I felt a sense of colossal relief after my doctoral defense, noting that I would never have to take a test again. But of course, bigger tests awaited.
Christ was frequently tested: In the desert by the devil, by the Pharisees who were threatened and envious, by the apostles who resisted a way without worldly glory and by His own doubts before the crucifixion when Jesus wondered whether His Father had abandoned Him.
This year, Thanksgiving week starts right after the formal conclusion of the Year of Mercy. How do we incorporate what we have gained from the prayers, talks, readings and reflections that most of us took part in during the year to shape the way we think about and celebrate Thanksgiving?
So much of our Thanksgiving pivots around what fills us with satisfaction and a sense of sufficiency. Like most people, my gratitude is tightly wrapped around all the good things or blessings in my life.
To address the bishops of the U.S. mission dioceses on the topic "Economic Structures and Poverty," I spent a month poring over 300 pages of articles and reports, and I ended up reconnecting myself to some stark statistics and opening my eyes to some needed responses by us as a society.
Amid all the Olympics coverage I watched, I was most taken by the women's basketball team. Their passion was mesmerizing and their tenacity in stepping up to all manner of challenges made me proud. In particular, I couldn't get over how they were repeatedly described as "unselfish."
Each individual player is a legend in her own right, having led her respective college and WNBA team to notable victories. Yet each played for the good of the whole, sacrificing the chance of individual glory to make sure that the team had the best chance. This made me pause.
In July, I traveled to Serbia, Greece and Lebanon to review the refugee situation now that the borders to Northern Europe are closed. While the flow of people has diminished, it has not ceased. Migration is now largely dependent on traffickers who charge individuals 4,000 to 6,000 euros to facilitate illegal crossings.