Column: Word Made Flesh

This column contains articles on Scripture readings from the liturgy.

Can’t Get Into the Feast — by Fr. Denis Lemieux. As I begin writing this monthly column on the Sunday readings, I can foresee that on any given month it might be hard for me to decide which Sunday to pick.... (April 04, 2016)

The Day God is Silent — by Fr. Denis Lemieux. Though this column is usually about a Sunday Gospel reading, this month, I am going to do it differently. I’m going to write about the one day of the Church year that does not have a... (March 25, 2016)

Is Sin Really No Big Deal? — by Fr. Denis Lemieux. So how’s that Year of Mercy going for you? You do remember (of course!) that it is still the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Church. Right?... (February 26, 2016)

Should the Church Change? — by Fr. Denis Lemieux. So, should we give Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics? What about same-sex married couples? Is marriage really indissoluble? Maybe we should just give annulments more easily, or why bother with that formality at all? Doesn’t... (January 13, 2016)

Farewell from Fr. Pat — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Fr. Pat, who is in the final stages of leukemia, has been writing his popular column, "Word Made Flesh," since the July-August 1999 issue of Restoration. In this, his farewell article to you, his much-loved readers—and... (January 06, 2016)

And the Father Will Dance — by Fr. Denis Lemieux. After many years of faithfully writing this column, Fr. Pat McNulty is no longer able to do so. So Fr. Denis has generously agreed to take it on. Though Fr. Pat’s unique style is obviously irreplaceable,... (December 11, 2015)

What Kept Mamie Focussed? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. There is one question I would like to ask Mamie: What drove you? What kept you focussed all those years, especially these last ten years or so when you lived in total, complete spiritual darkness? And... (July 20, 2015)

A Hidden Life in the Spirit — by Fr. Pat McNulty. I’ve always liked the feast of Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Spirit.... (May 21, 2015)

The Resurrection in Your Life Now — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Who are these guys, Reverend? I can’t even pro-nounce their names. I mean who would want a name like Silly-beaks? It’s Schillebeeckx, and it’s pronounced, Skil-a-becks. He was a Belgian Dominican priest who became part of... (April 07, 2015)

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways — by Fr. Pat McNulty. "How do I love Thee? Let me count the ways." Did you know that famous poem?... (February 20, 2015)

Why Wish Anyone a Happy New Year? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Haaaappy New Year! Uhhh, I don’t go for all that silly "Happy New Year" stuff. Oooooh, a little "Bah Humbug" in there somewhere? I thought we did that one already.... (January 02, 2015)

Bah! Humbug! — by Fr. Pat McNulty. "Bah! Humbug!" Where does that "humbug" thing come from, Reverend? You mean you really don’t know where "Bah! Humbug!" comes from? You’ve never read the famous book, Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens or seen it on... (December 12, 2014)

The Halleluia Chorus in a Cemetery — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Did you know that those November feasts—All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and Christ the King—present a single vision? Read on.... (November 05, 2014) — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Here’s a reflection on Matthew 22:1-14, the gospel for October 12th. What did you wear to Mass last Sunday? If you found the following advertisement in the Sunday edition of your newspaper, what would you suppose... (October 13, 2014)

With Arms Wide Open — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Here’s a thought for September 14th, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.... (September 13, 2014)

Thoughts After My Heart Surgery — by Fr. Pat McNulty. This time, it’s true. Fr. Pat, who is well on the road to recovery, is back to writing his column! This one is a reflection on the line, "It is not right to take the food... (August 14, 2014)

The Power in a Word — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Whoa! That sounds like Sister Good-a-Gunda of the Tower of London, our seventh grade teacher who had a horror list of written punishments for us when we did stuff like that. Who ratted on you? Nobody.... (May 22, 2014)

Remember Me, Lord, in Your Kingdom — by Fr. Patrick McNulty. A reflection for September 14th, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Oh yeah, and I remember the H1 Mach III with a 498cc 2-stroke air-cooled transversely-mounted inline triple engine with a top... (September 05, 2013)

