Sunday, March 31, 2013

He is risen!

We so easily repeat these words two millennia after the event that we take for granted how they radically changed the universe and human nature itself.

Yesterday I wrote about his descent to Sheol, and how Christ changed what happened when human beings die. Today is a time to focus on the change to how we live. Genesis tells us that we are created in the image and likeness of God. Genesis tells of how original sin marred the image, but we celebrate that Christ not only repaired the damage but elevated our human nature beyond its original state.

The new text from last nights proclamation say it beautifully

…This is the night that even now, throughout the world, sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, leading them to grace and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night, when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld. our birth would have been no gain, had we not been redeemed.

O wonder of your humble care for us! o love, o charity beyond all telling, to ransom a slave you gave away your son!

O truly necessary sin of adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! o happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night, worthy alone to know the time and hour when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night of which it is written: The night shall be as bright as day, dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness. The sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.…

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The descent into Hell

In the apostles Creed we say:
was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell

Today we continue the fast, if possible, from yesterday until after the Easter Vigil because we are reflecting on that descent in to hell. We do not mean hell in the Christian sense of eternal separation from God because of the choices people made during their earthly life. Here we mean Sheol, the place for all the dead. Until Jesus death and resurrection, even the thought that a human being could be eternally in the presence of God was unthinkable.

Today we mark that moment when Christ entered what is Hebrew was called Sheol, in Greek Hades, and prepared to take with him every righteous soul ever created who had died before him. He broke the chains of death, and unlocked the gates of heaven, making possible for human beings to enter into heaven. Abraham, Sarah, Moses, the prophets and prophetesses and all the countless unnamed righteous men and women from the creation of the world who strove to do God's will.

We are reminded once more that God is not bound by time and space. The mercy of God is truly limitless.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Not Just Good but Great

In the Orthodox Churches today is referred to as Great and Holy Friday. In Spanish it is referred to as Holy Friday. In the English-speaking world we call it simply Good Friday. Whatever name you use today is the day when Christian commemorate the greatest sacrifice in the history of the universe, the day when God, the second person of the Trinity, Jesus, willingly suffered the excruciating death on the cross.

What more could God possibly do to convince us how much we are loved? How could anyone look at a crucifix and doubt for a moment that God loves them?

God could have chosen to save us in any way at all, but he chose to die a slow and painful death, to sacrifice himself completely for us. That is the God of Christianity.

Today as in churches around the world we walk the way of the cross, as we celebrate the Passion of The Lord, as we fast, as we remember, let us truly feel the depths of God's love.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sacred Paschal Triduum

This evening Lent ends and we begin the most sacred celebration in our calendar, the Sacred Paschal Triduum. Paschal is the adjective for Easter, from the Latin Pascha. Triduum refers to the fact that it is a single celebration that takes place over three days. The priest begins tonight, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" and ends on Saturday evening concludes the celebration with "Go forth in peace, Alleluia, Alleluia."

Tonight's celebration is called the Mass of the Lord's Supper. We do not refer to it as the Last Supper as if it marks the end of something. For us it marks a beginning, the institution of the Sacrament of the Eucharist in which even to this day two millennia later we continue to share the body and blood of Christ.

Tonight's liturgy also focuses us on service, and in a special way the service of the poor. After the gospel, the priest, the leader, washes the feet of those selected. In some of our parishes it has erroneously been turned into a communal friends and family exercise, and worse yet, in some places washing of hands, like Pontius Pilate, has been substituted for the rich symbolism of leader being the servant. Pope Francis has chosen not to celebrate this Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran but at Istituto Penale Maschile E Femminile Per Minorenni Casal Del Marmo (a mixed gender penal facility for minors) where he will wash the feet of boy and girl inmates. A Pope in a prison washing inmate feet. What more need be said about how it should be done.

Tonight's liturgy also says, "At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist[after the intercessions], there may be a procession of the faithful in which gifts for the poor may be presented with the bread and wine."

