Participating in the Passion: Reflections on Frans and Easter

April 7th, 2015 marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Father Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch Jesuit priest who was murdered during Syria’s civil war after living there for over fifty years. I’ve already written much about Frans in the year since his death, but on this occasion, I’d like to reflect on …

The Paschal Paradox

In a world full of suffering and violence, we are given this truth at Easter: Al-Masihu qama min bain al-amwat, Wa wati al-mouta bil-mout, Wa wahab al-hayata lil-lethina fil qubour. Christ has risen from the dead. In dying, he trampled death, And gifted life to those who were in the tomb. We still do feel …

Why I cried in Arabic class

I don’t know what exactly brought tears to my eyes, but the combination of the beautiful culture and its tragic loss; the foreign sound of bombs and the familiar sound of Shami Arabic; and the human goodness that somehow persists in the midst of evil made a lump rise in my throat. I looked over and noticed that my teacher was fighting back tears, too.

Me and Mary Magdalene

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. (Mark 16:1) I press my face against the pink, veined marble slab, smeared with a fragrant oil that lingers on my neck and hands.  As I push myself from the …

Kisses on Palm Sunday (“Peeling Oranges” series)

(My spring break spent in Jerusalem and Galilee provided me with many images that I hope to share through my Peeling Oranges series.) Outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, I sulk in a mix of frustration and guilt, wanting to participate in the centuries-old traditions and services that originated in this city. On Palm …