Catholic Inklings

Musings and sharings on my devotion to an ancient religion.

Category archive: PB&Grace Blogs

The Suffering Servant: Breaking Open the Word at Home

In today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah shows us the suffering servant of God. He would know this figure personally, as most of the prophets were rejected, abused and killed. When we experience suffering in our lives, we are comforted by a God who experienced suffering first hand—Jesus. There is no pain, no sadness, no disappointment that Jesus doesn’t understand. And, his suffering brings meaning to ours. He is the High Priest—the sacrifice of His suffering means salvation for us all. Our suffering can bring healing to others, too.

In the Gospel, James and John think it a good idea to ask Jesus for places of honor when he comes into his glory. Jesus responds that they don’t know what they’re asking for—that kind of honor comes with a price. He does not want us to think of our personal glory, our status, our honor. He wants us to lift up one another instead. We will have authority—serious authority—but it’s only useful if we use it for the service of others. In fact, if we try to “lord it over” others and “make our authority felt,” we forfeit it. Jesus gave everything up for us and we have to do the same for one another.

[Read blog on PB&Grace.com]

The Gift of Marriage and Family | Breaking Open the Word at Home

This Sunday’s readings are one of those rare and wonderful times when we hear an original story from the Hebrew Scriptures, and then Jesus quotes the story in his teaching. In the Book of Genesis we hear the second story of Creation when God creates the first man and woman, making them suitable partners for one another. We see that God intends for us to live in community, and that we thrive and are most fulfilled when we have others to share our lives with—particularly in the context of family. When questioned on divorce, Jesus affirms God’s intention for us, instructing us on the life-giving nature of marriage and the commitment, unity and salvation that marriage has to offer us. He also brings children to himself, embracing and blessing them, showing everyone what a special gift they are. They bring joy and holiness to a family and remind us of how we should interact with God—like children dependent on their loving Father.

[Read blog on PB&Grace]

Our family’s papal pilgrimage: A little hunger, a little crankiness, and the Vatican City flag man

My little family and I went to see Pope Francis in Central Park yesterday. As you can see from the picture, we were blessed with a pretty good spot in the crowd (thanks to my husband’s cousin, Tim, who got us the tickets!).

This was no casual day trip to the city. This was a pilgrimage, with all that that word implies.

‘Flags, flags, flags . . . ‘
It was a super-long day. We left our house to catch a train to NYC at 7:00 a.m. (my husband led us in a quick prayer as we set off), and when we got to the train station later than we wanted, tensions were running high. The train ride was better—it was a first for both of my boys—and everyone relaxed and watched the sights (mostly run-down buildings with interesting graffiti).

As we walked through the city, it was discovered (through whining and grumbling) that everybody was hungry and needed to find suitable “facilities.” We found a neat-looking restaurant and everybody was happy.

[Read blog on PBGRACE]

The Right Use of Authority: Breaking Open the Word at Home

Sunday, September 27, 2015 (26th Sunday Ordinary Time, B)

Today’s Readings offer us two themes:

  1. That anyone who is working for God, whether we think they are fit for it or not, is welcome by God and
  2. That people who are too focused on wealth or prestige are heading for disaster. God clearly calls all of us to properly prioritize our values, making God and serving God’s people number one.

In fact, the Gospel warns us that if anyone in any kind of authority (i.e., community leaders, teachers, parents, older siblings, or clergy) leads someone smaller than themselves (that could mean younger, less experienced, less educated, more impressionable, or even someone under that person’s authority) into sinful behavior, that the person in authority is responsible. If we model good behavior like welcoming, sharing, caring, protecting and loving for the small ones than we will be rewarded. These two themes are dependent on one another—if our priority is God, we will not begrudge anyone else who is trying to do the same. And if we are welcoming of everyone’s efforts, then we will always be modeling good behavior by encouraging others toward a higher good.

[Read article on PB&Grace]