Easter

Bishops See Black When They Ought to See Red

The first step on the way to solving a problem is to understand what the problem is. Consequently, we can’t look to America’s bishops to offer solutions to our nation’s most pressing problem because most of them simply don’t get it. The biggest problem we currently face is an attempt to overthrow our country’s system [...]

Keep Death Daily Before You

We are now in what is called the “Great Fifty Days” of the Easter Season. As we know, every Sunday is really the celebration of Easter, what the Church calls the “Paschal Sacrifice,” the saving death and resurrection of Christ. During these great fifty days, we are meant to recall and be refocused on the [...]

Why Don’t I Feel Bad for Jesus?

On the evening of Good Friday, as on the evening of every Good Friday as far back as I can remember, I was reading from Saint John Henry Newman’s Parochial and Plain Sermons, published by Ignatius Press. (I was surprised and disappointed to learn recently that Baron Friedrich von Hugel, the Catholic spiritual writer of [...]

I Tell You a Mystery

“Behold! I tell you a mystery.” — Corinthians 15:51 How many of us have been energized by that line from Handel’s “Messiah”, which leads into the magnificent trumpet flourish and aria, announcing the resurrection of the dead? But what is a mystery? Let us say what it is not: it is not a story akin [...]

Why Holy Week Is Holy

When a lady complained to the great short story writer that her works “left a bad taste” in her mouth, Flannery O’Connor replied that what she wrote was not meant to be eaten. For the conventional palate, those often-macabre stories can be distasteful, but Miss O’Connor deliberately wanted to avoid the sentimentalism of much pious [...]

Don’t Cancel Easter

Back when I was a Protestant, one of the Catholic Church’s great draws to me was its teaching that it’s actually a sin to skip formal, collective worship on Sunday. In the Episcopal Church, we were very much into the idea that you could honor the Sabbath “in your own way,” and—well, there’s only one [...]

Was the Cross Really Necessary?

The cross. No doctrine is more central to the Christian faith and, yet, more of an offense to our human sensibilities. For the unbeliever, it represents everything that is wrong with Christianity. A wrathful God who must be appeased by the brutal murder of his own son is deserving of contempt not worship; any religion [...]

Mainstream Journalism’s Religion Problem

Now that Holy Week is behind us, it is worth reflecting on the "religious" views expressed by “mainstream journalism” over those few days. While not expressing it quite so crudely as the last Democratic president and his wanna-be successor—the press seem stumped by those “baskets of deplorables” who still “cling to guns or religion.” Take [...]

Confounded by the Resurrection

When asked about the resurrection, clinical psychologist and sudden internet celebrity, Jordan Peterson responded, “I need to think about that for about three more years before I would even venture an answer.” Lisa Miller, religion editor for Newsweek, is another matter. Miller doesn’t “buy” the resurrection of Jesus, or of anyone else for that matter. [...]

Easter and the Cultural Pagans

It is a well-known element of Christian tradition: early missionaries repurposed or replaced established pagan rituals, artifacts, and places in their effort to convert the local people. There are some very famous instances of this: Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is a beautiful Roman church built upon the ruins of a pagan temple to the goddess [...]

What is Easter?

Easter Sunday this year falls on April Fools’ Day. A tradition exists about “Christ the Fool.” It probably originates from when Pilate sent Christ to see Herod. Herod was anxious to see him. See him do what? See him perform. He had heard much about this man and his miracles. So naturally the king wanted [...]

Revisiting Jim Bishop’s The Day Christ Died

The Day Christ Died is an unjustly neglected book about the Passion of Our Lord, written in 1957 by the American Catholic journalist Jim Bishop. Coming across a copy of this gem in a thrift store, where I've found many a forgotten treasure, I noted that it was first published sixty years ago this May. [...]

How Little We Know Ourselves

The Lenten and Easter seasons call each of us to renewed reflection on our journey through life. Prayerful reading of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection is a sure way to strive for something Father George Rutler expressed so well—we are to let Jesus “make of our graves what he made of his own borrowed tomb: [...]

Advice for a Catholic Neophyte

It’s an especially happy Easter for the Lu family this year, since a near and dear relative of mine came into the Church at the Easter Vigil. Eleven years into my Catholic life, I am no longer the only Catholic in my natal family. God is good. In light of that, I’ve been reflecting on [...]

The Unforeseen Triumph of Easter

In the Poetics of Aristotle, that wonder of brevity and wit on the art of making (poiesis), there is a clever little thing called peripety, which is a device deployed by the artist to alert his audience to any sudden or unexpected turn of events in the unfolding of a story. For instance, the awful [...]

Prelude to the Passion

It is only in these last days of Lent—before, that is, the high moments of Holy Week that will mark the earthly end of his life—that the public appearances of Jesus become especially fraught, ever more heightened and dramatic. And it is always a toss-up, given the essential inconstancy of the crowds confronting him (all [...]

Peter Wasn’t Afraid to Die

On Palm Sunday, and again on Good Friday, we will hear and take part in one of the most infamous scenes in Christian history. We will read the Gospel account (from the synoptics on Palm Sunday, this year from the Gospel according to Luke, and from the Gospel according to John, as always, on Good [...]

Easter and Zombies

Zombies have been making the rounds lately. Not real ones, of course, because there are no real ones. It is to their great disadvantage that they do not exist, considering how popular they are. But then, they would have no great advantages in existing, either. While they may experience a certain brute satisfaction, their intellectual [...]

He Is Risen! Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Easter

Eastertide, 1894 marked the resurrection of a famous figure besides Jesus Christ. Sherlock Holmes, supposed dead for three years following his agony with the Napoleon of Crime, reappeared suddenly to his friends in London—heralded not by an empty tomb, but by an empty house. There are very few literary giants with so perfect a resurrectional [...]

“I Thirst”

“But suppose God didn’t quite finish by closing time of the afternoon of the sixth day? ...Suppose that Creation, the process of replacing chaos with order, were still going on. What would that mean? In the biblical metaphor of the six days of Creation, we would find ourselves somewhere in the middle of Friday afternoon. Man was just created a [...]

An Easter Reflection on the Plague of Cremation

As Christians prepare to celebrate the Paschal Feast of the Lord’s Resurrection, we will hear a lot about the “empty tomb.” Indeed, this year—in which the Lectionary focuses on St. Mark—will be particularly stark: the women encounter the empty tomb and the “young man” and are “utterly amazed” (Mk 16: 1-7). As we celebrate the [...]

MENU