Cowering – John Foley, SJ

Luke 15:1-32; Fourth Sunday of Lent Watch the dog hang its head when it is scolded. It grovels. It tries to wheedle its way back into good graces. To us humans it looks as if it is saying, “I’m really, really, really sorry for what I did and please, please, please, please forgive me. I…

Staying With – John Foley, SJ

Luke 3:15-16; 21-22, The Baptism of the Lord Today marks the last day of the Church’s Christmas season. Jesus’ birth has now been celebrated. His public life comes next. His baptism begins it. I know, I know, Christmas has been over for ages and we have gone on with life. The American custom is in…

The Inside Story – John Foley, SJ

Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time We have an interior and an exterior, you and I. This seems to be the key to Sunday’s Gospel. We can find clues to our “interior” in the calm we find at a quiet lake or at the sight of a budding tree or in the…

The Heart of the Matter – John Foley, SJ

Mark 7:1-23, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time The people in this week’s Gospel are quarreling about who has and who hasn’t washed his hands for dinner. If you were a follower of the Jewish custom in that time, you would know that every person was required to wash up before eating. The rule was “a…

The Call – John Foley, SJ

John 6:1-15, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time If today has been “one of those days” for you, meaning stressful and tiring, maybe you could let the readings for Sunday bring you home for a while. Look especially at the Second Reading, taken from the letter to the Ephesians. It calls us to • live with…

Good Shepherds and Bad – John Foley, SJ

Mark 6:30-34, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time A Jesuit friend of mine was an actual shepherd in his youth. He had spent plenty of time out in the fields, so I asked him what taking care of sheep was like. My motive was about our readings today, all of which have references to shepherds. He…

Thanks – John Foley, SJ

Mark 6:7-13, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time I was out for a drive in the beautiful weather. The city had its usual non-country and somewhat ruined appearance, and I was merely doing shopping chores. Suddenly, unexpectedly, simple gratitude came upon me. Not earth-shaking, not the result of complicated reasoning, just a modest, gentle joy. I…

Grow Unobserved – John Foley, SJ

Mark 4:26-34, Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time The farmer sows seeds in the earth and then waits. He will use a scythe (“blade”) to reap the crop when it is ready. Then he and his neighbors with him will gather it into piles, or “pooks” as they were called in England, so that the farmer…

Indelicate Question – John Foley, SJ

Mark 14:12-16, 22-26, Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Why are you eating somebody’s body and drinking his blood? An indelicate question, but still, why? You walk up the aisle and receive what appears to be bread and wine, but which is really Christ’s Body and Blood. The Roman historian Pliny…

Show Us – John Foley, SJ

Matthew 28:16-20, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity All the way from Holy Week to this Sunday’s “Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity” our Masses have been rich in moving images of our faith. Moving, deep, piercing, rewarding. But more, they have revealed how the Holy Trinity deals with us! Our liturgies represent the ways…

Burning Question – John Foley, SJ

John 20:19-23, Penteccost This is the last Sunday of Easter season. Its Mass is vivid. Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each…

Stay Awhile – John Foley, SJ

Mark 16:15-20, Solemnity of the Ascension of The Lord At the end of each school year, in American schools such as Saint Louis University, the students, along with their networks of friends, scatter. And fly away. As a presider at a recent mass admitted with beautiful poignancy, how much we miss them when the school…