Rank #1: The Hero’s Journey
The Jungian psychologist Jordan Peterson is, in many ways, an early twenty-first century version of Joseph Campbell, and perhaps the central archetype that they both explored is that of the hero’s journey. As both Campbell and Peterson have recognized, the Bible is a treasure trove of hero’s journey stories. But what makes the biblical accounts so distinctive is that God is the one who is drawing and prompting the journey; in fact, the Bible tells the story of God’s own hero’s journey!
Rank #2: No Fear of Death
In our second reading for this week, St. Paul reminds the Christian community in Rome that baptism means an immersion into the dying of the Lord. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he had similarly told his followers that every eucharist is a participation in the dying of Christ. Why this preoccupation with death? Because it is only through this journey into Christ's death and resurrection that we can effectively conquer the fear of death, which tends to cramp us spiritually. Once we have died witih Jesus, we can walk "in newness of life."
Rank #3: Listen to Him
Rank #4: Life Lived in the Spirit
Rank #5: He Must Increase and I Must Decrease
Rank #6: Jesus Among the Angels and Beasts
Rank #7: True Kingship
Rank #8: A Theology of Work
Rank #9: Walking Truly and Completely with Him
Rank #10: Divine Mercy
On this Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, we remember the dedication of this day by Saint John Paul II in honor of St. Faustina’s vision of Christ, in which the Lord’s heart radiated forth with divine mercy for the world. But what does mercy mean? It designates the suffering of the heart, a type of compassion, a deep, loving identification with people in their suffering. It is the characteristic of God, for God is love. Nothing in the world would exist if it were not, at every moment, loved into being by God—a great act of tender mercy. How is this love made manifest in us? Precisely through following God’s commands and through forgiveness.
Rank #11: The Prodigal Son
Rank #12: Summed Up in Christ
For many people in the West, liberty seems to trump everything. We avatars of the egodrama, we worshippers at the altar of freedom, say that our choice is supreme. We don't want anyone to constrain our pursuit of money, success, power, influence, safety, or physical health. But what matters in the end is not to place our wills in the position of ultimate concern. Everything in nature, history, science, and our careers is, in the end, summed up in Christ.
Rank #13: Seeing the World Anew
Rank #14: No Temple in the New Jerusalem
Rank #15: The Wages of Sin
Rank #16: Every Saint Had a Past, Every Sinner Has a Future
Rank #17: The Yoke Upon Your Shoulders
What is it like to have Christ for a king? All three of this Sunday's readings examine this very question in some way. The answer is to submit to his kingship and accept his yoke upon your shoulders to make your life an offering to his plan.
Rank #18: What Does It Mean to Say that Christ Is King?
The liturgical year ends with the feast of Christ the King. This day reminds us what the Christian thing is all about: that Jesus really is the king, the Lord of our lives; that we belong utterly to him; and that we can say, with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”
Rank #19: Daniel and the New Kingdom
Our first reading for this weekend is from the utterly fascinating book of Daniel. Daniel is an example of apocalyptic literature, and apocalyptic books reveal something of decisive significance. We see that significance when Jesus comes preaching the kingdom of God, by which he was taken to be announcing the fulfillment of the Daniel prophecy. This is the apocalypse, the great unveiling: a new kingdom has come, a dominion that will last forever.