Free from burden

How2ReadBibleIn yesterday’s homily, I noted that God’s Word is always related to human need. If a person is dying of cancer, the gospel is God’s strong word of resurrection. If a person is permeated with guilt, the gospel is God’s assurance of forgiveness. If people experience extreme suffering, God’s word is our refuge and strength.

If a person is under the power of the devil, to that one has come the proclamation of  liberty to captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, and letting the oppressed or possessed go free. In this day’s gospel, we are presented by what we understand as a classic exorcism, a quite dramatic expulsion of a demon from a person. The stuff of movies, Hollywood, but sadly also real life. But if this is just a narrative of particularly dramatic demonstration of the power of the Word, then how is it related to your human need? Your need on this day? Continue reading

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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The Annunciation

TheAnnunciationAt first blush it does seem odd that the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord falls in the midst of Lent. It is an event in the life of Christ that we associate with Advent. That scene in which the Angel Gabriele comes to Mary to announce she will be the mother of Emmanuel, “God with us.”

My friend, Fr. Bill McConville OFM, notes that part of the church’s art tradition is that the scene of the Annunciation often portrays Mary, not empty-handed, but holding a book or a scroll, her reading and reflecting on Scripture being interrupted by the angel’s pronouncement. The tradition is that she is meditating on Isaiah 7 (today’s first reading) in which there is the promise that a virgin will bear a child. Continue reading

Spiritual Beings

If you follow this blog you have probably deduced I am a big fan of the non-for-profit Bible Project which I promote and support. Their work to bring the Word of God to people is one of the great ministries and exmples of the possibilities of the “new evangelization.” Tomorrow has been designated “Word of God Sunday” by the Catholic Church as a day. Pope Francis, in his motu proprio “Aperuit illis, instructed that on third Sunday of Ordinary Time each year, we pause to remember and reflect upon and reawaken an awareness of the importance of Sacred Scripture for our lives as believers, beginning with its resonance in the liturgy which places us in living and permanent dialogue with God.

The mission of The Bible Project is “to help people experience the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus.” They do that through animated videos (podcasts also!) that explore books of the Bible, word studies, themes and more – sometimes in a series of videos – like the one below on Spiritual beings. You can explore their whole catalogue…. for free!

“Word of God Sunday” is a great place to start your renewed commitment to reawaken your love of God by diving into His Sacred Word.

Formed by the Word

TheAnnunciationIt is ironic and odd that the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord follows on the heels of the announcement of Tampa’s stay-at-home order. But wonderfully graced that we have the opportunity to let “Announcement” inform the other.

Today we celebrate the scene in which the Angel Gabriele comes to Mary to announce she will be the mother of Emmanuel, “God with us.”  Words we need to hold close to our heart and memory in the looming shadow of the pandemic.

My friend, Fr. Bill McConville OFM, notes that part of the church’s art tradition is that the scene of the Annunciation often portrays Mary, not empty-handed, but holding a book or a scroll, her reading and reflecting on Scripture being interrupted by the angel’s pronouncement. The tradition is that she is meditating on Isaiah 7 (today’s first reading) in which there is the promise that a virgin will bear a child. Continue reading

Fishing: the Word

Fishers-of-men-iconThe account begins with a wide-angle view: the press of the crowd leading to Jesus’ teaching in a natural amphitheater from a boat on the lake. Quickly, however, events on the boat move to the forefront and the crowd disappears completely from view. The important interaction here is between Jesus and Peter, who represent the ones who respond positively to Jesus. Continue reading

Powerful Words

The children’s rhyme insists that “sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Yet anyone who has comforted a teased child knows the emptiness of the adage. We all know from experience that the sharp, cold edge of the sword of a single word can cut to the quick, leaving wounds of a lifetime. Indeed, sticks and stone can break bones, but words… words have their own power. Continue reading

Fishing: the Word

Fishers-of-men-iconThe account begins with a wide-angle view: the press of the crowd leading to Jesus’ teaching in a natural amphitheater from a boat on the lake. Quickly, however, events on the boat move to the forefront and the crowd disappears completely from view. The important interaction here is between Jesus and Peter, who represent the ones who respond positively to Jesus. Continue reading

The Annunciation

TheAnnunciationAt first blush it does seem odd that the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord falls in the midst of Lent. It is an event in the life of Christ that we associate with Advent. That scene in which the Angel Gabriele comes to Mary to announce she will be the mother of Emmanuel, “God with us.”

My friend, Fr. Bill McConville OFM, notes that part of the church’s art tradition is that the scene of the Annunciation often portrays Mary, not empty-handed, but holding a book or a scroll, her reading and reflecting on Scripture being interrupted by the angel’s pronouncement. The tradition is that she is meditating on Isaiah 7 (today’s first reading) in which there is the promise that a virgin will bear a child. Continue reading