Today’s Gospel begins to turn our minds and hearts to the culminating events of the Easter season, especially the Lord’s Ascension into the glory of Heaven. His risen body is due a glorious worship far beyond what we could provide for Him on Earth. He will soon receive that external glory – fitting for the internal glory of the Risen Lord – on Ascension Thursday.
Our Lord promises that, after we no longer see Him on Earth, we will then Continue reading →
OPEN LETTER TO POPE FRANCIS
I recall with pleasure and gratitude my visit to the Vatican in November and your moving address to our Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage. There, gathered with leaders of the world’s great religious traditions, East and West, you reaffirmed the Church’s doctrine of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife and spoke movingly of the right of every child “to grow up in a family with a father and mother.”
Here in the United States we are blessed with many bishops who join you in bearing witness to these profound and indispensable truths. Even in the face of social and economic pressure on them to yield or go silent, they boldly and joyously proclaim the Church’s teachings on marriage and chastity. None has been Continue reading →
In today’s Gospel, we meditate on the beautiful Easter figure of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, Who lays down His life for His sheep and Who has power to take up His life again. We marvel at the humility of the Shepherd Who became a Lamb, bleeding for the salvation of the sheep who had gone astray. We can never meditate enough on this solemn doctrine: that our Shepherd has loved us before we were good sheep, that while we were yet sinners He died for us.
The image of the Shepherd with His sheep comes to life if one studies the life of shepherds, so common in Jesus’s culture. I had occasion once to read a meditation on Psalm 22 from a Basque shepherd in Nevada. Among the fascinating details revealed in the shepherd’s simple work, I was most struck by the fact that each sheep personally checks in with the shepherd two times each day.
The first check-in happens in the first part of the day, after the flock has been taken out to pasture. This morning check-in is a moment of affirmation and Continue reading →