The National Catholic Review

The Word

  • October 19, 2015
    Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Oct. 25, 2015

    When Jesus encounters the blind man Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, in Mark’s Gospel, he has just unveiled the last of the three Passion predictions, in which he explains the suffering and death that await him in Jerusalem. Jesus is leaving Jericho on the way to his destiny in Jerusalem, and Bartimaeus is begging on the roadside. The identification of Bartimaeus by not only his given name but his father’s name as well is unusually precise and detailed for Mark...

  • October 12, 2015
    Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Oct 18, 2015

    In Chapters 40 to 55 of Isaiah, there are four passages known as the Servant Songs. One of them, quoted as today’s first reading, is about the “suffering servant.” One wonders what it was like to read about this suffering servant in Isaiah, where we hear, “It was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain,” apart from an encounter with the life and death of Jesus.

  • October 5, 2015
    Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Oct. 11, 2015

    An elected county clerk in Rowan County, Ky., Kim Davis, was jailed for refusing to grant marriage licenses. She is required by law to offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which she refused to do since it affronts her understanding of the nature of marriage as a Christian. The situation has riled up many people. Some consider her a martyr who is being persecuted for her religious beliefs; others consider her a hypocrite for refusing to do her elected...

  • September 28, 2015
    Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Oct. 4, 2015

    In his teaching on divorce, Jesus claims that the circumstances that allowed for divorce in the Mosaic law were due to the “hardness of heart” of human beings after the fall. These laws were conditional, Jesus says, not God’s intent “from the beginning of creation.” Jesus cites passages from Genesis that reflect the human condition prior to the fall from Paradise. In the Garden, “God made them male and female,” reflecting Gn 1:27, with the intent that “a man leaves his father and...

  • September 21, 2015
    Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Sept. 27, 2015

    Although a knowledge of history, ancient languages, and the culture and society of ancient Israel and the Roman Empire are helpful for biblical interpretation, ordinary readers, without any of these scholarly tools, sometimes get to the heart of the meaning of biblical passages far more quickly and acutely than experts.

  • September 14, 2015
    Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Sept. 20, 2015

    It feels good to belong—to one’s family, to a group of friends, to a team—to be part of something bigger than oneself. Belonging creates feelings of comfort, joy, peace and purpose. How good must it have felt to be chosen as one of the Twelve Apostles? And to have an inkling, then the growing certainty that the one who chose you is not just a man but the Son of Man, the Messiah. The one who called you to be among the inner circle, to be at the heart of the...

  • August 31-September 7, 2015
    Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Sept. 6, 2015

    How can people be upset about a lion being killed, even if it was lured out of a protected area and slaughtered? A lion? There are babies being killed throughout the country, the world even, and people are upset about animals? Why is Planned Parenthood not at the top of the news? But what about human lives after conception, do these lives matter at all? Do #BlackLivesMatter? Do the lives of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean matter to anyone?

  • August 31-September 7, 2015
    Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Sept. 13, 2015

    Jesus bluntly rebukes Peter, telling him, “You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” There are two contexts for this rebuke: one is the particular circumstance in which Peter himself rebuked Jesus for revealing his Passion; and the other is the general human reality in which all people struggle to understand the division of human things and divine things.

  • August 17-24, 2015
    Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Aug. 30, 2015

    The relationship of Christianity with the law has often been conflicted, stemming from the apostle Paul’s complex teachings regarding the Torah and Jesus’ own words, like those from the Gospel of Mark.

  • August 17-24, 2015
    Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Aug. 23, 2015

    Ancient Roman society was profoundly hierarchical, and this can grate on readers today when they encounter certain biblical passages. Prime among these are ancient household codes, which delineate the duties and responsibilities of family members to one another. Part of the purpose of these passages in their historical context was to show how Christians fit within ancient Roman society.