vie for our time.
Fr. Simon Gaine. "Knowing and Loving All in All" Torch. September 4, 2019 To live successfully and come to the true goal of our lives, we need to know the truth and to act on it. We need not only knowledge, but we also need the will to act, we need to love. We need all this because we are not simply animals, animals with brains, but animals with minds and wills. We are spiritual. So, without knowing and loving of the highest kind, the spiritual kind, we cannot be fulfilled, cannot be happy.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "He sent out helpers" A Catholic Moment. July 7, 2019 The theme of this Sunday’s Liturgy of the word is a call to announce the Good News. The readings remind us that the task of announcing the Good News of the Kingdom of God, by words and by deeds, is not limited only to a few. Rather, it is a mandate given to all baptized Christians.
Fr. Dermot Morrin. "Facing Jerusalem" Torch. July 4, 2019 About the Lord sending out of seventy-two others, or seventy depending on the English translation, I would want to ask who were these disciples? They just pop up and then as quickly disappear in the narrative. They are not named. Their number, be it seventy or seventy two, is not without significance. But a more considered question is to ask what truth did Luke want us to grasp, when he, and only he, included this mission in his gospel?
Susan Gunn. "Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. March 3, 2019 The gospel reading from Luke is the final section of what is often called the Sermon on the Plain. The parallel to this passage is the more well-known Sermon on the Mount from Matthew. As these titles suggest, there are differences and similarities between these gospel readings.
Anita Klueg. "Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. February 10, 2019 As a returned Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Mombasa, Kenya for seven years, first as a couple and eventually a family with two daughters, I have been blessed to be a witness to God’s work in myself and God’s presence and surprises in the joy and the sadness of mission.
Fr. David McLean. "Living Gospel" Torch. February 6, 2019 Paul wants to remind the Corinthians of the gospel that he had preached to them, the gospel which they had received. He is, of course, not referring to a book. When someone mentions ‘a gospel’, we tend to think of the four gospels of the New Testament. There is a tendency to think of the word in the written form. We may even think of Luke, the gospel we have at today’s Mass. Paul, however, is not referring to a written book.
Fr. Martin Ganeri. "Rabbuni!" Torch. October 24, 2018 This Sunday’s Gospel passage tells us of the physical healing of a blind man. The gift of sight. Yet it also sets out for us a journey of insight which the man undergoes as he comes into contact with Christ and which leads not just to his being healed of a bodily handicap, but to his becoming a full disciple of Christ, to his following Jesus ‘on the way,’ that ancient phrase for being a Christian. It is as a story of insight that what happens to the man born blind becomes a model for all of us as we seek to understand what it means for us to be ‘on the way’ to and with Christ.
Fr. Luke Doherty. "Taking the Higher Ground" Torch. August 22, 2018 There can’t be many friars who have stood for public office. It was probably one of the most surreal experiences of my life when I ran as a candidate for the UK Parliament. I stood on a platform of encouraging growth in the local economy, better housing and a more sustainable national infrastructure. I even had my five minutes of fame with a live television interview. Party politics is of course a bit of a dirty business. Even in the selection process, I almost lost the selection vote because I was asked my view on abortion.
Fr. Robert Ombres. "Captivated by Christ" Torch. January 17, 2018 Religion can be fascinating, and to be the follower of a religion has several attractions. There is an involvement with the supernatural, there are sacred books and a body of teachings to engage the mind, there are rituals and practices that create fellowship and have inspired art and music, there is guidance on right and wrong, and there are indications about life after death.
Fr. Timothy Radcliffe. "The Dangers of Love" Torch. January 18, 2017 After the testing in the wilderness, Jesus is ready to begin his preaching, but everything seems to go wrong. John the Baptist is arrested and so Judea, the heart of the Holy Land, becomes too hot for Jesus. He even leaves his home territory of Nazareth for Capernaum, “the Galilee of the Gentiles”, as it was called.
Fr. Bruno Clifton. "The Burden of the Cross" Torch. August 31, 2016 In our intercessions at Vespers we pray, ‘give a new heart to those who have fallen from the practice of the faith; may they again find joy in Christian discipleship.’
Fr. Dermot Morrin. "At the Feet of Jesus" Torch. July 11, 2016 It is while Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem that Martha receives him into her home. Like anyone on the road he is in need of food and lodging. In offering him hospitality Martha shows her goodness and her generosity. As we can see from the first reading in this way she is truly a daughter of Abraham who is quick to offer hospitality to the wayfarer. In the gospels, often Jesus is invited to meals, but the welcome he receives varies. Sometimes it is less than it might be, as for example, in the case of Simon the Pharisee (7.36-50).
