Going to God Empty-Handed



Once upon a time, three pastors go to the pastor convention and they all share one room. 
The first pastor says, “Let’s confess our secret sins one to another. 
I’ll start – My secret sin is I don’t take time to pray for my church members but my members think I am a prayer warrior.”
 A second pastor says, “My secret sin is that I just hate working and preparing the sermons. I copy all my sermons from those given by other pastors.” 
A third pastor says, “My secret sin is gossiping and, oh boy, I just can’t wait to get out of this room!”

Pharisee or Publican? Which one are we?

Remember that in the time of Jesus prayer is public. When we stand in the temple area to pray, all prayers are spoken aloud. Not only does everyone see me, everyone hears me. So, the Pharisee goes to the temple and everyone hears him check off his virtues: fasting (check), pay tithes (check), pray often (check), not like this other person next to me (check). And, the Publican or Tax Collector goes to the temple standing probably in the Court of the Gentiles. He beats his breast like we do at the Confiteor and instead of boasting about all the things he does spiritually he stands naked before God and says “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

Pharisee or Publican…which are we? When I ask some of the sisters this same question, their response is “both.”   We are both Pharisee and Publican. On one hand we love the “righteous meter.” Good person? (check) Go to church every Sunday? (check) Receive Holy Communion? (check) Give yearly to charity? (check) Say my prayers? (check) Not like the person next to me? (check) But what about the other things on our list? Get rid of bigotry? (No) Rid myself of prejudice? (No) Stop my hatred of people? (No) Ironically, when we are not honest and humble, then we are truly in need of God’s mercy.

According to Sister Verna, one fine example is the late Benedictine Archbishop, Basil Cardinal Hume of Westminster, England. When the doctors tell Basil Hume that he has terminal cancer, he is tempted to feel that if he could go back do things over he would want to be a better monk, a better abbot and a much better bishop. Then he tells himself that maybe he could go to God “empty-handed” and ask God to be merciful to him a sinner. Interesting that Cardinal Hume chooses the Pharisee-Publican Gospel for his funeral.

So for those of us who struggle with righteousness today (all of us?), God has a lot to say to us. The Lord is a God of justice who knows no favorites. But if there were any people on earth who catch God’s eye it would be the honest and the humble. According to the writer, Sirach, the prayer of the honest and humble person is like an arrow that pierces the sky and does not stop until that prayer rests in the heart of God!

Whether we are a Pharisee or a Publican, God welcomes us to the tables of his Word and his Sacrament. St. Benedict tells us that compunction of heart is the best prayer. When we are truly sorry for our sins, then we stand naked before God and God finds us honest and humble.

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

30th Sunday

Ordinary Time

Abbey Church Crucifix

Prayer and Action

Once upon a time there lives this married woman who fought all the time with her husband.  They fight so much that often the husband does not come home from work.  Well, one day, the wife discovers that her husband dies in a car accident and she realizes that she is a widow.  After a number of months, the new widow realizes that she misses her dead husband and she seeks out a spiritualist who tells her that her husband is just fine. She adds further that he is eagerly awaiting a reunion with her. “Is there anything he needs?” the distraught woman asks, between tears. The spiritualist closes her eyes to concentrate, then replies, “He says he’d love a pack of cigarettes.” “I’ll send a carton immediately.” the woman says joyfully. “But did he say where I should send them?” “No,” replies the spiritualist somberly. “But he didn’t ask for matches.”

Today, widows teach us many things about prayer and action.

In his book, With Open Hands, the late Fr. Henri Nouwen tells us that our clenched fists symbolize our clenched hearts, holding tightly to things worthless, unwilling to let the loving touch of God heal us.  The metaphor is open hands and open arms.  As Christians, recall that the most ancient gesture for prayer is called the “orans” position.  Standing with hands and arms upraised is the ancient position for prayer.  The three great monotheistic religions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity pray in this fashion.  Moses often prays to God with arms raised and hands open.

But we must discuss another aspect of prayer today.  That issue is this:  We who pray with arms raised and hands open sometimes have to work for justice with fists raised.  Our model today is a widow.

