Scott and Kimberly Hahn are an American couple who converted to the Catholic Church and who, in 1993, published a moving account of their spiritual odyssey in a book entitled Rome Sweet Home—Our Journey to Catholicism. Before converting, they were both active in the ministry as evangelicals, meaning they both had taken academic degrees in theology and were very committed Christians. Slowly they began to question the foundations of the Protestant creed. Scott was the first to convert to Catholicism, with Kimberly following suit sometime afterward. And during that interval, when the husband was a Catholic, they suffered tremendously from their division.
Almost every major city in the United States has a Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard or Street. It is usually a prominent street in the city, with a big signpost, and sometimes has a statue or a picture to go with it. The US believes Martin Luther King Jr contributed significantly to an important conversation about racial relations in the United States. He stirred the nation's conscience, led to the passing of the Civil Rights Acts, and therefore deserves recognition and honor.
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My dear sisters and brothers, today in Luke's Gospel we hear about Herod the Tetrarch. After the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC, the ancient Kingdom was divided into four parts with each part under the rule of a member of the Herodian family. A “Tetrarch” was a “ruler of a quarter” of the kingdom of Israel. Herod Antipas was the ruler of the region of Galilee and Perea during the time of Jesus and is the subject of the story we have just heard in the Gospel. Herod the Tetrarch is the one who beheaded John the Baptist.
Try this thought experiment: imagine a family member or friend asks you to consider something outside your comfort zone, something good but challenging. Are you open to listening to their idea? Now, what about a stranger or maybe someone you know but don’t trust…are you open to listening to them? And, finally, which category do we put Jesus in?
Oscar Wilde was a brilliant, witty author. He was jailed on a moral charge at the height of his career. The humiliation devastated him. It also purified him. In de Profundis, one of his later writings, he says: "Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground." The devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady has its origins in Sacred Scripture and Christian piety. This devotion always links the Blessed Mother with her Son's suffering.
Today, we commemorate several events central to our salvation on this Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The first is the finding of the true cross by Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helen; next, there is the dedication of the original Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 355 and, most significantly, Jesus’ victory over death by His crucifixion and resurrection. Locally, it is the patronal feast of the Archdiocese of Boston, and closer to home, my parent's wedding anniversary.