Hungry, Naked, and Sick

10702060_765501393522463_5332331349274774028_nYou heard the Gospel on Sunday, right? Well maybe some of you did, maybe some of you didn’t. Here is a snippet from Matthew 25:

For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’

This is Jesus speaking to us, reminding us of our Christian life and vocation. It is one of the most powerful Gospels, clearly telling us what to do if we want to follow and serve Jesus.

In early 2012 I was invited to contribute a few gospel reflections to a book that was being put together by Deacon Jim Knipper; the book would be sold to benefit others and his working title for his enterprise was “Homilists for the Homeless.” While flattered, and slightly mystified to why I was invited along, I said yes – imagining one of those spiral bound books you can get made up at Staples, sold in Jim’s parish gathering space. Was I ever wrong!

Imagine my shock and surprise when the dawn began to break in my head and I realized that I would be in a book with a number of spiritual and religious giants who were heroes of mine, such as Richard Rohr OFM. Then there was James Martin SJ, whom I had interviewed by phone once, and corresponded with a little – another person who inspired me regularly. These two were the big ones for me, but there were many others. This first volume of Homilists for the Homeless gathered voices that were ordained and lay, Catholic and other Christian, male and female, to break open the Scriptures for each Sunday and Holy Day in the Catholic liturgical year. And the title? Back to today’s Gospel, the book would be called “Hungry, and You Fed Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle C.”

We’ve been busy since then, still hearing that Gospel in our hearts and publishing “Naked, and You Clothed Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle A” last year. This November we have released our third volume in the series, “Sick, and You Cared for Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle B.”

This is new for this year - a box set of all three volumes. Available  at this link.

This is new for this year – a box set of all three volumes. Available at this link.

We’ve also been blessed richly, selling many, many books. The result has been that over $30,000 has been distributed to our selected charities for our first two years. We look forward to what the future brings and are grateful for our readers and such wide support.

16392_756880211051248_3157002784781926629_nOur list of contributors has grown since year one, keeping all the originals such as Deacon Greg Kandra, Fr. William Baush, and Michael Leach,  while adding some new voices. For example, last year we added names like Sister Simone Campbell SSS, Jan Richardson, Mary Sperry, Gregory Boyle SJ, Michelle Francl, Daniel Horan OFM, and Rob Bell. This year Deacon William Ditewig, Rev. Martha Sterne, and Margaret Blackie were added, and Joan Chittester OSB wrote our forward! All of our cover and interior art is done by Bro. Mickey McGrath OSFS. There are so many voices, names recognizable and others less so, but all quite gifted and passionate. You can find a comprehensive list of our contributors at this link.

I can’t even begin to express what an honor and privilege it is to be a part of such an august group. And that’s my ego speaking – the real honor and privilege comes from knowing just how many others are served because of these books.

Think the books are not for you because you are not a homilist, think again. We have many readers. Some use the books as homiletic resources for preachers from every tradition. Others use it to study, read, and pray. Groups and individuals use the books for weekly prayer and scripture study. I have heard of people bringing them to nursing homes and other facilities; I’m sure that they would be a welcome addition to prison libraries.

If you have purchased our books – we thank you! And if you are just learning about us, please have a look at our website. We are grateful for your purchase which puts the Gospel into action. Please “like” us at our Facebook page and “follow” us on Twitter. visit our Clear Faith Publishing website, where you will find other items for sale. We are also grateful for any social media sharing that you can offer us. Not for us, but for the sake of those who are hungry, naked, and sick. Which in the end, is all of us – completely dependent on Christ, completely dependent on one another.

Scientia et ecclesiae

A black hole... I feel like if I fell in, I'd find God. (courtesy of APOD. )

A black hole… I feel like if I fell in, I’d find God. (courtesy of APOD. )

On Thursday I posted about going to see Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ at SUNY Albany, where he was giving a talk about Galileo. There was a little Twitter-versy (you know, a Twitter controversy!) because I called Brother Guy the “mayor of nerd and geek.” I’ll have everyone know that such things are said with the greatest respect. I see myself as church nerd meets science geek – even if I was never a great science student.

In any event, all of this was precipitated by my annoyance with something that I read in the Albany Times Union a couple of weeks ago – read that Thursday post for context. In my annoyance, I wrote a letter to the editor and dashed it off to the paper via email. A P.S. was included, saying that I would be happy to write a column for the paper’s Saturday belief page on the topic. Well, I went ahead and wrote the column and I am pleased to say that it is running today.  That Brother Guy showed up days before was a real gift, and I thank City Page editor extraordinaire Rob Brill for letting me know about the talk!

The Albany Times Union has a free and open website; I know some of you do not like to follow links, but it is safe, no registration required, no “you have 9 more articles to enjoy so please subscribe messages.” Have a look and let me know what you think! The column, entitled Church, science, in synch, can be found by clicking here.

