Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Stay Outside

When I first moved to Toronto, I used to pass a certain office building on my way to work. The windows, main door, and wall facing the street were plastered with signs telling visitors that this space was scent-free, smoke-free, violence-free, a place where harassment and disrespect were “not . . . . Continue Reading »

What Do You Love?

My weight is my love. Wherever I am carried, my love is carrying me.­–Augustine, Confessions What do you want? This is the fundamental question of Christian discipleship. Christ asks two future disciples quite pointedly in the Gospel of John, and asks it indirectly in a number of places: “Will . . . . Continue Reading »

Homily for the Mass for Francis Cardinal George

The world must have seemed upside down when the disciples left the holy city Jerusalem. Jerusalem was believed to be the “true pole of the earth, the great king’s city” (Ps. 47:2). It was supposed to be God’s dwelling on earth, the city of David, where the Messiah was expected to reign and restore Israel. And yet, the one who they believed to be Messiah and Redeemer had come into Jerusalem, only to die. Now everything was in question. Their disappointment rings through to this day with startling clarity: “We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel” (Lk. 14:21). We were hoping…A similar lament can be discerned in modern society, in which Christendom gives way to a “post-Christian” world. Perhaps not surprisingly, these words also speak to a profoundly disintegrating experience for any individual: angst. Reflecting on the mental world of the disciples, Cardinal George once commented: “Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we can feel that we are victims of time, fate, circumstances and external factors. We might even feel that our world is caving in on us…[The disciples] were caught in expectations they thought were now doomed…But [they] were wrong to give up on their hope.” Continue Reading »

Men of Easter: Pontius Pilate

If you are not God, you only make the Creed if your God’s mother or his murderer. That means it is great to be Mary, but not so great to be Pontius Pilate.Call no man happy until history decides his role. Pilate was well known for most of his life and Mary obscure. Even at death, the relative . . . . Continue Reading »

Men of Easter: John

John was the man that stayed and hanging around with Jesus changed his life.Many men wanted to follow Jesus until the Teacher said some hard things. Jesus demanded people think, but most men just wanted Him to provide bread and edutainment.John saw people look for easy answers and miss Jesus.A few . . . . Continue Reading »

On Easter Simon Was Glad to be Wrong

Simon knew talent. Simon was brave. Simon loved his nation.Simon did not say much, but Simon followed Jesus.This Easter Simon the Zealot has been on my mind. He was a follower of Jesus easy to forget, because we only know his name and political point of view. Simon wanted freedom for his people . . . . Continue Reading »

Yes Means Yes

If you were the Jewish girl named Mary, it was about this time of the year that your life changed. Nine months from now it would Christmas, but the pain and party of that blessed day was far away.Sometime about now if you were Mary, then you had to say “yes” to God.First the . . . . Continue Reading »

Tradition Without Truth

It isn’t something that suddenly happened in 2010, people have been compromising truth since the early days in the Garden. But never has it seemed so clear that people actually lack knowledge of right and wrong. Of course, most people know that murder is wrong, but few could provide a . . . . Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles