The National Catholic Review

The Good Word

A blog on Scripture and preaching from John W. Martens, America's Word columnist, and the Rev. Terrance W. Klein, the author of Vanity Faith.

May 2016

  • When I was a child, I thought of the Trinity as something of a celestial committee. There was God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The last character used to be called God the Holy Ghost, but, about the same time that the Beatles came to America, he decided to change his name to Holy Spirit.

    I didn’t want to offend any one of the committee members through neglect, so I assigned each of them two days of the week, in which I would direct my prayer to him. Of course...

  • Wouldn’t it be nice to see the Holy Spirit? Or, at the least, to see something like those tongues of fire? There are two dilemmas for this desire. The first is the nature of God. Because God is pure spirit, there is, quite literally, nothing for the eyes to see. One can’t directly see a spirit any more than one can see spiritual realities such as love, beauty and wisdom. We do see such things in the pattern the world weaves, but we can’t distill love out of an embrace, or beauty from the...

  • The following is the homily by Luke Hansen, S.J., at the Mass of Remembrance for Daniel Berrigan, S.J., on May 6 at the Gesu Chapel at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif.

    During this Easter Season, in the Acts of the Apostles, we have been on a journey with the Apostle Paul “to the ends of the earth.” He has traveled through Asia Minor, Europe, Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens, and today we are with Paul in Corinth. Paul is following the Spirit, strengthening other...

  • Walking between rectory and parish office, I pass the playground of the kindergarten students. I’m frequently stopped to look at a loose tooth, to examine a bug or to take in whatever passes that day for news with tikes. Sometimes, I am assailed with questions.

    Mandy, one of the few children of Mexican descent in the school, recently asked me, “Did Jesus have curly hair?”

    As a pastor, I’ve learned this helpful stalling tactic, which works with kids and complainers. I repeat...