A piece of the mosaic

VisitationToday we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation when the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth immediately after the events of the Annunciation when the Angel Gabriel proclaimed the conception of the Christ Child by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lucan narrative in Chapter 1 is about as rich a text as one could ask for. It is rich in OT echoes with strains of 1 Samuel woven into the thread of the story. It foreshadows Luke’s emphasis of the Holy Spirit so profoundly described in his second book, Acts of the Apostles.

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Let us remember well

Quantico-National-CemeteryToday our nation celebrates Memorial Day. Lots of people confuse it or conflate it with Veteran’s Day. It is the latter which honors all the men and women who have served our nation in the military. It is the former that remembers and honors all those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is a difference of which I receive weekly reminders as I am honored to serve veteran families during the internment of their loved ones at Quantico National Cemetery. Continue reading

A reminder

Quantico-National-CemeteryThis week someone thanked me for my service because Memorial Day was coming up.  I appreciated the thought but mentally noted so many people are a little unclear about the different holidays. Here is a handy reminder that I saw recently posted:

  • Armed Forces Day is for those in uniform.
  • Veteran’s Day is for those who once wore the uniform.
  • Memorial Day is for those who died in uniform.

To all we owe a debt of gratitude, especially those we honor on Memorial Day.

Francis and the Word of God

Francis_ClareSmallSeveral weeks ago we described Francis’ love of the Eucharist.  For Francis the Eucharist is the primary way in which he sees Christ’s continuing Incarnation in the world.  It is the sign of the presence of Christ with the Church in his continuing salvific role.  That presence was respected by Francis and was shown by the directions he gave to his own brothers regarding Eucharistic reverence, and that he even directed his missionary brothers to carry pyxes, so if they encountered the Eucharist not properly cared for, they would be able to provide a suitable means to reserve the consecrated hosts.

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legionnaires-diseaseCertainly the past 18 months or so have made us all aware of the complexity of disease outbreak called epidemiology, “the study and analysis of the distribution, patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations.” Back in 1976 there was another outbreak of limited scope, but one that became well know as Legionnaires’ Disease. If you would like to read a longish article on the event,the complexity and perplexity of identifying the disease, its cause, and its propagation – long but fascinating – have a look here.

Trust, Prayer, and Bearing Fruit

jesus-and-disciplesWhen one hears the story of Jesus and the fig tree in today’s gospel, it has to strike you as one of the strangest in the Gospels. It seems completely out of character for Jesus to curse anything much less a fig tree. When the text goes on to include the detail that “it was not the time for figs” (v. 13), Jesus appears even more unreasonable, and the incident becomes more difficult to understand – and so most people do the “holy nod” – Jesus said it so there must be something there – and move on.

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The Book of Proverbs

proverbsThe Book of Proverbs is an anthology of collections of sayings and instructions. The individual sayings and instructions are old, but collecting them together and adding an introduction (Chapters 1-9) is something that happened, most likely, in the early period after the return to Palestine from the Babylonian Exile (late 6th century BCE).  The primary purpose of the book is to teach wisdom, not only to the young and inexperienced (1:2–4) but also to the advanced (1:5–6). Wisdom in the ancient Near East was not theoretical knowledge but rather practical expertise. Tradesmen using their skills were wise; Artists, too. Leaders, Judges and Kings who contributed to peace and prosperity in the land were wise. One could be wise in daily life, too, in knowing how to live successfully and without trouble in God’s universe. Ultimately wisdom, or “sound guidance” (1:5), aims at the formation of character.

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Great-CommissionDoubt/hesitation. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted (Mt 28:17 – part of the gospel for Holy Trinity Sunday). Many English translations offer “but some doubted.” Unfortunately the word “some” does not appear in the Greek text. The only two valid translations are “they worshiped, but they doubted (hesitated)” or “they worshiped and they doubted (hesitated).” It is hard to avoid the simple statement of the text: those who worship are also those who doubt.

Mark Allan Powell writes about this verse in his book, Loving Jesus [121]. Continue reading

A certain lack of clarity

DiscernmentIt would seem this is post 3 of 3 about how I ended up in Kenya. In the two preceding days I posted about the role of memory and serendipity. But I think the original inquiry from a regular reader was probably most interested in the discernment process, and how I gained clarity on what the Spirit might be calling me to do. As part of mission formation we were encouraged to journal. One of our assignments was about discerning the call to mission. I did not record a full fledged account of my discernment, but I did record this: Continue reading