Laura Kazlas. "Take Nothing for the Journey" A Catholic Moment. July 2, 2016 There is a lot of wisdom in the words that Jesus spoke to his apostles in today’s gospel:
Joseph LaCombe. "Drop the Nets…" A Catholic Moment. February 6, 2016 15 years ago, I sat on the Northeast coast of the United States, on a pier in Maine. It was a beautiful August day on the North Atlantic, and as I was up in Maine for training, we took a long lunch and went to the outskirts of town, and just across the road from a small country store and deli was a small pier where lobster and crab fisherman were coming in, emptying their pots. We took our lunch out to the pier and ate, and watched these men work.
Fr. Oliver Keenan. "Open to Grace" Torch. February 2, 2016 The words that St. Luke records a kneeling Simon Peter as addressing to Jesus—“leave me alone”—don’t seem like an auspicious start for the one chosen to be leader among the apostles. But, as our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah reminds us, reluctance on the part of those chosen to be missionary prophets of the Lord is not a new thing (and the vocation stories of more than one Dominican suggest that it’s not limited to biblical times either). Within seconds, though, Simon is on his feet and has abandoned everything to follow Christ.
Fr. Bruno Clifton. "The Gaze of Love" Torch. October 6, 2015 Let us have a look at the dynamic of this conversation the rich man has with Jesus. The first thing Mark makes sure to tell us is that this encounter interrupts Jesus ‘setting out on the way’ (v17). It is not a teaching moment, but the man is concerned enough to find the Lord, kneel before him and ask him the question that troubles him, even when Jesus has other things to do. So, it is highly unlikely to be a challenge to his authority or an attempt to trick him.
Fr. Colin Carr. "The Comfort of Religion?" Torch. August 18, 2015 Once in my life I have abseiled. I did it from the parapet of a 3-storey building, which is no big deal; but as I was climbing over the parapet I had a horrible feeling that I wouldn’t be able to do it, and I wanted to go back indoors and make some urgent phone-calls I’d suddenly remembered about (I didn’t have a mobile phone at the time). But fortunately I didn’t go back: I went down the building with greater and greater confidence, and once I was back on the ground I immediately wanted to have another go.
Fr. Benedict Jonak. "Knowing Our Needs" Torch. July 28, 2015 St Thomas Aquinas says in a neat way that there are three things necessary for our salvation: to know what to believe, to know what to desire and to know what to do. Of course he is not the first one to stress the importance of knowledge, whether practical or theoretical. The value of knowledge has been key to many philosophical or religious movements. It is expressed in the familiar “Know thyself” of the Delphic oracle or in the saying of Laozi: “To know others is wise; to know oneself is enlightenment.”
Joseph LaCombe. "Be Catholic, Be a Disciple" A Catholic Moment. July 12, 2015 Sometimes, I think the hardest thing about being Catholic is BEING Catholic. Many of us in this world call ourselves Christian and Catholic, but are we really living like Christ and living out the Catholic faith? Often we our living our own version of Christianity, and our own version of Catholicism, the version that makes us the most comfortable and does not rock the boat, much like the priest Amaziah in the first reading from the Prophet Amos today in how he doesn’t want Amos to prophesy in Bethel and make waves against the King and the government.
Fr. David Goodill. "The Love of Learning" Torch. July 7, 2015 We spend a great deal of our lives preparing. School runs from infancy until we are ready to enter the adult world. For some people college or apprenticeship can extend well into the twenties and beyond. Those called to priesthood normally face at least six years of formation. Many find themselves later in life re-training: back to the classroom with teachers the same age as their children. Good training prepares the learner with knowledge and skills, and helps the learner to adapt to the demands of the job in a controlled environment.
Fr. Isidore Clarke. "I Come To Do Your Will" Torch. January 19, 2014 These words are taken from today’s responsorial psalm. They form a bridge between the 1st Reading and the Gospel.In the 1st Reading we are told about God choosing and preparing a very, very special servant for Himself. He would be a light to the nations and would bring the Lord’s salvation to the ends of the earth. That prophecy was fulfilled in Christ.
Fr. David McLean. "Change for the Better" Torch. September 8, 2013 Today’s gospel sounds very harsh at first hearing and perhaps on further reading. It seems a bit much, if not entirely wrong, that Jesus should expect us to hate our father, our mother, our wife, our children, our brothers, our sisters, even our own life, and all our possessions, in order to follow him. What Jesus is doing is to nudge us towards a glimpse of the fundamental change required in us in order to become sons and daughters of God.
