Watch – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 13:33-37, 1st Sunday of Advent Yesterday I found myself wandering through a familiar street in a foreign country. The familiarity was comforting, but it was also wrapped in some sort of nostalgia. You see, I was sauntering through one of the alleys of Taipei’s famous Zhongxiao Dunhua shopping area, and the place felt quite familiar because I had spent…

So much for Christ the King – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 25:31-46, Feast of Christ the King Back in 2004, I visited the Jesuit school for the disabled in Cambodia.  From the moment I stepped out of the airport in Phnom Penh, I noticed that every major road and every other street corner displayed the picture of one man.  My companions informed me that a…

Running on Empty – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 25:1-13, 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Do you feel like you’ve been running on empty? “Running on empty” is a phrase we use to refer to people on the brink of exhaustion–be it physical or emotional. It’s a reference to automobiles running so dangerously low on fuel that it might just stop running any moment now. It basically…

Practice what they Preach – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 23:1-12, 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time In today’s Gospel our Lord criticizes the excesses and shortcomings of the Pharisees, but virtually tells us to practice what they preach. It’s surprising advice since it’s a subversion of the usual adage that we should “practice what we preach.” It’s also surprising because this is usually our…

Falling Short of the Greatest Commandment – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 22:34-40, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Singer/songwriter Howie Day has a couple of great lines in his 2003 hit, “Collide”: Even the best fall down sometimes. Even the wrong words seem to rhyme. Never mind the rest of the song–which, of course, is a love song–but I think those two lines capture something pretty…

Sunday Christians, Cafeteria Catholics, Etc – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 22:15-21, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord utters his famous line:  “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and repay to God what belongs to God.”  At first glance, the Lord seems to be proposing a division between our usual lives and our so-called spiritual lives.  Sort of like Sunday Christianity, when people act…

The Two Things We Need to Know about Forgiveness – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 18:21-35, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Today’s Sunday Gospel is about forgiveness: Peter, on the one hand, monitoring his quota on forgiveness, and our Lord, on the other, tossing all that accounting out the window by reminding us that by the way, we all of us are recipients of the Father’s boundless mercy, remember? Forgiveness is…

Empty Chair – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 16:21-27, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Sting sang a little-known, but heartbreaking song at the Oscars last February. The song is called “Empty Chair,” from the film, “Jim,” which is about the journalist James Foley, who had been beheaded by the Islamic State three years ago. The lines go: “And when the winter comes and…

Careful the Christ you Choose – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 16:13-20, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Here are two images that created some controversy a few years ago: The first, of course, is the poster for the movie “Da Vinci Code,” based on Dan Brown’s best-selling novel.   The second is a fragment of a 1,700-year old papyrus that some scholars claim is the last…

The Art of Walking on Water – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 14:22-33, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time We’ve all heard that phrase “standing on solid ground.” Today’s Gospel is about anything but standing on solid ground. Do you remember ever feeling like you’ve run out of solid ground? One day you get out of bed, and for some reason, you feel completely unsure of your world, your life, and…

Only Jesus – Johnny Go, SJ

Matthew 17:1-9, The Transfiguration of Our Lord The Transfiguration of our Lord was–quite literally–“a brief shining moment.” It was that one fleeting moment when Jesus’ divinity–normally hidden during his earthly life–shone through, but only for one fleeting moment. One moment Jesus’ face was bright like the sun, and his clothes white as light as he…