Tonight's collection is not for the parish general fund. Tonight we give to the poor. In our parish tonight is the night to bring back Operation Rice Bowl boxes, and all monies collected will go toward that program which helps the poor around the world.

We will end the night with prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Remember that tonight a plenary indulgence is given to all those who piously recite or sing the Tantum Ergo after the procession of the Blessed Sacrament at the end of Mass. This must of course be accompanied by the usual conditions, recent confession, communion, and prayer for the Holy Father. At St. Patrick's I will be available to hear confessions and the Church will remain open after mass for prayer.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Calc step 2

On March 20th we marked the vernal equinox, last night we saw the full moon that marks Passover, the second marker used for our calculation of Easter. On the Sunday after the full moon, after the equinox, we celebrate the Ressurection, new and eternal life.

Today is the last full day of Lent. Lent officially ends when we begin the Triduum, tomorrow evening with the Mass of the Lord's (not Last) Supper.

How will you spend this last day of Lent? Perhaps return to where we began: prayer, fasting, alms-giving.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why so focus on the womb?

The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me

These words spoken by the prophet Israel, we, as Christians, understand in a more expansive way. They are intended now for one or for a few but for all.

It helps for us to meditate for a moment on the details. To name something in Old Testament was a sign of possession, and yes, dominion. Adam is told he can name the animals. God changes the names of people from Abram in the Old Testament to Saul in the New Testament. Our parents have the right to name us because we are theirs. The passage reminds us that before we are even born we all are created by God and if we acknowledge the truth, we are his. As this passage says, we are his servants.

While we may not like the concept of servitude. This servitude conceals the great paradox. When it comes to us and God, to borrow lyrics from an old song, "The closer I'm bound in love to you, the closer I am to free." By falling into God's love and becoming God's servants, we find our truest freedom, our truest identity, our real name.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Monday

This being Holy Week it is good for us to ask how we can give a particularly holy character to each day. For those of us in Richmond, we have the Chrism Mass this evening at 6 PM at the Cathedral. While it is scheduled normally for Holy Thursday morning, the Church allows it to be celebrated on another day, for dioceses like ours where it would be difficult for the priests to gather in the cathedral in the morning and be back in their parishes in the evening.

At the Chrism mass two unique things take place:
1. The Blessing of the Oil of Catechumens and Oil of the Sick, and the Consecration of Chrism.
2. The Renewal of Priestly Promises

Chrism is a unique mixture of a perfume and oil that is consecrated not simply blessed, and is used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Holy Orders. The oils used throughout the year, throughout the diocese are the ones from this mass, a sign of the unity of the diocese.

At the Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday the faithful renew their baptismal promises. At this mass, once per year, the presbyterate, all of the priests working within a diocese, are called to come together and renew their priestly promises. The three questions remind us of what the church sees as central to the ministry of her priests

Beloved sons, on the anniversary of that day when Christ our lord conferred his priesthood on his apostles and on us, are you resolved to renew, in the presence of your Bishop and God's holy people, the promises you once made?

the priests, all together, respond: i am.

Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to him, denying yourselves and confirming those promises about sacred duties towards Christ's Church which, prompted by love of him, you willingly and joyfully pledged on the day of your priestly ordination?

priests: I am.

Are you resolved to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites and to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching, following Christ the head and shepherd, not seeking any gain, but moved only by zeal for souls?

priests: I am.

Most people will not have the opportunity to participate in the Chrism Mass but I would ask that everyone pray for us, your priests.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Holy Week

Tomorrow we begin our celebration of Holy Week with Palm Sunday. But on this last day before Holy Week we hear the prophecy from Ezekiel that Christians have always seen as fulfilled in Christ.

I will take the children of Israel from among the nations to which they have come, and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land. I will make them one nation upon the land, in the mountains of Israel, and there shall be one prince for them all. Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.

This unity which humanity had at creation in the goal toward which we must constantly strive. It begins in the individual heart, with each us us always and everywhere treating each person we encounter as brother and sister.