Scripture: One Word at a Time — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Thus says the Lord: "Rejoice with Jerusalem. Be glad for her, all you who love her…" (Isaiah: 66:10). "In ten words or less," you ask? That kind of thinking is often part of the problem,... (July 16, 2013)

Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand — by Fr. Pat McNulty.See how much difference it makes when the Book of Revelation is read in some kind of recognizable context. No, the Book of Revelation never made any sense to me either way, in or out of... (April 12, 2013)

The Serpent Loves It — by Fr. Pat McNulty. A reflection on John 8:11, the story of the woman taken in adultery, the gospel reading for March 17th, the 5th Sunday of Lent. ... (March 18, 2013)

The Power of the Words — by Fr. Pat McNulty. It’s one of my favorites! Well, I git a little nervous when I hear the devil quotin’ the Bible like that, even if it is with Jesus way out in the desert. Yeah, but notice... (February 04, 2013)

Family Trees: Christ’s and Ours — by Fr. Pat McNulty. I just finished reading another book and thought its title would be great for my biography. Whatever it is, put it on hold, Reverend. I’ve already got a title for yours. I’ll bet you do,... (December 03, 2012)

The Last Word Scenario — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Sometimes you ask the dumbest things, Reverend: Who knows what the last words outta their mouth before they die are gonna be? I could be at a hockey game or at the mall and be... (November 07, 2012)

Staring at a Mirror — by Fr. Pat McNulty. I don’t understand why you’d do somethin’ like that right out before God an’ everybody. Well, there was a trend in the ‘60’s to learn how to be at home "in your own skin," your... (October 02, 2012)

Regardless of the Homily — by Fr. Pat McNulty. September. School. Yuk! I hated going to school and I had to go for 25 years—from age 5 to 30. But I loved learning, and it was a blessing whenever I had a teacher who... (September 04, 2012)

How Many Miles Did Jesus Walk — by Fr. Pat McNulty. What!? I was on the internet trying to figure out the mileage of the round-trip-by-foot which God sent Elijah on in the Old Testament. That’s when I discovered a blog by a man who measured... (August 08, 2012)

Getting Intimate with God — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Some people say it’s just part of being Irish. I don’t know, but we weren’t much for kissing in my family either. Why, I remember how we used to hiss during the cowboy movies if... (June 07, 2012)

A Fool for Christ, A Heart that Watcheth — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Some of the people who have come to a Madonna House funeral have observed that we seem to have a special grace for dealing with the death, wake, and burial of a brother or sister.... (April 08, 2012)

Christ in the Horse Barn — by Fr. Pat McNulty. "When I am lifted up I will draw everyone to myself." (Jn.12:32 from the Gospel of the 5th Sunday in Lent) I really thought that by this time in my life, on the other side... (March 26, 2012)

Standing in the Wrong Line — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Sometimes gospel stories can trigger memories. Here’s what happened to Fr. Pat one year when he heard Mark 1:40-45, the story of the curing of the leper, the Sunday gospel reading for February 19th. "Huuuhhhh!"... (February 17, 2012)

Epiphany of Baptism: Who-o-o-a! — by Fr. Pat McNulty. The first time it happened it was so outside my experience, so eerie, I just stood there in shock, immobilized. Then I realized that the ground under my feet was undulating as if I were... (January 06, 2012)

Searching for God in the Desert — by Fr. Pat McNulty. If I remember correctly, it seems to me that I have written at least one Advent article a year in this newspaper about the desert. Many of the details of my time in the Sinai... (December 02, 2011)

Tombs and Toby — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Here’s an unusual way of praying for the souls in Purgatory on All Souls’ Day and on other days as well. "You Catlicks is spooky…" I recognized him right away: my grandmother had warned me... (November 02, 2011)

The Mercy of God — by Fr. Pat McNulty. I saw it in her eyes, and I knew that she knew that I knew. You what? Ooops, sorry about that: I was just thinking out loud about something very special that happened to me... (October 07, 2011)

People-Parables — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Well, you started it with all that "grow, grow" parable commentary last time, and there’s parables all over the Sunday readings this time. So, before you get on your soapbox and preach another sermon, I... (September 05, 2011)

