Verbum Domini
Father Michael Najim
149 results total, viewing 111 - 120
Perspective. The Gospel tells us that Joseph “was a righteous man.” Good thing too. Imagine if he wasn’t. Betrothed to Mary, and finding her already with child, it was entirely within his rights to expose her to shame. He might even have demanded her execution. No Christmas story there. It would have been the end of Christianity. It would have been the condemnation of our salvation. more
Apparently the Baptist was a bit uneasy. Sitting in Herod’s prison, it seems John was tempted by doubts concerning Jesus. John was a fiery prophet. He was disciplined in self-denial. He was a decisive figure, drawing a line in the sand and predicting the imminent destruction of all who failed to repent. You were either in or you were out. What must have been his reaction then upon hearing that the Christ was dining with tax collectors and prostitutes? Or that he was becoming ritually unclean by touching lepers and corpses? Was this the Christ he was expecting? more
Good cop, bad cop works really well. It is an effective strategy for obtaining confessions. The bad cop always interrogates first. His goal is to frighten the suspect. His words, his tone, his refusal to accommodate the suspect in any way (a glass of water, use of the bathroom) are meant to intimidate. He provides a jolt. By his severity, he increases the suspect’s sense of isolation and impending danger. All of which makes the appearance of the good cop a welcome relief. This is someone who is on his side, someone who wants to help him. The good cop wants things to go well for the suspect, but he can only help him if he helps himself. He has to tell the truth. Often enough, a confession is given. more
Sin makes us shortsighted. It limits our perspective. From the apple in the garden onwards, temptation always proposes something easy, something just within our grasp. The serpent did not tell Eve to take a walk around the garden, think over what he had said, and then decide if she should take the apple. Rather, he spoke to her when she could see it, when it was within reach. Temptation employs what is close at hand. Therefore someone who regularly surrenders to temptation becomes spiritually shortsighted. They gradually lose the ability to foresee the consequences of their actions. They lose the ability to take the long view. more
If you’ve ever refinanced a loan, you know the goal is to find the lowest interest rate. Essentially one is swapping creditors, transferring debt to a gentler financier. This is a common concept in our fiscal life, but the simple notion of debt transfer is also at the heart of our spiritual life. Our redemption hinges on refinancing. more
Many don’t like surprises, even good ones. But no one likes bad surprises. Many put off doctor visits, afraid of what they might find. They prefer the risk of ignorance to the possibility of receiving bad news. Watching a scary movie, we cringe and grow tense, expecting some monster or doom around every corner. This may be exciting, but it is hard to call it enjoyable. When possible, we avoid sudden surprises, especially sudden evils. more
I celebrate a lot of funerals. Gathered in the sacristy with the servers (usually kids), we pray thanking God for the gift of the resurrection and asking him to increase the faith of those who mourn. Faith in the resurrection is powerful. It changes everything. It changes the way people live. It changes the way people die. It changes the way people deal with death. more
You’ve probably seen this Farside cartoon. With the sun rising, a man sits on the edge of his bed and, still half asleep, stares at a giant poster tacked on his wall. It reads “First pants, THEN … more
Every teacher loves an eager student. The word ‘student’ itself stems from the Latin studere, meaning ‘to be eager for, to desire.’ Being a good student then depends upon an eagerness to learn. Such students gladden their teachers by hanging on their every word, reading through their bibliography and plying them with questions. The delight a teacher takes in such a student explains, analogously, why God so delights in the lowly. The lowly are eager for God. more
Life is a fight. Our faith reveals a cosmic struggle, a struggle for our souls. The devil schemes to ensnare us. God is everywhere at work. We are in the fray, clinging to the hope that “all things work for good for those who love God” (Rom 8:28). But this struggle wears us down. We need to be sustained. more
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