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A reflection for the 5th Sunday, Ordinary Time, year A. The readings are Isaiah 58:7-10; Psalm 11; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 and Matthew 5:13-16.

Two weeks ago we were talking about how Jesus is the Light that scatters all darkness. I asked you to pray with Psalm 27 for someone who’s in darkness. How’s that going (you thought I’d forget, eh?) Keep praying: “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation.”

Last week, in our parish, we were reminded that by virtue of our Baptism, we all receive the Light of Christ and we are to keep it burning brightly.

Today we are told something else: Not that Jesus is the Light of the world but that we; you are the Light of the world. And we are told something that may sound a bit strange when you hear it for the first time: You are salt.

I am not sure about you, but I like being light. I understand being light. When I die, you can put on my tombstone: “He brought light to all those around him”. But who would want their tombstone to say: “he was salty”? We all want to be light, but who wants to be salt? It’s easy to explain light, but salt?

Today I’d like to make the case for salt.

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The People Who Walked in Darkness

A reflection for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A. The readings are Isaiah 8:23–9:3; Psalm 27; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17 and Matthew 4:12-23.

I was driving home late the other night while it was raining. I hate that. Must be my old age. I do not like driving at night in the rain. I can’t see. Especially if I’m driving somewhere not familiar or if there’s construction. Or when there are cars coming at you with their headlights blinding you. I just want to get home quickly. And all I kept thinking of while driving the other night was the passage from Isaiah that we hear today twice, once in the first reading and then in the Gospel from Matthew:

“A people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”

Of course, that does not refer to physical darkness.

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The Two Popes and Fake News

I shared some thoughts on the new Netflix film The Two Popes. While I would agree that it is a good film, but we have to be careful not to assume that everything that it portrays is factual.

We have to remember that it is a work of fiction.

I would like to clarify that I do not think that the filmmakers are intentionally trying to deceive. I believe that they believe that they took certain freedoms in order to make the story (in their opinion) more dramatic.

I also want to repeat that I think that every film depicts a particular point of view; it is impossible to make a film that is not biased. The Two Popes shows clear biases. Some choices are artistic; some merely show the bias of the filmmakers.

But, I pointed out last week that there were two factual errors that I think are problematic: One links Cardinal Bergoglio to Argentina’s dictatorship and the other implies that Cardinal Ratzinger was complicit in the cover up of the Marciel affair.

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The Two Popes and St. Stephen

OK, so I can’t let the conversation on this film go on without offering my thoughts.

I watched Netflix’s The Two Popes on December 26, the Feast of St. Stephen. In no way are the two stories similar, however, I couldn’t help seeing a connection.

The Two Popes is a film by Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles and written by New Zealander, Anthony McCarten (who also wrote The Theory of Everything and Bohemian Rhapsody). It is an adaptation from McCarten’s 2017 play The Pope.

In case you are not familiar with the film, it is a fictional story starring Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who later becomes Pope Francis.

I don’t intend to do a review on the film (there are lots of great reviews – and Catholic at that – that you can read. See below for some suggestions). I will say that from a film point of view, it is good: It is well written, well shot, well directed and well performed.

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