Weekly Reflections

Weekly Reflections on Justice are written by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach staff, volunteers, interns, and visiting Columban Missionaries. We hope these reflections help to guide you on your own spiritual journey working toward justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.

  • The Mysterious Journey

    As a teenager I browsed whatever reading materials were left around my home: Sunday newspapers that my father enjoyed; novels that my older brother and sisters considered worthwhile; and religious magazines that my mother read at the end of her busy days. These materials expanded the horizons of my world and beckoned me to explore the strange but fascinating world that adults inhabited. Stories about missionaries in far-off lands that I occasionally read in the religious magazines...

  • The Seeds of Mother’s Day: A Proclamation for Peace

    More than 130 years ago, noted American activist Julia Ward Howe first proposed the concept of Mother’s Day. Howe was a prominent abolitionist who served as one of the catalysts promoting emancipation of slaves and, later, women’s suffrage. A woman of deep religious conviction, Howe became increasingly convinced that war was an inappropriate means for furthering her social justice ideals and believed that these issues, which she cared deeply about, should instead be pursued nonviolently.

  • A Long-Distance Phone Call on Mother’s Day

    On this Mother’s Day, I will be sure to call my mom. Even across the world from her, I will remember the second Sunday of May, a day on which I always tell my mother how grateful I am to be her son. But on this Mother’s Day, May 14, I will challenge myself anew to acknowledge and express gratitude to the many other supporters of their families whom I encounter, even those who don’t lead their families in exactly the same way as my mother leads mine. Mariel has seen her 16-year-old son only a handful of times...

  • Walking Through Many Lives, Some of Them Not My Own

    I’ll be painfully honest right up front – I have no special ability when it comes to writing reflections, prayers and the like. What I can promise is that I will speak from my heart and in the process probably “bare a bit of my soul.” Surely God will bestow countless grace and blessings on you for enduring my ramblings! As I began to gather my thoughts for this reflection, I soon realized that this past Lenten Season somehow felt different to me...

  • Proclaiming Resurrection from the Foot of the Cross

    In the readings for the Easter Season, Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene, early in the morning, then to his disciples gathered in the upper room, later in the evening, and he offers them a greeting of peace: “Peace be with you!” We live in a world that is torn apart by violence and strife, yearning for peace. There are wars – real wars in Syria and the Middle East – and rumors of wars – in the Korean peninsula and Asia Pacific. Where is the peace that Jesus promises to his disciples? Where is the power of the resurrection?

  • Gods Mercy Never Ceases

    My Nana told her young grandchildren very little about her hard life before coming to the United States. We also did not know about the cousin’s family that had paid for her passage, employed her as their maid, and treated her cruelly. On April 15, 2013, I was waiting near the finish line of the Boston Marathon to see my daughter finish the race. My family called me to let me know that she had finished earlier and that I should go to our meeting point. While we were driving to where we were staying, two bombs...

  • Words Transform Us

    Pope Francis suggests that tears can be an important element for growth in compassion and a lens for helping us to see the need for justice in the world. This transformation is not vague or sentimental or fleeting, instead it leads to new freedom. Events can change our lives, words transform us....

  • Immigrants are no Strangers

    Lenten season in this border city of El Paso, Texas is a vibrant time. Our various parishes host beautiful Stations of the Cross, retreats for all ages, and even massive reconciliation services. Additionally, the menus of many local restaurants offer Lenten meals, which are heavily influenced by Mexican cuisine such as Capirotada (sweet bread dessert), Nopalitos Asados (fried cactus), and Pescado a la Veracruzana (fried fish Veracruz style). The border is a place full of things influenced ...

  • Life-Giving Waters

    “Do you have a coin?” I was often asked while walking the streets of Santiago in Chile. The people who drank too much often hung around the street corners of the neighborhood I lived in, asking for change, in the early morning. One morning, they stopped asking me for money, because I never gave them any, and they recognized that I did this out of concern for them, not out of stinginess. “Good morning, Padre,” they began to say. So I stopped to converse with them, found out the life stories of...

  • Parched Spirits

    Like the air we breathe, water is essential for our life and well-being. The average person here in the U.S. uses 80-100 gallons in a variety of ways throughout each day. Indeed, water is so intertwined with our everyday life that we generally take this precious gift for granted, and pause to reflect on it only when we hear a story about the serious consequences that arise from its contamination. Unfortunately, in recent decades contaminated water has become a serious issue in some countries where...

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