Attending a mass at the US-Mexico border, I was struck by an unforgettable image: a people gathered as one body in Christ, divided into two by an 18-foot-tall fence.
Notre Dame's resident Missionary of Mercy traveled to the Vatican with his fellow appointees last month for a visit with Pope Francis. Here, he writes about some of his favorite memories from the trip.
When Jesus died on the cross, he asked for mercy for his executioners, saying "they know not what they do." Two millennia later, that same call for mercy applies to each of us, including the men of Westville Prison.
I recently preached the Parables of Mercy in a convent, to a group of educators, and in a prison. All three groups needed mercy — but they found themselves in the stories in very different ways.
Conversion doesn't only refer to the sinner finding God. As we enter the season of Lent, we can each seek to be converted in our everyday lives.
Many of us have been brought up to believe that the goal of a Christian life is to avoid making mistakes. Not so.
The Psalms tell us that "all the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God" — but is that really a geographical measurement?
Somewhere along the way it got into our minds and hearts that the goal in the life of any serious Christian is to stop sinning or to get beyond sin. I hear it all the time when I meet with sincere and earnest students.
Two core things about my life enable me to understand the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, the story in Matthew’s Gospel about the king who forgives his servant an enormous debt, only to see that same servant hold a fellow servant accountable for a modest one.
As the years go by I become more and more fond of saying, “The older I get the better I look in gray.”
I often ask myself if I love God. I know for sure that I want to love God with all my heart and soul and mind and being. But I don’t know if I do. Here is one thing I can point to.
Is it too much to say that everything you have ever lived and done and tried, whether you succeeded or failed, has purpose and meaning in your life?
The landscape of sexual orientation and of gender identity is changing faster than a three-year-old falls asleep at a Sunday homily. While the Church does not have to jump on every bandwagon that passes by, it must listen to and read the signs of the times.
Some years ago I decided that I would invite 10 students to my room in Dillon Hall one random evening. I blind copied all of them so no one knew who else was coming. I told them I would be serving pizza. And everyone would have an opportunity to tell the story of how they came to Notre Dame.
Let me tell you a story. It should sound familiar. It’s about a local judge who is supposed to decide a complicated insurance case.
Tomorrow a new president will be inaugurated. And we will have to support him as much as we are able. What common ground can we find?
I was delighted to learn that the Holy Father is asking the Missionaries of Mercy to continue their “extraordinary ministry” until further notice, “as a concrete sign that the grace of the Jubilee remains alive and effective the world over.”
I have so loved this year and being a missionary of mercy that I had thought about sneaking into St. Peter’s and getting behind the Holy Door, so that when the Holy Father tried to close it, it wouldn’t.
Of the memorable moments of grace and untold mercy I’ve encountered along the way, here is one I will never forget: Earlier this fall I had the chance to visit a first cousin whom I had not seen in more than 30 years. For many years she worked in the “adult industry” and was known all around the country and beyond.
A few weeks ago, while driving from Seattle to Belfair, Washington — a drive of about 70 miles — I was tired and wondering why I’d said yes to this invitation. I was not at all prepared for the graces God would give me on that Sunday morning.
To understand the full meaning of the Parable of the Good Samaritan we need to understand that a parable is a story, told by Jesus, the intent of which is to get you to question your values, to question what you think, to turn your world upside down.
People often think the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard is about the generosity of the landowner. Hardly.
Earlier today, quite by chance, I ran into another Missionary of Mercy. He was here at Notre Dame leading a workshop. We both recognized that this Jubilee Year of Mercy has been a tremendous gift and blessing from God. And people don’t want it to end.
I went to the church half an hour early to pray. The most difficult part of the afternoon was figuring out how to get inside the confessional.
I am fond of saying that the older I get the better I look in gray. The contrasts and paradoxes in the Holy Land are so obvious and remind us that a black and white world does not exist.
I never had much interest in going to the Holy Land, primarily because I thought that it would never happen. But on the Thursday after commencement I found myself with a group of pilgrims on a plane from New York to Tel Aviv. I will be eternally grateful.
Pope Francis is not the first person to suggest that the story we all know as “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” is not named well.
When I was a novice, our novice master, Father Nick Ayo, CSC, ’56, ’62M.A. often said, “If everyone set their life story to music, you would recognize the melody everywhere.” So true, so true. In the end our sins are very similar.
Ever since my appointment as a Missionary of Mercy in February, I have received several hundred emails and notes and phone calls congratulating me, promising prayers and asking questions. Most people don’t know quite what to say.