April 2017

A recent sign of the secularization of our culture is the phenomenon of “meatless Mondays,” promoted as though there’s never been a custom in our society of skipping meat on a day that falls closer to the end of the week (hint: rhymes with … “Cryday“). It’s especially disappointing to see Catholics peddle it, as is the case with the folks at Xavier University’s Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice (XUDDCFJ, ‘natch). Under a regular feature on its website, “Dorothy Day’s Top Five,” you’ll find this item at the top:

#1: Meatless Monday is today in the caf. Sign up to commit to a meatless Monday today in Fenwick from 11:45-1:15 or 5:00-7:00.

How this relates to faith or justice is anyone’s guess.  Perhaps bovine rights are the new frontier.

I generally steer clear of criticisms of our “separated brethren” on this site, thinking there’s enough work in the Church universal to keep my keyboard busy. But the over-sized Easter postcard invitation I received via snail mail today from Crossroads, a local big-box evangelical community, is just too much. On the front is the slogan “ESCAPE THE BAD NEWS. DISCOVER LIVING FULLY ALIVE.” On the back is following description:

Crossroads church is designed to inspire, equip and push you to get the best out of life. Easter will be amazing music, immersive video, and practical teaching. It’s come as you are, so throw on your jeans and baseball cap (OK, your kid can wear her Easter dress). No secret handshake, just free coffee, regular people, and 100 decibels of face-melting, soul-waking awesomeness. There’s even a sweet Easter experience designed just for your kids.

I’m not making that up.
No Jesus, no Resurrection.
Just a very busy A-V guy.

In his daily Lenten reflection on the Gospel reading, Bishop Robert Barron corrects misrepresentations of the nature of the Atonement, a dogma routinely denied by Xavier University’s Ken Overberg, S.J., during his homilies at Bellarmine Chapel:

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus prophesies his crucifixion and his Father’s role in his coming death. What enabled the first Christians to hold up the cross, to sing its praises, to wear it as a decoration is the fact that God raised up and ratified precisely this crucified Jesus. “You killed him, but God raised him up.” Therefore, God was involved in this terrible thing; God was there, working out his salvific purposes.

But what does this mean? There have been numerous attempts throughout the Christian centuries to name the salvific nature of the cross. Let me offer just one take on it. It became clear to the first Christians that somehow, on that terrible cross, sin had been dealt with. The curse of sin had been removed, taken care of. On that terrible cross, Jesus functioned as the “lamb of God,” sacrificed for sin.

Does this mean God the Father is a cruel taskmaster demanding a bloody sacrifice so that his anger might be appeased? No, Jesus’ crucifixion was the opening up of the divine heart so that we could see that no sin of ours could finally separate us from the love of God.