Black Catholic Spirituality

Heal our world by reaching out
​with love

Feb 8, 2018
by Thomas Gumbleton

Congregants hold hands and pray for peace during Mass at All Saints Church in Milwaukee Aug. 18, 2016. (CNS/Juan C. Medina, Catholic Herald)

In last Sunday's Gospel (as I mentioned in introducing today's), Jesus began his public life, which began with a very extraordinary event where he showed what was most important in that life and that is to overcome evil. When he went to the synagogue, there was someone there who, in the description of the people at that time, was possessed by demons. This is a way of personifying evil until Jesus shows his power over evil by driving out the devil, overcoming that evil.

We reflected on how there was evil present in our world. What is perhaps the most important evil we have to try to suppress following Jesus as his disciples? Last week I suggested perhaps violence because it's so rampant in our world. There was just the example that week of a 15-year-old boy going into his school and killing two other students. 15 years old. But now this week, perhaps you read it, a 12-year-old girl went into her little school, shot and wounded two other students. Our need to overcome this evil of violence in our society that is pervasive at every level — we really must do what we can. 

But in today's Gospel, Jesus in a sense moves on. One of the ways to overcome evil, the evil of violence or any evil is by doing good, by being committed to reaching out in love in every possible way we can. Perhaps you've noticed at some point in the celebration of our Eucharist after the consecration, part of the prayer says this, praying to God about ourselves: "Inspire in us words and actions to comfort those who labor and are burdened. Help us to serve them truly after the example of Jesus and at his command." Full story...

4.5 million displaced in Congo 'struggling to survive,' says aid worker

Feb 12, 2018
by Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service


Priests celebrate Mass for citizens killed in recent protests at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Congo in Kinshasa, Congo, Feb. 9. (CNS/Robert Carrubba, Reuters)

WASHINGTON — Just as people are "struggling to survive" in Congo, aid agencies are struggling to meet their needs, said one aid worker.

Political unrest in and around the capital, Kinshasa, is just the latest malady to afflict the Congolese citizens, said Chiara Nava, an adviser to the AVSI Foundation, an aid agency focusing on education and child protection and inspired by Catholic social teaching. She worked in the country for two-and-a-half years before taking on an advisory role.  Full story...

Justice Action Bulletin: Santa Ana River homeless camp; Poor People's Campaign

Feb 13, 2018
by Maria Benevento

Faith leaders and activists gather in Washington for a Feb. 5 press conference announcing the "40 Days of Moral Action" as part of the Poor People's Campaign. (Courtesy of Dorothy Day Catholic Worker)

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA — After the Orange County Catholic Worker and seven homeless people filed a lawsuit to stop local governments from shutting down a homeless camp that houses hundreds, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order Feb. 6 to prevent Orange County Sheriff's deputies from arresting people for refusing to leave.

According to a Feb. 7 report from the Los Angeles Times, the lawsuit alleges the cities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa ... Full story...

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Ash Wednesday is Valentine's Day -- for God

Feb 13, 2018
by Most Rev. Thomas Tobin

Artwork depicting the coincidence of Ash
Wednesday and Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 2018
(CNS illustration/Elizabeth Butterfield,
Diocese of Erie)

The impending collision of Ash Wednesday and
Valentine's Day on the calendar this year might seem
like in insurmountable conflict to some, and understandably

so, for after all, the themes of one day are totally incompatible

with the themes of the other.

For example, Valentine's Day is all about romantic love, opulent dinners, decadent chocolates, beautiful flowers and mushy poetry. ("How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.") Ash Wednesday, on the other hand, insists on penance, prayer, mortification, simplicity and dire warnings. ("Remember, man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou will return.")

For Catholics though, in the convergence of the two days, Ash Wednesday clearly has precedence; it is one of the most solemn days of the year. Ash Wednesday is the doorway of the entire Lenten Season. It is a day of intense faith; a day on which we strive for repentance and renewal; a day of conversion, of turning away from sin and back to God. And who among us doesn't need to hear and heed that message? Full story...

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You can make me clean

Feb 10, 2018
by Mary M. McGlone

​(Unsplash/Josh Applegate)

Did you ever notice how time seems to slow down during the most meaningful moments of life? We may drive home without remembering a single portion of a 30-minute trek through traffic; someone accustomed to the kitchen may fix dinner hardly noticing the particulars she tends to in pre-heating, seasoning, chopping and putting a casserole in the oven. Yet, when we are standing at the bedside of a dying parent, attending the birth of a child or asking the question that will lead to a lifelong decision, each second seems to have its own import as our feelings blend with sensual perceptions and create enduring memories. It is as if time's duration comes with variable thickness or weight.

Mark tells the story of Jesus and the man with leprosy with moment-enhancing emotion. Perhaps it is because Jesus had just told his disciples that going out among the people was the very reason for which he had come. Perhaps Mark knew the man in question and had reminisced about the story with him. Maybe it was just that Mark had discovered that the time of Jesus' life overflowed with moments of profound meaning and Mark dedicated himself to communicating them. For whatever motive, Mark tells this story in evocative detail.

When the leper came to Jesus, he was doing something forbidden. He must have been at least a little frightened. Full story...

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