It should be a part of our parish where no Catholic is ever thought of as a visitor, but all are recognized as members of the one Church, baptized non-Catholics are members of the extended family, and the unbaptized are treated as honored guests who can never outstay their welcome.

Our nation must look at every other nation as friend or potential friend, all created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore worthy of respect. Even if others do not share this mindset, we as Christians must speak this truth.

We may not see it come to its fullness in our lifetime on earth, but we will see it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Time to evangelize

One of the most interesting things to note in today's gospel is that even with the signs Jesus is working people are not believing. Jesus then goes back to the place John was baptizing an people respond. "...everything John said about this man was true.” And many there began to believe in him. They believed in Jesus because of the testimony of John.

We think of evangelization as something we Catholics just don't do. You can trace it in this country to the anti-Catholic sentiment with which most of our ancestors were greeted. As a Catholic, you kept your head down, your mouth shut, worked hard, and tried to fit in. Many even changed their last names and adopted nicknames to hide first names that sounded too ethnic, too papist.

But that was then. We now have a mostly Catholic Supreme Court, a Catholic Vice-President, and here in Virginia, no matter who wins, we will have our third Catholic governor in a row. So what is our present day excuse for not sharing our faith? What is our excuse for not even the simple expressions of faith in public, like pausing to bless food before we scarf it down?

If we truly believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life then what is stopping us from looking for those little opportunities we have each day to be John, the witness.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Intersection of traditions

Today we mark not only the first day of Spring but for your Persian friends it is the first day of the New Year, Nuruz, literally the new day. Our Jewish brothers and sister have already begun cleaning of the house, the removal of leaven in preparation of Erev Pesach, on Monday, and the days of Passover.

On Monday here in the Diocese of Richmond we will gather at the Cathedral for the Chrism Mass at which the bishop will bless the new oils: Oil of Catechumens, Oil of the Sick, and Chrism( used for Baptism, Confirmation, and Ordination). Thursday our Tabernacles will be open and empty, waiting for the newly consecrated Eucharist, and Holy Saturday we will light a new Easter Candle, bless new water, and welcome new members.

For all of us it is time of new beginning. Starting something new requires letting go of the some things that are old. These last 7 days of Lent are a great time to take one last look around inside our own house, and see what in us we still need to sweep out so we can truly start new.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Which Susanna?

If you walk into the American church in Rome, Santa Susanna, you will see two stories depicted on the wall. One is, of course, the story of the martyr for whom the church in named. The other is the subject of our first reading from the Book of Daniel.

The Susanna in the first reading is the story of a woman who is almost stoned to death because of the groundless accusation of two lecherous old men whom she rejects. Only when Daniel raises the issue of proof, separates the so-called witnesses, and the details of their story do not match is her life spared. Back then all it took was an accusation and in the minds of the crowd she must be guilty.

If you want to see a modern version, watch the film The Stoning of Soraya M. But before we critic the world beyond our borders we need only to look at ourselves. We used to be a nation that believed that a person was innocent until proven guilty. Now from the time they are accused, we behave as if they are guilty. We may not stone them, but their lives are ruined. Actual proof of wrong-doing is no longer required. And thanks to the Internet, it lives on forever.

Our new pope has not even been officially installed and there are already those who are trying to find something of which he can be accused or for which he can be blamed. Some reports go back to the 70s and would make it look like as a Jesuit superior he had control over every priest in Argentina. It is all accusation, but for many that seems to be enough.

Even more tragically are those who had no Daniel, those who have been wrongfully convicted and put to death not just in third world countries but right here in the USA. The Innocence Project is dedicated to stopping this injustice. The first reading today reminds us that this kind of injustice is nothing new, but that doesn't mean that we should simply sit back and accept it. We must do what we can to end it.

It is no accident that this reading follows yesterday's gospel of the woman caught in adultery. In that case she was guilty, she had sinned, but even then Jesus's response was;

Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.