And if you want to explore further, may I suggest, as I do in the column, to use the internet. Also consider getting daily emails from APOD via Greg Tracy, which is like a prayer for me.  (Not to mention you can offer him a little support in this great work that he does…) And don’t forget to follow Brother Guy on Twitter, where he is found @Specolations.

Let me know what you think of the column, commenting here if you will.  And please feel free to share it if you wish.

Nerd and geek

BigBang copyA couple of weeks ago the Albany Times Union, (note: the paper hosts a mirror of this blog on their website)  ran a reprint of an editorial from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. To say that it ticked me off would be a significant understatement. Yes – that is an excerpt from it. Which part of not true would you like me to begin with? *exasperated sigh*

When my church nerd and my science geek get going, trust me they get going. Talk about science, I really get worked up when people think that the Roman Catholic Church is anti-science. Without said church there would not be science as we know it… but that’s another story for another day.

consolmagnoon-colbert-reportWhat started out as a letter to the editor quickly morphed into a column that should run in this coming Saturday’s Albany Times Union. Late on Wednesday, TU City Editor Rob Brill called to tell me that someone mentioned in my column would be at SUNY Albany that night. We know it was not Galileo or Pope Francis, so that left me with one choice… Continue reading

Step up to the talent show

talent-show-logo-1Have you ever considered entering a talent show? Not me… Oh no, I am far too afraid, and I am pretty sure that if I sang in front of anyone, they would all run, fleeing from the sound.  Public speaking? That I can do with ease, thanks be to God, but acting or singing or dancing on a stage? Which part of no do you not understand?

I bring this up because there has been an itch that I could not quite scratch, since last Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew, the Parable of the Talents. You know, like the kind of itch in the middle part of you back, you can’t quite reach it.

What do you think about that Gospel? If reading blogs and Facebook offers any insight, it is tough Continue reading

¡Presente! The Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador

jesuits-martyred-UCAOn November 16, 1989, 25 years ago today, eight lives ended tragically and barbarically.  Yes, that is a photo of some of their dead bodies.   I am posting it here – a a reminder and also as a prayer, for the Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador.

 

El-Salvador-Martyrs+Ignacio Ellacuria SJ, +Ignacio Martín-Baró SJ, +Segundo Montes SJ, Juan Ramón Moreno SJ, +Joaquín López y López SJ, Amando López SJ, along with their housekeeper, +Elba Ramos, and her 16 year old daughter, +Celina Ramos, were brutally assassinated by a death squad from the Salvadoran Army.

Oh yes, this was legit army business, trained and supported by our own US Continue reading

Crazy mixed up sound bites meet pastoral reality

RealitycheckaheadThe headline on Google news woke me up… “Church Changes Stance on Gays.” Then there was this one, “The Church Says It’s OK To Be Gay, Sort Of.”  With no news outlet willing to to be outdone, this doozy read: “Vatican stuns Catholic world with greater openness towards gays and lesbians.

The sound bites are driving me insane. Earlier today I regretted not having time to write something about the topic, now I am glad that I didn’t. So much noise!

Without a doubt, the “relatio,” which is a working document that has caused a stir. That is almost too bad, because it feels like things which need to be slowly read and understood, but are instead gulped down and regurgitated as this news.

Reactions from all sides of the spectrum are revealing. Apparently some of my more traditional sisters and brothers felt “betrayed.” More than one cardinal or bishop felt like things were not well represented by the relatio document. Then of course the news media with its “Hay hay, yay yay, to be Catholic and gay is suddenly okay!

Personally, I liked Continue reading

Unpacking. A guest post by Sue Karpovich

Man covered in cardboard boxes - moving conceptUnpacking.

It’s been a chaotic and challenging few weeks since our relocation to our new home. We lived in NY for 20+ years. That’s a lot of friendships, familiarity, and family to leave behind. Now, it’s just the two of us for the first time in nearly 34 years of marriage. We no longer have five children and all their activities to lead us into new friendships. We’re on our own…in more ways than one.

if-you-dont-feel-like-unpacking-on-your-own-a-local-moving-and-stora_16001126_33773_1_7045639_500-320x200We’ve managed to get the living room functional and the kitchen, too. Our office spaces, now separate in this new house, are up and running and our master bedroom is pretty organized. We can sleep, dress, work, cook, eat, and even relax (when we’re not unpacking boxes!!). We have a roof over our head, food on our table, and each other. We are doing better than many and for that we are grateful.

We’ve unpacked our necessities and are now moving toward those things that make this house feel like home. Pictures of our kids and grandkids. Scrapbooks. Familiar, favorite artwork. We’re building shelves and getting organized. But we’re missing Continue reading