Fr. Benjamin Earl. "Total Giving" Torch. October 14, 2012 Most of us have at some point been presented with a task that seemed impossible to us. Perhaps it might be sorting out family difficulties: one child is ill, another breaks a leg, the spouse gets stuck in snowstorm, and to cap it all a long-lost Australian aunt turns up on the doorstep unannounced. You get the picture. At this time of year, perhaps the impossible task is a new course of studies; perhaps a new job, or a crisis at work.
Fr. Gregory Pearson. "Staying the Course" Torch. April 16, 2011 Gethsemane provides the final lesson in discipleship given by Jesus before his execution and exaltation, and that lesson is rooted in prayer.
Fr. Dermot Morrin. "The Faith of the Apostles" Torch. October 3, 2010 The apostles said to the Lord , ‘Increase our faith.’ Their request seems to come from nowhere. It is all the more striking because of the language Luke uses. The word ‘Lord’ is repeated in the next verse but the use of the words ‘apostles’, and ‘faith’ is also significant.
Fr. Simon Gaine. "Facing the Challenge" Torch. September 5, 2010 Jesus has had his disagreements with learned scribes and Pharisees along the way to Jerusalem, while the unlearned crowds are still enthusiastically behind him. He speaks to them not to destroy their zeal, but to temper it with something more characteristic of his opponents. The crowds did not know what this road to Jerusalem meant for Jesus, nor did they know what following after him really means. Jesus wants to inform their zeal with a dose of learned realism, warning them that anyone who does not bear the cross and follow after him cannot be his disciple.
Fr. David Sanders. "Called to Holiness" Torch. February 7, 2010 We often pigeon-hole people. We are certain we know them and we fix their identity. We treat them more like things than people. Then suddenly we see in them a new dimension, a surprising depth, a different person.
Fr. Allan White. "Making the Journey" Torch. January 3, 2010 In the Christmas story we traditionally see two journeys to the manger of the infant king. The shepherds were so captivated by the message of the angel that they left their sheep and made the journey to see this wonder that had come to pass in the city of David. They left their livelihoods and security; they found a new centre for their lives in the manger of him through whom all things were made.
Fr. Dermot Morrin. "Take Heart, He Is Calling You" Torch. October 25, 2009 The character Bartimaeus leaps out from the pages of Mark’s Gospel and stays with us as we go on our way from Sunday to Sunday. He becomes a follower at the eleventh hour, just before Jesus finally enters Jerusalem, at a stage when those who have been disciples all along are beginning to lose heart. His story is told so that we may take heart, not just sitting by the wayside but actually following Jesus in the Way.
Fr. Francis Gaine. "It's a Scandal" Torch. September 27, 2009 Jesus always provokes a response in those who encounter him. It’s true that there are those who want to follow but are afraid and those who are held back by something they don’t want to leave behind. But at bottom there are those who are for him, and those who are against. Jesus himself implies as much:
Fr. Colin Carr. "Death and Glory" Torch. September 20, 2009 We think we know what counts as winning: doing better than other people; we think we know what counts as glory: everyone telling us how great we are, and treating us with great respect; we think we know what counts as power: being able to make things happen the way we want them, and people obeying us when we tell them what to do. We want to be big rather than small, strong rather than weak, praised rather than blamed. It’s normal to think like that, isn’t it? Well, Jesus didn’t seem to think so.
Fr. Peter Clarke. "A Tortured Relationship" Torch. September 13, 2009 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine….' To me this is one of the most crucial statements in the whole of the Gospels. It forces me to ask myself how much it means to me to be a follower of Jesus. Am I prepared to give what it takes? We have read of Jesus asking his disciples, 'You, who do you say I am?' Peter's replied, 'You are the Christ!' with the title 'Christ' being loaded with all the understandings and expectations of a people that had being nourished on the Prophetic Word of God.
Fr. David Goodill. "Far from the Passive Crowd" Torch. May 3, 2009 'I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me.' Jesus gives us this wonderful image in today's gospel. A lamb picks out the voice of its mother from all the voices in the flock. The attachment of the lamb to the mother is so strong that it is able to distinguish between noises that we could not distinguish. Sheep also learn to recognise the voice of the Shepherd, 'the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.'
Fr. Colin Carr. "The Circle of Light" Torch. January 27, 2008 The way Matthew tells it, Jesus lived a dangerous life right from the start. As a baby he had to flee the family home in Bethlehem because of a murderous king; when that king died and the family came back from Egypt, they found that the new king wasn’t much of an improvement so they moved away from Judaea to the rather obscure area of Galilee.
