“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”

The Servant of the Lord

Fifth Sunday of Easter (A): John 14:1-12

This weekend offers us a fascinating conjunction of meaning and symbolism. Today, May 13, marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima. The month of May has, traditionally, been associated with the Blessed Virgin. As if that weren’t enough, tomorrow, May 14, is Mother’s Day.

The Scripture readings for this Sunday do not speak of Mary explicitly. However, these readings (and the Gospel in particular) offer us a context in which we can more clearly see certain aspects of Mary’s role and how they harmonize with and point to the central role of her Son.  Continue reading “The Servant of the Lord”

The Resurrection and the Life

Fifth Sunday of Lent: John 11:1-45

Following the old maxim “Better late than never”, here is a reflection for today’s readings. It was delayed because of an ‘episode’ I had over the last couple of days. I agreed to do two funerals this week, which I knew was a dangerous thing for me, with Holy Week approaching and my “people energy” already low. Yesterday, after the second funeral, I had what people on the autism spectrum know as a meltdown.

For some, a meltdown is a very obvious experience. They will lose all control, rant, throw things, even hurt themselves or others (unintentionally). For me, a meltdown is all internal. Very little of it reaches the surface. In fact, only a small portion of my emotional world reaches the surface, especially when I am with other people. Here is a reliable rule: if you detect the slightest hint of an emotional reaction in me, or if I ever say something like “I’m tired” or “I feel stressed”, you can always safely move the decimal point at least two places to the right in order to obtain the strength of the emotions I am actually experiencing at the moment.  Continue reading “The Resurrection and the Life”