There is nothing more fearful than an angry widow.  And widows must have been feared in St. Luke’s community because Luke tells us a parable about a widow who badgers an unjust judge so much that he grants her request for fear that she will walk up to him and give him a black eye.  There is nothing more fearful than an angry widow and I think many here in the Villa assembly know what I am talking about.  And there was no one more formidable than my 89-year-old grandmother who died in 2000.  Of Polish decent and small in stature my “nanny” had a loving heart and a strong sense of justice. If you cheated her in her grocery bill, watch out!  If you did not give her the senior citizen’s discount, watch out!  If the social security check was late, watch out!  My grandmother was so tough that when she realized she was getting off the wrong exit on the highway, she stopped and turned around fearing no one or no thing!

My grandmother, the widow of the Gospel and many other widows throughout the world teach us how to preach the Word!  St. Paul tells us to preach the word, whether convenient or inconvenient.  We who pray with arms raised and hands open sometimes have to work for justice with fists raised.  It does not mean that we threaten violence or use violence.  It does not mean that we refuse the sign of peace if we dislike them.  Never in the Gospels do we see Jesus preaching or teaching violence to spread the Gospel.  But sometimes we have to demand justice.  Why?  Because in America, the majority of the poor are women and children!  Because in America, we spend more money on political ads, guns and bombs than we do on elderly and babies.  Because in America, to be old, female and poor means that we have not done enough to protect elderly women who stay home to raise their children only to fall into poverty when their husbands die.

Maybe we know a poor elderly woman who needs our help.  Maybe we know a poor elderly widower who wants our assistance.  We who pray with arms raised and hands open also need to hear that when we come to the Eucharist we need to translate prayer into action.  Because when Christ returns, he will want to find faith!

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

The 29th Sunday

Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Abbey Church Crucifix



Do Your Duty!

Once upon a time, a Baptist preacher went to visit a member of the community and invited him to come to church Sunday morning. It seems that this man was a producer of fine peach brandy, and told the preacher that he would attend his church if the pastor would drink some of his brandy and admit doing so in front of his congregation. The preacher agreed and drank up. Sunday morning the man visited the church. The preacher recognized the man from the pulpit and said: “I see Mr. Johnson is here with us this morning. I want to thank him publically for his hospitality this week and especially for the peaches he gave me and the spirit in which they were given.”

Marcus Aurelius once said, “Look always at the whole.”

But it can be so difficult to see the big picture. We turn on the news and the announcer greets us with “Good Morning.” Then the announcer proceeds to negate the greeting with news of violence, death and mayhem. As people of faith, it can be so difficult to continue to believe in God when there is silence, or to even believe in our church when there is silence. We are told to look at the whole but the parts preoccupy us especially when we worry about life.

Look always at the big picture. And we can if we would just do our duty. So what if we struggle with faith just like the apostles? So what if we search for the whole just like the prophets, like Habakkuk? His name means, “to wrestle.” As he watches the decay of his society six hundred years before Christ, he asks, “Why?” “God, why do you not do something?” “God, where are you?” “God, why do you not help your people?” And God does not respond (at least right away when we want God to respond…which is right away). Finally, God answers the prayer of Habakkuk. But it is only because Habakkuk wrestles enough that divine inspiration speaks to him. The answer goes like this:

~To see the big picture, one must possess Divine vision that comes to you and me in waiting and in patience.


To illustrate: On December 6, 1273, St. Thomas Aquinas stood at the altar in the chapel of St. Nicholas in Naples. As he celebrated the Eucharist, Thomas experienced an ecstatic vision that profoundly changed his life. Because of his vision, this great theologian stopped writing the third part of his Summa Theologica. When his secretary asked him why he was giving up his writing, the saint replied: “I can do no more. All that I have written seems to me like straw compared to what has been revealed to me.”

According to Benedictine Sister Verna Holyhead, “Jesus wants quality not quantity.” Maybe that is why Jesus tells us that in the end, “We are unprofitable servants. Do your duty.” But what if one of us does more than our duty? Faith is not dependent on age or ability or quality of life. I often hear, “Oh Father, I am too old; I am too young; I am too crippled.” We must look always at the whole with vision. In the middle of his great theological work, St. Thomas Aquinas stopped. He saw the whole literally in a vision. This unprofitable servant ended his famous work and entered into the mystery of the Divine vision.

As we move towards Holy Communion may God strengthen our resolve to do our duty as his disciples! Who knows- we may have a vision.

