As I am now away on a vacation of sorts, I didn’t know if I would do a post this weekend. Since today happens to be rather foggy and damp where I am, it isn’t the best day for hiking – unless I want to get damp quickly, which I don’t. Besides, there have been a few potential topics that have been dancing around inside my head for a while. Today seems like a good day to explore one of them.

Whenever there has been a significant change in anything, we can expect that this change has brought about some improvements. However, any change can also lead – inadvertently, perhaps – to a loss or a diminishing of something important that was already there. The “law of unintended consequences” makes its appearance.  Continue reading “Reverence”

The Hospitality of Silence

Seventh Sunday of Easter (A): Acts 1:12-14

“Interior noise makes it impossible to welcome anyone or anything.” – Pope Francis

Preachers often find the Seventh Sunday of Easter a challenging one. By now, they have already used their favorite Easter themes in their homilies. Moreover, this isn’t a day when much appears to be happening. We have just celebrated Ascension, and now we look forward to Pentecost. In our first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, the first Christian community has gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem for prayer. No brainstorming or strategizing sessions; no lively discussions of how best to fulfill the Lord’s mandate to bring the Gospel to all nations. They are gathered together, in one accord, in prayer. No one speaks or does anything else in our first reading. We are in an in-between time, or so it seems. In other words, it is a time of waiting in silence.  Continue reading “The Hospitality of Silence”

Noise and Silence

Friday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time: Mark 7:31-37

Whenever we approach any passage in Scripture, it is good to ask ourselves, “Where do I see myself here? How does it speak to me? How does it speak to us?” This is just as true for accounts of Jesus healing someone. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus heals a man who is deaf and has a speech impediment. If we are not physically deaf – or hearing-impaired in any way – it may be tempting to see this simply as a moment when Jesus is compassionate to someone else in need. But what is my need here? What is yours? How are you and I deaf? What impedes our speech? How do we need healing now?  Continue reading “Noise and Silence”