Heaven is Very Near — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Since the Incarnation, since God became man, all of creation was mysteriously changed. Since then, everything is more than it seems. I love it! Listen to this greeting card: "Every blade of grass has its... (August 10, 2011)

A TV Mass With Peggy — by Fr. Pat McNulty. What would you do? I’m always a little nervous when I hear the phrase, "what would you do," connected in any way to the Eucharist, to this Divine Mystery, because so much has already been... (May 17, 2011)

It’s All About People — by Fr. Pat McNulty. It never ceases to amaze me when my sense of faith is profoundly adjusted through a simple life-event in which the Spirit does not let me see the connection until later on when I’m reading from... (March 03, 2011)

Christmastime Healing — by Fr. Pat McNulty.  It’s hard to imagine that it’s normal for a 79 year old to walk around with a teddy bear in his arms talking to it like he was five years old. I would call that weird!... (January 06, 2011)

A Murderer and a Prostitute — by Fr. Pat McNulty. What kind of king do we have? Here’s a reflection on the Gospel for the feast of Christ the King (Lk 23-43).... (November 22, 2010)

Christian Body Language — by Fr. Pat McNulty As usual, Fr. Pat has a very unusual reflection on a passage of Scripture. This time the passage is Luke 17:11-19, the curing of the ten lepers, the Gospel for Sunday, October 10th. I don’t think... (October 08, 2010)

Grace at 30,000 Feet — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Oh Lord, please! Not next to me. Please! The Delta flight that day was a short one—from Cincinnati, Ohio to Buffalo, New York. I had missed my scheduled flight and had to pay $50 extra for... (September 27, 2010)

When You Can’t Say Prayers — by Fr. Pat McNulty. What do you say when you think you have just written a significant, deep, wonderful, life-giving, fantastic, momentous, world-changing article and your editor says, "I read it carefully several times and could not get a handle... (July 16, 2010)

How Mary Won Me Over — by Fr. Pat McNulty. On Sunday, June 5, 1960, I offered my first Mass as a priest in my home town in the U.S.A. Meanwhile, the Madonna House family in Canada was busy preparing for the official blessing of the... (June 03, 2010)

I Can’t Find The Words — by Fr. Pat McNulty. A reflection for Mercy Sunday or Holy Week or any time you are having difficulty believing in the mercy of God.... (April 08, 2010)

Why Not Be a Mystic? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. One cloudy day, I was sitting on the ground outside the poustinia in great turmoil and pain. I was trying to make some very difficult decisions in my life, and I was feeling a desperate need... (March 05, 2010)

Got a Penny? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. The toothless, scruffy old beggar outside the bus station didn’t bat an eye when I declined her sexual pitch. But before I could converse with her along a more favourable line, she said to me, "Got... (February 22, 2010)

Salut! I’ll Drink to That! — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Ah, weddings! Here’s a reflection in connection with the wedding feast of Cana, the Gospel for January 17th. The formal toast at a wedding reception is usually made by the father of the bride, but this... (January 18, 2010)

Biblical Fiction — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Lets take a walk together up Calvary hill on that first Good Friday. Good Friday during Advent, Father? Calvary at Christmas? Is this some kind of Irish seasonal pathology? Well, hear me out and see what... (December 02, 2009)

Reading to Snakes and Bugs — by Fr. Pat McNulty. I imagine the bugs and snakes must have all been scratching their heads (how can a snake scratch its head, Fr. Pat?) and wondering, "Who is this crazy man standing in the middle of our living... (November 13, 2009)

The Blind Man from Combermere — by Fr. Pat McNulty. If I was superstitious and it was Friday the 13th, perhaps I might try to explain what has been happening by the position of the stars and planets. But I am not superstitious and it’s not... (October 23, 2009)

Yuk or Ephaphatha? — by Fr. Patrick McNulty. And they brought him a deaf man…(Mk.7:31-37). A reflection in connection with the Gospel for September 6, the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: "Yuk!" One foot in a pile of fresh donkey dung was a fitting... (September 07, 2009)

