The Peace Pulpit: "Go where people need to be encouraged and given hope, and bring that joy of the Gospel into our everyday life."
Soul Seeing: Life shrinks each of us. We find ourselves only when we lose ourselves. It isn't easy.
My Table is Spread: I've had enough of death. I want to spend this season with the opened tomb and Christ's breath-giving life.
When asked to describe the mystery of Easter, author Carl Knudsen responded with the following story. Years ago, an old municipal lamplighter, engaged in putting out the street lamps one by one, was met by a reporter who asked him if he ever grew weary of his work. After all, it was a lonely job and the night was cold and damp.
"Never am I cheerless," said the old man, "for there is always a light ahead of me to lead me on."
The readings have been long, but of course since this is the beginning of the most sacred and holy week of the year, it's important for us to spend just a few moments at least in reflecting on the deep message that God is proclaiming to us through these readings, through the events that are described. And perhaps we can catch the deepest meaning of all of this if we listen very carefully again to the words of St. Paul addressed to the Christian community at Philippi.
Young Voices: My wife and I are expecting our first child in July, and I'm finding new meaning in some of Holy Week's words and symbols.
The statues and crucifixes in our churches this week will be draped with purple sheets. The sparest days of Lent, the church's annual retreat, are upon us.
The sight of these hooded saints feels appropriate to me this year, for rather than giving up some material attachment during Lent, I've tried to let go of some of the old images that have attached themselves, in my mind, to God.
A Roman Observer: Pay attention later this week when Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa gives his annual Good Friday homily at the papal liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica.
The late Rudolph Bultmann often remarked, "A Gospel is simply a Passion/Resurrection narrative with a dozen or more introductory chapters." That means today's Gospel pericope is the first part of the most important passage in Mark's Gospel. Yet, because of this particular day's ceremonies and time limits, we rarely hear a homily of any suitable length on it. And when we actually think about Jesus' suffering and death, we're frequently reflecting on the 14 Stations of the Cross, not on the four Gospel Passion narratives.
My Table is Spread: In his passion, Jesus the rabbi acts on what he has taught others to do.