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Thursday, July 2, 2020

  “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is good, and my burden is light.” (Mt 11: 27-30)

     Today, on the day of the repose of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco (+1966), I’m thinking about the light and lightness of the cross-carrying Way. It so often emanated from this holy bishop, as those who knew him testify. And gratefully for those of us who did not know him, it is captured on some photos of him. He so completely gave himself up to...

Sunday, May 10, 2020

    “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed… One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.’ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.” (Jn 5: 1-3, 5-9)

     The sick man does not answer the Lord’s question, which is about him and w...

Friday, June 17, 2016

For there must be also divisions among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” (1 Cor 11: 19)

Just yesterday I mentioned this passage to an Orthodox clergyman, one who has been working tirelessly for church-unity, and specifically for the preparations for the Holy and Great Council. I tend to think of him as one of those “which are approved.” But when I mentioned this passage to him, the clergyman unexpectedly replied, “the 1 Corinthians passage makes me realize how abysmally I have failed.” And when I asked, Why?, he said, “because I’ve been thinking: I haven’t always focused on the goal...”

Humility! How refreshing and liberating it is, not to play the “blame game,” or point fingers at others, as we bear our common cross of disunity and other human failings. Tod...

Monday, January 25, 2016

 

…And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest: for you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet onto the way of peace.” (Zacharia’s Prophecy, Lk 1: 76-79)

 

In the past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about “the way of peace” mentioned here by Zacharia, the father of St. John the Baptist, in his prophecy about his own son, and about “the Sunrise” or “Orient” from on high, the Messiah. We know that this “way of peace,” which gives “light to them that sit in darkness,” is the way of the Cross. Because the Mess...

Friday, August 14, 2015

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:17-18)

 

St. Paul had received an excellent education, and possessed much “eloquent wisdom.” But when he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul was first made entirely blind. In the process of “being saved,” he first had to lose the capacity to see as he previously had, merely on the basis of man-made wisdom, in order to embrace Christ, the power and Wisdom of God. This new Wisdom centered on “the word of the cross,” which turns many world-wisely assumptions upside-down. St. Paul was able to em...

Thursday, July 2, 2015

“Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against. Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Lk 2:34-35)

On this occasion, when Jesus is brought into the temple on the fortieth day after His birth, St. Simeon prophetically tells Mary, the Mother of God, about a “sign,” and about the “sword” that shall pierce Her soul. He is talking about the cross. More specifically, he is talking about Her cross, because Her love for Her Son made His cross Her own.

These words carry a sad message about those who will “speak against” the Cross. But they also celebrate the love for Christ exemplified by the All-Holy Virgin,...

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