Fr. Benedict Jonak. "In the Vanguard" Torch. July 8, 2007 If one wonders what it means for the Church to be missionary some of the answers to this question are presented to us in today’s Gospel.
Fr. Edward Booth. "The Learning Church" Torch. October 22, 2006 How surprising it is that the Apostle and Evangelist John should be one of those who fancied for himself a conspicuous place in the heavenly glory! By the end of his life he had experience enough of the glory of heaven as he received the visions from which he wrote his apocalypse. But if we find ourselves thinking how wrong he was, we ought also to be thinking that his conversion to what he became was enormous and totally authentic.
Fr. Jonathan Fleetwood. "Seeds of Faith" Torch. October 1, 2006 Today’s first reading from the Book of Numbers echoes in pattern the first section of the Gospel. Moses, in the first reading, has appointed seventy elders to help him in his mission. The Spirit comes down upon the seventy, but also upon two others not in the group. The seventy complain and want the two stopped, but they are rebuked by Moses. Moses recognises the two outsiders as a sign of the potentiality of the whole ‘people of the Lord’.
Fr. Dermot Morrin. "Something Never Heard Before" Torch. August 27, 2006 For five weeks we have been reading the long discourse on the bread of life and reflecting on the Eucharist. But in today's gospel, Jesus talks about the mystery of faith. Up to this point Jesus has been addressing crowds who followed him because they wanted more bread. Their motivation is understandable. It is estimated that barley and other grain crops provided about two thirds of the diet of ordinary people. To be short of bread was to face the possibility of starvation.
Fr. Theodore Taylor. "Sheep become Shepherds" Torch. May 7, 2006 'I know my own, and my own know me' (John 10:14): these own (whose reciprocal knowledge of him and intimacy he equates with that of his Father and himself) are his disciples. The culmination of his life opens in 13:1: Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. And so in token of the love for them their Shepherd washes their feet; he relates his last discourse; and the lifting up to crucifixion becomes his accepted destiny.
Fr. Duncan Campbell. "Answering the Call" Torch. January 22, 2006 The Gospel was written to help explain how there began a 'Christ' movement -- what has come to be the Church. It began with the son of a village odd-job man, or carpenter, walking past hard-working fishermen, calling on them to follow him. He would have been known to them. They may have heard rumours of his visit to the wonderful preacher John, and having some sort of second-birth experience in a public washing-ceremony ('baptism') that John performed. This may explain, partly, why they answered his call.
Fr. Irenaeus Vincent. "Preferring Christ" Torch. September 5, 2004 My dear friends, if someone says or does something that is seemingly repulsive, that should not be the end of the story. It is usually more beneficial to find out the reason behind their supposedly repulsive actions or words. I guess that is why we have lawyers, high court judges and psychiatrists.
Fr. Mark Edney. "Sending out labourers into the harvest" Torch. July 4, 2004 From the very first time I came across this gospel passage, I have always associated it with the ordained ministry in the Church. That’s because it was at an ordination that I first heard it preached. The bishop spoke to the man to be ordained in words I have never forgotten:
Fr. Duncan Campbell. "Fishing" Torch. February 8, 2004 Jesus drew the crowds. He was an inspired speaker. He could make things exciting and possible. The people couldn’t read, so he summarised everything for them.
Fr. Aidan Nichols. "The Rich Young Man" Torch. October 12, 2003 Today’s is one of those Gospel readings that show you what a Gospel is for, why the Gospels are there at all. Jesus’ encounters with other people are not just told because they happened. They’re told because they put us on the spot. We’re brought face to face with the challenge of Jesus and have to come up with a response. Take this incident of the rich young man. This young man comes up to Jesus.
Fr. John O'Connor. "Not one of us?" Torch. September 28, 2003 It’s a fact of human nature that we often think of others in terms of what positive qualities they lack, rather than in terms of the positive qualities they actually have. Sometimes we make this worse by doing the exact opposite when it comes to ourselves, ignoring our own faults, and then comparing our estimation of others with that of ourselves.
Fr. Martin Ganeri. "I am the Vine, you are the branches" Torch. May 18, 2003 Images taken from the world with which we are familiar can have a powerful influence in shaping our understanding of how we relate to God and how this should affect our actions. They are especially powerful when we do not need to have explained what they involve or what effect they should have. Such images work immediately to form what we think, feel and do. Some years ago I came to study the work of a certain Hindu theologian whose central image for the relationship between God and the world is that of embodiment, the relationship between a soul and its body.