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

27th Sunday Ordinary Time


St. John Cardinal Fisher

His prison, The Tower of London

He did his duty!

How Much Did You Care?

Once upon a time, God is sitting in Heaven when a scientist says to Him, “Lord, we don’t need you anymore. Science has finally figured out a way to create life out of nothing. In other words, we can now do what you did in the ‘beginning’.” “Oh, is that so? Tell me…” replies God. “Well,” says the scientist, “we can take dirt and form it into the likeness of You and breathe life into it, thus creating human beings.” “Well, that’s interesting!  Show Me!” So the scientist bends down to the earth and starts to mold the soil. “Oh, no, no, no…” interrupts God.  “Get your own dirt.”

We’ve got dirt on the rich man in the parable today. And, we might be tempted to think that today’s parable is about who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.  The rich go to hell and the poor go to heaven.  But that is not the message St. Luke gives us today.

What is the sin of the rich man?  That he dressed in purple garments and fine linen, a sign of royalty and wealth?  That he dined sumptuously each day?  The rich man failed to recognize the poor person at his doorstep.  It would be as if I sat in an expensive restaurant window on Michigan Avenue dining on caviar and Dom Perignon only to have a homeless person stand and stare at me through the clear glass windowpane.  Not to recognize the poverty and the pain of our brothers and sisters is the sin of the rich.

Hence, the prophet Amos condemns the complacent rich.  Woe to those who dine sumptuously laying on their ivory couches listening to beautiful music while their poor neighbors lay on the ground picking up garbage scraps.

Today’s Gospel contains the only name of a character in a parable.  The poor person’s name is Lazarus.  It means “blessed of God.”  And every single one of us has a Lazarus in our lives.  Every one of us has someone else whom we consider below us.  We probably consider that person to be pathetic and tragic and we go out of our way to avoid them.  Sometimes we step over them.  Many times we gossip about them and we complain about them.  But, in reality, God has sent this person to us so that (in the words of St. Paul) we can lay hold of eternal life. God sends us Lazarus to keep us honest.  God sends us Lazarus to make us virtuous.  God sends us Lazarus so that we can run after love, patience and gentleness.

Here at this Eucharist God calls us all to the altar to be refreshed in Spirit.  You and I along with our Lazarus will receive communion at the hands of the Lord who died for us.  When we die, God will not ask us, “How much did you own?”  God will ask, “How much did you care?”  If we want to make sure that God does not have dirt on us when we die, we ought to embrace Lazarus- Blessed of God- while we have the chance!

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

Look in the Lost and Found!

The Lost and found: the place where we dump those lost items. Sometimes people reclaim their lost items and sometimes they don’t reclaim them. And most of the time when the lost items just sit around, either they are given away or people throw them out.

It is also the place where we can find God.

In the words of Milwaukee bishop, Richard Sklba, “parables tell us more about God than about ourselves.” Today, Jesus wants the scribes and the Pharisees, and, us, to learn something about God.                         In her commentary on today’s scriptures, Sister Verna speaks about the character of shepherds in first century Palestine. They were thieves, ritually unclean, rejected by the upper class and outcasts. So, since we can find God in the lost and found, Jesus uses the image of the shepherd as a model of God’s “inexhaustible mercy.” Sister Verna also tells us that shepherding is also a “communal event.” When a shepherd goes looking for the lost, he needs the assistance of the others to watch the ninety-nine. Not only do we find God in the lost and found, but also God needs you and me to assist.

“What [person] among you…?” Jesus asks. “What [shepherd] among you goes looking for the lost?” “What woman among you puts on an apron and picks up a broom?” That lost coin is important. It is probably one day’s wages. It could have fallen from her headdress as a dowry before her wedding. Wherever the coin was, Jesus makes a profound point by using the image of a woman sweeping and searching as a model of God’s “inexhaustible mercy.” Notice that her joy becomes a communal event: “…she calls together her friends and neighbors…” for a banquet. God’s compassion is not only inexhaustible. It is also extravagant.

I wonder how many of us would look in the lost and found for God. The people of the Exodus story struggled so much with the image of God that they gave up and fashioned a golden calf. “Other people have molten images, why can’t we create our own gods?” That is probably why we will not find the presence of the Divine in the lost and found.