On this the 10th day before the end of Lent, are we really ready to be that Christian?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blinded by prejudice

Today's gospel ends with:
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.
Then each went to his own house.

What would any of us give to be able to see God, the way the people around Jesus had the chance to see God, incarnate. The opportunity to not only see him but touch him and converse with him. And yet, how few realized what they had at the time. So convinced they were that they could box God in. No prophet could possibly come from Galilee. Or so they thought.

This week we saw the election of our first Latino Pope, our first American Pope, and our first non-European Pope in over a millennium. I will admit that I fully expected them to fall back on an Italian. I was wrong. And the Holy Spirit once again reminded me that beyond the fragile humans who work for her, the head of the Church remains Christ, and the Holy Spirit moves as it will.

Prejudice is like culture or accent. No one stands outside of their culture, no one speaks their language without an accent, and no one is without prejudice. We are hard wired to make those instantaneous judgements. The real question is can we move beyond them. Most of the people around Jesus could not, and so they missed out. The Cardinals could and took an heroic leap into a new world papacy.

In these last 12 days of Lent, can you and I? Can we, in every situation, practice looking beyond our first impressions, our snap judgements, our prejudices. If we van, perhaps too we will see the face of God in unexpected places.

Friday, March 15, 2013


As Holy Week draws near, in our gospels Jesus is in Jerusalem, and the plots against him are in motion. Today's gospel ends by saying, "They tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come." The scripture tell us there is a time for everything. But how do we know the right time? Which brings us to the most complex interaction in the universe, that between God's will and free will.

As Christians we believe in both. There is a will of God not only on the level of the universe but on the level of the individual. We also believe that God has endowed each of us with free will. Both are constantly at work. Neither can cancel out the other.

I know that my ultimate destination is my choice: the turn toward God- Heaven, or the turn away from God-Hell. In the interim, it is a kind of dance. Through study and prayer, the goal is to bring our free will more constantly in sync with the will of God, the only source of true freedom.

The mechanism of interaction between God's will and free will is a mystery we will never comprehend, at least not in this life. What we can do is trust. Trust in the unchanging Love of God for each of us, and let him lead.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The First American Pope

A new beginning, Pope Francis
Those who remember the story of the saint, remember that his great call from God was "Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins."
We may not be in ruins, but we all must admit that we need some rebuilding. His life to date, although a Jesuit, seems to have been modeled already on St. Francis.
Proof once more that God always send what we need

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who does it?

In the gospel today Jesus says, "I cannot do anything on my own." Hw many of us can or would even want to say that?

The drive for independence is not only something we learn but seems to be hard-wired into us. Toddler will often get angry when offered help even when they cannot do the activity alone. Our culture aggravates the situation by almost worshiping self-sufficiency and treating dependency as a disease to be overcome.

Jesus teaches the opposite, even on Good Friday, Jesus accepts the assistance of Simon.

We pray the words, "Thy will be done" but we still want to be in charge of the doing. Jesus's words today are a model for us. Not only should we say, "I do not do anything on my own" but we should come to realize, "I cannot do anything on my own" at least not the things I should do. Why? Because love which should motivate my every action is not a natural but a theological virtue. It comes from God, who is Love itself.

Perhaps we need to repeat the words of Jesus even if we don't really believe them, and perhaps if you keep repeating them each day, you will come to believe

I cannot do anything on my own.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

16 Days - Conclave begins

This morning as we begin our day the Cardinals gathered in Rome have already celebrated mass and will now at:
— 10:45 a.m. EDT: Cardinals travel from the Domus Sanctae Martae (which serves as a hotel) to the Apostolic Palace.
— 11:30 a.m. EDT: Procession from the Pauline Chapel into the Sistine Chapel.
— 3:30 p.m. EDT Cardinals return to the Domus.

For the mass today they wore red vestments, not because they are Cardinals but because they are calling on the Holy Spirit to guide this process. Let us join them today in praying to the Holy Spirit.

