Catholic Inklings

Musings and sharings on my devotion to an ancient religion.

Posts by jschlameussperry

SAMURAI JACK AND BEING VALUED IN ANOTHER’S EYES | Geekdom House

Screenshot from Samurai Jack

Though it’s not his preference, it’s Jack’s job to live by the sword. He’s a Samurai, but he tries to complete his mission with as little violence as possible. Jack’s goal: to prevent Aku from destroying everything good in the world and save his family’s empire. However, he gives every monster and villain he faces an opportunity to repent, even letting them walk away unharmed if they do so.

It’s with this attitude that he faces Ashi, one of the Daughters of Aku who are trained as assassins to kill Jack. He treats her with compassion when she is used to a life devoid of love or kindness. She has been treated as an indistinguishable cog in a fighting machine; not cared for, not recognized for her gifts, just an agent of death used to accomplish her father’s evil plan.

Read the full article on Geekdom House.

The Black Panther: A Course in Social Justice | Bigger on the Inside

Movie poster from Black Panther

The latest installment of Marvel Comic movies, “Black Panther,” is timely, beautiful and an important commentary on our responsibility toward one another — particularly those who aren’t directly related to us. Go see it. Bring your teens. Bring your youth group.

The question of “what is my responsibility to my brother?” is a constant companion in this movie, each main character struggling with it in their own way. It challenges our use of the resources that we control, and how protecting our own freedom and stability to the exclusion and detriment of others is faulty policy; both morally and practically. Women and people of color are depicted in relationships of equality, respect and dignity that could serve as a model for us any day. If you’re looking for a way to introduce Catholic social teaching to young people, I strongly recommend using this movie as a catalyst for conversation.

For full review and themes for discussion, click here.

In Three Days I Will Raise It Up | Breaking Open the Word at Home

In the readings for this Sunday, March 4, we see God’s unbalanced mercy (unbalanced in our favor) as we’re given the Ten Commandments. Only people who care about you will give instruction and boundaries for relationship; and the Ten Commandments are just that. Three are how to relate to God, seven are how to relate to one another. All of them together are how we live out our gratitude to God for all that we’ve been given, and to show respect to God and all the things God loves.

When we step out of those boundaries, we step into sin — sin that makes us forget who we are. Jesus, when he visited the temple, came face to face with people who forgot they were in service to God and God’s people, and forgot the purpose of the temple. They forgot to put their relationship with God first, and made a mockery of God’s invitation to relationship. Jesus, rightly angry, made a point to correct them so that they could change their ways and return to God. Jesus also foreshadowed that an event was coming that would make the Jerusalem Temple obsolete — that Jesus would become the place of sacrifice once and for all.

For a full reflection and discussion questions for the family, click here.

It Is Good That We Are Here | Breaking Open the Word at Home

In the readings for this Sunday, Feb. 25, we move from the desert to high places. The ancient people would always go up to the mountains to find God. Today we travel with Abraham, when his relationship with God was still pretty new, up to the mountain to sacrifice his son. This is where God reveals that human sacrifice isn’t cool. Then we go with Jesus who is revealed to Peter, James and John, by the Father as having God’s authority. Naturally, they don’t understand what they see and hear, but that’s okay — it wasn’t time yet. It was enough that Peter realized that what he was witnessing was important and that it was an honor to be there. Paul reminds us that we have God on our side — a loving father who is willing to do anything for us, even give us his only Son.

For full reflection and discussion questions, click here.

Into the Desert | Breaking Open the Word at Home

In the readings for this Sunday, Feb. 18, God gives us a preview of baptism via Noah, and invites us into the desert with Jesus — both for 40 days. There were many “40’s” in the Bible; all of them were times of preparation for something big. Jesus tells us in the Gospel that this is the time of fulfillment, but to be fulfilled we first have to recognize what’s not working in our lives, let go of it, and live the Gospel values more completely. We’re offered this 40 days to really pray, remove distractions, and give of ourselves to make those things more clear.

For full reflection and discussion questions for the family, click here.

WE’VE CREATED A MONSTER | GEEKDOM HOUSE

“Godzilla” | Art by sandara. Used with permission.

Thankfully, most of us don’t literally mean it when we shout, “Oh, no! I’ve created a monster!” In the Toho movie franchises, however, when the Japanese say it, they mean it. The world of Kaiju, the “strange beasts” of Japanese cinema, include attacks on the world and are often the result of humanity making a very poor choice or unfortunate mistake. Godzilla: King of the Monsters introduces us to a highbred dinosaur born from the radiation of atomic weapons testing. Godzilla ravages Japan, bringing further devastation to the nation after the horror of what spawned him in the first place.

[Read article on Geekdom House.]

For This Reason I Have Come | Breaking Open the Word at Home

In the readings for this Sunday, Feb. 4, we see a very busy Jesus. He moves quickly from healing Peter’s mother-in-law, to healing the sick and people with demons, to going around the countryside to preach the good news. Following in his footsteps, Paul talks to us about becoming “all things to all.” That means that we need to make ourselves relatable to everyone we meet. We’re never too smart, too cultured, to popular, to busy; too anything to make time and make ourselves available to anyone who needs us. Job reminds us to be mindful of those who are experiencing emotional unhealth, too — depression, grief, burnout, or even a sense of being overwhelmed — the Jobs of our world need our help, too.

For a full reflection and discussion questions for the family, click here.

A Teaching With Authority | Breaking Open the Word at Home

In the readings for this Sunday, Jan. 28, from Moses to Jesus, we find out what happens when a person accepts the vocation of prophet for God. Moses was a member of the Hebrew community chosen by God to bring his fellow people God’s message. Paul warns us to not get caught up in the normalcy of life: the distractions, the busyness, and anything else that makes us forget to listen to and speak for God. When Jesus began to teach people who longed to know God better, they experienced teaching from someone who knew God firsthand, and therefore, spoke with true authority. His teaching was so effective that the devil wanted to stop him, because if people knew the truth about God’s love and what God knows we can do, we would live such radical lives of love that we would change the world.

[Read full reflection and discussion questions for the family here.]

Now Is the Time | Breaking Open the Word at Home

In the readings for this Sunday, Jan. 21, we get a small preview of Lent. “Forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed,” says God. Jonah is charged to bring that message to his enemies helping them (reluctantly) to come to God, all the while moving away from God himself in his unwillingness to forgive. He’s not keen on extending the forgiveness that he had received from God to others. Paul urges us to stop whatever we’re doing and check our relationship with God. It’s also a call to make sure that we have given everyone in our lives an opportunity to hear the Gospel — that’s our mission. To live an authentic relationship with God means to extend that relationship to others — especially our enemies. Jesus tells us in the Gospel that this is the time of fulfillment. It’s the time for God’s purpose to be fulfilled in the world and in each of us.

For a full reflection and discussion questions for the family, click here.