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.

  • A Lenten Lesson from Halemweg

    Was willst du denn?” (“What do you want?”), he challenged me in German. Apologies fled my mouth as he threatened me at knifepoint. “Hast du Probleme mit mir?” (“Do you take issue with me?”). His voice climaxed as he hulked toward me, and fear rushed through me as I continued sputtering confused apologies. Tucking the knife back into his jacket, he punched me across the face and stalked away. When I arrived home that evening, I knew that I didn’t remember enough about my...

  • Ash Wednesday: Return to Me with Your Whole Heart

    This is the first part of our seven part Lenten Reflection series with the theme Lenten Tears of Conversion: A Season of Transformation. Listening to Pope Francis’ call at the US—Mexico border to “weep over injustice” and soften our hearts, members of the community, including Columban Fathers, co-workers, interns, volunteers, and short-term missionaries, reflect on how God’s mercy has entered their heart and transformed them. The first reflection is from Scott Wright, Director of the Columban...

  • Limitless Love

    In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus makes known his limitless love when he commands us to love everyone, even those it may be difficult to love. You have heard that it was said: You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (MT:38-48). Whenever I come across this passage, I think of our faith’s call to love those our society has cast aside, those deemed “enemies” simply because of the color of their skin, their gender, their...

  • Outlook on the Border from Cristo Rey

    Arms stretched wide, the Cristo Rey’s eyes survey the distance with a mixture of pain and hope. At an elevation of almost a mile, the mountain peak on Sierra de Cristo Rey is already well above its surroundings, but the limestone statue's additional 40 feet of height grants it an omniscient perspective: El Paso marks the end of Texas, and beyond the international border, a trickling Rio Grande, Ciudad Juarez sprawls flat into the beginnings of Mexico. Having just reached the platform at the base of the Cristo Rey, I surveyed the same panorama. I had been invited by...

  • Shaking Our Salt and Recharging Our Lights

    Today’s readings urge us to sow our salt and share our light of faith and justice with all peoples. It is no accident that salt and light form the basis of our discipleship. First, Isaiah eloquently explains to the Israelites the need to seek peace, remove oppression and hate in all forms, and serve the compelling needs of the poor, the migrant, and the disabled. For their good works, Isaiah tells them that the light of mercy and truth will dispel the darkness of evil (IS 58:7-10). I feel pain and anguish for the same...

  • Listening to St. Paul

    Who hasn’t gotten lost in St Paul’s complicated syntax? St. Paul wrote his letters in winding, complex sentences yet he doesn’t mince words. He had an urgent message for Christ’s followers. Perhaps he felt he had little time to waste. Whatever the case, St. Paul instructs, reminds, admonishes those people who would follow Christ. The readings from last Sunday and yesterday’s readings make St. Paul’s urgency clear. He reminded his listeners that they belong not to some faction, but to Christ (1 Corinthians 1: 10 - 13, 17.)

  • Our Common Humanity

    The inauguration took place this past Friday, and I can’t think of another political race, in my lifetime, that created this much division. In my own family, there was definite disagreement about which bubble on the ballot to fill in for president, and my Thanksgiving was full of shock when I learned of our differences. At one point, I had to excuse myself from the holiday party to digest our disparity. My initial reaction was, “How could these people I love choose something...

  • I Have Called You to Be My Servant

    On the first Sunday after the Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord, we hear the passage this passage from the prophet Isaiah. It is a great call to service, to be a light to the nations so that by our actions we may bear witness to the hope for salvation throughout the earth. Imagine for a moment, what that hope might look like to a refugee or migrant, to those families which experience the terrible suffering of violence or war, or to those communities that experience the devastating effects...

  • The Gift of the Magi

    weekly reflections

    Sunday’s gospel reading tells us the story of the Epiphany, the feast day for which we just celebrated this past Friday. The Magi, often referred to as the three kings or the three wise men, come from the East to Jerusalem to ask, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him?” Hearing this news, King Herod tells them to go and search diligently for the child. He tells the three kings, “When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go...

  • Everyone Can Be an Artisan of Peace!

    On January 1, Pope Francis delivered his annual World Day of Peace message. He chose for his theme, on this 50th anniversary of the Peace Day message, “Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace.” His message is all the more timely and urgent, given a world torn by war and violence. For years now, daily accounts of the suffering of civilians in Aleppo, Syria and for months, tweets from a 7-year-old girl named Bana, pleading for help, have brought the plight of Syrian civilians and refugees into the...

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