Verbum Domini
Father Michael Najim
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Being homeless is terrible. I had a brief taste of it once. On an extended trek through the mountains, a friend and I were diverted from our course by unexpected storms and snow. As students, we were broke. We had planned two weeks of camping with enough money for groceries. Bad weather forced us to find lodging. We carefully balanced our resources on the essentials: food and shelter. The trip started as a vacation and quickly became an effort for survival. It was an anxious and restless experience. more
What’s so new about the New Commandment? In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus says to his Apostles, “I give you a new commandment: love one another.” The Apostles, being Jewish, knew what we call … more
People know their priest. The faithful have a sixth sense when it comes to their shepherd. They know his heart within the first few encounters. They know if he is a prayerful man. They sense his weaknesses and strengths. His celebration of Mass is a window into his soul, for there his worship of God is on display. His manner in the confessional exposes his heart. Is there compassion? Is there the humility of a sinner, himself no stranger to God’s mercy? In his homilies people look for both charity and courage (no one wants a sheepish shepherd). They seek a pastor who loves God and themselves; and loves both well. more
Evangelizing can be discouraging. We have the best news: God loves us. We also have proof: Jesus’ sacrifice for us (Rom 5:8). more
Every time I visit my mother’s house, I get the tour of the garden and plants. She shows me which have been repotted, which have started to bloom, and which, sadly, have seen better days. There are almost always new acquisitions as well. These plants need constant vigilance. They don’t take care of themselves. When my mother is away, I receive detailed instructions on the horticultural maintenance of the house. There are different measurements of water for each of these green friends and one flower, the orchid, has its own food measured out a 1/4 cup at a time. Of course, I also have to be careful to distinguish the real plants from the fake. I’ve watered plastic more times than I’d like to admit. more
Our tastes change. As children, we wanted desert before dinner. Some dinners we would forego altogether. But as we developed, so did our palate. more
We have been remade in Christ: “whoever is in Christ is a new creation” (2Cor 5:17). If this is true, our recreation should look something like the first creation. more
There is a pernicious heresy today that we might term “the Gospel of wealth” or “the Gospel of success.” This false teaching assures its adherents that if we believe enough (and tithe enough) God will shower material blessings upon us. The flipside, of course, is that should any personal tragedy befall us, it’s either because of our own failure in faith or giving. This “Gospel” is most lucrative for those who preach it. Though it is erroneous, it is slightly better than the equally false notion that a life in God is a life on the Cross. Many fear giving the reigns to God because they believe Calvary is the only destination he knows. We might call this “the Gospel of disaster.” While no one would ever preach such a thing, it is surprising how many people believe it. more
Jesus wanted to make a great catch. He wanted to catch both Gentile and Jew. Where does he turn for help? Fishermen, of course. He chooses those who know their trade, who know both how to cast and mend their nets (Mt 4:18,21). But wanting to make a big catch, he needs a big crew. In gathering his disciples, he subsumes some smaller operations. more
The Dictionary defines hyperbole as “exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.” We use hyperbole when we want to dramatically make a point. For example, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” Hyperbole is such over exaggeration that it draws the listener into the drama that we are describing. more
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