Comfort To My People

Second Sunday of Advent (B)

“Comfort, give comfort to my people”, says your God. – Isaiah 40:1

You are seven years old, riding your bike on a  warm summer’s day. Your front tire hits a patch of sand and loses traction. You fall, skinning your right elbow and knee. The new wounds sting, but the sensation of falling is more frightening to you than the wounds. You seek your mother. If she’s available, you go to her immediately. If not, you tell her as soon as possible. She may give you some unsolicited advice about being careful on your bike – advice that is painfully obvious to you now. Chances are that she will also clean your scrapes, put ointment and bandages on them, give you a hug or a kiss, and reassure you that all is well. You may head out again, your scrapes still stinging. But you are no longer overwhelmed. Your mother consoled you and told you that it will be okay – and you believe her. You may even show off your new scars to your friends, as though you were a Purple Heart soldier with battle scars. Your mother’s comfort has made all the difference. Continue reading “Comfort To My People”

Like A Weaned Child

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time (A): Psalm 131

Psalm 131

O Lord, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.

Nay, rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap,
so is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord,
both now and forever. 

In you, Lord, I have found my peace. (Psalm response)

Continue reading “Like A Weaned Child”

“He Emptied Himself”

26th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Philippians 2:1-11

It became known as “The Case of the Coffee Shop”.

It happened while I was at St. Paul’s Seminary in Ottawa during the 1980’s. In the seminary building, there was a common room that was set aside as a place for us to gather informally, chat or read the paper over coffee or tea.

A few seminarians proposed that some of the student council’s money be used to do some mild upgrades to the room, to give it a cozier and more inviting feel, in the hope that this would enhance a sense of community among the seminarians. It would be our own little “casse-croûte” or “coffee shop”. A few other seminarians objected to this, saying that we should be promoting a simpler lifestyle and that such an expense was unnecessary.  Soon the battle was joined.   Continue reading ““He Emptied Himself””

The Voice of Restlessness

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Matthew 11:25-30

One day in early spring, I somehow caught a bad stomach flu. It began one evening with some stomach cramps. Then came that feeling that things were about to work in reverse, if you know what I mean. I needed to get to the bathroom, and quickly. That was the first of several experiences of multiple vomiting that I had that night. “Unpleasant” doesn’t begin to describe it! The next day, I felt totally depleted. It took a great deal of willpower to get myself to do anything.

A couple of days later, I began to feel restless. To me, that was a good sign. My energy was beginning to return, and was looking for an outlet. I wasn’t yet ready for my normal routine, but the worst of that flu was certainly over. My restlessness was the first positive sign of that. At times, that is what our times of restlessness mean. Our bodies simply have some excess energy that needs an outlet of some kind.  Continue reading “The Voice of Restlessness”