The Letter to the Galatians is an exceptional New Testament document. It was written by Paul at a time of great anguish, because a fervent community that the Apostle had worked hard to establish and to which he remained closely attached, found itself being misled by Judaizers.
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“For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by. We feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost.” These are the words Pope Francis used to portray the unprecedented situation.
It is normal to feel restless as a child, lonely as a teenager, and frustrated by lack of intimacy as an adult; after all we live with insatiable desires of every kind, none of which will ever find full fulfillment this side of eternity.
“What is Man?” (Ps 8:5). An itinerary of biblical anthropology is a new document from the The Pontifical Biblical Commission (DPCB), currently it is available only in Italian from the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. The study was requested by Pope Francis, who considered it necessary to bring clarity to issues of great importance for contemporary culture, drawing light from the Bible.
As a result of this dynamic, politicians are proposing solutions to the pandemic that seek to keep the economic system as intact as possible. In fact, this has triggered a most extensive debate – no less questionable from a moral point of view – which aims to distinguish between the health of people and the saving of the economy....There is an urgent need for solidarity-based and socially responsible economic proposals to improve the lives of those who suffer the most.
Monks have secrets worth knowing, and these can be invaluable when a coronavirus pandemic is forcing millions of us to live like monks. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of us have been forced to stay at home, work from home, practice social distancing from everyone except those in our own houses and have minimal social contact with the outside. In a manner of speaking, this has turned many of us into monks, like it or not.
“Life is not something that takes us by surprise, but an astonishing mystery that inspires poetry in us,” said Pope Francis in a recent audience. And he continued: “When a person lacks that poetic dimension, let’s say, when poetry is missing, his soul limps.”. That’s why I thought of contacting the director Martin Scorsese: life has provoked poetry in him.
Imagine this. You are the dutiful daughter or son and your mother is widowed and living in an assisted living facility. You happen to be living close by while your sister is living across the country, thousands of miles away. So the weight falls on you to be the one to help take care of your mother. You dutifully visit her each day.
Religious-cultural nationalism is marked by zeal, but this is not one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22-23). In reality, Paul calls a certain “zeal” for the Mosaic law “blindness” (cf. 2 Cor 4:4-6) and one of the “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19-20).
The motif of the small, the poor, and the meek is a recurring theme throughout the New Testament. We have a new beginning and once again it is the love of the Lord for the small that emerges. We see it in the figure of Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord (Lk 1:48) and it is perfectly fulfilled in the Incarnation of the Word of God, humbled even unto death on a cross (Phil 2:6-8), and becomes the history of salvation of the Christian community.
The churches are open for private prayer, and public Masses will soon resume. But for many Catholics, the lockdown has taught them new ways of living their faith. This week, for the first time in months, Catholics in England ventured across the threshold of their churches. It was really only a tiptoe, a peek around the door after months of being locked out.
In the dramatic health situation that is upsetting our current historical situation, reflections on the theme of leprosy in Sacred Scripture can perhaps help us to deal with the threatening contagion of Covid-19 from the always therapeutic perspective of salvation history.
Saint Eugene de Mazenod, the founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Religious Congregation to which I belong, left us with these last words as he lay dying: “Among yourselves, charity, charity, charity”. I don’t always live that, though I wish I could, especially today.
Lynn Schofield Clark’s study, From Angels to Aliens, explores how teens seek and explore spiritual and religious identities, often drawing on narratives, images and characters from popular culture, i.e. those artistic expressions of various kinds that have had mass diffusion since the second half of the 20th century.
Since last December, a new coronavirus, Covid-19, has been putting our lives at risk. At the same time, it has paralyzed most of our productive systems, whose survival is now under threat. This unprecedented health emergency has triggered a very serious economic crisis, the depth of which will be determined by the duration of the pandemic.
In his address to the participants at the International Peace Conference at Al-Azhar (Cairo, Egypt) on April 28, 2017, Pope Francis reminded his listeners that dialogue on a global level may occur if three basic duties are observed: the duty to respect one’s own identity and that of others, the courage to accept differences, and the willingness to recognize the sincerity of the intentions of other people.
In this epochal change that we characterize as the “digital revolution,” not only digital technologies but also physical and biological technologies all converge. This contributes to a cultural transformation of enormous moment. Our ways of life, work and relationships are changing.
For a lover of the Bible it can be shocking to discover how some are reveling in Biblical verses that seem to speak to a crisis like the COVID-19 crisis. These verses are regularly ripped out of context and violently plastered onto the reality at hand. Prophets of doom proclaim the COVID-19 pandemic is God’s wrathful punishment on a sinful world.
Where’s the fairness in life? Why are some people so undeservedly blessed in this world while others are seemingly cursed? Why are craftiness, self-serving ambition, taking advantage of others, and dishonesty so frequently rewarded? This has no quick answer.