Oh Happy Day!

Pentecost is quite possibly my favorite day of the church year.  It it yours?  Should it be? Strangely enough, many of us somehow have not yet learned the rich history of the celebration, nor recognized its proclamation of a present and a future absolutely saturated with dynamic, divine life.

The word Pentecost is from the Greek for “fiftieth.”  If you start with the celebration of the Easter vigil and count out 50 days, you’ll land on Pentecost.  But that’s not when the party first got started, 50 days after Jesus’ actual resurrection.  Instead, Pentecost was first celebrated by the faithful as a renewal of the covenant God made with Noah.  Later, the Jewish feast shifted focus to the life-changing gift of another covenant: The Ten Commandments.  No wonder so many people of different languages were gathered in Jerusalem on that day!  And what wonderful reasons they had to rejoice together!…  //  LEARN MORE

Incomplete Apostles

I’m a gal who just loves to check things off my to-do list, and also one who derives a lovely inverted sense of achievement by surrendering my to-dos to the Lord.  (“Ta-da!  Look what He did!”) It can be a frustration, then, when I assess my attempts to evangelize, because I always feel like the results fall way short of the goal.  Has that been your experience too? In conversation with a mentor, I recently realized that many (if not all) truly effective evangelizers feel the same way.  The reasons make sense.

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On Our Side

Maybe it’s just me, but I bet it’s happened to you, too: on our way to work, or a baseball game, or the beach, we notice that the traffic on the other side of the highway is unbelievably, jaw-droppingly BAD. One little pothole-patching crew has caused a backup so phenomenal, we can’t help but marvel, and wince, and be grateful that we are not in that mess. Wow. We make a mental note to take a different route home if we think it will impact us – but, hey, chances are it won’t. So we zoom down our side of the road, and eventually the spectacle recedes from our mind….  //  LEARN MORE

Rabble-rousing

When I was young, the liturgies on Palm Sunday and throughout Holy Week made me SOOoooo uncomfortable.  (cf. 1 Cor 13:11)  I rebelled inside at the idea of our Lord Jesus washing others’ stinky feet, and I yearned to join the battle that St. Peter almost started by lopping off the guard’s ear. I dreaded approaching the wood of the cross to kiss it (too embarrassing!) on Good Friday, and above all I abhorred joining in the Passion Play, being a part of the crowd that chanted, “We want Barabbas!” and “Crucify him!”  I didn’t want to be part of that mob. Many times, I simply stayed silent….  //  LEARN MORE

The Clamor

Sunday Stack

Sunday Stack

I can’t shake last weekend’s Mass readings out of my head.  My initial reaction, when they first approached me as a threesome, was: “Huh?” Because, usually, there is at least a tenuous (if not obvious) connection between the Old Testament Scripture and the Gospel – and sometimes there’s a clear thematic connection between all three.  But I just couldn’t see it at first.  We were given a piece of Job’s lament, then some of St. Paul’s tripping-over-his-own-tongue enthusiasm for the Good News, and then the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law in Mark.  But as I sat staring out the window after Mass, this phrase from the Gospel gently needled me most: “…he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.”

Wow.  Consider with me, please.  These demons know who Jesus Christ is — and oh does He know them. He knows that His name is not safe in their mouths.  He knows that they would only use it to disclose his identity (as their own downfall?!) at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. Though they could go throughout the world telling of the news of the Messiah’s arrival, they are forbidden to do so….  //  LEARN MORE