Author: David Cloutier

20th Sunday: A House of Prayer for ALL Peoples

Is 56:1, 6-7; Ps 67; Rm 11:13-15, 29-32; Mt 15:21-28 Today’s Gospel tend to tie interpreters up in knots. For some, there is the scandal of what looks like Jesus “changing his mind.” It looks like he gets it wrong at first. So some elaborate explanation must be constructed. One homily I heard tries to make it out that Jesus is testing the woman’s faith. It’s all a ruse, to see if she really believes in him. This doesn’t seem very plausible. For others, the reading is troubling because it seems to present a Jesus offering a feeble attempt...

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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time: God is Not in the Storms

Readings: 1 Kgs 19, Rm 9:1-5, Mt 14:22-33 We live in stormy times. Often enough in the Bible, when God appears, it is with flashes of lightning and roars of thunder. When God appears to Moses at Mount Horeb, these are the great signs of appearance. Analogously, when we live amidst great and calamitous events, we are apt to search for God in them. But this week’s readings suggest an alternative: sometimes God is not in the storms, but in the calm and quiet. The lectionary this week omits some crucial context for the story of Elijah in the...

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When Human Dignity Becomes Human Divinity

Gilbert Meilaender’s recent Commonweal piece, commenting on a disturbing “death with dignity” story of an ex-priest from Canada that was featured on the front page of the New York Times, is worth reading and re-reading. The article makes great points about the limits of rituals to “deal with” death, and comments again on the inability to hold off the slippery slope inherent in this social problem, as Cardinal Eijk of Utrecht explains vividly in light of recent movements in the Netherlands to allow for “healthy people suffering nonmedical conditions such as ‘loneliness, bereavement, limited mobility and decline from old...

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Ethical Glimmer in the Swamp

It is not a time of notable moral distinction in the conduct of our nation’s political affairs. Nevertheless, something was said that seems to sum up the issue. In his statement on voting against the last-ditch Republican repeal bill, John McCain made a statement of principle – not about health care, but about the practice in which he and the others are engaged: “We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill...

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Three Takeaways from #CatholicConvo

I was pleased to contribute to a panel on Laudato Si’ at the recent USCCB Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the gathering, but I came away with a very positive feeling that the event was successful. Other reports have rightly suggest the “good vibe” at the conference. Certainly having almost 4,000 Catholics in one place, with most of the bishops present, gave an impressive sense of the American Church. More importantly, my experience of the convocation was that the effort to make it a conversation, not just a set of high-level...

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