Fr. Fabian Radcliffe. "Repent! Again!" Torch. January 26, 2003 Only a few weeks ago we were in Advent, and we heard the message: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. So we prepared ourselves for the coming of Christ and celebrated it at Christmas. But now, suddenly, we find ourselves listening to the same message all over again. Look at today's Gospel: The time has come and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent and believe the good news' Look at the other two readings as well: Jonah preaching God's judgement on the Ninevites unless they repent, and St Paul reminding us urgently that 'our time is growing short' and we must change our way of living.
Fr. Timothy Calvert. "Fishers of Men" Torch. January 27, 2002 Many of us, at one time or another, dream of leaving everything behind. All the ties and responsibilities that nail us down, all the daily drudge, our half-heartedness about our work or our families, the weight of our past and our failures, all the things which define us.
Fr. Gareth Moore. "Thoughtful Enthusiasts" Torch. September 9, 2001 There are famous passages in the gospels where apparently quite ordinary people become disciples of Jesus, and their lives are transformed.
Fr. Gerard Meath. "I saw Satan fall..." Torch. July 8, 2001 In today’s Gospel, Jesus is speaking to seventy-two of his followers who ‘are going ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go’.
Fr. Isidore Clarke. "With him we shall do great things" Torch. February 4, 2001 A church or temple is itself a silent sermon, proclaiming our belief in God’s presence in our midst and our need to worship him. The building, its furnishings and the liturgy we celebrate appeal not only to our minds, but also to our imaginations and emotions. Sometimes these outward physical signs come alive for us. With the eyes of faith we become very aware of what they signify.
Gail Gill and Tanya Wittwer. "Second Sunday of Easter" Australian Women Preach. April 16, 2023 Our women preachers come from different generations, backgrounds, cultures, geographical locations, and Christian denominations. They also come to preaching with different mindsets and priorities, theological emphases and preaching styles.
Fr. Juan P. Ruiz. "The Steep Cost of Not-Discipleship" Juan Point at a Time. September 22, 2022 We often hear of the cost of discipleship, but it perhaps is not so high a price to pay when one considers the steep cost that can come with avoiding discipleship. And above that, the benefits only tip the scales further in favor of discipleship.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Fair-Weather Fans of Jesus" Word on Fire. September 4, 2022 Friends, there are a lot of people today who might be intrigued by Jesus. They find him interesting, remember him as a spiritual teacher, or have warm feelings about him. But in today’s Gospel, Jesus is saying to his fair-weather fans—those who are following him because he’s fascinating and charismatic—that being his disciple is not a walk in the park; it is something of supreme spiritual and moral importance.
Patricia Gemmell. "Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time" Australian Women Preach. September 4, 2022 Patricia is a wife, mother and grandmother, and semi-retired teacher of French, Latin and Italian. Her lifelong interest in theology and spirituality finally led her to formal study and she graduated with a Masters in Theology in 2014. She belongs to the Grail, an international movement and community of women, founded in the Netherlands in 1921 by Jacques van Ginneken SJ.
Fr. Juan P. Ruiz. "Lambs and Wolves - What Drives Your Actions?" Juan Point at a Time. July 7, 2022 Jesus sends out his disciples as lambs among wolves and that seems like a scary prospect, unless you know what it's like to be the type of lamb Jesus intends.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Following Jesus Comes First" Word on Fire. June 26, 2022 Friends, I’m going to be blunt with you: today’s Gospel is really challenging. It cuts right to the heart of the ethical implications of the Gospel. There's something of a “be all, end all” quality about Jesus, something of an either/or. As he says, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” What follows from this is what I call the principle of detachment and clarification of motives. If Jesus is unambiguously the center of your life, then everything else has to find its place in relation to him. If the good things of the world become more important than following him, then something has gone off-kilter.
Erin Gillard. "Our call to radical love" Australian Women Preach. May 15, 2022 Erin Gillard is a passionate young woman with a deep faith who seeks to empower other women. She works part time as a dietitian at Liverpool Hospital specialising in Gestational Diabetes, helping women make lifestyle changes that will positively impact themselves, their unborn baby, their family and their future.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Beware of Blind Guides" Word on Fire. February 27, 2022 There are a lot of people claiming to be spiritual gurus, teachers, and guides today. But is the person to whom you’ve entrusted your life spiritually blind? Whom are you going to follow, and why? Toward the end of Luke’s Sermon on the Plain, Jesus—the definitive spiritual guide—offers us important lessons that help us discern our spiritual guides.