Monday, March 11, 2013

17 Days-Eternal Life

In today's Gospel, Jesus returns to Cana. There he encounters an official who tells them that his son is dying. Jesus is response, "You may go; your son will live."

We, as Christians, can sometimes forget how fundamentally Jesus changed the universe. Before his death and resurrection, Jesus had to raise people's physical bodies from the dead. Before the death and resurrection of Jesus, there was no eternal life, at least not in the sense that we mean that phrase. One of the great disputed questions in the Judaism of the time of Jesus regarded the continuation of the life of the soul after death.

For us as Christians, the phrase "eternal life" means more than the continuation of your human life after death. When we use the phrase "eternal life"we mean not only a life that will never end, but an actual share in the divine life. Jesus gave us a totally new kind of life. When we speak of being alive, we don't mean that we are alive in the same way that plants and animals are alive. We mean that we are alive in the same way that Jesus was alive. Our bodies are animated not just with our human souls, but with a share in the Divine spirit.

Today let us truly live. Let us live each moment of this day constantly aware of the new life God has given us.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

18 Days-Saying Thank you

Today we have the parable of the prodigal son. Rather than focussing on him, however, I wanted to take a closer look at the older brother. When one looks closely at him he could be any one of us. His greatest fault seems to me to be, not jealousy or unforgiveness, but a lack of appreciation for what he has.

The accusation he hurls at his father, "Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends." Do we know this to be fact? Or is he simply being the kid whose "never" is an exaggeration?

The father sees the truth. "You are here with me always; everything I have is yours." The truth is that the young man has everything, but can't see it.

During Lent we give up something for forty days, as an act of penance. Also, it is hoped that when we go back to it, we go back with a new appreciation. In this season of prayer, perhaps we need to take time to take a real inventory of everything and everyone we have in our lives and unlike the older brother simply be grateful.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

19 Days And Counting

We have turned the corner and we are now on the countdown. The Season of Lent ends as begin the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on only Holy Thursday. At that moment we move into the Easter Triduum, a single celebration that begins with "In the name of the Father..." on Thursday and ends with "Go in Peace, Alleluia, Alleluia" on Saturday night.

This weekend priests may wear rose colored vestments, to mark the joy of this turning point in Lent. But this year we have another joy to celebrate as well. The Cardinals have announced that on Tuesday March 12 the Conclave will begin. Perhaps even by the Solemnity of St. Joseph (Patron of the Universal Church) on March 19 we will have a new Supreme Pontiff for our Church. The process is long because each cardinal one by one walks to the altar and places his ballot in the urn with the words, "I call as my witness Christ the Lord who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected." While there is much conversation among the the cardinals even now, in the end it comes down to each Cardinal, his conscience, Christ The Lord, and God the Father.

We pray for all 115.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 23-Listen

In the first reading today, Jeremiah the prophet writes, "This is the nation that does not listen."Indeed, he could've been writing that today to us.

We live in a world of constant sound, but seem to of almost lost the ability to listen. Or daily basis, we take in more information today probably than ever before in history. Yet the information we take in is only what we want. We select what we want to listen to, what we want to hear. In the days when people listened to the radio you had to listen to what the disc jockey played, unless you wanted to be constantly changing the channel. Now we can customize not only our music, but our news, and other information. We can so filter our information gathering that we only hear what we already think or believe. We hear only snippets from the other side, taken out of context in order to be derided.

Under the heading of spirituality, we avoid the challenge of real religion. By saying, "I'm spiritual, not religious"we can pick and choose what suits us, discarding anything that is uncomfortable to us. True adherents of any religion must listen. They will hear some things that comfort them, and other things that challenge their most fundamental behaviors.

It's time for us to be religious. Time to listen to the voice of God, we call conscience, to listen to the teaching of the church, to listen to the people around us, most especially those we disagree with.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 21-Mercy

The responsorial psalm today "Remember your mercy, Lord" is a perfect example of how sometimes we say to God what we need to hear. After all, do we think God ever forgets his mercy? The first reading as well sings the greatness of God's mercy.

