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Be merciful to all others, as God is to us

When my son was in Afghanistan, my anxiety and concern compelled me to remember him and the others serving there. However, since his safe return last May, my mind and prayers were not often focused on those deployed. When I heard the news of the six American troops who died at Bagram before Christmas, I […]

Waiting and working for peace on Earth

There is something about the physics of the universe that doesn’t tolerate chaos indefinitely. Scientific research shows that chaotic systems eventually tend to break into some sort of order and pattern. These days we have to hope that chaos theory has it right and that we will see the chaos brought on by terrorism, mass […]

Eastward lightings

Light is a major theme in the Biblical readings of the Christmas season that has shaped Christian worship for millennia. On Christmas, the Prophet Isaiah said that “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Since He said that He is the Light of the World, Jesus’ birth is the fulfillment of […]

Protecting children against accidental impurity

Middle school is a jungle. As annoying as adulthood can be, with its monthly bills and preoccupation with fiber intake, there’s no way I’d want to go back to seventh grade. In seventh grade, the orthodontist can make or break the next 18 months of your life. In seventh grade, it’s incredibly exciting to be […]

One saint’s Christmas letter

There are a number of saints who can be ranked among the world’s collection of geniuses. St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Teresa of Avila would definitely be among them. In our own time, Pope St. John Paul II no doubt also qualifies. As they often say of geniuses, they […]

The Christmas Advent

It seems that each year Christmas comes earlier. At one time, retailers unveiled Christmas advertisements and decorations after Thanksgiving. Now Halloween immediately gives way to the trappings of December 25th. Perhaps next Christmas really will come in July! It’s a surprise to many that the first Christian festival was not the birth of Christ. Instead, […]

God loves all, without exception

Working at a parish, I encounter parents wanting to involve their children and teens in community service. Sometimes this type of outreach is required for a school, a club, or to create a well-rounded college application. Other times, for younger children, parents say they want their offspring to help others less fortunate so they can […]

Here’s to a quiet Advent

One late afternoon some 20 years ago, I was walking behind a couple headed for a weekday Mass at the University of Scranton campus ministry center. The girl was reminding the boy that we don’t sing or say “alleluia!” during Lent. “You’re kidding!” he exclaimed. “No, you don’t have alleluias again till Easter,” she explained. […]

The jubilant portal

Pope Francis has designated the upcoming liturgical year as an extraordinary jubilee of divine mercy. The custom of observing jubilees is an ancient part of God’s Covenant with Israel. As they neared the Promised Land, God asked the Israelites to observe every seventh year as a sabbatical. This was to be a time of rest […]

Inspiring spirit

As of this Advent, we will have been using updated prayers and responses in the Mass for four years. One of the most common questions asked is why “and with your spirit” is now used. “Spirit” is a word and concept used extensively throughout both the Old and New Testaments. It appears at the very […]

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