The Word

  • April 28-May 5, 2014
    Third Sunday of Easter (A), May 4, 2014

    There is a richness to the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus that makes it difficult to consume it in its entirety or to exhaust its sustenance. Even seemingly minor details nourish the reader in surprising ways. Emmaus itself, the village to which Cleopas and the unnamed disciple are journeying, appears elsewhere in the Bible in 1 Mc 3:40. It seems to bear little connection to Luke’s notice of the city, but there are intriguing links.

  • April 28-May 5, 2014
    Fourth Sunday of Easter (A), May 11, 2014

    Slaves in the Greco-Roman world were sometimes treated with kindness, but this was dependent upon the whims of masters, not legally required. Even domestic slaves, as mentioned in 1 Peter, were vulnerable to the demands of their masters, and 1 Pt 2:18 asks that they “accept the authority” of masters “with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh.” Possessing no right to the integrity of their own bodies, such a...

  • April 21, 2014
    Second Sunday of Easter (A), April 27, 2014

    Shortly after the ascension, the number of believers in Jerusalem was about 120, according to Acts 1:15. Whether the number is exact or symbolic of a restored Israel, the church started small.

  • April 14, 2014
    Easter (A), April 20, 2014

    The modern historical Jesus enterprise stumbled from the beginning on data it found hard to accept: the early Christians claimed that Jesus, after being put to death by crucifixion, rose from the dead. Peter is recorded saying, “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the...

  • April 7, 2014
    Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (A), April 13, 2014

    The Gospel of Matthew presents Palm Sunday in the context of one of the Gospel’s many prophetic fulfillment citations, which demonstrate that Jesus was the promised one who would establish the kingdom of God. Matthew presents a free rendering of the prophecy from Zec 9:9 to explain Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!

  • March 31, 2014
    Fifth Sunday of Lent (A), April 6, 2014

    Why did Jesus cry when he saw the tears of Lazarus’s sisters and his friends? After all, Jesus already knew Lazarus was dead. In fact, his purposeful actions allowed that death to occur. So why, when faced with the mourning of Lazarus’s loved ones, did Jesus cry? The account of the raising of Lazarus brings to the fore Jesus’ humanity and the reasons why Jesus came to conquer death.

  • March 24, 2014
    Fourth Sunday of Lent (A), March 30, 2014

    Short days, long nights. How dark it can get in a Minnesota winter when the sun’s light seems to hide itself and ice and snow encompass everything. Even in cities and regions most often immune from the ravages of cold and sleet, this winter has been unrelenting. In the midst of what some locally are calling the worst winter ever, it can be easy to dwell in darkness. But a deeper darkness, spiritual darkness, can thrive in winter, summer or any other time.

  • March 17, 2014
    Third Sunday of Lent (A), March 23, 2014

    When my oldest son was a little boy, he was shopping with my mother and father and saw something on a display shelf that he wanted. He said so. “I want that, I want that.” My mother explained that you cannot have everything you want, but that we buy what we need. He thought about that for a while and then said, “I need that, I need that.” God knows we need things—material things, friends, spiritual insight and love—and God knows that our true needs do not...

  • March 10, 2014
    Second Sunday of Lent (A), March 16, 2014

    Sometimes we can be held back from the spiritual renewal offered through Lent by a primal emotion that keeps faith from flourishing: fear. Fear is a crucial response in human life to protect us from physical, emotional and even spiritual threats, but misplaced spiritual fear can keep us from living out the Gospel call to faith. Debilitating spiritual fear can emerge from two seemingly disparate sources.

  • March 3, 2014
    First Sunday of Lent (A), March 9, 2014

    In the temptation scene in Matthew, the dark heart of the reality of sin is exposed when Satan offers Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor,” with only one simple condition: “if you will fall down and worship me.” Every act of sin we commit participates in this tacit agreement to worship something or someone other than God, which is why the “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” of the Second Vatican Council describes sin as “an offense...