If you are old enough, you probably remember where you were fifteen years ago today, on 9-11. We cannot forget the images, the videos, the pictures, the pain and the horror of that time. And God? God was doing what God does best. We found the presence of the Divine in the responders, the helpers, those searching for loved ones, those who responded to the call of the Coast Guard to dock their boats at Manhattan to rescue hundred of thousands of people trapped at the southern end. We found God in churches, hospitals, in the streets and off the streets. And yes, the presence of God could be found in the hearts and lives of those who planned and carried out those horrible deeds. But the molten images they built for themselves muddled their minds, their hearts and their images of the One True God.

In the words of St. Paul, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” He considered himself the greatest of sinners. We too join him as sinners. Yet, God still bids us to arise and approach the table of his Word and the table of his body and blood. That is what we call mercy because we will always find Jesus in the lost and found.

Ground Zero sign at Field Museum



The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

24th Sunday Ordinary Time


Offer It Up!


Once upon a time, the pastor of this church stays just a little too long.  The congregation is eager for a new priest.  Well, one year he petitions the bishop for a transfer.  He waits until the last Sunday before leaves to announce his transfer.  As he walks into the pulpit, the outgoing pastor says, “This same Jesus that called me to be pastor here, now calls me to leave and serve another congregation.”  With that announcement, the choir stands and sings, “What a friend we have in Jesus!”

Our friend, Jesus, gets a little tough today.  He tells us to carry that cross.  A good way to describe carrying that cross is by “offering it up.”

Growing up on the Catholic south side of Chicago, my parents and grandparents always tell me, “Offer it up.”  Remember that?  “Mom, my arm hurts.”  “You’re alright, offer it up.”  “Grandma, I’m hungry.”  “It’s not time to eat yet.  Offer it up.”  Remember this?

“Follow me,” Jesus says.  And many things get in the way.  First there is family.  Sometimes it is the familiar ones who keep us from fully following Christ.  Then there are the friends.  If I really follow Jesus Christ, I may lose a friend or two.  Then there is the Cross itself.  Sometimes, it is self-imposed by our lack of happiness and our burdens of illness.  But the real Cross of Christ is always juxtaposed to our day-to-day lives.

Here is a real life example in the scriptures that means something for us today. One of the shortest letters in the Christian Scriptures is St. Paul’s Letter to Philemon.  St. Paul is an old man when he writes this letter.  He is in prison for preaching the Gospel.  He is writing to his friend Philemon because Philemon’s slave, Onesimus, runs away. Now, the penalty for a runaway slave is death.  The penalty for harboring a slave is death.  But Paul (who has nothing to lose anyway) asks that Philemon bear the weight of the Gospel and welcome back his slave with open arms as a loving friend.  Paul’s request is large.  Paul’s letter is important.  And it is still quite controversial today because some theologians remain disappointed that Paul does not condemn slavery.  In fact, for hundreds of years the church uses this letter to justify slavery.  In the end, the lesson is this for Philemon:  If he wants to truly follow Christ, he needs to change his attitude.  His intentions must change.  Onesimus runs away and is returning home.  Welcome him home and offer it up.

Here is a modern example.  Today the Church canonized Mother Teresa who died on September 5, 1997.  In the book, Come, Be My Light, we come to know the weight of the cross that St. Teresa of Kolkata carried.  Her cross was not the filthy smelly dying beggars in the streets of Calcutta.  The cross was the absence of Christ’s presence that she once felt and heard and saw in 1948.  As she lived the “Dark Night of the Soul,” St. Teresa continued to preach and live Christ Crucified, Christ Resurrected.  Cynics laughed.  Atheists yelled “hypocrite.” But WE know that in the end, there is only one thing that matters:  to be a Christian means to carry the cross with Christ.  To be a Christian means to learn how to “offer it up.”

I know that what helps me greatly to carry the cross with Christ is the Eucharist.  Here God is our partner in lifting up that heavy wood of the cross.  Here is where we gain wisdom when things seem down and out and we desire to give up.  Here is where God and the communion of saints inspire us. To paraphrase the words of St. Teresa, God does not call us to be successful.  God calls us to remain faithful as we offer it up in the name of our friend, Jesus.

