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...
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?
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 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 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.
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...
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...
July 21-28, 2014Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), Aug. 3, 2014
The Guardian newspaper reported on June 19 that according to a U.N. report, “the number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the second world war, an exponential rise that is stretching host countries and aid organisations to breaking point.... Half the world’s refugees are children, many travelling alone or in groups in a desperate quest for sanctuary, and often falling into the...
July 7-14, 2014Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), July 13, 2014
Why did Jesus speak to people in parables? Scholars are agreed beyond doubt that Jesus taught in parables. The parable is a type of speech act in which the speaker attempts to draw comparisons between one thing and another. In fact, the Greek word parabolē might best be translated “comparison.” A parable may be encased in a narrative or in similitudes, by which something is said to be “like” something else.
July 7-14, 2014Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), July 20, 2014
The parable of the weeds among the wheat is found only in Matthew, and it is an eschatological parable, a parable about the Final Judgment. For gardeners, it evokes memories of hours in the garden, distinguishing between weeds and desirable plants, which is harder to do than one might think, at least for novice gardeners. It raises another question: What constitutes a weed?