Showing posts from January, 2013

Mission for Lent

Lent is fast approaching and as many of us do, I start thinking about what I want to learn and experience this year.  In my search and discernment, I encountered an old letter from Fr. Bob McCahill, M.M., Maryknoll missioner in Bangladesh.  I have a poster of Fr. Bob hanging in my office.  The photo is of him (known locally as Brother Bob) carrying a young man in his arms through the halls of a hospital in the capital city.  The poster represents the Fifth Commandment (You Shall Not Kill) from the Maryknoll 10 Commandments set of posters.  Fr. Bob has his familiar look of determination on his face as he carries the young man in for treatment.  Facilitating the healing of the very sick and disabled comprises the greater part of Fr. Bob's ministry in Bangladesh.  Moving from village to village every 3 years and attending to one person at a time may seem like a drop in the bucket but each drop is a sacred life.  You Shall Not Kill means more than not taking someone else's life, …

Our Own Journey to Damascus

The main thing that I remember learning about St. Paul when I was young is that he once persecuted Christians, had a moment of conversion, and went on to spread the Church.  Considering Paul's conversion in the reading for today, however, I wonder if we are too easy on ourselves in this account.  Do we look at this story and say, "He hated our way, then came to his senses and realized that we are right"?  Or do we recognize the challenge that this story presents to us, especially in our own moments of righteous certitude?  Do we dare to realize that it was God's way, not our own, that Saul hated?
Before his conversion, Saul is not setting out to make the world a worse place.  He describes himself as having been "zealous for God" and says that he "persecuted this Way to death."  Saul was a man of conviction, a man believing that he was on a righteous mission.  And, in that sense of righteousness, he became blind to the ways of God - ways of love an…

For I Was Hungry: Seeing Our Own Need for God

As people privileged with material wealth, we often fail to see where Christ is present in our lives, addressing our needs. We may look to the Gospel for guidance on how to serve and how to treat others, but do we really recognize our own dependence on God? Do we see ourselves as depending on God in the same way that a family living in a slum in Nairobi, does? The same way that a young person dying from AIDS in Cambodia might?

When I visited Haiti in October, I was with a group there to choose a parish to be in relationship with. The parish that we chose, Ste Anne, sits seven miles up a mountain road that is impassable during the rainy season. The church/school building was a simple wooden structure, the original building having been destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. After our visit, we learned that this temporary structure was also later destroyed, this time by Hurricane Sandy.

Being there, we all felt a strong desire to serve this community, but our experience was more profoun…