Reflections

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (Feb. 19, 2017)

Published: February 19, 2017

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

In our first reading, God has a message for the chosen people. The Lord says to Moses, “Tell the people to be holy.” Nothing particularly striking about the passage so far. But then God goes on to say why the people should be holy. And the reason isn’t just a thundering, “Because I said so.” Rather, the Lord says, “Be holy because I, your God, am holy.” In other words, the people are being asked to imitate God. We run into the same idea in our gospel. Jesus says, “Love your...

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (Feb. 12, 2017)

Published: February 12, 2017

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

“Set before you are fire and water; stretch forth your hand to whichever you choose. Before you are life and death. Whichever you choose shall be given to you.” Sirach makes it sound so simple. Anyone with a shred of common sense would choose life. But in practice, even with the best will in the world, it’s not so easy, because we have to figure out, and then live out the implications of our choice. And when we try to do that, we come face to face with a mystery. Sirach says, if you...

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (Feb. 5, 2017)

Published: February 5, 2017

Author:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” One of the things that people find perplexing about these words of Our Lord from today’s Gospel is their implicit assertion that it is possible for salt to lose its taste. It’s hard to imagine how this could ever happen. After all, common table salt, sodium chloride, is a chemical compound that will taste salty now and...

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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (Jan. 29, 2017)

Published: January 31, 2017

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

“How blessed are the poor in spirit: the reign of God is theirs.” “Blest are the lowly; they shall inherit the land.” If there is a single theme running through all our readings today, it’s the importance of humility. Much like short skirts and wide ties, virtues go in and out of fashion. The virtue of humility is hardly fashionable these days. But you know, it’s usually when a virtue is least popular that it’s most profitable for us to go back and re-examine it. Often we’ll...

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (Jan. 22, 2017)

Published: January 24, 2017

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

“From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” With these solemn words, Matthew marks the formal beginning of Jesus’ ministry. That he begins with a call for repentance indicates that Our Lord is carrying on in the tradition of John the Baptist, who had been arrested. But if the message is similar, the place where Jesus delivers it is not. John and virtually everyone else assumed that if repentance and renewal were going to occur, it...

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Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (Jan. 15, 2017)

Published: January 17, 2017

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

To me, John the Baptist is one of the most compelling figures in the New Testament. Certainly the people of his own time found him fascinating. Great crowds of them trooped out to the Jordan River to hear this strange man dressed in camel skins preach repentance, and to be baptized by him. Our Gospel today records the moment when John's mission is finally fulfilled - the moment when he sees Jesus approaching and cries out "Look there! There is the man I have been telling you about. The Lamb of...

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Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 8, 2017)

Published: January 8, 2017

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

One of the most remarkable people I met while teaching theology in East Africa in the late 1980s was Bishop Serapio Bwemi Magambo, of the Diocese of Fort Portal Uganda. Fort Portal is a market town near the Rwenzori Mountains – sometimes called the Mountains of the Moon. It is the home, in East Africa, of my religious order, the Congregation of Holy Cross. The first members of the community to serve there were three newly ordained Holy Cross priests who arrived in 1958 to assist the White...

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Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord (Dec. 24, 2016)

Published: January 6, 2017

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

Merry Christmas, children! Yes, this is a Christmas podcast for children, so today I’m talking to you. The grown-ups can listen if they want to. Now, what is the first thing that children think of at Christmas? Probably presents -- both giving presents and getting them -- because when it comes to presents, Christmas is just about the best time of year there is. Christmas gets pretty exciting -- so exciting that it can be hard to sleep at night. There was once a boy called Ronald Knox who...

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Fourth Sunday of Advent, Cycle A (Dec. 18, 2016)

Published: January 6, 2017

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

In the family tree that immediately precedes today’s reading from Matthew’s Gospel, David and Bathsheba are listed among the ancestors of Jesus Christ. The story of King David’s seduction of Bathsheba is among the most famous in the Old Testament. David sees Bathsheba bathing and asks who she is. He’s told that she’s the wife of one of his officers. He seduces her anyway. She becomes pregnant, and David goes to great lengths to try to cover up what he has done. Many modern readers of...

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Third Sunday of Advent, Cycle A (Dec. 11, 2016)

Published: December 11, 2016

Author:

I used to volunteer at a homeless shelter that had been run for many years by an Evangelical Protestant church. Every evening, the residents of the shelter attended a prayer service before dinner. I was part of a group of Catholics who came in once a month to lead the prayer service. Our version of the service resembled vespers – psalms, some singing, a Scripture reading, an Our Father, and lots of prayers of the faithful. The leader of our group was especially passionate about social...

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