The hospitality afforde to pilgrims along the Way of Saint James reminds us that this great virtue, when an exercise of self-giving love, is a blessing both for the receiver and the giver. It is an experience of God's kind of love!
Paul's blessing of the Corinthians in his second letter lets us know that very early on the notion of God as Father-Son-Spirit was already part of the Christian spiritual DNA. Reverse engineering his lovely blessing helps us understand the experiences that led those Christians to this most unusual understanding of the One God of their ancestors.
"Be mywitnesses in Jerusalem, Judeas and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Jesus' final words to his disciples, as recorded by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles have been at the heart of the missionary vocation of the Church since the beginning. The story of one "local" missionary, Archbishop Charles John Seghers, reminds us of how powerful that command has been across the centuries. We are also reminded that "the ends of the earth" is not a matter of geography, but far more, the human heart. We are all called to be share the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter where we are, by first planting it in the deep recesses of our own human heart.
"Annie" notwithstanding, being an orphan through most of human history has meant life in complete destitution. When Jesus promises to his disciples on the night before he dies that he will not leave them orphans, he is using a very potent and grave image. His promise is all the more powerful, not just for the Twelve, but for all of us.
The apostle, Philip's request to Jesus in the 14th chapter of John's Gospel, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us," is not so different from a five-year-old's question to his/her mom: "What is God like?" The answer: To know Jesus is to know what God is like.
The Big Bang Theory has a curious corrolary: at some point in the future, all the stars of the universe will have been blown out so far by the Big Bang that they will no longer be visible to us on earth. The night sky will be starless and dark. Will people then believe the testimony of our generations who tell of such stars in the sky or will they believe only in what they can see with their own eyes?
It is a question that brings us to Thomas and his famed doubting...believing only what he could see and not the testimony of others. His story of coming to faith reminds us that faith in what we cannot see
In the third of three reflections on the magnificent parable of the Prodigal Son, Father Kevin offers insight into the end of the story, which features the Father's encounter with the elder brother, a stand-in, obviously, for those Pharisees who have challenged Jesus' practice of sharing table fellowship with sinners.
Father Kevin's reflections are largely based on the book by Kenneth E. Bailey, The Cross & The Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the Eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants. Click here for a link to the book on Amazon: CLICK!