Annemarie Reiner. "Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Australian Women Preach. February 6, 2022 For much of my life I identified as a Catholic without question. I was one of those Catholics Anthony deMelo spoke of on the first page of his book ‘Awareness’ when he said most people live their whole life ‘asleep’. I was certainly asleep.
Fr. Rene Againglo. "Homily" St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. November 14, 2021
Rev. Msgr. Hans Brouwers. "Homily" St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. October 17, 2021
Bishop Robert Barron. "It's Time for a Radical Choice" Word on Fire. October 10, 2021 Friends, in our first reading today, Solomon finds that all the power and wealth of the world are nothing compared to the gift of wisdom—seeing life from the perspective of God. Although this gift seems to help one further amass wealth, in today’s Gospel, Christ teaches us that to use the gifts of the world properly we must give them away so we can follow him.
Deacon Melvin Burton, Jr.. "Homily" St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. August 29, 2021
Bishop Robert Barron. "Time to Test Your Faith" Word on Fire. August 22, 2021 Friends, today’s Gospel concludes John’s reflection on the Eucharist. At the end of this remarkable chapter, we are faced with a question that defines the Christian faith: Will you follow Christ? May we always answer as Peter does.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Cost of Discipleship" Word on Fire. September 8, 2019 Our Gospel for today is breathtaking, first for what it says about Jesus and second for what it says about us. Jesus compels a choice the way no other figure does. Either he is who he says he is, or he is a bad man. The bland middle way that he is a great teacher simply won’t do. In the presence of the one who makes such an extraordinary claim, we have to make a decision.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Walking Truly and Completely with Him" Word on Fire. June 30, 2019 In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus clarifies that all worldly goods find their value in relation to Him. If we believe Jesus is the only Son of God, we must place our grudges, personal desires, and even our most sacred worldly obligations aside in order to walk truly and completely with Him.
Richard Rohr. "Don't Be Afraid of Yourself" Center for Action and Contemplation. February 10, 2019
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Mystery of the Mass" Word on Fire. July 29, 2018 The sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, from which we will be reading these next several weeks, is a sustained meditation on the meaning of the Mass and the Eucharist. Our passage for today, when read symbolically, illumines the major movements of the Mass.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Four Spiritual Lessons from the Life of Paul" Word on Fire. April 29, 2018 I would like to focus my attention this week on the magnificent first reading, taken from the pivotal ninth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. I say pivotal because this is the chapter in which the conversion of Saul is recounted. Hans Urs von Balthasar refers to Paul as one of the great archetypes in the life of the Church, and so we can benefit from a close study of the spiritual lessons from his life and his manner of discipleship.
Bishop Robert Barron. "A Relentlessly Public Religion" Word on Fire. April 10, 2016 The passage from the Acts of the Apostles, which is our first reading for this weekend, is surprisingly instructive for our time in the life of the Church. It witnesses to something that is essential to Christianity, namely, that we are a relentlessly public religion. This is not a privatized religion we’re talking about. This is a faith and a kingdom meant for everyone on earth.
Richard Rohr. "Your faith is what you wake up for in the morning" Center for Action and Contemplation. August 23, 2015
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Awful Gospel of the Cross" Word on Fire. September 8, 2013 This week’s Gospel contains one of the greatest challenges Jesus ever offered to his disciples: “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Here Christ is emphasizing the great spiritual principle of detachment. In order to live healthy spiritual lives we must love Christ most of all, with everything else finding its meaning in relation to God.
