Reflections

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (Jun. 11, 2017)

Published: June 11, 2017

Author: Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., The Garaventa Center University of Portland

St. Augustine was arguably the greatest theologian in the history of the Church. For centuries after his death in the year 430, his writings were regarded as the last word in Christian teaching ...

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Seventh Sunday of Easter, Cycle A (May 28, 2017)

Published: June 7, 2017

Author: Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., The Garaventa Center University of Portland

The key word in our readings today is “glory.” “Glory” appears again and again, in one form or another, throughout our readings and prayers. But “glory,” like “grace,” is one of those words that we can repeat over and over without ever thinking about what it means. We usually associate “glory” with heaven, as in “glory to God in the highest,” or with Christ’s Second Coming, when he “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” But there is also...

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Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A (May 14, 2017)

Published: June 1, 2017

Author: Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., The Garaventa Center University of Portland

Imagine you’re a student sitting in a classroom. The teacher turns to the class and says, “I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what kind of questions will appear on the final examination tomorrow. Of course you all have a very good idea of what to expect.” But you realize, with horror, that you haven’t any idea what to expect on the exam, and as you glance around at the faces of your fellow students, it’s obvious that they don’t know what to expect either. But each student is...

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Fourth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A (May 7, 2017)

Published: May 7, 2017

Author: Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., The Garaventa Center University of Portland

As a newly ordained priest in the late 1980s, my first assignment was to live and work in Nairobi, Kenya. A great thing about preaching there was that the imagery Jesus uses in the Gospels didn’t need to be explained. On the contrary, the folks in the congregation had greater insight into Our Lord’s words about planting, harvesting, fishing and flocks than I had ever acquired in the seminary. You see, while Nairobi is a great city, most of the parishioners had grown up in the countryside....

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Third Sunday of Easter, Cycle A (Apr. 30, 2017)

Published: April 30, 2017

Author: Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., The Garaventa Center University of Portland

The two travellers on the road to Emmaus knew all about the fate that Jesus had suffered in Jerusalem. They had heard about his arrest, his crucifixion and his burial. They had been discussing it for miles -- going over the story again and again -- looking at it from every angle, but it just didn't make sense. They knew Jesus was a powerful prophet. They had hoped he was the savior of Israel. He taught them to have unquestioning trust in God no matter what. Yet he had been executed as a common...

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Second Sunday of Easter, Cycle A (Apr. 23, 2017)

Published: April 23, 2017

Author: Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., The Garaventa Center University of Portland

In Ron Hansen’s marvelous short story, “Playland,” an enormous pelican flaps down onto a beach and approaches one of the main characters. To quote from the story, the bird “waddled toward him, her wings amorously fanning out to a span of ten feet or more as she struck herself thumpingly on the breast with her beak until a spot of red appeared on her feathers.” When we read “Playland” in my Catholic writing course here at the University of Portland, the students realize right away...

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Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord (Apr. 16, 2017)

Published: April 16, 2017

Author: Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., The Garaventa Center University of Portland

Long before we arrive at our Gospel account of Christ’s Resurrection, the symbols of the Easter season, the spring flowers, eggs, rabbits and lambs, reveal to us that Easter is a celebration of new life. Easter is like our first springtime visit to a sunlit garden, when every glance at new blossoms, every breath of fragrant air, seems an extraordinary privilege. When we reflect back on such moments, we feel sympathy with the young G. K. Chesterton, who wrote in a notebook: Here dies another...

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Good Friday (Apr. 14, 2017)

Published: April 14, 2017

Author: Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., The Garaventa Center University of Portland

We want the truth. Our hunger for truth is a basic human instinct – an instinct that is every bit as real as the desire for love or riches. Present us with a mystery, and we feel compelled to unravel it. That’s why the works of Agatha Christie have sold in the billions. It’s why people sat through countless episodes of “Lost” or “The X-Files.” We know “the truth is out there” and we intend to find it. At a deeper level, the quest for truth is the reason there’s a university...

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Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Published: April 13, 2017

Author: Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., The Garaventa Center University of Portland

“He was only at his best when things were at theirs.” Years ago, when I first read those words, applied I think to some King of England or Prince of Wales, they struck me as a very harsh criticism indeed, particularly of an Englishman. After all, this was the land where, according to Kipling, a fellow was supposed to prove his mettle by keeping his head when everyone around him was losing theirs. “Then you will be a man, my son.” We all admire people who perform admirably in a...

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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (Apr. 9, 2017)

Published: April 11, 2017

Author: Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., The Garaventa Center University of Portland

When, at Mass on Palm Sunday, the Passion of our Lord is read in parts, the congregation often takes the role of the crowd, and calls out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” And, of course, that’s appropriate, because by our sinfulness, each one of us plays a role in the crucifixion of our Savior. One of the ways we contribute, is by our persistence in judging other people. Despite our Lord’s command to “judge not, lest you be judged,” we have constantly to struggle against our tendency to...

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