Holiness

God’s holiness is rooted in his unique identity as the creator of the cosmos and the powerful source of all life and beauty and goodness. However, the power of God’s holiness is also dangerous to us as mortal creatures. But, in God’s desire to partner with humanity, he made a way for us to access his holy presence safely through Jesus. Jesus applies the dangerous heat of God’s holiness to the things that separate us from God.

As we read the Bible, we see that wherever Jesus goes, sickness is healed, brokenness is made whole, and death gives into life. This tells us something significant about what it means to participate with Jesus’ ongoing work in the world. Those who follow Jesus are called to be agents of God’s transforming holiness.

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Less clear and more difficult

Today’s daily readings for Mass can be found here. If you would like to read an introductory post for the reading this week, you can find that here.

Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”46 And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.47 Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed.48 Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building.49 Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’50 in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world,51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Continue reading

Real Strength

After acknowledging that real strength comes from Christ and not himself, St. Paul writes: “So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Woe to you!

Today’s daily readings for Mass can be found here. If you would like to read an introductory post to today’s gospel and the gospels for the two days following, you can find that here.

42 Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. Continue reading

Being Tested

In the Garden of Eden, humans are presented with a test, a choice between two trees. This familiar story is the beginning of a narrative pattern we see play out again and again throughout the biblical story. But why does God choose to test people? It may seem cruel or like he’s attempting to trap humans into making the wrong choice, but the biblical story is clear. God’s desire is to partner with humans, and these tests are opportunities for humans to return to the ideals of the garden despite our countless failures.

If you would like to read the Bible Project’s blog on this topic/video, you can access it here. The Bible Project is a non-for-profit organization that depends on our support. If you would like to support their efforts with a donation, you can reach them here.

Every so often

Every so often someone approaches me after I have celebrated a Mass to inform me what I have done wrong in the ritual. It is in those moments that I have great empathy for the physician who resigns themselves to  listen to a patient reveal their self diagnosis based on what they have discovered on WebMD. Given the ubiquity of the internet I suspect every profession has similar moments. On one hand it is good that patients and clients inform and educate themselves; on the other hand there is a reason medical school, internship, residency, and specialty fellowships take a bit more time than an internet search. As a doctor/friend once offered, “There is a reason it is called the ‘Art of Medicine,’ – the human body is beyond complicated in all its possible reactions.” Continue reading

Inside and Out

Today’s daily readings for Mass can be found here. If you would like to read an introductory post to today’s gospel and the gospels for the two days following, you can find that here.

37 After he had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat.38 The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.39 The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil.40 You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?41 But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you. Continue reading

Scripture for this week

The gospel readings for this 28th Week of Ordinary Time (Tuesday through Thursday) come from a section of Luke’s gospel – Luke 11:37-54. Three daily gospels are considered part of one pericope (fancy work meaning one narrative) from Luke’s writing. The parameters of this narrative unit are carefully marked: “he entered … he left” (vv. 37, 53). I will post each day about the daily gospel, but thought that today I would provide some context. Our reading come from the “travel narrative” (9:5119:27) which begins following the Transfiguration, Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Lk 9:51). From then, leading up to our passage, we encounter narratives about: Continue reading

Taxes and Choices

Next Sunday is the celebration of the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

15 Then the Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap him in speech. 16 They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. 17 Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” 18 Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. 20 He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” 21 They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” 22 When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away. (Matthew 22:15-22) Continue reading

Jonah in early art

From today’s readings:  While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.” (Luke 11:29-32)

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