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Confronted with Christ

My brief reflection from Give Us This Day earlier this week:

Whenever we take our children to Manhattan, we are confronted by the reality of “these least brothers” Jesus talks about in today’s Gospel. On subways and street corners they hold out battered cups in battered hands. Our kids look to us to gauge whether we should be doing something, and if not, why not? We tell them we can’t give to every street person. And even as we explain, we fight our own guilt over ignoring those with the least who live among those with the most.

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Surprise! It’s Pope Francis. Yeah, that happens.

Pope Francis makes an impromptu visit to an immigrant settlement on the outskirts of Rome. This video is so beautiful it made me cry. Read more

News flash: Pope Francis isn’t saying anything new

I’ve kept quiet through a lot of the ridiculous stuff that goes on out there in the media world lately. To be honest, I just don’t have it in me anymore to bang my head against the wall of the blogosphere, but today I just can’t keep quiet. One word: EVOLUTION. Why, why, WHY is this breaking news? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Pope Francis. (See that photo over there on the left? I took it when I was THIS CLOSE to the pope two weeks ago. If I’d been just a little bit unhinged, I could have jumped that barrier and been in his popemobile. But I digress…) I love Pope Francis. (Remember my post from when he was elected, “My Pope Crush: He Had Me at Hola”? Oh wait, I’m digressing again.) So, anyway, I love Pope Francis, and I appreciate the fact that he wants to get the truth out there, but the truth is that his statements on evolution and the Big Bang theory are not new, not even close. The fact that the press — and a good chunk of the world, I guess — don’t seem to realize this and thinks the pope is making some landmark statement is just mind boggling to me. Read more

Giving a soul to the internet

My June Life Lines column, running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

When you sign onto Facebook to check out your friend’s latest vacation photos or post a status update, you probably don’t think of it as an evangelization opportunity, but social media is fast becoming one of the most effective ways for Catholics to share their beliefs in unintimidating and powerful ways.

By providing a virtual witness through things we say, the links we post, the community we build, we draw people toward us and, by extension, the faith that sustains us. Read more

Pope Francis: All are invited to a ‘life-changing encounter’ with Christ

I was thinking about blogging about the disciples on the Road to Emmaus when I sat down to breakfast today, and then I read Pope Francis’ homily on this very subject and realized that, once again, he says it better than I ever could. Not that this is surprising news, but, still. And, as always, he gets me thinking, especially when he gives us the three examples of what a life-changing encounter with Christ looks like.

So, here, courtesy of Rome Reports, is the text of the pope’s message today.

A thought to ponder as you read: Have you missed Jesus on your own Road to Emmaus? I’m pretty sure I have, at least a dozen times. Read more

Should Eucharist be the only thing that matters?

Over the past few weeks, folks here have talked about the role of Eucharist in their lives and in the liturgy, with a lot of people saying as long as there is Eucharist it shouldn’t matter how lame the rest of the liturgy might be. One commenter went so far as to say that even if Nazis did liturgical dance for an hour, it wouldn’t matter if Eucharist was at the end of it. Yes, someone actually presented that argument. So I thought maybe we needed to talk about this a little more, about Eucharist and how it plays into the life of an average Catholic. Read more

Shepherds who live with the smell of their sheep

I was going through some old posts this week as I was preparing for a radio interview, and I found this post from March 29, 2103. I thought it might be good to re-post it here. Two weeks ago, when I posted about Losing My Religion, many reacted by saying that maybe the priest was just having a bad day, as if my frustration was based on a single episode. And at that point it’s hard to argue without sounding defensive, even though I know what was in my own heart. Then I came across my own post on this exact topic from months ago. Maybe many who have joined the NSS ranks recently haven’t seen it since it’s buried behind many other posts. So here it is again, a reminder that what I’ve been talking about these past weeks isn’t new, isn’t isolated, and has been on the pope’s radar screen since the beginning of his papacy. Here you go: Read more

Did Pope Francis read my blog post?

Yeah, hey, so guess what? I’m not the only one who has issues with bad homilies. Turns out Pope Francis feels the same way. And he gets applause when he talks about it! Have I mentioned yet today — this hour — that I love our pope? Yeah, I thought so. Check out what CNS tweeted today about Pope Francis’ comment on this very same issue.

Pope Francis on the “leprosy of the papacy,” the leaven of love, and the feminine Church

This time Pope Francis is talking with Italian newspaper La Repubblica. Second interview, just as fascinating, 4,600 words bearing the headline “Pope Francis: how the Church will change.” The pope called to set up the interview himself with Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist with whom he (now famously) exchanged letters. Read more

My pope crush: He had me at ‘Hola.’

I’ll admit it: It was love at first sight. I have got a crazy pope crush – in an agape sort of way. He had me at “Hola.” Actually, he had me at “Francis.” And so far I’ve still got stars in my eyes. This is new territory for me. Don’t get me wrong. I loved John Paul II, the pope of my youth, and I loved Benedict XVI, the pope of my middle age, but I’m head over heels for Pope Francis. It’s verging on ridiculous, but I can’t help myself. Read more