Many years ago, the country that we currently know as Southern Sudan did not exist. It was part of the greater Sudan. The northern and southern Sudan are culturally and religiously different. The north is predominantly Arab and Muslim, and the south is predominantly Sub-Saharan African, and largely Christian. These cultural and religious differences became triggers of long-term conflicts between the north and the south of Sudan. Many Southern Sudanese ended up growing up in refugee camps in Uganda and the neighboring countries.
Have you ever had this upsetting feeling that people are watching your every move and waiting to pounce on you when you commit even the slightest mistake? Jesus is presented to be in this sort of position in today's gospel. The time is the Sabbath. The place is the synagogue. A man is sitting there with a withered hand. Jesus is entering. The Pharisees are watching him closely to see if he will cure him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And sure enough, Jesus, who sees them and knows why they are there, says to the man “Come up here before us. Stretch out your hand.”
Brief and contemporary inspiration focused on hope and family prayer will be delivered to your inbox! Articles include live video, written word, and links to resources that will lead you and your family deeper into faith.
A couple of years ago, when I was in Ireland, I had the opportunity to climb the Croagh Patrick. This 764-meter mountain is an important pilgrimage site in Mayo, Ireland. I found it a herculean task to climb steep rocks and slippery slopes, even though I was wearing good boots and had two walking sticks. It took me around three hours to reach the top. I was gasping for breath and tired. I thought of giving up when I was halfway to the top. But something kept me going.
Today’s first reading begins, “I am the Lord, there is no other….” In those eight words, we’re reminded of Whom we should turn to each day. As if to acknowledge our need to have this truth firmly imprinted in our hearts and minds, “I am the Lord, there is no other” is repeated several times with support for this claim.
The great majority of people in North and South America have seen the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, including non-Catholics — thanks, particularly, to the migrations of Mexicans. Hilary Clinton expressed her appreciation of the beauty of the image when, as Secretary of State, visiting Mexico City, she was brought to the Basilica of Guadalupe and she went on to ask in all sincerity, “Who painted it!" I hope Hilary’s heart was touched to hear the story of how the image miraculously appeared and remains. I hope our hearts are touched today too as we contemplate both the intimacy and the power of what happened.
Today’s reading from the book of Revelation begins with a hope-filled message that says, “I, John, had a vision of an open door to Heaven...” I’m sure that’s what all of us want to see when it’s our turn to go home to God, an open door that leads to God and all that’s described in our first reading.