Christmastime on the planet of the rich is a world of consumption. In fact, what we realize around this time of the year is that we have a lot of stuff — so much stuff that many people donate to charity (as tax write-offs) or simply opt out of giving gifts.
Speaking of God
Sister theologians and biblical scholars explore the quest for God in light of the global reality.
The discoveries of science today do not cease to astound. For centuries we thought of ourselves as solid, fixed human beings in a stable, fixed universe. Now we must rethink ourselves as disco dancers in a bubble gum universe. Quantum physics has undermined all the great discoveries of matter, from Aristotle to Newton, and we are now left with the wondrous reality of wave-particle duality. Now we must face the startling discovery that quantum physics may govern the realms of biological life as well.
Christian life anchors itself in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Discipleship has been the hallmark of the committed Christian, inspired by the words of Jesus, "Follow me." Almost 2,000 years later and millions of committed followers, the good news of Jesus is still like seed on rocky ground. The winds blow and the seed is scattered. After many years in religious life, I have begun to wonder if following Jesus is the whole story and if this, indeed, is the mark of religious life.
In the Litany of Loreto, Mary is called "cause of our joy." There are many reasons for considering her such; many of them are caught up by the feast of the Assumption. This glorious feast, celebrated today, August 15, is a testimony to the power of the laity and of our devotion to the mother of God. It also underscores Catholic belief in the goodness of the human body and in its promised resurrection. The feast likewise counters any and all tendencies to think that the female human body is excluded from such goodness and from the possibility of glorification with God in eternity.
In the wake of the brutal killings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and multiple horrific acts of violence and hatred against police and against men of color by police in several American cities, I cry out with so many of you who yearn for a change of heart, individually and collectively.
For centuries, the Church taught that God is impassible, that God could suffer in his humanity but not his divinity. This belief became difficult in the 20th century when war after war — and all that war entailed — consumed millions of innocent lives.
Speaking of God - The results of the recent U.S. presidential primaries are not only startling, but a wake-up call to the reality that our political system no longer works.
The feast of the Annunciation coincides with Good Friday this year, inviting us to think about the two feasts together. The liturgy has a marvelous way of collapsing time, making events that are separate in historical time coexist for the participants.
From the dawn of our species, what we know about the universe has come from the power of observation, that is, what we can observe in a light-filled universe. In the 13th-century Oxford theologian Robert Grosseteste described the beginning of all physical life from light. One of his major works De Luce begins with God's creation of a single point of light which, through expansion and extension, he claimed, evoked the entire physical order into existence. The expansion of light replicating itself infinitely in all directions, he speculated, is the basis of the created world. Grosseteste was not too far from modern physics.
Terrorism in Paris, flooding in Bangladesh, Ebola in Africa, family violence everywhere. The suffering in our world is of such magnitude that each of us must find a way of dealing with it or accommodating it within our meaning-making scheme. Some people look for someone to blame and often that someone is God.
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