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DEAR FATHER | Concept of karma lacks centeredness in God

The basic concept of karma is simple to explain: what we sow in the world through our words and actions is what will be returned to us. So, when we're friendly with others, people will be friendly with us in return. But how this concept is explicated is where the Church concentrates her thoughts.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | God passionately wants to share His mercy

God is the relentless source of goodness to all who come to Him in hope and humility, an image depicted in the readings for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

In the first reading, the Lord tells us: "Observe what is right, do what is just; for My salvation is about to come, My justice about to be revealed." Justice and righteousness are divine prerogatives. Man can't justify himself by his works; he can only receive righteousness as a gift from God, who offers the gift of righteousness so that man can experience dialogue and union with God.

POPE’S MESSAGE | ‘Perfect’ Catholics who despise others is sad situation

Pope Francis greeted the crowd at his weekly audience Aug. 9 in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Continuing his series of audience talks about Christian hope, the pope reflected on Jesus’ “scandalous gesture” of forgiving the sinful woman.

VATICAN CITY — God didn't choose perfect people to form His Church, but rather sinners who have experienced His love and forgiveness, Pope Francis said.

The Gospel of Luke's account of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman shows how His actions went against the general mentality of his time, a "clear separation" between the pure and impure, the pope said Aug. 9 at his weekly general audience.

"There were some scribes, those who believed they were perfect," the pope said. "And I think about so many Catholics who think they are perfect and scorn others. This is sad."

DEAR FATHER | Church remains hopeful children who died before birth will have eternal life with God

First, let's review.

Baptism is the necessary sacrament for one to receive to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:5). While ideally one would receive this sacrament, the Church has understood from her foundation two other ways to receive the graces of this sacrament.

The Baptism of Desire is received by someone preparing for baptism but dying before the sacrament is conferred, or by a person who never hears about Christ but lives a good life as their culture understands that to be. The Baptism of Blood is received by someone who is martyred for the faith, but isn't baptized.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Seeing God through intimate eyes

I had a special photo as the screen-saver on my smartphone for a long time. Whenever I needed a smile, I just looked at that picture of one of the most memorable undertakings in my life — the day I went sky-diving. I had glanced at it countless times when out of the blue a certain realization struck me.

I look just like my dad.

The skin tone, the shape of my face, the gray hair and beard — spitting image. And the eyes. I've got my father's eyes.

BRIMMING WITH HOPE | Trusting God in the Labyrinth

June is a natural time to review the previous school year and look forward to the next. While school years are linear on a calendar, they ebb and flow continuously. Recently I shared with our elementary principals that a good metaphor for the past school year is that of the labyrinth.

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