The Word Goes Out

The first reading today is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah and is one of my favorite passages:

Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. (Is 55:10-11)

Continue reading

Teaching Disciples

This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday in Lent. In yesterday’s post we reviewed the theme of conflict which is a recurring theme throughout Matthew’s gospel – a conflict which is building heading toward the events of Holy Week, a week in which the faith of the disciples will be sorely tested. In today’s post we consider the event of the Transfiguration itself. Continue reading

Into the Presence of God

The first reading today is taken from the Book of Leviticus and is paired with the memorable passage from Matthew 25. Leviticus is likely the least read book of the Old Testament. It is long and seems to be filled with all kinds of arcane information. The opening verse starts out with instructions on how to perform the ritual of burnt offerings while the people are still in the beginning of the wilderness trek of Exodus. Not the best “hook” to draw one into the book. Continue reading


This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday in Lent during Lectionary Cycle A. The Lenten readings have their own pattern. Regardless of the Cycle, the reading of the 1st Sunday in Lent is one of the Temptation in Desert accounts. The account of the Transfiguration is proclaimed on the 2nd Sunday of Lent, while the following three Sundays each reveal something about the covenant or salvific mission of Jesus. The sixth Sunday is always the Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday account. Continue reading

Who knew?

Part of my daily routine is to check the Word-of-the-Day from Merriam-Webster. I guess I have a reasonable vocabulary as most often I already know the meaning of the word, but the reason I check in daily is to read about the etymology of the word, Fascinating stuff. As you might expect lots of words come to us from Latin and became cognates in spoken English. Some came from Middle French and of course, especially here in the United States we adopt words from other languages when it seems beneficial to do so. Think “burrito”…., the food, …not the diminutive for burro. Continue reading

Pope Benedict XVI on St. Bonaventure

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Today I would like to talk about St Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. I confide to you that in broaching this subject I feel a certain nostalgia, for I am thinking back to my research as a young scholar on this author who was particularly dear to me. My knowledge of him had quite an impact on my formation. A few months ago, with great joy, I made a pilgrimage to the place of his birth, Bagnoregio, an Italian town in Lazio that venerates his memory. Continue reading

All this I will give to you…  

This coming Sunday is the First Sunday in Lent. In yesterday’s post we considered the second temptation. Today will move on to the third: 8 Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, 9 and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” 10 At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’” Continue reading

Prophetic Fasting

The second reading for today comes from the Prophet Isaiah – a book of complex content and 66 chapters long – yet there is a narrative, meta-narrative if you like, that threads and unifies the whole of the prophetic book. But, today we are privy to only 9 verses, all from Chapter 58.

I think the reason is straightforward why this reading was selected and paired with the gospel reading from Matthew 9. Both address fasting, one of the pillars of Lenten practices and piety. Just two days ago on Ash Wednesday we were reminded: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites” (Mt 6:16). Today our two readings take on the practice of fasting and ask us to examine our own intentions about following this Lenten practice. Continue reading

Stories of Friday abstinence

The capybara is the largest member of the rodent family. Abundant over much of northern and central South America, this plump, pig-sized cousin of the sewer rat spends much of its time in the water, foraging for food (mostly aquatic grasses) and protecting itself from predators like jaguars in wetland areas and semi-flooded savannahs. Its webbed feet and easy-dry fur make its semi-aquatic life easier to manage, and it is still possible to encounter herds of up to 40 capybaras in many South American countries. They’ve even showed up as an invasive species in Florida’s endless wetlands. Continue reading