Light in the Darkness

By Sr Rose Rolling

He will light up all that is hidden in the dark and reveal the secret intentions of men’s hearts.1 Cor. 4-5.

Light (image by Lawrence Lew o.p.My former workplace, before I entered the Order, encouraged its staff members to undergo unconscious bias training, a rather contentious initiative which has seen its rise and fall. We are a generation preoccupied with causation: we want to know why people act, or think, the way they do; why it is they are poor, or cruel, or Christian. There is faith in the existence of a reasonable explanation, and explanation induces empathy. We know that there is more to understanding a person than meets the eye.

I didn’t attend the training, and whatever you think about such initiatives, one principle we can all agree on – and one that is highlighted

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Waiting for the Joyful Hope

by Sr Tamsin Mary Geach o.p.

‘Christmas will be cancelled’ was a headline that was running around a week or three ago.  Startled at the media warning I looked further only to find that what was in danger, not of cancellation but of some diminishment, was the tide of tinsel and plastic toys, made by slave labour in a country that has barely heard of Christ, reaching our shores this year. 

It is a well-worn trope that Catholic Christmas is a different matter from this (so easily cancelled) semi-pagan version beginning somewhere in November, and finishing on New Year’s Day at the latest:  Christmas for us begins on Christmas Eve and ends on 6th of January, and what the secular world is pleased to call Christmas barely coincides.

 But what are we supposed to do in this season of Advent instead?  The reading asked for no passing of premature judgement, and perhaps we should endeavour for no passing of premature Christmas.  Instead, the wisdom of the Church says that we wait. 

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Attention!

By Sr Rose Rolling

The second-century Roman poet Juvenal, in his poem Satire X, writes that “two things only the people anxiously desire – bread and circuses”. The phrase “bread and circuses” was devised to describe how the politicians of Ancient Rome maintained peace and popularity through distraction. Distraction revolved around distributing free food and providing free entertainment like gladiatorial games, chariot races and theatre shows. These freebies acted like a sedative or anaesthetic on the population, wooing them into a comatose-like state.

            In the first section of our Gospel passage today, Jesus rebukes a generation of people who exhibit what we could call a bread-and-circuses attitude towards religion. Jesus recalls their attitude: “We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t be mourners.” This spiritual sickness was not new, nor confined to the secular authorities, for it had afflicted the prophets of Israel generations before. In our first reading today, 700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah voices God’s lament

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Hail Redeemer, King Divine

by Sr Ann Swailes o.p.

This weekend, we celebrate a feast for rebels. That might sound surprising. Sunday is the great Solemnity of Christ the King, and royalty conjures up images of sumptuous wealth, establishment privilege, and unthinking, maybe fearful, kneejerk obedience to the powers-that-be. All this has often been true of earthly monarchy, of course – but this King is different. 

In comparison with much of the Church’s calendar, Christ the King is a recent innovation, instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925. It was a turbulent time in international politics, and consequently in the life of the Church, and the new feast spoke to that situation.   Christians in some parts of the world – the Mexico of Grahame Greene’s The Power and the Glory for instance – were doubtless comforted by the thought that Christ, the King who conquered death, would be victorious over the forces that oppressed them.

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