Richard Rohr. "Three Good Lessons" Center for Action and Contemplation. July 7, 2013
Richard Rohr. "Non-Training for Servanthood" Center for Action and Contemplation. October 21, 2012
Richard Rohr. "Who is Usable for God?" Center for Action and Contemplation. August 11, 2012
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Twelve and the New Israel" Word on Fire. July 15, 2012 This week, Mark relays the story of Jesus giving the Twelve Apostles their “marching orders,” the instructions on how they would go out and spread the word to the world. Notably, he tells them to go “two by two,” laying the foundation for the communal nature of the Church. They are to bring nothing but the simple tools to keep them moving forward, and they are be resolute in fighting the demons of the world-injustice, corruption and dysfunction. These were as much instructions for the Apostles as they are instructions for us to fulfill the mission of the Church today.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Paul’s Opening Words to the Corinthians" Word on Fire. January 16, 2011 In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he highlights the beauty of baptism and how it sweeps the baptized person into God’s great theo-drama. God calls us out of the world of our narrow egos to partake in his redeeming plan of love of which the Church is the vehicle. Follow Christ, and peace will be given to you.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Structure of Discipleship" Word on Fire. April 18, 2010 Our Gospel for today, taken from the wonderful 21st chapter of St. John’s Gospel, is filled with mystical and symbolic allusions. The disciples in the boat are evocative of the church; Jesus on the shore calls to mind the eschatological fulfillment toward which the church is journeying; Peter calls to mind both sinful Adam and the promise of redemption. In all of it, we see a picture of discipleship.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Necessity of Spiritual Heroism" Word on Fire. October 11, 2009 Today’s Gospel identifies the spiritual itinerary of discipleship, the movement from living out the Faith in accord with merely what is basic and the challenge of applying oneself to the demands of spiritual heroism. Christ does not let us remain comfortable with what amounts to only an adequate response to his call, he asks for more, and our relationship with him is expressed in our response.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Way of the One" Word on Fire. September 13, 2009 Peter’s magnificent confession of faith in the Lord Jesus illuminates, not only his divine identity, but it provides for us a great spiritual lesson in regards to how necessary it is to curtail the self striving of the ego in its need comfort and glory. In this regard, Christ invites, not only Peter, but all of us, into a new way of being in which negation of the ego and the practice of self denial enable us to grow in our capacity for love.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Remaining Attentive to the Lord" Word on Fire. August 9, 2009 The first reading for this Sunday is taken from the Old Testament Book of Kings. In this reading we are introduced to the Prophet Elijah, who is nearing the end of his mission. This particular scripture has much wisdom to share with us in regards to our own passage through the mid point of our lives and the necessity of remaining attentive to the Lord and open to his purposes.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Way of the Prophet" Word on Fire. July 12, 2009 If you walk the path of the prophet, you will abandon your own “career” and learn to follow the promptings of the Spirit. Also, you will be opposed. Once you accept and internalize those two lessons, you are ready to be a bearer of God’s word.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Feast of the Ascension" Word on Fire. May 24, 2009 The Ascension of the Lord empowers the Church to fulfill its messianic mission: to gather the nations of the world into a relationship with the God of Israel.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Resurrection and the Love of This World" Word on Fire. April 19, 2009 From the time of Marx, Feuerbach and Freud, we’ve heard the critique that religion is a wish-fulfilling fantasy, a game of “pie in the sky when you die.” The readings for this second Sunday of Easter give the lie to this criticism, for they show how those who were convinced of Jesus’ resurrection were also deeply commited to a more just society.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Path of Dispossession" Word on Fire. September 9, 2007 Jesus tells us that we must get rid of all of our possessions, including the people that we have turned into possessions. It is in this sense that he encourages us to “hate our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters.” In the measure that these nearest and dearest are possessions of one’s ego, they are a block to salvation.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The True Davidic Messiah" Word on Fire. September 17, 2006 Another homily from Fr. Robert Barron and Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Christ Living His Life in You" Word on Fire. May 14, 2006 Jesus Christ is infintely more than a moral ideal, a saint whom we admire from afar. In accord with the image from the Gospel for today, he is the vine upon which we have been grafted like branches. This means that he is our life blood, the very energy of our existence. Therefore we should read our lives this way: Jesus Christ is living his life in us.
Bishop Robert Barron. "They Abandoned Everything" Word on Fire. January 23, 2005 Our Gospel passage for today, taken from the 4th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, recounts the story of the call of the first disciples. When they encounter Jesus, the Capharnaum fishermen drop everything and follow him. This represents the compelling nature of Jesus’ call: nothing is more important than conforming oneself to the Word made flesh.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Called, Set Apart, Sent" Word on Fire. January 16, 2005 Cultural commentator Robert Bellah has characterized the typical American approach to religion as individualistic and driven by the desire for personal fulfillment. But this type of religiosity is inimical to the Biblical vision. Just listen to the opening line of our reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “Paul, called by God’s will to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.” Paul is not actualizing his own agenda, but rather utterly turning himself over to the higher authority who has called him, claimed him, and sent him.
