Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”--Luke 6:36-38
What you give is what you will be given by the Father. And yet, we are promised that what we will be given will be overflowing abundance. Thus, the only measure that can call forth that reciprocal response of mercy, nonjudgment, noncondemnation, forgiveness, and gift is a superabundant measure. In order to be capable of receiving God's overflowing grace, we must become the sorts of beings who can accept such abundance. But how to grow into being capable of giving and receiving goodness that overflows all natural bounds? With His supernatural help. We are not called merely to be somewhat merciful, or somewhat forgiving, but to be supernaturally, superabundantly merciful and forgiving. This is not a task for unaided human nature. So ask for His help!
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.-- Luke
What was this new exodus which Our Lord was going to accomplish?
Saturday, February 23, 2013
You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.--Matthew 5:43-45
Friday, February 22, 2013
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.-- Matthew 16:18
Sometimes it seems as if Christ's Church is in insurmountable crisis. Concern trolls in the media have said as much in their cynical reflections on Pope Benedict's revitalizing and reformist renunciation.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.-- Matthew 7:7-11
Perhaps, as in today's first reading, from the Book of Esther, your prayer will be answered in this mortal life. Perhaps afterward. But God knows what you need--and what your heart really wants--far better than you know yourself. And He rejoices in giving it to you, with a Father's love. So ask!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”-- Matthew 6:14-15
Surely we should forgive others. But what are we to make of the Father's not forgiving us?
Monday, February 18, 2013
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.--Luke 4:1-2a
Our Lord is completely without sin. And yet He was tempted!
When we are tempted, that is not in itself a sin. It is an opportunity to grow in holiness by resisting the temptation.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”-- Luke 5:30-32
Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”
As collaborators with the Roman oppression of the Jewish people in Palestine, and as a group that frequently collected far more in taxes from the peasantry than were actually due to the Roman state (so as to enable embezzling by themselves), tax collectors were seen as grave sinners indeed. But it was to such lost sheep that Our Lord's mission of mercy and forgiveness was especially directed. Our Lord has a special love for those of us who struggle with sin: like me and you.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.-- Isaiah 58:5-7
Private piety and personal chastity do not exhaust the life to which Christian disciples are called by the Gospel.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?-- Luke 9:23-25
To find peace before death and everlasting life thereafter, there is only one path forward. Put away self-infatuation. Let go and love God. Lent is here. Take up your Cross.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart....-- Joel 2:12
God is always waiting for us, like the Father of the prodigal son. Let us turn toward Him. Lent has begun.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
“You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother, and Whoever curses father or mother shall die. Yet you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”(meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”--Mark 7:8-13
Monday, February 11, 2013
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it.” And so it happened: the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it. God saw how good it was. Evening came, and morning followed–the third day.-- Genesis 1:11-13
Sunday, February 10, 2013
In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above.-- Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-7
They cried one to the other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!” At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.
Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
He touched my mouth with it, and said, “See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”
The lips are a sensitive part of the body, filled with nerves. But for Isaiah to be able to stand in the presence of the Holy One of Israel, Isaiah's very lips are purged with a searing ember. The chastisements we suffer, in our lives and in Purgatory, are necessary if we are to withstand the Glory. There is no other Way but that of the Cross.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you.-- Hebrews 13:17, 20-21
May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the Blood of the eternal covenant, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
We are to defer to our overseers, the bishops. Each bishop is the shepherd of the flock in his diocese, in service to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd of His Church.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.-- Hebrews 13:4
Power loathes the speaking of this truth, as is illustrated by today's Gospel concerning the murderous hatred of Herodias for St. John the Baptist.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
As of last night it looks like American Airlines is finally going to do the right thing and accept US Airways' efforts to take it over. That's the best outcome for American financially, it's the most plausible outcome in terms of regulatory scrutiny, and it's the outcome American's unions have been pushing for.This is great news for those of us who have to fly out of American’s DFW hub to get to most places. No more working to rule by union members (rightly) trying to push management to do this. Thank you, Lord.
Thank you for your reply[.] I enjoy the quote used in the header of your website and think it therefore interesting that you begin your answer to me by calling the child-free "narcissistic." I don't know how that could possibly promote a culture of respect or friendship.My response is below. It begins with a requotation of the first part of Sylvia’s comment.
