September 29. 2014Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Oct. 5, 2014
In biblical poetry a vineyard often represents the beloved. The prophet Isaiah begins to “sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard,” a song in which God’s affectionate care of Israel is recounted. The love song quickly becomes a lover’s lament, though, as Isaiah tells how the vineyard was prepared with tenderness, but since it produced “wild grapes,” it will now be abandoned. God speaks: “I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I...
September 22, 2014Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Sept. 28, 2014
And more, much more than this, I did it my way,” sang Frank Sinatra. There is something life-affirming about doing it “my way,” charting one’s own path, following one’s conscience and talents and not compromising one’s values along the way. But when it comes to the ways of God, it is best to do it God’s way, as Jesus did in following the path to the cross.
September 15, 2014Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Sept. 21, 2014
What are the ways of God? There are twin dangers for us when we consider this question. On the one hand, some people consider God’s ways so inscrutable that they no longer trust we can know how God acts or what God demands of us. This draws some people to the point of disbelief. If God’s ways challenge or confound human expectations, can God be trusted?
Sept. 1-8, 2014Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Sept. 7, 2014
What does it mean to love your neighbor? Paul says that “love does no evil to the neighbor” and that “love is the fulfillment of the law.” How do these two statements coalesce to produce a practical Christian ethic of behavior? One is stated negatively—love does no evil—while the other is stated positively—love fulfills the law. But how do we know when we are enacting these demands?
Sept. 1-8, 2014Exaltation of the Holy Cross (A), Sept. 14, 2014
We are called to travel many paths, some that challenge us, others that inspire us. To trust in God is to trust that whatever path we are now on is the one that will ultimately bring us to the Promised Land.
This is easy to say, especially when one’s path is not meandering through war zones or famine, caught up in the horrors of this world, and it is important not to dismiss the journey itself as insignificant. It is the locus...
August 18-25, 2014Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Aug. 24, 2014
One of the most shocking, but welcome, aspects of the Bible is how often power is challenged. It occurs so often in the biblical tradition that we might take it for granted, but the practice of saying uncomfortable things to those who have authority, to speak from a position of weakness to those who have power to harm one’s life or position, is a rarity in antiquity and today. Implicit in this is that those who have power, even those with rightly-ordered...
August 18-25, 2014Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Aug. 31, 2014
Much modern talk about God tends to reduce the creator to a living doll, who wants to give us a divine cuddle. There is no doubt that the essence of God’s being is love, but the experience of that love and of God’s being is not always an experience of comfort and ease. God can disturb the relaxed meditations of the satisfied and push believers to the breaking point. The awful power of God can overwhelm.
August 4-11, 2014Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Aug. 10, 2014
If you examine older English translations of the Bible, like the Douay-Rheims or the King James Version, a quick search offers you more than 100 instances of the word ghost in each version. Most often these Bibles are translating the Greek phrase hagios pneuma as “Holy Ghost,” while current translations always render it as “Holy Spirit.” The word ghost in modern versions generally translates the Greek word phantasma, found in the...
August 4-11, 2014Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Aug. 17, 2014
Some people just do not belong. They might be annoying, they might not “fit,” or they might not be the “right” sort of person. I think you know who I am talking about. That’s right. You and me.
July 21-28, 2014Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), July 27, 2014
Here is a desire new and old: ask for anything in the world and it will be yours! Usually, in fairy tales and legends, three wishes are granted. Then, after poor choices (or ambiguously worded requests), the truth is discovered about what really matters. Lessons are learned the hard way. The First Book of Kings presents us with a somewhat similar scenario, but with the storied wisdom of young king Solomon on display. God “appeared to Solomon in a dream by...