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

Twenty-third Sunday

Ordinary Time

Cycle C

Mother Teresa

St. Teresa of Kolkata

Copyright St.Procopius Abbey

Picture by +Fr. Robert Buday, O.S.B.


Guess Who Is Coming to Dinner?

We would not want to invite Jesus to dinner!

First century dining in an upper class Jewish home consists of rituals.  First there is the washing of the hands and arms up to the elbows.  Then there is the jockeying for the best seat in the house…next to the host.  And if a person-who-wanted-to-be-seen does not get the best seat in the house he always tries to recline as close as possible to the host because proximity means status.  Jesus watches all of this nonsense and has lots to say about humility.  In fact, his words are uncomfortable.

Since I am director of development at the abbey I am responsible for inviting major donors to the abbey for dinner to thank them for their generosity.  No blind, lame, crippled or poor person’s name can be found on the guest list. And if I do invite some of the poor or homeless or societal outcasts, can you imagine the spicy conversation at the table?  Would we all be willing to pose for photographs afterwards?

No, Jesus would not make a good guest at our dinner parties.  Yes, he would be glad to come.  Yes, he would drink wine and finger the appetizers.  Yes, he would regale us with stories and even maybe even heal a few of us.  But he would challenge you and me as his disciples.  And that challenge would be plain and simple and almost embarrassing.

Societal status has been a human plight for along time.  The only difference between status in Jerusalem, 1st century, and status in Du Page County, 21st century is the clothing.  Nothing is new and you and I still compete for the top.   If Jesus showed up at our Labor Day dinner parties he may say, “Just who do we think we are?”  We are only human beings.  And in the end we will all be the same- dead!  That is the one thing that we have in common, all of us will die!  We cannot take the money with us.  And we certainly do not take status with us.  This is why Sirach tells us wisely that we need to humble ourselves.  Humility come from the Latin, meaning, “lowly.”  And the root word means, “dirt.”  We who are no more than dust need to remember who we really are and act accordingly.  Sirach says, “…conduct your affairs with lowliness and then we will be richer than people who give gifts.”  “Remember who we really are and God will really notice us.”  Stop climbing over the chairs to get to the head table.  Stop the name dropping.  Instead, if you really want to be great, plan a dinner party and invite the homeless woman who pushes her cart through the neighborhood; invite the blind army sergeant who returned from Iraq; invite the alcoholic and drug addicted young adult who was abandoned by the family.  All of them cannot repay you but in the end the one who matters will repay us at the Resurrection!

The Jesuit scripture scholar, Fr. John Donahue, is correct- “Today no Christian Church follows literally the advice of Jesus.”  Eating with Jesus in the Gospel of Luke is filled with Eucharistic overtones.  How ironic that the ones who literally follow today’s advice from Jesus are found on the fringes of Christianity- P.A.D.S., Catholic Worker House, Hesed House and the Aurora Soup Kitchen, Wheaton Interfaith Food Pantry, etc…

No, Jesus would not be a good guest at dinner at Villa St. Benedict, Sacred Heart Monastery or St. Procopius Abbey.  It is not that he would eat or drink too much.  It is not that he would wear out the welcome mat.  Jesus would not make a good guest at dinner because quietly he would point out our lack of humility.  Then, he will ask about our ministry to the poor.  Now, that is certainly a challenge.

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

The 22nd Sunday

Ordinary Time

Cycle C



Our Main Task

Whenever Jesus uses the word “hypocrite” he is usually addressing religious leaders.  It applies to those on stage who hide their true feelings.

If we apply this to the Church, we learn from St. Paul that our main task is to assist one another to grow our faith within our community and not in our private apartments.  In the words of Archbishop Tutu, “The totally self-sufficient person is sub-human.”  (Thank you, Bishop Sklba.)

Duke Divinity School Boat

Is the Door Ajar?

Once upon a time, there live two close friends who love terrible pun jokes. One of them thinks that she has the best pun. So she says to her friend, “When is a door not a door?” Her friend thinks and thinks and thinks and then he smiles. “When it is ajar,” he responds.  (sorry)

How does Jesus save us? It’s through the door.

Some five hundred years before Christ, some people believe that only those who intermarry with their own kind and only those who keep the purity of the Law would restore the homeland. But the prophet proclaims a different message. God call all sorts of people to salvation. God decides who reigns with him in glory.

