Tag: Christianity

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Happiness or emotional peace signals a harmony between the external and the internal. When what we witness or experience in circumstance conforms with who and how we are, then we are content.  The catch is that every one of us is imperfect. We are not exactly who we hope to be or who we think […]

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“I have told you this so that you may not fall away.They will expel you from the synagogues;in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills youwill think he is offering worship to God.They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.I have told you this so that when […]

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Christians and Jews should not think in the same manner as agnostics. There will always be much to explore and to discover. But some answers have been given to us. Sacred scripture and apostolic tradition bear witness to received truths, general or particular, from which research and reason can proceed in confidence.  Hadley Arkes explains […]

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“…Today You Will Be with Me in Paradise.”

 

You know how sometimes Scripture just seems to jump out at you, or you notice something you hadn’t before? Well, I had one of those moments Friday. My pastor has a daily devotional podcast, and for the Good Friday episode this year, he opted to simply read the story of Jesus’ sacrifice for us from the Bible. When he was reading from Matthew, one verse in particular struck me (I’ve also included the preceding verses for context):

Then two criminals were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him and said, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God rescue him now — if he takes pleasure in him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with him taunted him.

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We were told but did not believe: He would rise again. The Lord did not cast aside those who turned from Him in unbelief. For the seventy-seventh time, Jesus opened the wondrous treasury of His sacred heart and let His mercy rain down upon us in abundance.  Let them turn to the LORD to find […]

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How complete was the Lord’s suffering for us?  Jesus knew the joy of Heaven before the day of His resurrection. The second Person of the Trinity, the Logos, our Creator — He knew the perfect justice, perfect love, and perfect peace of His own trinitarian nature before He created humankind; before He adopted this limited […]

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What worlds have you made?  It is good that we have questions for our Creator. Faith and reason belong together and do not contradict. We were made to reason. Christianity dares to suggest that we can understand much about our divine Lord and His unfolding plans for us. But surely reason must lead us to […]

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Is Palm Sunday Still Honored?

 

Today is a holy day among Christians, at least it used to be. Palm Sunday was always featured in headlines and honored.  The only headline I saw this morning was a bombing in Indonesia during a Palm Sunday Mass, with fatalities. Does the world still stop on this day, and think about its significance?

In Matthew’s recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem, Matthew specifically draws attention to a number of Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled in Jesus.

In the first verse of Matthew’s recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem, we hear that Jesus and the disciples were in Bethpage. Bethpage is one of the last villages on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, and is located on the Mount of Olives.

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We learn to love in that order. “Obedience precedes understanding” as Fr Mike Schmidtz says.  As young children, we begin by obediently doing our chores, if only to put away one’s toys when finished playing with them. We go where we are told, eat what we are served,  say “Thank you” because that is what […]

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A Life Redeemed from Destruction

 

Yesterday I wrote a piece that provoked some interesting comments, including an entire sub thread about something that had little to do with the original post. That’s how things go on Ricochet. If I’ve learned anything from this past year, it’s that people in my circles have said things … new things, that have surprised me. In regard to my closer friends, I thought I knew them. And I thought they knew me. It’s as if all this time we’ve been playing on the margins and now as the fires have gotten hotter, the conversations are suddenly changing, taking us down new and uncharted roads.

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Today, Catholics recall the ten Commandments in the book of Exodus. Bishop Barron is not alone in likening this time of Lent to spring training for athletes or to boot camp for soldiers. It’s a time to review the familiar basics which nevertheless challenge us still.  Here are the bishop’s very brief reflections on the […]

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Abraham and Isaac

 

“How could the Lord ask a father to sacrifice the life of his own son?” That’s the wrong question. At least, it’s a terrible place to stop. It is like objecting to a scene in a novel or film before the story or even the chapter has concluded. Abraham does not kill his son. The Lord’s messenger stops him. That episode ends rather with this oath from the Lord:

“[…] because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth
shall find blessing—
all this because you obeyed my command.”

Split Focus

 

God began early, hunting me down and taking hold of me when I was just a child in Farmington, Connecticut. I wasn’t born there, but close by in Maine at a Naval hospital that no longer calls itself a hospital, and to this day still raises questions of its location; Maine or New Hampshire? My parents weren’t exactly religious given my father was a rigid perfectionist and my mother was a neurotic depressive. I emerged from the womb happy, which was taken advantage of by my mother and beheld with contempt by my father.

I say this to now say that we sometimes went to church (at least until the elders came to the house to collect offerings and ticked off my mother), I didn’t go to catechism, and in third grade, I was best friends with a Jewish girl who had never heard of Jesus until I told her about Him while playing out in the field near the school’s monkey bars. I don’t remember exactly when I found Him, except maybe the one summer I went to vacation Bible school in Farmington and we used felt-covered boards and characters to show Jesus running down the hill away from the big boulder chasing Him from the tomb. The young teen-aged teacher was creative even if not theologically sound.

Chef’s Surprise: Taste & See

 

I’m going to cheat a little bit here and not write about food at all. Instead, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. In fact, I love it so much that it’s in my email signature.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!”
Psalms 34:8 CSB

The Dignity of Fate

 

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you” —John 15: 16

The gospel of Christianity is not only that the Creator loves us, that He understands us, and that He accepted the due punishment of our misdeeds so that we may join His holy family in the splendor of the Lord’s presence. The “good news” is also that there is a place in His plans for all. Our lives are never without purpose and value.