Famous Last Words — by Fr. Pat McNulty. We nick-named him "Billy" after Billy the Kid, that infamous cowboy and bank robber because our new arrival was also short, stocky and cocky, and he walked like he made his living riding horseback out West.... (April 06, 2009)

The Wizard of Odds — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Rainbows? I know it sounds odd, but this year, as Lent begins, my mind is on rainbows. As soon as I read the readings for the First Sunday of Lent, March 1, that magnificent rainbow-account of... (March 02, 2009)

A Healing We Didn’t Know We Needed — by Fr. Pat McNulty. "Kiss-y-face with Jesus, Daddy." I must have been dozing in a corner of the church late that Sunday afternoon when those words brought me to my senses. It was a bit disconcerting to imagine that this... (February 13, 2009)

Finding the Sparks of God — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Once during my post-Christmas blues, which can come upon me for about two weeks after Christmas, the Holy Spirit heard my seasonal moaning. In a most ordinary, but extraordinary way, he gave me what I call... (January 07, 2009)

At Home in the Saving Presence of Christ — by Fr. Pat McNulty. "Do you know Jesus as yer personal sigh-ver?" I looked up from my book into the eyes of a lady sitting directly across the aisle from me on the bus. "I beg your pardon." "Yer all... (December 03, 2008)

A Great Cloud of Witnesses — by Fr. Pat McNulty. "Freeze!" "But officer...." "Spread your legs. Put your hands flat on the top of the car! Do it! Now!" The police officer had been alerted to a crime, and upon arrival he found a man—me—standing next... (November 03, 2008)

The Last Will Be First and the First Last — by Fr. Pat McNulty. As usual, Fr. Pat has an unusual reflection on a Sunday Mass reading. This time it is Matthew 20:1-16, the reading for September 21st. The deep, mysterious voice coming from the bowels of our huge radio... (September 19, 2008)

Been There, Done That — by Fr. Pat McNulty. One of my favorite Old Testament narratives is the Old Testament reading for Sunday, August 10—that of Elijah in the cave in the Sinai (1Kgs. 19:11-13). But there was a time when that passage was one... (August 12, 2008)

Them Little Ol’ Ladies — by Fr. Patrick McNulty. What an awful picture! It was made out of some kind of tacky reflective paper and had been placed in the store window in such a way that when you walked by, it picked up the... (June 05, 2008)

Algebra and Easter: A Symphony in D Minus? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Sister Clare Marie was trying to be gentle as she explained my D minus grade in Algebra, the only unacceptable grade I had ever gotten in high school. "My advice, Patrick, is that you avoid higher... (April 04, 2008)

I’m OK? You’re OK? Happy Easter? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. "Did you read it?" My therapist was referring to the latest pop book in the field of psychology, I’m OK—You’re OK, which he thought would be good for me to read. This was in 1969, and... (March 26, 2008)

Did Jesus Laugh? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. When you fast do not put on a gloomy face like the hypocrites do (Mt. 6:16). It was the loudest doorbell I had ever heard. And when I pushed the little black button a second time,... (February 08, 2008)

What’s in a Name? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. For the feast of the Baptism of Christ, January 13th, here are some thoughts on baptism and choosing the name of a child. "Darth? You mean like Darth Vader in Star Wars?" I was talking to... (January 11, 2008)

Faith: A Subjunctive Mood — by Fr. Pat McNulty. It was about 3 a.m. when I pulled my car into the checkpoint at Canadian Customs and Immigration. Though there were trucks in their own lane, mine was the only car around. The middle-aged man in... (December 12, 2007)

The Gift of Purgatory — by Fr. Pat McNulty. I have a great editor. She gives me space for what is on my heart and then pretty much lets me say it my way. But when she says something like, "Your article hasn’t come together,"... (November 12, 2007)

Leapin’ Lizards! — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Have you ever wondered why God hasn’t cured you or someone close to you? Here’s a reflection on Luke 17:11-19, the healing of the ten lepers, the Gospel for Sunday, October 14th. When I was a... (October 15, 2007)

