Kids say the darndest things

Do you remember Art Linkletter’s “Kids Say the Darndest Things?” It was an entertaining segment on show “House Party” which aired on CBS from 1952 to 1969. In the show’s best-remembered segment Linkletter interviewed schoolchildren between the ages of five and ten. During the segment’s 27-year run, Linkletter interviewed an estimated 23,000 children. What made the segment fascinating was the complete lack of guile. They simply said what they were thinking. No diversion, no coverups, just a bit of innocence. Today’s gospel encourages us to have that same innocence and openness, fascination and wonder. Without all the flotsam and jetsam of adult life maybe Ps 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp for my steps and a light for my path.” – is just a little easier to discern. Then maybe in child-like fashion we can follow the path that light marks for us.

The Prophet Ezekiel

Beginning this Monday just past and continuing until August 21st, with the exception of some solemnities, feast days and memorial celebrations, our first reading is from the Prophet Ezekiel. It is a dense book with lots going on, and it is broken up into bits and bites that make it hard to know what is transpiring. And without that sense of continuity and flow, it’s difficult to understand what the Word is trying to say to us in our time. So…. let me bring you “up to speed.” Continue reading

The signs of the times

In yesterday’ post we discussed the biblical and Lucan use of the idea of judgment and the coming kingdom. Today we will consider “the signs of the time” a verse that is just outside our Sunday reading: He also said to the crowds, “When you see (a) cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain—and so it does; 55 and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot—and so it is. Continue reading

Bearing another’s burdens

I thought Bishop Barron’s reflection on today’s gospel was particularly good. Here is what he had to offer:

Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches the necessity of constant forgiveness. Forgiveness is an act and not an attitude. It is the active repairing of a broken relationship, even in the face of opposition, violence, or indifference. When a relationship is severed, each party should, in justice, do his part to reestablish the bond.Forgiveness is the bearing of the other person’s burden, moving toward him, even when he refuses to move an inch toward you. There is something relentless, even aggressive, about forgiveness, since it amounts to a refusal ever to give up on a relationship. Simon Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus replies: “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” Christians should never cease in our efforts to establish love.

Peace and Division

This coming Sunday is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time for Lectionary Cycle C. In yesterday’ post we discussed the biblical and Lucan use of the imagery of baptism. Today we will consider the prospect of “division”, “judgment” and urgency of the kingdom pronouncement.

 51 Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Continue reading

The light to our path

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter is the Bible. It is 176 verses of love poem to God for the gift of His Word. There are many verses that are memorable and oft quoted. Perhaps at the top of the list is v.105: “Your word is a lamp for my steps and a light for my path.” In today’s mid-morning Divine Office, here is the Psalm Prayer that accompanies this verse:

Let your Word, Father, be a lamp for our feet and light to our path, so that we may understand what you wish to teach us and follow the path your light marks for us.

I hope that each of you are lovers of God’s Word and that His wishes and path have been well illuminated…. and you have the courage to walk where that path may lead.

Being witness

Today is the Feast of St. Lawrence of Rome, one of the early martyrs of the Church who died during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian in 258 AD. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons of Rome, directly serving the pope. Pope Sixtus II had been martyred just four days before. It is not clear what instigated the Valerian persecutions apart from the Roman Empire was beginning to fray at the seams with revolts in the East and the West. Perhaps the Christians were a convenient scapegoat. Continue reading

Things trivial

Always fascinated by the origin of words, today’s fare from the “Word of the Day” by Merriam Webster brought to my attention the word “trivial.” We moderns use the word to describe something barely worth mentioning. We adopted the word trivial from Latin trivialis in the 16th century. Then the meaning was just what its Latin ancestor meant: “found everywhere, commonplace.” But the source of trivialis is about something more specific: trivium, from tri- (three) and via (way), meaning “crossroads; place where three roads meet.” The link between the two presumably has to do with the commonplace sorts of things a person is likely to encounter at a busy crossroads. If we returned to the original meaning then Starbucks would become trivial – no less important to modern life – but “trivial” all the same.


Image credit: Dom J @ pexel.com

Baptism

This coming Sunday is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time for Lectionary Cycle C. In yesterday’ post we discussed the biblical and Lucan use of the imagery of fire. Today we will consider the imagery of baptism. “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” (v.50) The word baptizō used here is the same as that used for water baptism elsewhere in the NT. However, clearly Jesus is not referring to a water baptism (Luke 3:21-22) as that has already occurred. Continue reading

A call for decision

This coming Sunday is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time for Lectionary Cycle C. In yesterday’s post we took a moment to place the “fire and brimstone” opening verse in a context of the Lucan narrative. But as Brian Stoffregen insightfully noted that “Our gospel text is not one you find on many refrigerator doors or on greeting cards.” The image of Jesus in these texts is upsetting to one who only seeks the meek and mild Jesus. Having begun with an exhortation to courage in the face of tribulation, continuing with a warning against avarice in the face of fear, Jesus now raises the issue of judgment. The people are called to conversion before it is too late. Continue reading