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May 21, 2017 - The Jesus Option

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings

There is a new book that is creating great controversy in Christian circles. It is written by Rod Dreher and entitled,The Benedict Option. The subtitle of the books says it all. It proposes a “Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.” Dreher believes that our nation is no more a Christian nation but a post-Christian one. He believes that Christianity is entering a new Dark Age and that in our time and within our civilization we may live to see the death of Christianity. The main enemy of Christianity, according to him, is militant secularism which threatens to eliminate religion entirely. Dreher invites believers follow the model of the sixth-century monk St. Benedict, who, as the Roman Empire collapsed, withdrew from society and set up religious communities. Following the Benedict option, Dreher invites today’s Christians to withdraw from politics, move inward, and deepen, purify and preserve their faith. He also suggests that Christians secede from mainstream culture, pull their children from public school, put down roots in separate communities and find new and more radical ways to practice their faith. Even though I do not entirely buy Dreher’s main argument, I at least think that he is concerned about the right thing - the relevance and authenticity of Christianity for in our times. 

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May 14, 2017 - Of God and Mothers

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings

Perhaps most of you know that Pope Francis has been on a twenty-four hour visit to Fatima. He was there to canonize two of the three children who witnessed the apparition of Mary. Apart from all the celebrations, he also tweeted, “Whenever we look at Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness.” On mother’s day, there is nothing more beautiful Pope Francis could have said about Mary. Mothers are the face of love and tenderness of God and Mary. In my life these days, much focus has been on my father because of his ill-health. I love my father to death. However, it is my mother who is the hero. This woman who gave birth to me, nurtured me, and loved me - this woman is my hero. Gentle yet strong, loving yet straight-forward, tender yet firm, holy yet humble  — she is my hero. She is small but she has the biggest heart. My mother is my hero. As I often say, “My mother is the best mother in the whole wide world.” I am sure most of you will say that same thing about your mother. 

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May 7, 2017 - When Suffering is Life-Giving

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings

High profile geo-political events have monopolized our attention for more than a year now. Brexit, the American election, the North Korean conundrum, and now the French and British elections. Locally, the issue has been between fake news and alternative truth. In the midst of all the brouhaha, news about critical humanitarian crises have not made the headlines. Twenty-three million people in East Africa risk hunger, starvation, and death due to a persistent drought. The problem is compounded by ethnic conflict. As you know, the most affected people in times like this are women and children. For the past couple of weeks, I have been unable to detach myself from the suffering of the people in East Africa. 

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April 30, 2017 - Christ Meets Us Where We Are

Third Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings

On the 25th of April, the feast of St. Mark, I completed 23 years of priesthood. Neither was it a milestone nor did I spend too much time celebrating it. Through the busyness of the day, though, I often found myself consumed by thoughts of my many years as a priest. I am 51 years old and I have spent a little less than half of it as a priest. I spent 11 years in the seminary before that. So thirty-four of the fifty-one years have been in religious life. As I looked back at my life, I realized how these thirty-four years have been like today’s gospel story. The story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is symbolic of my own life. Just like them my life too has been an attempt at discipleship. It has been a marvelous journey. Yet, just like the two disciples, my journey is also punctuated by doubts, fears, anxieties, sins, and failures. In spite of my failures and occasional lack of confidence in God, I have always found God by my side. Sometimes as a stranger, sometimes as a friend, sometimes as a person who challenges me, in prayer, in the scripture, in the Eucharist, and most of all when life is rough, I have found that Christ is always there.

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April 23, 2017 - Got Mercy?

Second Sunday of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy)

Scripture Readings

There are 3 million fewer people calling themselves Catholic today than in 2007. As a result, the share of the U.S. population that identifies as Catholic dropped from approximately 24 percent to 21 percent. Catholics are not the only ones experiencing this free-fall.Every major Christian denomination, including non-denominational Christians, is experiencing it. The only population growing is the “Nones” — those who say they have no religious affiliation. 23% of the American population identifies itself as “Nones. This percentage is frighteningly close to the 21% of the Catholic population. 

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