Friday, June 22, 2012

Circle of life


My new nephew, Evan Richard Snodgrass, contemplates life as a newborn. He came into this world on Wednesday, weighing in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces. His mother--my sister Shannon--father Ty, and half-brother Ian are now all at his service.


Evan's grandmother--my mother--had to wait a while for her first grandchild, but good things come to those who wait... She is now poised to spoil him rotten (as is, admittedly, this uncle).

The name Evan, according to Fr. Harry, who prayed with Shannon and Ty to be blessed with a child when they were here at Saint Meinrad for my solemn profession in January 2011, is a form of John, as is Ian. And John--Yo-hannan in Hebrew--means "The Lord is gracious." The middle name Richard is in tribute to Shannon's (and my) father, Richard, who died in 2003.

God, indeed, is good and gracious.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

We know not how it grows

“Its branches turned toward him.”
Ezekiel 17:6

The branch of a large tree twists and turns upward.

Sunday, June 17, 2012
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time—B


Ezekiel 17:22-24
2Corinthians 5:6-10
Mark 4:26-34


As beautiful as it is, nature can sometimes seem harsh and indiscriminate—whether it’s the environment we’re talking about, humanity itself, or all the natural forces that direct them. The storms of life fell many trees in the world, both literally and figuratively, and the body, mind, and soul are not exempted.

While it is necessary and healthy to survey and mourn the damage wrought by the occasional tempest, focusing on it can severely limit or distort our perception of all the good surrounding the storm—or even arising from it. We must, as St. Paul says in today’s second reading, “walk by faith, not by sight.”

Life certainly takes many unexpected twists and turns, but God’s promise to us is that he is always at work in the world—whether we see it or not, or even whether we believe it or not. Like a tiny seed slowly sprouting, taking root, maturing, blooming, and striving toward the sun, the Kingdom of God continues to grow upward and outward. “Behold, I make all things new,” God promises, for “all things work for good for those who love God” (cf. Rev. 21:5; Romans 8:28).

God gently beckons every withered tree to bloom, put forth branches, and bear fruit, so that all may dwell beneath the shade of the Almighty (cf. Ezekiel 17:23-25; Mark 4:32). By God’s promise and grace, through the Tree of Life that is Christ, the Kingdom of God is sprouting and growing night and day, in war and peace, in raging storms and restful stillness…

… though we know not how.

“I, the Lord, lift high the lowly tree.”
Ezekiel 17:24

A fallen, decaying tree regenerates, giving life to many more trees.

Friday, June 15, 2012

This is my Body ...

"As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam's side,
so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ
hanging dead on the cross."

Cathechism of the Catholic Church No. 766


"I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
they did not know that I was their healer.

My heart is overwhelmed,
my pity is stirred.

I am God and not man,
the Holy One present among you;
I will not let the flames consume you."

Hosea 11:4, 8, 9

Sunday, June 10, 2012

... Given up for you

 Solemnity of the Most Holy
Body and Blood of Christ
Since it was the will of God’s only-begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us for ever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.

Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion.

-- St. Thomas Aquinas