Bishop Robert Barron. "No Cowardly Spirit" Word on Fire. October 3, 2004 We hear this week from St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy. Paul, the old warrior, is passing on to his young disciple words of advice and encouragement. He tells Timothy that he has received “no cowardly spirit,” but rather a spirit of boldness and confidence. Throughout the ages, in the saints and the martyrs, we have seen evidence of this courageous spirit that comes from the risen Christ. Did you know that the 20th century had more Christian martyrs than any other century? We can all still benefit from Paul’s words.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Spiritual Shock Therapy" Word on Fire. September 5, 2004 The world of grasping, competition, violence, and egotism is the “real” world, right? And if I were to suggest that we can live in radical non-violence, love, compassion, and forgiveness, you would probably suggest that I am a utopian dreamer. But what Jesus shows is precisely the illusory, phony quality of the supposedly “real” world that we inhabit, and what he calls for is an immersion in the new universe that he calls “the Kingdom of God.” His strategy: spiritual shock therapy. “Hate your mother and father, your children, your wife, your very self,” he says to the uncomprehending crowds–and to us. His purpose is to shake us out of our complacency and into a whole new way of thinking, acting, and being.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Sent out Two by Two" Word on Fire. July 13, 2003 Another homily from Fr. Robert Barron and Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Surely This Man Was the Son of God!" Word on Fire. April 13, 2003 Another homily from Fr. Robert Barron and Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Hate Your Mother and Father" Word on Fire. September 9, 2001 When Jesus tells us to hate mother, father, brothers, sisters, friends, he is not demonstrating a disturbing misanthropy. Rather, he is telling us not to treat those around us as our possessions. The spiritual life consists, not in controlling others for the sake of the ego, but in giving others the space to be.
Bishop Robert Barron. "God’s Tender Providence" Word on Fire. July 8, 2001 That God cares for us, even down to the simplest details of our lives, is a basic intuition of the Biblical authors. As Isaiah reminds us, we are, vis-a-vis God, like a child in the lap of a doting mother. This does not mean that our lives are without conflict, but it does mean that we are always under the watchful eye and provident direction of our God.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Three Paths of Holiness" Word on Fire. February 4, 2001 The Bible rather consistently lays out three ways walked by the man or woman of holiness: finding the center, knowing you’re a sinner, and realizing your life is not about you. All of these are beautifully presented in the story of the call of Simon.
Luke 6:12 "Follow Jesus in Prayer" If we are Christians, are we spending time in prayer as Jesus did?
Luke 12:1 "Continue Following Jesus" If church leadership fail to follow Jesus, can we remain vigilant to God’s Word?
Colossians 2:8 "Follow God, Not Man" Can we tell if others are leading us to Jesus or themselves?
Joshua 24:15 "Choosing God Today" We may call ourselves Christians but do we really know what it means to be a disciple of Christ?
Matthew 17:16 "Bring It to Jesus" Do we act as a church community and come together before Jesus with our problems?
Matthew 14:12 "Take It to Jesus" When life over burdens us, do we take it to Jesus or do we try to deal it all by ourselves?
Matthew 13:2 "Gathering for Jesus" Are we helping in building God's church by bringing people together?
Matthew 10:40 "Receiving God" Are we open to inviting in others into the God's church family?
Matthew 9:10 "Communing with Jesus" Are we failing to join in communion with God because of our sins?
Matthew 8:19 "Following Jesus" Have we realized that all of scripture points to Jesus and are we committed to follow Christ?
Genesis 17:1 "God Almighty" Once we recognize God's greatness are we willing to follow God with Faith like Abraham?
Matthew 5:16 "Be the Light of God" Are we reflecting God to the people around us today?
Many Ways to Pray: Interview with Desiré Findlay
What is prayer? How can we pray to God? Desiré Findlay shares her voice on what prayer looks like to her through writing, dance, Lectio Divina and more. Listen in on the conversation as Desiré explains how prayer connects her to Jesus, others and the world. Find inspiration in how you can grow in prayer too. Read more
Interview with Erika Jacinto
Meet Erika Jacinto who works as the Director of Communications and Media Relations, as well as the press secretary for the Archbishop, of the Catholic Church of Montreal. Erika shares how in her role she communicates with various individuals from laity, non-religious, and religious leaders like Archbishop Christian Lépine and Pope Francis. Read more
Christian Mother: Interview with Maria E. Luevano‑Salazar
Maria E. Luevano‑Salazar shares her view on motherhood as a working professional. She draws inspiration from her childhood experience of seeing her own mother and other family members raising their children. Maria explains how being a mother has enhanced her appreciation of scripture and how she continues to express her faith in her family and her work place. Read more
God's Word in the scripture verses is powerful. Every verse can hold significant truth if we allow ourselves to meditate on them. Sometimes all it takes is one scripture verse to impact us and feed our mind and soul. Meditate on any of the following posts and grow deeper in your faith and understanding.