God's Beloved Family

08-27-2023Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

Isn’t it a bit weird that Catholics call the Pope “papa,” father? This Sunday provides us with essential Scriptural background on the papacy, the petrine office. Jesus gives Peter the “keys to the kingdom of heaven,” after witnessing to the special grace Peter has to know Jesus’ true identity. Many have pointed out that the “keys” refer back to the figure of Eliakim, King David’s prime minister. True enough. But notice this is not mere authority or power. It’s a family relationship. The Lord says to Eliakim, “He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Isaiah 22:21). David’s prime minister was a spiritual father to the family of Israel. Peter, and his successors, will be spiritual fathers in the family of the Church.


The Master's Table

08-20-2023Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

The suffering of a child symbolizes uniquely terrible evil as well as despair about the future. This week’s Gospel gives a “limit” case in which Jesus encounters this evil in the form of a mother with a suffering daughter. What he does is stunning and massively helpful for us if we bravely ponder the details.

The Canaanite woman comes to Jesus and begs his mercy. “My daughter is tormented by a demon,” she declares to him. Shockingly, he responds first with silence, then with a dismissive comment, and only then finally accedes to her third request. Is this simply a lesson in perseverance in our petitions to God, who is like a genie in a bottle? Does that justify the humiliation and pain this woman suffers? Is the Lord cruel?


Trust in the Lord's Grace

08-13-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

A man at my parish was struggling to overcome a habitual sin. He said to me, “Father, I know the chance that I will commit sin again is really high. Why should I keep confessing my sins? Isn’t that dishonest?” Anyone who has felt the tyrannical power of sin — and who hasn’t? — has pondered this kind of question.


The Transfiguration of the Lord

08-06-2023Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

What is Christianity finally about? These days if you ask almost anyone who doesn’t know the Bible you’ll probably hear an answer like this: “Being a good person” or “following the golden rule.” No offense to the golden rule, but our faith is simply much stronger than that. This week’s feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord is a luminous example of this. Jesus becomes radiantly and overwhelmingly beautiful. The glory of God literally shines forth from his body and even his clothes. Here we see that Christianity is not mainly a moral system, but a relationship with God in Christ, one that finally makes human beings gloriously beautiful.