May He who spoke forgiveness into her heart and ours, the One who takes away the sins of the world, lead us into the heart of the Father anew, that we might sing a song of salvation to a world desperate for good news.
St. Paul challenges us in the second reading to be ambassadors of Christ “as if God were appealing through us.” He calls people to be reconciled to God. Rather than being like the older son, who scorns the wayward brother, a great way to be an ambassador of Christ this Lent would be to invite people to be embraced by the Father’s love.
One of the ways we can produce good fruit is by calling on the name of the Lord. In my own prayer, my most common way of referring to God is by saying “Lord.” “Lord, I adore you, Lord, I praise you, Lord, I worship you, Lord, I love you.”
St. Paul tells us in the second reading that “our citizenship is in heaven.” The goal of every Christian must be to get to heaven. It is promised to us, but not assured if we do not listen to Jesus. All of our work on earth – all of our praying, fasting, almsgiving – is preparation to live as citizens of heaven.
During Lent, those of us who pray the breviary, read the story of Israel and the exodus from Egypt. Every year when I read the account, I have the same reaction: “How could they be so stupid?
Have you ever seen anyone walk around with a wooden beam in his eye? When I read this Sunday’s Gospel, I picture someone with a huge piece of wood in his eye. I think the Lord Jesus is using absurd imagery here to make a point.
The most profound example of forgiveness that many of us New Yorkers had the chance to witness up close and personal has to be that of the late NYPD Detective Steven McDonald forgiving the teenager who in 1986 shot him in Central Park and left him paralyzed from the neck down.
If anything can be two different things at the same time, the Beatitudes, which we deal with this week in the Gospel from Luke, meet the criteria.
One beautiful July Saturday three summers ago, some former co-workers and I were enjoying lunch on the Coney Island boardwalk when I put out an invitation for Mass later that evening.
Two images on the shelf above my desk keep my focus as I write this column: a crumbling drawing of Jesus salvaged from my childhood home that dates back to the 1960s, and a figurine of St. Michael the Archangel, that my brother Larry gave me. The drawing of Jesus, so lifelike that His eyes seem to pierce the soul, is disintegrating, tearing, and browning at the edges; the St. Michael figure lost half of its left wing when I dropped it a good while back. These images guide me both for what they depict, and – much like the People of God, the Mystical Body of Christ – how they are damaged, but yet endure.