The National Catholic Review

The Word

  • January 5-12, 2015
    Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Jan. 18, 2015

    How do relationships begin? There is naturally not just one way, one place or one word needed to start a relationship. But is there a common process by which friendship is built from nothing to the point that neither party can imagine life without the other? Some friendships begin in childhood, their origins hazy with time, while others start late in life; but some factors, it seems, are essential to every friendship.

  • January 5-12, 2015
    Baptism of the Lord (B), Jan. 11, 2015

    In a number of Servant Songs in Isaiah, a mysterious individual appears who sometimes represents the nation of Israel, though later Christians understood him to represent Jesus. In Isaiah 42, this person is designated “my servant” (ebed in Hebrew), while in the Septuagint “my child” (Greek pais) is identified with the nation of Israel. But whether we see the servant, God’s child, as the nation of Israel or as a prefiguring of Jesus Christ, God’s...

  • December 22-29, 2014
    Holy Family (B), Dec. 28, 2014

    The truth of the supposedly clichéd phrase “every child is a miracle” hits home for most people when a child is born to them or an adopted child is welcomed into the family. The instantaneous recognition of the child never before seen is a spiritual experience made tactile as a mother takes the newborn in her arms and a father gazes at an infant who evokes on sight the deepest of loves.

  • December 22-29, 2014
    Epiphany (B), Jan. 4, 2015

    A summer ago my family set off on a cross-country car trip from Minnesota to Vancouver, B.C., in part to pick up a wooden bench that my great-grandfather had made when my family immigrated to Canada. It was the first thing he built when he arrived. As an old man, he was too old to work in the fields, so he took care of his grandchildren as they played outside and he needed a bench to sit on.

  • December 8-15, 2014
    Third Sunday in Advent (B), Dec. 14, 2014

    Christians read the Old Testament today, understandably, in light of Christ’s fulfillment of the promises and prophecies found there. It is a simple thing to do, since the early church read the Old Testament in the context of Jesus’ incarnation and teaching and the experience of Easter and then formalized these readings and understandings in the texts of the New Testament.

  • December 8-15, 2014
    Fourth Sunday in Advent (B), Dec. 21, 2014

    The fulfillment of hope, especially divine hope, fundamental hope, does not rest on intricately calculated human plans, in which we chart the future according to algorithms that never vary and on the basis of mathematical certainty await the fulfillment of our calculations. Perhaps this works for 401k plans, but Messianic hope is far more significant than investment strategies.

  • December 1, 2014
    Second Sunday in Advent (B), Dec. 7, 2014

    What comfort is there in waiting? Comfort is usually not found standing in line at the D.M.V. or waiting for an appointment at the doctor’s office as the minutes tick away. Then you simply hope, as frustration builds, that you can get out as quickly as possible and get on with your life.

  • November 24, 2014
    First Sunday in Advent (B), Nov. 30, 2014

    Pope Francis said, on World Environment Day, June 5, 2013: “We are losing the attitude of wonder, contemplation, listening to creation. The implications of living in a horizontal manner [is that] we have moved away from God, we no longer read His signs.” He was referring to the physical environment, but he links the lack of awareness of our physical surroundings, nature and the human milieu to inattentiveness and distraction concerning the spiritual world....

  • November 17, 2014
    Christ the King (A), Nov. 23, 2014

    The correlation of the roles of king and shepherd precedes even the Old Testament. Akkadian, Babylonian and Sumerian texts, including the Code of Hammurabi, all invoke the king as shepherd. Clearly this association emerges from the pastoral context of the time, when sheep- and goat-herding were central to the ancient Semitic way of life.

  • November 10, 2014
    Thirty-Third Sunday in ordinary Time (A), Nov. 16, 2014

    To be “awake and sober” seems like a minimalist approach to the Christian life, but it is a figurative sign of the Christian spiritual life engaged and diligent. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians in the context of the parousia, the second coming of Christ, which the early Christians hoped might arrive in their own lifetimes.