I don’t know about you, but I am tired of shallow conversations about the weather, about meals, about politics! The art of conversation — true conversation — seems to be absent from today’s world. Many people seem to prefer text messages or emails to talking on the phone or in person.
All forms of love require self-sacrifice, and our fallen human nature tends to make us close in on ourselves. We can start to think that avoiding love is the safer course in life. C.S. Lewis reminds us that this way of thinking leads only to damnation.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Many parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn and around the globe have noticed that attendance at Sunday Mass is significantly lower than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are pages in the Bible that keep me awake at night. This Sunday’s reading from the book of Jeremiah is one of those, but I know I am not alone in my deep discomfort about it when I compare the different ways the first verse has been translated.
If newspapers as we know them only date to the 17th Century, how did the earliest followers of Jesus find out what was going on? Had there been such thing as the Nazareth News, it wouldn’t have lasted because very few people of that era knew how to read. So how did the disciples stay on top of things? Simple: word of mouth has never gone out of style!
It takes more than a map or an app to figure out this Sunday’s Gospel reading, which tells us that Jesus “withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.” These were cities on the Mediterranean coast, quite a distance from Gennesaret (on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee), where Jesus and the disciples landed the boat after the eventful crossing about which we heard in last Sunday’s Gospel. It’s a long enough walk to make us wonder what Jesus was up to!
Unfazed by the request, Jesus tells him “come,” and so he does! Yet as Peter walks toward Jesus on the water, the force of the wind frightens him and he begins to sink. “Lord, save me!” he calls out, the first of countless times since that these words have been uttered in prayer! Jesus reaches out to take Peter by the hand, gently asking him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Do you believe in miracles? Thomas Jefferson, the chief architect of the Declaration of Independence, certainly didn’t! Still, he held Jesus in high esteem, writing that Jesus was responsible for “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals” ever offered.
The human being, the highest and most exalted of God’s creatures, is its own agent in determining its salvation, making use of God’s gifts of free will, rationality, and the sanctifying grace that is actively bestowed upon it. This pathway to eternal life is made accessible through the Redemptive Sacrifice of the Cross, which makes it possible for every human being, past and present, to attain eternal life.
Bishop DiMarzio’s column for the last edition of The Tablet, “The Birth of our Democracy,” spoke much truth regarding the recent calls and attempts (some successful) to tear down statues and monuments throughout the nation. He writes that “the statues that are now being taken down with public authority or by acts of individuals betray a misunderstanding of human nature. It is human nature that has been wounded by Original Sin, but it has been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ. There are no perfect people.”