Cycles of Faith

Cycles of Faith
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

State fairs are famous for their many contests. The best cow, the best pig, the best sheep are hailed as "Grand Champions." The best cake, the best raspberry jam, the finest pickles, and the most delectable pie are awarded blue ribbons. Cheese and butter, honey and maple syrup, fruits and vegetables, agricultural products of all kinds win prizes of distinction based on criteria for their category. Handcrafted items are also entered into competition, and ribbons won displayed on the home mantle. While almost anyone can enter one of these contests, there is only one blue ribbon, only one grand champion.

Cycles of Faith
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Even one hundred and fifty years after it took place, the effects of the Civil War in the United States can still be felt. Even though the shifting population has tempered perceptions, those who work in the social sciences can still point to sections of the country where certain attitudes hold a greater sway than in others. And even though it may be unfair, there are times when a particular region will be categorized in a way that hearkens back to an earlier era.

Cycles of Faith
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Consider the variety of ways we use the word "service" to describe the work of different people. Those who work in government are said to have given themselves to public service. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines are all part of the armed services. Hotel and restaurant employees are said to work in the service industries, along with barbers, hair dressers, flight attendants, and entertainers, although it is a bit of a stretch to imagine folks like Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno, or Stephen Colbert in the same category as the hotel housekeeping staff.

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