Growing up, we each had chores so that we might contribute toward the family's well-being and learn responsibility. One of mine, not my favorite, was to keep the fire going when my dad set up the grill for a cookout. After the charcoal was lit, it was my job to keep fanning the embers so they'd glow with heat until all the food was cooked.
A few months ago, a section of the Chicago Sun-Times Sunday edition bannered the headline "Promise of a new Dawn." The article that followed described a new model Rolls Royce with a starting price of $340,000. It's already sold out through the 2017 model year.
This week, the Scriptures invite us to consider profit and loss and grace.
When he announced the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis wrote in Misericordiae Vultus, "We want to live this Jubilee Year in light of the Lord's words: Merciful like the Father." In his Gospel, the Lucan Jesus made a similar plea: "Be merciful just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36).
We approach the sacred texts today by reminding ourselves that Jesus is the face of God made visible, the wisdom of God revealed and the One who daily challenges the quality of our discipleship.
St. Paul, in today's reading from Galatians, summarizes for us: "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." With the urgency and detachment of the 72, we go forth daily, bearing the good news of Christ. Then, as St. Paul says, we will be "a new creation."
One day one of our sisters told me she wondered whether people listened to one another in the participatory prayer of the faithful. She wished she could test if they were really praying together instead of going through the motions, and admitted her ongoing temptation to use a sweetly pious voice and softly intone the request: "Loving God, let this holy roof with all its heavy beams fall in on us at this moment." Then, slightly louder, "For this, let us pray to the Lord."
Have you ever suffered for your faith? Has any harm come to you because you believe in Jesus?
What is expected of us as we watch and work for the realization of God's reign among us? What should we be doing in this seemingly endless interim between the appearances of Jesus?
Unlike catechisms, Scripture frequently offers us a choice. Counter to popular opinion, the same theology doesn't run from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. There are as many unique ways of looking at God in Scripture as there are biblical authors. Those who originally collected our sacred writings and eventually put them in the format we have today simply presumed we'd take our pick.