The Mary of the Gospel is very close to us: a girl born in the mountains of Lower Galilee, in love with the young Joseph with whom she designed a family according to the tradition of her people. Then she is a mother, woman of faith, who each day had to confront difficulties and temptations similar to ours. She is not an exception but a particular person in whom God has found the full availability to realize his plan of salvation.
In today’s Gospel Matthew describes John the Baptist as an austere man (v. 4). His food was simple like that of the inhabitants of the desert. His dress was rough, a leather belt around his waist that distinguished Elijah (2 Kg 1:8), and a fur cloak—a uniform of the prophets (Zec 13:4). The whole person of John the Baptist was a condemnation and denunciation of the opulent society—then as now.
But 12 December 2019 might also represent another historical way station of huge import. For it could be the last time MPs from Scotland are returned to the Westminster Parliament. The Scottish question was vividly put in The Guardian last month by Neal Ascherson when he claimed that “Brexit has delivered the United Kingdom to the hospice of history”. I hope it hasn’t – but I fear it has.
We all know that Christians are the single most persecuted religious group, no? If we don’t, we should. But for the last two years, the Hungarian government – yep, under the controversial Viktor Orbán – has sought to remedy matters by devoting a specific part of its overseas aid budget – known as Hungary Helps – to help Christians.
The wooden sculptures that were stolen from a church in Rome and thrown into the Tiber are not considered idols by the Amazonians, says a Spanish missionary who has been living with indigenous tribes in the rainforest for over a decade.
What would Jesus do? For some Christians, that’s the easy answer to every question. In every situation all we need to ask is: What would Jesus do? At a deep level, that’s actually true. Jesus is the ultimate criterion. He is the way, the truth, and the life and anything that contradicts him is not a way to God. Yet, I suspect, many of us find ourselves irritated in how that expression is often used in simplistic ways, as a fundamentalism difficult to digest.
An estimated 50,000 Christians cutting across denominations, including the Catholic Church, demonstrated near the state secretariat in capital Thiruvananthapuram on Nov. 27, demanding a law to administer all Christian properties in a participatory and transparent manner.
The Bishops of England and Wales have urged Catholics to engage in the General Election, not to “watch from the balcony”, and in particular to ask candidates where they stand on issues such as abortion and euthanasia, climate change and care for migrants.
In today’s modern world overshadowed by extravagant globalization, materialism and consumerism, it is very common for people to forget about people who are less fortunate. These people with relative fortune and comfort might get a jolt if asked what they think about slavery and slaves. In most cases, the answer is likely to be simple: slavery was abolished in the 19th century.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John” (Jn 1:6). He was destined to prepare Israel for the coming of the Messiah. He said, “Repent because the kingdom of the heaven is now at hand” (Mt 3:2).