In the cable TV episodes of Inside the Actors’ Studio, James Lipton interviews actors, writers, and directors in Hollywood. He always ends the interview in the same way, by asking his guest this question: "If you believe that God exists, what do you think He will say when you finally see Him?" It’s a great question. In one episode he was interviewing one of the truly great film directors of all time, the legendary Steven Spielberg. Remember the movie, E.T. The Extraterrestrial? When Lipton asked Spielberg, "What do you hope God will say to you when you finally see Him?" Spielberg paused for a few moments, smiled, and said...
Today’s first reading and gospel tell stories of courage and cowardice. The mother and her seven sons are heroically courageous in not giving in to the King’s demand that they violate their religious practices. On the other hand, the servant given one gold coin is so fearful of the King that he doesn’t even put it in the bank to earn interest.
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In his article "Toll of Unbelief" in the magazine First Things, Dr. Brendan W. Case noted that, "...on a single weekend in June 2021, seven people died of drug overdose in Rochester, New York. On that Saturday morning, three adults were found dead on a front porch on a quiet, residential street. Inside the house were six orphaned children." The CDC estimates that 2020 saw ninety-three thousand drug overdose deaths, a 30 percent increase from 2019.
Today, Saint Paul makes the strong claim that "...the sufferings of this time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us." In this bold statement, Saint Paul acknowledges the hard parts of life, but also gives us a reason to persevere; in a word, Saint Paul offers us hope.
In a homily I gave earlier in the week I mentioned that sometimes commercials come to mind when I begin to think about a homily. Well today when St. Paul was telling some Romans not to let sin into their lives, I thought of a commercial that features creepy crawly creatures that delight in having free range over us until one spray and they are gone. What would it be like if we could do this with sin? But it is not that easy.
Saint Paul has an urgent message for the Christian community in Rome: the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. The revelation of God to us - creation, covenants, the Incarnation of Jesus, the passion and resurrection of Jesus, the founding of the Church - is fantastic news. It is a single story of redemption, with the goal of rescuing and saving all of humanity.