National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source


With what gifts?


Eight centuries before the Magi from the east came bearing gifts to present to Jesus, Micah asked, "With what shall I come before the Lord and bow before God most high? Shall I come with holocausts, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my crime?" (Micah 6:6-7). The prophet gave voice to the desperation of his people, who were overwhelmed by their own sinfulness and shame.

Blanket of snow


Like much of the country just now, my parish is buried under snow. It is lovely.

The physical beauty of the shimmering clean white cover over everything is stunning. But there is also the spiritual beauty of a big snow fall. It is a universal Sabbath, given to us by God or nature or both.

In 2003 I wrote about the beauty and blessing of snow. It is still true:

"This blanket of snow is a spiritual experience. It is a sign of God's grace and a metaphor for how that grace is experienced."

First of all it is powerful.

Ponder it all


We celebrate the feast of the Holy Family on the first Sunday after Christmas, Dec. 27, just when some toys are already broken, chocolate Santas sit in the clearance bin and Valentine's decorations begin to appear. As we get back to "normal," the church offers us the ideal of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family whose supposed peaceful, loving life might seem further removed from us than we would want to admit.



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS