These days, there are four words that are a sure way to get a reaction: “make America great again.” What kind of reaction? The “whys” “whats” and “wherefores” of the reaction, well, that is for another time and place. Like many slogans it is meant to point to some narrative beyond itself, to a larger story, to provide meaning, purpose, and destiny to this life.
It seems to me that at the heart of it all is the word “great.” We use it a lot. “Have a great day.” “That’s great news!” “She a great person.” There are lots of other uses, but what makes a person great? Many times, we borrow the personal attribute and assign it to an individual because of their actions and achievements. Some call Tom Brady of the New England Patriots football team the GOAT – greatest of all time. While his on-field performance would certainly qualify him for the moniker, GOAT, in the realm and history of football quarterbacks, do those accomplishments make him great? Michael Phelps is a candidate for the GOAT of swimming. But again, the same question lingers. Continue reading
It was a simple email. The writer said that she was committed to reading and studying the Bible. For her first time through, she wanted to accomplish it in a two-year period. She had already researched the internet for Bible study plans and discovered there are tons of plans, lots of perspectives, and advice a plenty. So much so, it was hard to sort through it all. And such was the genesis of the email asking for advice on “the plan.” Continue reading
Today we celebrate The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our church’s namesake. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotional with long and historic provenance within Christianity, and in modern times has been established as a Solemnity for the universal Church.
The Solemnity was first celebrated in France. The liturgy was approved by the local bishop at the behest of St. John Eudes, who celebrated the Mass on August 31, 1670. The celebration was quickly adopted in other places in France. In 1856, Pope Pius IX established the Feast of the Sacred Heart as obligatory for the whole Church. Continue reading
This coming Sunday marks the return to Ordinary Time, the 13th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.
51 When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, 52 and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, 53 but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. Continue reading
I wonder how often we pay attention to the first reading. It is from the Old Testament, often filled with names that are hard to pronounce at best and impossible to remember – especially when it comes as a collection of names that are a chain of ancestors. One of the gospels for Christmas Eve (Mt 1:1-17) has a list of 42 generations, all of whose names are ancestors of Jesus. Could you name some of them other than King David and Mary’s husband Joseph? Jesus’ genealogy starts with Abraham – who appears in our first reading – and continues with Isaac, his son Jacob , and whose son Judah… ok, we know those names. And the genealogy then ventures into, what I suspect is largely unknown territory. We come across Hezron, Amminadab – and one of my personal favorites – Zerubbabel. Continue reading
From time to time people tell me that “this year I am going to get into the Bible!” Music to my ears! Their declaration is quickly followed by something akin to “So, what should I do?” Maybe next week I will take a shot at answering that question, but for now let me tell how not to read the Bible! Continue reading
1 ”(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.2 When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,4 so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.5 “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.6 But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. Continue reading
This coming Sunday marks Corpus Christi Sunday (Year C); You can read a commentary on the reading here.
10 When the apostles returned, they explained to him what they had done. He took them and withdrew in private to a town called Bethsaida. 11 The crowds, meanwhile, learned of this and followed him. He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. 12 As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, ‘Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.’ 13 He said to them, ‘Give them some food yourselves.’ They replied, ‘Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.’ 14 Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, ‘Have them sit down in groups of (about) fifty.’ 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets. Continue reading
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. 40 If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. 41 Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. (Gospel for June 17, 2019) Continue reading
We have all kinds of solemnities, feast days, and other special days in the church year. We commemorate happenings in the life of Christ: Mary’s visit from Gabriel, the birth of Jesus, the arrival of the maji, the Baptism of our Lord, the Transfiguration when the glory of Christ is revealed, Palm Sunday, the empty tomb and Resurrection of Easter, the glorious Ascension, the explosive coming of God’s spirit to the church at Pentecost … and then we have Holy Trinity Sunday. And suddenly it is like we have moved from these great events in the life of Christ, and now…. tadah!! We are celebrating… well… what are you celebrating this Sunday? Take a moment and make a list of the possibilities… (for my own part I am waiting… are you making the list or did you keep reading?) Continue reading