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Homily Helps: The Poor Widow

Exegesis of the Gospel: Mark 12:38–44 Once again we find Jesus criticizing the scribes, the experts in interpreting the Torah. They were an ancient version of a lawyer. Not all scribes were self-serving as the ones depicted in this passage. Jesus is not condemning all scribes—only the ones who fail to carry out their duties justly and with compassion.
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Family Faith in Action: Small Acts of Greatness

Read MK 12:38-44 In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues,  and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers.  They will receive a very severe condemnation."
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Trusting the River

It can be agonizing to share what is deepest within you but then be met by apathy or rejection. For me, this struggle has often unfolded in the arenas of art and writing. I spent six years writing my first book, and, like many artists looking to find a home for their beloved project, found myself in the desert of unknowing as I queried agents and publishers. Staying disciplined for over a half-decade was difficult enough. The fruits of that discipline hinging upon the opinions of others was excruciating.
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Box of Joy Brings Christmas to Impoverished Kids

Cross Catholic Outreach’s Box of Joy ministry is gearing up to put Christmas smiles on the faces of more than 70,000 children, all of whom live in dire poverty in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. In its fifth year, Box of Joy is adding another country to the list of nations where children will receive boxes of little Christmas gifts packed by families, churches and individuals who take the opportunity to help children experience the joy of Christmas in places where gifts are rare or nonexistent due to poverty.
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Tips for Improving Your Prayer Life

As Christians, we go into prayer with the best of intentions, but we often get distracted or impatient. We complicate what should be a simple moment of grace with God. Fr. Gary Caster has been there, too, and he offers some important tips for slowing down and allowing God to find us.
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Three Questions to Keep Your Kingdom-Building Family Focused

Last week, we had an amazing six-day family retreat led by our dear friend and spiritual director who also happens to be a priest. We tucked ourselves away in a little cabin on the coast and quieted our souls with time away from ministry, early morning walks on the beach, evening swims and night time crab hunts. We dotted the days with the once in a life-time experience of whale watching and a bit of surfing.
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Interconnection of Opposites

I found myself sitting on a bus that was making its way across the Paraguayan countryside, bumping along westbound toward the capital of Asunción. Next to me in the window seat was a middle-aged Guarani woman with two children sleeping peacefully on her lap. The sun was setting in the distance. We watched it together, as it slowly sunk beneath that red-clay field.
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Family Faith in Action: The Greatest Commandment

Read MK 12:28B-34 One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?"  Jesus replied, "The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,  with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
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Your (Imperfect) Holy Family

The following activities can enrich your family life. Adapt the activities to meet the needs of your family or create your own activities. Neighborhood Picnic. Gather together with several families and friends from your neighborhood or parish community for a picnic. Ask the participants to bring food and music that represent their ethnic backgrounds. At some point during the picnic, ask everyone to share a story that characterizes one’s family heritage.
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Who's Your Neighbor?

Recently I was standing with my kids in the checkout line at the store when my son, Alex, fixed his eyes on a woman a few lines down, dressed in traditional Muslim attire. “Why’s she dressed like that?” he asked as I reminded him that it’s impolite to stare.
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