Weeding Out Sin

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent, March 3rd, 2015

Liturgical texts here

 

WHEN it comes to weeding out sin this Lent, we cannot divorce mercy from the Cross, nor the Cross from mercy. Today’s readings are a powerful blend of both…

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Mercy for a People in Darkness

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Monday of the Second Week of Lent, March 2nd, 2015

Liturgical texts here

 

THERE is a line from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings that, among others, jumped out at me when the character Frodo wishes for the death of his adversary, Gollum. The wise wizard Gandalf responds:

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Strayed

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for December 9th, 2014
Memorial of St. Juan Diego

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IT was almost midnight when I arrived at our farm after a trip to the city a few weeks ago.

“The calf is out,” my wife said. “The boys and I went out and looked, but couldn’t find her. I could hear her bawling towards the north, but the sound was getting further away.”

So I got in my truck and started to drive through the pastures, which had nearly a foot of snow in places. Any more snow, and this would be pushing it, I thought to myself. I put the truck in 4×4 and started driving around tree groves, bushes, and along fencelines. But there was no calf. Even more puzzling, there were no tracks. After a half hour, I resigned myself to waiting till morning.

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The Last Judgments

 


 

I believe that the vast majority of the Book of Revelation refers, not to the end of the world, but to the end of this era. Only the last few chapters really look at the very end of the world while everything else before mostly describes a “final confrontation” between the “woman” and the “dragon”, and all the terrible effects in nature and society of a general rebellion that accompanies it. What divides that final confrontation from the end of the world is a judgment of the nations—what we are primarily hearing in this week’s Mass readings as we approach the first week of Advent, the preparation for Christ’s coming.

For the past two weeks I keep hearing the words in my heart, “Like a thief in the night.” It is the sense that events are coming upon the world that are going to take many of us by surprise, if not many of us home. We need to be in a “state of grace,” but not a state of fear, for anyone of us could be called home at any moment. With that, I feel compelled to republish this timely writing from December 7th, 2010…

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What it Means to Welcome Sinners

 

THE call of the Holy Father for the Church to become more of a “field hospital” to “heal the wounded” is a very beautiful, timely, and perceptive pastoral vision. But what exactly needs healing? What are the wounds? What does it mean to “welcome” sinners aboard the Barque of Peter?

Essentially, what is “Church” for?

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The Thin Line Between Mercy and Heresy – Part III

 

PART III — FEARS REVEALED

 

SHE fed and clothed the poor with love; she nurtured minds and hearts with the Word. Catherine Doherty, foundress of the Madonna House apostolate, was a woman who took on the “smell of the sheep” without taking on the “stench of sin.” She constantly walked the thin line between mercy and heresy by embracing the greatest of sinners while calling them to holiness. She used to say,

Go without fears into the depths of men’s hearts… the Lord shall be with you. —from The Little Mandate

This is one of those “words” from the Lord that is able to penetrate “between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” [1]cf. Heb 4:12 Catherine uncovers the very root of the problem with both so-called “conservatives” and “liberals” in the Church: it is our fear to enter men’s hearts as Christ did.

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1. cf. Heb 4:12

The Thin Line Between Mercy & Heresy – Part II

 

PART II — Reaching the Wounded

 

WE have watched a rapid cultural and sexual revolution that in five short decades has decimated the family as divorce, abortion, redefinition of marriage, euthanasia, pornography, adultery, and many other ills have become not only acceptable, but deemed a social “good” or “right.” However, an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, drug use, alcohol abuse, suicide, and ever multiplying psychoses tell a different story: we are a generation that is bleeding profusely from the effects of sin.

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The Thin Line Between Mercy & Heresy – Part I

 


IN
all the controversies that unfolded in the wake of the recent Synod in Rome, the reason for the gathering seemed to have been lost altogether. It was convened under the theme: “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” How do we evangelize families given the pastoral challenges we face due to high divorce rates, single mothers, secularization, and so forth?

What we learned very quickly (as proposals of some Cardinals were made known to the public) is that there is a a thin line between mercy and heresy.

The following three part series is intended to not only get back to the heart of the matter—evangelizing families in our times—but to do so by bringing to the forefront the man who is really at the center of the controversies: Jesus Christ. Because no one walked that thin line more than Him—and Pope Francis seems to be pointing that path to us once again.

We need to blow away the “smoke of satan” so we can clearly identify this narrow red line, drawn in Christ’s blood… because we are called to walk it ourselves.

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For Freedom

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for October 13th, 2014

Liturgical texts here

 

 

ONE of the reasons I felt the Lord wanted me to write the “Now Word” on the Mass readings at this time, was precisely because there is a now word in the readings that is speaking directly to what is happening in the Church and the world. The readings of the Mass are arranged in three year cycles, and so are different each year. Personally, I think it is a “sign of the times” how this year’s readings are lining up with our times…. Just saying.

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Can the Pope Betray Us?

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for October 8th, 2014

Liturgical texts here

 

The subject matter of this meditation is so important, that I am sending this to both my daily readers of the Now Word, and those who are on the Spiritual Food for Thought mailing list. If you receive duplicates, that’s why. Because of today’s subject, this writing is a bit longer than usual for my daily readers… but I believe necessary.

 

I couldn’t sleep last night. I woke up in what the Romans would call the “fourth watch”, that period of time before dawn. I began to think about all the emails I’m receiving, the rumors I’m hearing, the doubts and confusion that are creeping in… like wolves on the edge of the forest. Yes, I heard the warnings clearly in my heart shortly after Pope Benedict resigned, that we were going to enter into times of great confusion. And now, I feel a bit like a shepherd, tension in my back and arms, my staff raised as shadows move about this precious flock that God has entrusted me to feed with “spiritual food.” I feel protective today.

The wolves are here.

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