Lord of the Sabbath

The Pharisees are again making inquiries about this religious figure who is garnering attention from the people. As many scholars have noted, Jesus is more akin to than Pharisees that the other religious groups of the day – scribes, zealots, Sadducees, and others. And yet he continues to surprise/shock them as he claims the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7), eats with sinners, eats when he (apparently) should be fasting (v.18). Observant Jews were expected to fast twice each week. Observant Jews were also expected to keep holy the Sabbath and not work. Continue reading

The Significance of Baptism

One of the habits I hope we all have (or will incorporate into our lives) is to continue to read so as to enhance our spiritual lives. These days there are all kinds of sources: books, podcasts, video, blogs, and more. We do not lack for differing source materials and perspectives. Of course, there is no much, it is hard to know what might be the best mix for you. A good place to start is to try the recommendations of friends, spiritual advisors, folks at church, or links within links within links on what you are currently perusing online. A great way to develop the habit is to sign up for daily/weekly emails or text messages from sources.  Continue reading

An Day in the Life….

Perhaps you have read about the “traffic armageddon” in Northern Virginia during this first week of January 2022. It was a perfect storm of events: (a) rain preventing salting the roads, (b) suddenly turning to snow, coupled to the (c) extremely hilly area around Quantico (Occaquon to Rappahannock Rivers) and (d) a super-heavily traveled truck route – and the back up was 65 miles with people stranded 15-24 hours.

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End of Watch

Preparations, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day followed immediately by the Feast of the Holy Family; a long stretch. Serve in the military and at some point you will “stand watch” as we would say in the Navy. Each branch of the service has its own name. The experience is the same. I think anyone who has ever stood sentry, stood watch, served during the “dog watch”, been on duty during the long hours of the night as others sleep – we all remember the dilation of time as it seemed to slow and stretch forever. Biding time. Scanning for the first glimmers of light through the long shade of night. The tiring body, the yawns, talking to one’s self… and then the morning star pushed the first light over the horizon, slowly glowing, pushing back the night, and painting the world with a new day. At last, duty is done and one reports in to command, “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled…Continue reading

The King

I suspect if I asked most people, “Who is the King?” the answer might well come back “Elvis.” There is just part of us that lives in a pop-culture world. Besides, we Americans aren’t too keen on kings. After all, we fought a Revolutionary War to rid ourselves of English monarchs. Of course, we remain fascinated by them. Just look at the television ratings for royal weddings. Continue reading

Francis and the Leper: the Order changes

As noted two weeks ago the accounts of Francis and the leper were beginning to “evolve” from the first story that appeared in Thomas of Celano’s first book. Some 20 years later, there are additions being made to the story that seem to be less about Francis per se, and more about Francis’ legacy that should be central to the identity of the Order. Thomas of Celano’s second book was written at the behest of the then Minister General, Crescentius. This leader inherited the results of the leadership of the two previous ministers: Elias of Cortona and Haymo of Haversham. This week we will consider Haymo,  the Minister General of the Franciscan Order who succeeded Elias. He was elected with a “mandate” to fix what Elias was thought to have “broken.” Continue reading

The Franciscan Scotus

Duns Scotus1November 8th is the feast day of Blessed John Duns Scotus, a Franciscan friar from Scotland noted for his theological and philosophical work in the high-middle ages (late 13th and early 14th centuries). Scotus’ work was in the generation that followed Thomas of Aquinas and Bonaventure. His work was complex and nuanced, and he is generally considered to be one of the three most important philosopher-theologians of his time. He was given the medieval accolade Doctor Subtilis (Subtle Doctor) for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought. Continue reading

Francis and the Leper: the Order evolves

As noted last week the accounts of Francis and the leper were beginning to “evolve” from the first story that appeared in Thomas of Celano’s first book. Some 20 years later, there are additions being made to the story that seem to be less about Francis per se, and more about Francis’ legacy that should be central to the identity of the Order. Thomas of Celano’s second book was written at the behest of the then Minister General, Crescentius. This leader inherited the results of the leadership of the two previous ministers: Elias of Cortona and Haymo of Haversham. This week we will consider Elias.

Born in Bevilia near Assisi, Elias appears to have been one of the earliest companions of Francis. He seems to have joined the growing fraternity in 1211 within two years of it’s beginning. From the first he was given responsibility for leadership, first in Tuscany, then later (1217) to lead a band of missionaries to the Near East. In 1219  he became the first provincial of the then extensive province of Syria. Continue reading