My Crafty Encounter — by Fr. Pat McNulty. We don’t think you’ll hear a homily remotely like this one on Sunday, September 23rd, when the reading will be Luke 16:1-13, the parable of the crafty steward. We were all sitting there with our Styrofoam... (September 21, 2007)

How Could You, God? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. "When I am lifted up I will draw all things to myself" (Jn.12:32). Here’s something to think about any time, but especially on Mercy Sunday. Do you ever get a bit weary of all those nuns... (April 13, 2007)

The Search for Burning Bushes — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Have you ever wished for a mystical experience? The following is a reflection on the story of Moses and the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15), the First Reading for March 11th, the Third Sunday in Lent.... (March 12, 2007)

Good News for Dust and Ashes — by Fr. Pat McNulty. One Ash Wednesday, the ashes on Fr. Pat’s forehead began a change in a young woman’s heart. "No thanks, I only smoke filters," she said as I offered her a cigarette. She was smoking filtered Kools.... (February 21, 2007)

Gazing on Stars and Kings — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Do you remember seeing your first shooting star? I remember seeing mine. And I remember that I couldn’t prove it because it happened so fast it was gone before anyone else could see it. But I... (January 05, 2007)

A Tale of Two Widows — by Fr. Pat McNulty. We bet you’ve never looked at the story of the widow’s mite (Mk 12: 38-44) in quite this way. It’s the gospel for Sunday, November 12th. I always thought the widow might be a witch! She... (November 13, 2006)

Big Bang? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. The following story is in connection with Mark 4:35-41, the calming of the storm, the Gospel for Sunday, June 25th. They call it, "Tornado Alley." It’s part of a large geographic area in Midwestern USA where... (June 22, 2006)

My Day is a Mass — by Fr. Pat McNulty. On Holy Thursday I often think about a rather unusual Eucharistic experience which happened to me about thirty years ago when I was confined to bed for many weeks. I was not able to do anything—most... (April 13, 2006)

Sister Ruth and the Bells — by Fr. Pat McNulty. I love bells—bells of every kind: ding-bells, dong-bells, bing-bells, and especially booooooong-bells. Bells can be a sign of hope and a source of life. They certainly were for me when I was growing up. Three times... (March 24, 2006)

Standing in the Wrong Line — by Fr. Pat McNulty. The following is a reflection on Mark 1:40-45, the story of the curing of the leper, the Gospel for February 12th, the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We have a priest here in Madonna House whose... (February 13, 2006)

Here Comes the Bridegroom — by Fr. Pat McNulty. A reflection in connection with the parable of the ten bridesmaids (Mt 25:1-13), the Sunday Gospel for November 6th. Did you know that Richard Wagner and Felix Mendelssohn often attended the same church? So what? Well,... (November 07, 2005)

A Night in a Jail Cell — by Fr. Pat McNulty. I do not often have flashbacks, those intense unexpected mental or emotional recalls of past events. But while I was reading the Gospel for October 23rd, the 30th Sunday of Ordinary time (Mt. 22:34-40) and came... (October 24, 2005)

Cell Phones and Gentle Breezes — by Fr. Pat McNulty. There I stood in the airport lounge with my little finger to my mouth and my thumb to my ear, acting as if I, like just about everybody else in the waiting room, was talking into... (August 08, 2005)

The Challenge of Eastertime — by Fr. Bob Wild. Thanks be to God Lent is over, and there’s no more need for conversion! The readings of the Easter Season just invite us to a time of peaceful meals with the Lord at table and on... (April 02, 2005)

Bubblegum and Bedposts — by Fr. Pat McNulty. I apologize if I tire you with my childhood liturgical trips down Memory Lane, but please indulge an old man and come with me once again, this time through Lent to the hope of Easter by... (March 24, 2005)

What If…? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried—and through his wounds we are healed—by his sufferings shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself (Is 53:5, 11). When I was a... (February 01, 2005)

Where Reality Betters Fantasy — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Shazam! Anyone from the USA who was at least 10 years of age by 1940 will probably recognize that word. It came from the comic book world of the ’40s, those special kid-cartoon drawings in story-form.... (January 01, 2005)


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