The National Catholic Review

The Good Word

A blog on Scripture and preaching from John W. Martens, America's Word columnist, and the Rev. Terrance W. Klein, the author of Vanity Faith.

May 2015

  • May 29 2015 - 9:35am
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    My nephew has a tattoo. Perhaps, more than one, but, as I pause to picture, I can clearly remember only the one. It’s a simple gothic cross, running the length of his right bicep. Although we live a little less distant than a two-hour car drive, we dwell in different worlds. He’s just under thirty, never married. He struggled to finish high school. Until the drop in prices, he was employed in the Kansas oil fields.

  • May 26 2015 - 5:39pm
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    This is the eighteenth entry in the Bible Junkies Online Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. This post examines Stephen’s preaching and the plot to arrest him and bring him before the council. Stephen is one of the seven who has just been appointed to serve the practical needs of the Hellenist community, but when we first see him here, he is engaged in evangelism.

  • May 22 2015 - 10:37am
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    We are what we remember, granted that memory is deep and wide, and that sometimes who we are, even who we’ve been, may yet surprise us. Yet that which is completely forgotten, if such be possible, would be as though it had never occurred.

    To be human is ever to reclaim one’s past. To live oriented toward the future, as we do, is always to ask new questions, and therefore to discover new meanings, of our past. The past forms the future, yet it is the future that redeems the past....

  • May 21 2015 - 9:16am
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    The Holy Spirit is fire, light, comforter, wind and breath—all images and descriptions found in the Scriptures. How about one more image, clearly not found in the Scriptures? The Spirit is the cricket player who urges on his fellow player to continue to run and so score another run. The image is used by the Jesuit priest poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in a sermon delivered in 1882 in Liverpool.

  • May 14 2015 - 11:28am
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    As he saw it, he didn’t just make it. He was history. “I am the revolution.” That was the explanation Napoleon Bonaparte offered in 1804, when he announced that he would be crowned Emperor of the young French republic. As Bonaparte saw it, stability would never come to France as long as royalist or Jacobin plotters sought a change of regime through his assassination. Founding a dynasty would bring security, he explained. “They seek to destroy the Revolution by attacking my person. I will...

  • May 7 2015 - 2:44pm
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    Try to imagine how distant our loved ones could be before Facetime, Skype, texting, email, even telephoning. Then you can better appreciate the desperation of a colonial device, one attempted far before its time. It’s retrieved in Malcolm Gaskill’s Between Two Worlds: How the...

  • May 4 2015 - 7:26pm
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    This is the seventeenth entry in the Bible Junkies Online Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. This post examines a conflict between Hellenists and Hebraioi, both groups of Jesus’ disciples divided on linguistic grounds, and the choosing of seven to serve the needs of the Hellenists’ community. According to tradition the seven were the first seven “deacons,” but the text does not bear this out unequivocally.