The gospel then turns to us and challenges us, as beings created in the image and likeness of God, to imitate the great mercy of God — or else.
With the story of the servant who is forgiven, but then refuses to forgive, we get a glimpse of what may be the greatest danger to our salvation, the unwillingness to forgive.

When we hear the phrase "mortal sin", our minds immediately jump to the lurid. Yet, time and again we see those sins forgiven. Those who are most severely punished, as in today's gospel are those who refuse to reflect the mercifulness of God.

Some say they want to forgive and can't. To them I would ask simply, what do you get out of holding on to that hurt? We only hold on to those things from which we derive some benefit.

As God's children, we must daily reflect the love and also the mercy of God.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day 19- When, Lord?

Today's gospel, for those who are not using cycle A, deals with a subject we seem to try to avoid, judgement. There are two competing and equal wrong extremes into which we can fall. The modern tendency is to dismiss Hell and punishment by focusing solely on the love of God, and dismissing the concept of justice. Equally wrong is the ancient concept Jesus deals with in the gospel of a God whose punishment was immediate; you offended God, and something bad happened to you.
A tower had fallen and killed 18 people in Siloam. Some had immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was punishment from God. Jesus makes it clear that this is not how God works. Accidents happen.
Jesus then takes the story one step further less they walk away thinking there is never any punishment and add the parable of the fig tree. One person gets frustrated because it isn't producing and wants to cut it down:
For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?
But the gardener's response is leave it, fertilize it, and tend it.
It ultimately it produces no fruit it will be cut down.
So is our Christian understanding of God. Is there a judgement? Yes. But it happens at the end of our life. Until that last moment of our earthly life, there is always hope of conversion. Hope that there will arise in the person that faith the size of the mustard seed.
This gospel also reminds us as a Church that we must carry on the work of the gardener, never giving up hope, constantly tending and nourishing even the most fruitless trees. There is will a judgement, but God is the only judgement. Our task is to garden.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Day 18-How sorry is enough?

Today's gospel is the famous prodigal son. For as simple as the story appears, it can challenge our most basic sense of forgiveness.

The Sacrament of Penance has four stages: contrition, confession, penance, and absolution. The starting point is contrition, but what motivates that contrition? For the prodigal son, the motivation was hunger. He was starving.

One might look back, as we so often do, and question the sincerity of his contrition. How often do we see some person say they are sorry, only to hear some wag say, "O Yeah, he's sorry he got caught."

If we follow the parable of the prodigal son, we don't care about the motivation for the contrition. The Father only cares that he is back. As for the sincerity of the contrition, who of us can say? Which of us can see inside another's heart? Is there a scale for sincerity? If so, what score is need for the contrition to be deemed real enough for forgiveness?

Perhaps we would be better served if each time we find ourselves about to make that judgement of another, we turn inward, look at our own heart, the only heart we can even come close to knowing. And as we approach the halfway point in the season of Lent, think about approaching the Sacrament of Penance ourselves.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 17- Trust God to make it work

The first reading today, the story of Joseph and how his brothers out of envy potted against him, reminds us that jealousy, ambition, and intrigue are not modern phenomena. They go back to the earliest days of humanity. By definition, where you have 2 or more people, you have politics.

In these days before the conclave begins will there be politics among the Cardinals? Of course there will. And there should be. There needs to be discussion of the needs of the Church and who is best suited. It would be nonsensical for the to sit in silence. We are not quietists. Our is a communal faith. The parts of the body need to communicate no only with the head but with one another.

The story of Joseph is also instructive for us, however, on another level. Even though his brothers did not have good intentions, even though they had all the wrong motivations, God used their actions to carry out his plan.

In that same way, I have no doubt that even as the media attempts to look for the dark and sensational, the Holy Spirit will be at work in the "politics of the Vatican" and will once more select for us the shepherd we need at this moment in our history. Will he be perfect? No. Will he make all 1.2 billion Catholics happy all the time? No. But in the long view that only God has will he be the right choice? Yes.