Saturday, December 16, 2017


   Christmas, of course, is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, 2000 years ago.  But if we are to understand and appreciate the wonder that is Christmas, we must also celebrate the birth of Christ, who was born 13.8 billion years ago.  For at Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ.

   Genesis tells us that at the beginning of creation the universe was in a state of chaos.  And then "a mighty wind swept over the waters," bringing calm and order to the chaos.  (Gen. 1:1-2).  We understand the mighty wind to be the Spirit of God.  From the first moment of creation, God was present in the universe.

    In the Hebrew mentality in which Genesis was written, we could say that God became present in the universe by anointing it.  The universe became "the anointed one."  The Hebrew name for "the anointed one" is Messiah.  The English translation of "Messiah" is Christ, or the Christ Reality.  The universe with God present in it is the Christ Reality.

    The Christ Reality, or simply, Christ, was born 13.8 billion years ago along with the creation of the universe.  God's living, conscious, intelligent, self-giving loving presence in the world/universe makes the world/universe the Christ Reality. 

   Christ is all in all.  (Col. 3:11).  Every galaxy, star, planet, all water, soil, rock, insect, plant, bird, animal and person lives in the God-present, Christ-ed universe.  God is present in everything and everyone.  Theologian-scientist Teilhard de Chardin said that we live in, "The Divine Milieu." 

   Note:  God's universal presence in the universe is not Pantheism, which makes the universe God.  It is panentheism:  God is present in the entire universe, which makes the universe the Christ Reality. 

   "Unto you is born a Savior who is Christ the Lord."  (Cf. Lk. 2:11).  When Jesus was born
2000 years ago, the Christ that he was, was already 13.8 billion years old.  The amazing, joyful wonder of Christmas is that Jesus was the living, conscious, intelligent, loving, universal Christ Reality in the form of a first century, Jewish man.

   The word, "Catholic" means "universal."  Our Catholic faith in Jesus the Christ opens us beyond the Jewish faith to a global, universal faith, from within which we look back to the Jews as our beloved elder brothers and sisters in faith.  

   Jesus the Christ moves us through the dualistic thinking that occurs naturally to us, e.g., I am me and not you.  I am White and not Black, or Brown, or Yellow.  I am a Catholic, not a Protestant, or Jew, or Muslim, or Hindu, etc., to unitive thinking that arises from a global, universal faith.  In and through Jesus, the Christ, we open our consciousness to embrace the entire world in love.  "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28).  Christ is all in all. (Col. 3:11). 

   Also, as Jesus did, we turn believing into acting, and we reach out, as effectively as we can, to all other in love.   

   Being the global, universal Christ, Jesus knows no boundaries or restrictions of love for the world and everything and everyone in it.  So as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ, we should make a new effort to open our eyes, minds and hearts and extend ourselves in good will and love to everything and  everyone, without exception.

   We are not naive.  We know that some people will reject us.  Some will hate us and even want to kill us.  Nevertheless, we should offer to join with everyone of good will, whether people of faith or of no faith, to work together to build up the Reign of Love in the world, especially in the form of order, justice, peace, joy of life, and gratitude, and with a special option for the poor, sick, vulnerable and outcastThis year we can especially note that the political and corporate culture contradicts Christmas very deeply.

    As we gather up love of all others in Jesus the Christ, we offer that love to God, The Father, through Christ, in the Spirit of joyful gratitude and worship.  With Christ and through him we joyfully proclaim, "Peace on earth, good will to all."

   And to all, a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Sunday, December 3, 2017


   In this Advent season, as we anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus, a new wave of spiritual darkness has invaded our country.  

   The Senate just passed a Tax Cut that is going to do great harm to the poor and sick of our country.  The House will no doubt follow through with their own votes.  If there was ever an example of something that clearly and totally contradicts the joy of Jesus' birth, this is it.

   And yet, Franciscan spiritual writer, Richard Rohr, is writing of a newly emerging spirit of Christianity.  I see it too and it encourages me.  But first, let's understand the depth and thickness of the darkness we now face.

   The senators who voted for this Tax Cut are driven with the need to pass some kind of legislation, any kind, to show that they can govern.  Any spiritual adult knows that they are not capable of governing.  The proof of their incompetence shows in that the bill will serve only the super-rich to the detriment of the majority of people.  Many will suffer.  For example, doctors who treat cancer patients came to Washington to tell the senators that there will be less money for them to treat their patients.  In the face of such looming suffering, the doctors' plea fell on hardened ears.

   These same senators have constantly demanded that every tax cut has to be matched by some cut in service or new revenue, so that national debt, whose greatness they routinely condemn, will not rise.  Yet they voted to raise the national debt by one trillion dollars.  That's the figure their own accountants gave them!

   Many senators say that they are Christians.  Then how could they not see what they have just done?  Sadly, the answer to my question is easy.  The senate is one example of the very serious breakdown of Christianity in our government and in our country.  To understand the breakdown of Christianity, I look to my fellow Christians who are Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, and to fellow Catholics who are woefully malformed in understanding our faith. With such Christian darkness in our land, our politicians have degraded themselves to the level where they are acting on the basest of motives.

   And in the White House the very notion of Christianity and sanity has disappeared along with the notion of governing.  We are faced with an autocratic, narcissistic president who daily shows that he understands absolutely nothing about being president.  And as the pressure is mounting that he might be exposed as having been involved in criminal activity, he slides in and out of psychosis, as we see in the wild rants he tweets daily.  

   There is no need to diagnose him personally; his public behavior is more than sufficient for any mental health professional to see the truth of his condition.  He has become dangerous even to the point of bringing us close to nuclear war.

   And yet in all this darkness, Rohr sees a new birth of Christianity coming.  As I said, I agree with him.  In fact, this blog is one way that I look to contribute to the new birth.  It is rising especially within Christians who have put away the old institutional notion of church, and who are working to create a new, loving Christianity in the everyday world, in communion with all people of good will.

   I highly recommend that you log on to Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations.  Yesterday, for example, he outlined the way we can process our pain and frustration with the institutional and inherited forms of church.  He tells us to manage our idealism.  As I have written often in this blog, neither the church nor Christianity itself will ever be perfect here in space/time. We are building the Kingdom of God on earth; it will never be completely built here but will be complete only in eternity.  

   Also, we can't do everything.  Yes, we can and should vote to put more spiritually alive and responsible people in our government.  And we can and should work to heal our society from the curses of racism, poverty, sexism, and all forms of ignorance and hatred.  We do all this by being directly influential within any group we can be, e.g., our family, our friends, our workplace, our voting, etc.  For example, a good friend, after retiring from a career in Catholic education, is now engaged in what he calls, "The ministry of speaking up."  This past year he has written thirty-one relevant an substantial letters to the editor of a Philadelphia newspaper.  They have printed nine of them.

   We should celebrate our victories, large or small, with humility and with praise and thanksgiving to the Spirit of Christ, in whom we live and breathe.

   Yes, today's darkness is deep and cruel.  We are not naive; we do not deny it.  At the same time, we can and do look forward to the star that will shine in the heavens this Christmas.  We will experience renewed life in the peace and good will of Christ.  So in the darkness, we say anew, "Come, Lord Jesus."