The Questions of Jesus: "What are you discussing as you walk along?"

The Questions of Jesus: "What are you discussing as you walk along?"

The irony is remarkable as they tell their story to the only person who has absolutely no need of an account of the things that have taken place. But Jesus asks, and he listens.

The Questions of Jesus: "Have you anything here to eat?"

The Questions of Jesus: "Have you anything here to eat?"

This is the last fish Jesus saw before he ascended to heaven, and he ate it. I wonder how many fish he saw during his 33 years. A lot, for sure, but still there is some kind of definite number that we simply cannot know. What we do know, however, is that this was the last fish in that number, and it was broiled. Jesus eats a lot throughout Luke's Gospel, but this is the only time Luke tells us of him eating after the Resurrection. And this fish, which once swam around in a school and was caught and then broiled, was consumed by the glorified body of the Savior. No other fish in his school or in the all the seas of the world could claim that. Blessed are you among fish.

Resetting the Synod

Antagonisms are what we most frequently and efficiently pass on to young people. We teach them to do what we do and to become what we model. Ideals and hopes are diverted this way or that, to this side or that side, so it seems as if the only imperative is to establish oneself, one’s faction, in opposition to others. We are so deft at these maneuvers that we almost cannot help ourselves; we do it instinctively, somewhat naturally. Surprisingly yet predictably, this same old formational screenplay is playing itself out during the preparation for the 2018 Synod of Bishops on “young people, the faith and vocational discernment.”

Ironically, antagonism and its animating spirit, the hermeneutics of suspicion, are what young people tend to despise most of all. Yet, these things are precisely what we in the Church are preparing them to assume through what we do and what we model. When the final document from the Vatican’s pre-synod meeting of 300 young people was released at the end of March, the accusatory tweets and disparaging commentaries followed in breathless pursuit.

Becoming Easter Witnesses

Have you ever wondered what it was like for the first disciples to see Jesus in the light of the Resurrection?

Imagine being inside a dimly lit, windowless room and then suddenly walking outside into the brightest part of the day. The sunlight is all around you; everything is bright. By reflex, you close your eyes to protect them. You try squinting, maybe even using your hand as a visor to cast a little shadow on your now teary, hypersensitive eyes. You may see a blurry figure here and another there, but you can’t focus or gaze at anything. You alternate between blindness and misperception. Read more at OSV.

The Questions of Jesus: "Why do you call me good?"

The Questions of Jesus: "Why do you call me good?"

The rich man asked an important question and he asks it of the right person. He is looking for the life that is not fleeting and he asks the increasingly famous teacher for help in finding it. But how far is he willing to go to receive what he seeks?

Why Would Young People Want to Remain Catholic?

There are not a lot of reasons for optimism, but there is every reason for hope. Optimism is either the result of a calculation of the available evidence that warrants the assumption of a positive conclusion, or it is naïve wishing. Hope, though, is personal. More to the point, hope is founded on fidelity to the promises of Christ—we believe that he is who he has shown himself to be and we trust that what he says is true. The one who slayed death is more than capable of guiding us through the perils of the digital world, fatherless societies, biblical illiteracy, violence and abuse, and every kind of exploitation that our young people endure or perpetuate. Our part is to trust Christ and to give ourselves over to the mission of evangelization, sacrificing our comfort, shyness, anxiety, and concern for our own status along the way. That’s hope in action.

Moreover, the whole synodal process is entrusted to Mary, the Blessed Mother. She remains Our Lady of Hope because she gives everything to her Son, who redeems us. As the preparatory document for the synod offers in its closing section: “In her eyes every young person can rediscover the beauty of discernment; in her hear every young person can experience the tenderness of intimacy and the courage of witness and mission.”

The Questions of Jesus: "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose himself?" (Luke 9:25)

The Questions of Jesus: "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose himself?" (Luke 9:25)

When Jesus says that of this man he himself will "be ashamed when he comes glory," I take him to mean that filling your heart with lies and deception so as to trade yourself away for any profit whatsoever - whether Whales or all of England or the whole world - will reduce you to nothing in the end, and glory of the Lord will pass right through you. There will be nothing there for his glory to light up. But the one who in his heart of hearts "acknowledges the truth" (15:2), will be a person of flesh and blood whom Son of man makes to shine like the sun.

The Questions of Jesus: "Do you want to be healed?"

The Questions of Jesus: "Do you want to be healed?"

I say I want to be healed, I want to be well, I want to live in the love of Christ. But do I, really? His ways are not my ways, and to be healed means to allow myself to be lifted up into his ways, where I will be made well.

The Questions of Jesus: "Does this shock you?"

The Questions of Jesus: "Does this shock you?"

Jesus is obedience incarnate. He is nothing other and nothing less than everything the Father gives to him. To consume his words, to consume his works, to consume his example, and, in the end, to consume his very life--his body, his blood--is to receive nothing other than his uninterrupted obedience to the Father.

The Questions of Jesus: "Who do the crowds say that I am?"

The Questions of Jesus: "Who do the crowds say that I am?"

Perhaps there is no greater threat to our own security than the gods we create out of our own expectations. These gods constantly swirl in our hearts and masquerade in our imaginations. There is the god of my own convenience; the god of my condition; the god of my hidden agenda; the god of my private religious worldview. These gods get broadcast far and wide by the "crowds", who present an divine image that serves some end that they or we or I seek for their or our or my own purposes.

Are We Turning the Tide?

...The outsourcing of the authority to shape desires and instill motivation is the real issue here. Any reform of the college admissions process that does not question the power the process wields is limited from the start. While the continual evaluation of what counts for what in the admissions process is the responsibility of institutions of higher education, the continual evaluation of the extent to which our society grants the power to shape the lives of young people to an admissions process in the first place, in whatever form it takes, is a responsibility that falls to all of us. Young people are likely to become what we form them to be, according to the way we form them. What really commands the tide is the operative image of what we consider a well-educated, well-formed young person to be when they grow into mature adults.... Read more at Inside Higher Ed

3 Theological Reflections on Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed

In Deneen’s reading, liberalism appears as one of the latest but certainly neither the first nor the last wholesale attempt to undo the meaning of the world, re-envision the meaning of the human being, and reconceive of the project of liberation. Whether Deneen’s critique is aimed directly at liberalism in particular or modernity as a whole is an open question, but what is clear from his sweeping (anti-)cultural and political analysis is that the basic assumptions that drive policy and education and commerce and technology ripen into a seemingly irresistible way of living and moving and having being. By his own prescriptions, Deneen calls for a return to smaller communities, more particular cultures, and more intentional practices in order to recover a sense of citizenship and a project of liberty worth living for. Furthermore, though, if Deneen’s diagnosis, when reflected upon theologically, is also detecting a “fall story” in terms of the biblical view of creation, the human person, and freedom, then Deenen’s civic and political recommendations will also have religious analogues.... Read more at Church Life Journal

Mary's Freedom: The Hidden Power of the First Disciple

On a scale of 1 to 10—with 1 being totally passive and 10 being absolutely active—where would you rank Mary’s performance in the Annunciation narrative? On the one hand, the angel takes the initiative, does most of the talking, and seems to decide when the encounter begins and ends. Mary didn’t come up with this plan, she doesn’t negotiate any of the terms, and something is done to her. Sure seems like sheer passivity. On the other hand, she does say “yes”, so maybe there’s some traces of activity here, though perhaps not as much as one would like. ... read more at FemCatholic