About Friar Musings

Franciscan friar and Catholic priest at St. Francis of Assisi in Triangle, VA

Servant Leadership

This coming Sunday is the 29th Sunday in Year B of the lectionary cycle. In previous posts we have explored the request for glory from the Apostles James and John, Jesus answer, the reaction of the other disciples and a subsequent teaching from Jesus on servant leadership: Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; 44 whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. In these short verses, which in many ways parallels 9:35 (“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”), there is one difference that Stoffregen notes. In v.44 he/she will be a servant [diakonos] of you (plural, indicating the Twelve), while v.45 is he/she will be a slave [doulos] of all. This is not a distinction that Matthew makes in his parallel (Mt 20:26-27). Continue reading

The Kingdom

This coming Sunday is the 29th Sunday in Year B of the lectionary cycle. In previous posts we have explored the request for glory from the Apostles James and John: ““Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” (Mark 10:37). Jesus has questioned if they really understand what they are asking and its consequences:  “Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” The two apostles respond: “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40 but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” Continue reading

Irreversible

In his first public lecture as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche left no doubt as to the direction the congregation will take under his leadership. He did so by quoting Pope Francis’ words, referring to the reform of the liturgy approved by the Second Vatican Council: “We can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.” He spoke not only as prefect of the Vatican congregation but also from 46 years experience as a priest, 20 as a bishop (10 as a diocesan bishop, almost 10 as secretary of the congregation) and as a Catholic who “straddled the pre- and post-Vatican II eras.” Continue reading

The Grave

The Lord said: “Woe to you Pharisees!… You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” (Luke 11:42).

Back before this pandemic, I would often go with friends to the movie theatre. I am forever fascinated by the movie previews they select. I always think that the folks in marketing select the previews based on who they think is about to watch the feature movie. I remember going to watch a movie, “The Martian” which was about a US astronaut who is left behind, stranded on Mars. It is a story of the heroic human condition in the face of adversity. It is a science fiction movie. It is many things. But the previews were almost all horror movies. Maybe it was the proximity to Halloween. Continue reading

The Cost

This coming Sunday is the 29th Sunday in Year B of the lectionary cycle. It is a familiar story in which James and John seek glory: ““Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” (Mark 10:37). In our previous post, Jesus has answered them “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” It would be good to know Jesus’ tone of voice when he responds. Is it exasperation caused by their continuing blindness? Is it said as a tired sigh but with a willingness to again engage them and lead them to a deeper understanding and awareness? Does it have an edge? It might well be the simple inquiry to uncover what they understand: “Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” Continue reading

Ambition

This coming Sunday is the 29th Sunday in Year B of the lectionary cycle. It is a familiar story in which James and John seek glory: 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 He replied, “What do you wish (me) to do for you?” 37 They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” Even before the request is revealed, the very sound of the question seems brash: “whatever we ask.” It is as though they want a “blank check” from Jesus. Is it enthusiasm? Is it brazenness? Is it coming from a sense of “I deserve a reward for having followed you these many, many months?” Is it arising from a sense of “I have looked at the other 10 and we are the ones you should pick?”  Hard to know, but in any event, Jesus simply asks them what they desire. Continue reading

Savannah

The Georgia coastal city is known for manicured parks, horse-drawn carriages and antebellum architecture. Its historic district is filled with cobble-stoned squares and parks such as Forsyth Park shaded by oak trees covered with Spanish moss. It has its own rich history and lots of great restaurants. The official guide to the city offers: “Savannah, Georgia is a charming Southern escape where art, period architecture, trendy boutiques and ghost stories are all set under a veil of Spanish moss. Savannah is a place where cuisine comes straight from the coast and cocktails are served at every meal.”

Did you know it is the third largest container shipping port in the nation behind only Long Beach, CA and New York? Continue reading

Pope John XXIII

Today is the feast day for St. Pope John XXIII, the pope who called the Second Vatican Council into session. Normally a saint’s feast day is celebrated on the date of his passing. Pope John XXIII died on June 3, 1963; however, his feast is celebrated on October 11th each year, on the anniversary of the opening of Vatican II. His story is well-known and available on many internet sites.

Born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli in 1881, he was one of 13 children. His youth was spent poor as the son of sharecroppers in a farming village of the Bergamo province in Lombardy. Yet his family was able to provide an education that eventually led to the seminary. Continue reading

On the Way

This coming Sunday is the 29th Sunday in Year B of the lectionary cycle. It is a familiar story in which James and John seek glory: ““Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” (Mark 10:37) The tenth chapter of Mark has been especially dense with preparing the disciples for the time when Jesus will no longer be with them as their teacher. Jesus will enter Jerusalem at the beginning of Mark 11. The terrible fate that Jesus has already predicted for himself awaits even as he strives to have the disciples more fully understand the meaning of the Kingdom. Continue reading