Similarly, today, many religious people believe that they will get to heaven just because they are religious. But notice what St. Luke’s community believes about salvation. Just because we believe that we are buddies with Christ does not ensure us a reservation. Our Catholicity does not ensure us free rides into the kingdom. What is crucial is that God needs to recognize us first! And God will recognize us as we bend down to get through the narrow door.

In ancient times, large ornate doorways only exist in rich homes. Anyone who is anyone loves to be seen entering the doorway of the rich host. And then when they arrive they hope to be seated among the rich and the famous, the crème de la crème. No one wants to be seen sitting or speaking to the oi poloi, the “common folk.”

Be careful. God sees our religiosity. St. Luke describes “religiosity” as an arrogant buddy-buddy system that gets us a ticket to heaven. “Hey, Jesus, I take Holy Communion.” “Hey Jesus, I read my bible.” “Hey, Jesus, I’m the right religion, the right skin color, the right nationality.” What will we do when the Master says, “I do not know you?”

Bend down to enter through the narrow doorway, Jesus says, that small little doorway that makes us all equal, more humble, and more connected to God’s little ones. The letter to the Hebrews claims that if I want to part of the kingdom I need to heal the lame parts of myself. St. Benedict says that I need to humble myself. One of the steps of humility is what I call, “I am a human being who will die, so why do I always act like a god?” Though Jesus saves us all, salvation is also based on me cooperating with the Lord.

There is nothing confusing about the Word of God: the first shall be last and the last first. The door is ajar and it is narrow. Bend down and serve. Bend down and bless. Bend down and touch the earth. Bend down and be equal with another. That is how God will recognize us at this Eucharist.

The Rev. Fr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

21st Sunday

Ordinary Time

Abbey courtyard flagstone






Not a whole of people like “change.”  It means to “barter.” When I barter for an item, i can raise or lower the value.  Then, I get “change” back.  But the word has other meanings.  It means to be different, to do something different. In Gospel terms change is setting the world on fire. Fire destroys structures. Fire snuffs out lives. But many good things can rise from the ashes. Ever notice the seal of the archdiocese of Chicago? The symbol on the coat-of-arms of the archdiocese of Chicago is the phoenix rising from the ashes of the Chicago fire of 1871. Even J. R. Rowling (rhymes with “bowling”) uses the image of the phoenix in the Harry Potter series.

The ironic thing is that the more we become fire the more enemies we make in life. Someone is bound to hate us because of our zeal. Someone is bound to be jealous that they did not think of fire first. Someone is bound to gossip about us and unravel all the vision we built up from the ashes.

When we are on fire a great a cloud of witnesses surrounds us. Elijah was on fire for God and Queen Jezebel condemned him to death. Amos was on fire for God and Amaziah the priest mocked him and told him to go away. Hosea was on fire for God and everyone gossiped about him because his wife was a prostitute. Daniel was on fire for God and they tossed him into the lions’ den. Jeremiah was on fire for God and the princes of Jerusalem convinced King Zedekiah that the prophet demoralized the people with his preaching. So they tossed him into a deep water hole where they hoped he would starve to death. Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa were on fire for God and we ignored them. Jesus was divine fire incarnate and they crucified him.

Why do we think that the Gospel is always a Gospel of nice sayings or a Gospel of peace? “Sometimes,” Jesus says, “I’ve come to sow division.”  And the biggest divisions are those in our own households.

I am convinced that if everyone likes us we may not be preaching the Gospel. Truth hurts and when we speak the truth to power people get burned. Most often the burnt people will be us who speak out. This is what it truly means to carry the cross. As you and I speak the Gospel truth, people begin to look at us with strange eyes. And as we live the Gospel, as we preach the Gospel, slowly they get out the nails, and the crown of thorns, and the ropes, and the wood. This is what it means to be a witness to Christ- ready to hang from the cross as we remind our fellow Christians that bombing, taxing, lethal injecting, dining, aborting, voting, driving and praying are all moral acts.

You and I have a great cloud of witnesses who remained on fire for God. They surround us. According to the Letter to the Hebrews, Jesus is the author and end result of our faith. Those saints who go before us believe it. The Eucharist strengthened them and it will strengthen us also.

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

The 20th Sunday

Ordinary Time

Duke Divinity School Boat