I understand that your religion dictates that you have children even if you don't want them, but as someone who doesn't follow your religious tradition, I don't have the pressure of God guiding my reproductive choices, and I believe not wanting to have children but doing it anyway is a irresponsible. It does a disservice to both parent and child, in my opinion.
You are, of course, entitled to your own beliefs and to live your life in the way you see fit, whether that means having zero or ten children (assuming you can afford them all financially, emotionally, and psychologically). I make no judgments about your lifestyle. I'd appreciate the same respect. There's no need for the vitriol between people like you and people like me.
I'll continue to not judge you and to respect your adherence to your beliefs. I hope you will eventually realize that others deserve the same treatment from you.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as his sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.-- Hebrews 12:7,11
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Monday, February 4, 2013
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel,and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:-- Luke 2:25-32“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
Friday, February 1, 2013
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”-- Mark 4:30-32
Maybe everything feels impossible for you right now. Do something, do some tiny small thing, to let God plant that little mustard seed in your heart. Say a prayer. Do that one little task you've been meaning to do, and offer it up to God. It's okay to start small. But do get started. God can make something great from the smallest beginnings.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy. We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.-- Hebrews 10:23-25
A prayerful relationship with Christ, and thoughtful reflection on His Word, are important. But we need our fellow Christians, and we need our Eucharistic encounter with the actual Body of Christ. Don't stay away from the assembly of the Mass.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
"They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit."--Mark 4:18-19
What thorns are choking the Word in your life?
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
“Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”-- Mark 3:34-35
God made us. We could have been mere toys or tools, slaves or servants. But God has chosen to offer us the chance to be His children, brothers and sisters of His Son. Christ has come to us and made Himself Our Brother. We have much to be grateful for.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf. Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice. Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.-- Hebrews 9:24-28
Sunday, January 27, 2013
If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.-- 1 Corinthians 12:26
This is eminently true of the Church, but is true of the human superorganism generally. We are called to love our neighbor as our self.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
In today's Gospel, we learn something about that, when Our Lord visits His hometown:
Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”-- Mark 3:2-21
If people you care about think you've lost it because you are considering that maybe belief in God, in Christ, in His Church, might just make some sense after all, don't be afraid to follow the Truth where He leads you. Offer up to Christ your loved ones' resistance and the pain it causes you. Even though He's God, He's been there. He understands.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.-- Mark 3:1-6
Ah, thinks the modern Christian. Those legalistic Pharisees--following the letter of the Law and not its Spirit! But it's not so simple. We read in the Book of Exodus that God--the same God Whom the Pharisees in today's Gospel plotted to crucify--is the God Who told Moses and the Israelites:
These are the words the LORD has commanded to be observed. On six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy to you as the sabbath of complete rest to the LORD. Anyone who does work on that day shall be put to death. You shall not even light a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.”-- Exodus 35:1-3
It's hard to imagine how the Pharisees could have read this any way other than the way they did. Is God contradicting His own Law? And how could God have made such a Law for the sabbath, if, as we read yesterday, the sabbath was made for man? What good has such a harsh law ever done for man?
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”-- Mark 2:27-28
This is often taken, correctly, as a rebuke to arid legalism. But why should the sabbath's being made for man imply that the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath?
Monday, January 21, 2013
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.-- John 2:6
Six twenty gallon jars would have yielded 120 gallons of wine. That is far more wine than could have been needed. It is superabundance. Exuberant, joyful, even playful superabundance. Enough for a very long, very lively party. God's love is like that.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”--Mark 2:16-17
At the Eucharist, all of us sinners are called to the feast of Jesus Christ. If you ever wonder why so many sinful folks (like me) are in the Church constantly screwing things up, just remember: everyone in the Church is a sinner. Our behavior down through the centuries, and our constant failure to live up to the ideals we preach, is thus pretty unsurprising.
Friday, January 18, 2013
In today’s Gospel, we meet another seeker who couldn’t see Christ for His followers.
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,“Child, your sins are forgiven.”– Mark 2:2-5
A way to Christ can be found, even if the Church seems forbidding. Have faith, and persevere.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
The Holy Spirit says:– Hebrews 3:7-8
“‘Oh, that today you would hear his voice, ‘Harden not your hearts.’”
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.-- Hebrews 2:18
All of the Abrahamic religions present God as merciful. In the Incarnate God on the Cross, though, Christianity presents us with more than this, with an image of God in radical solidarity with our sufferings. Although his Gnostic thinking on it was gravely wrongheaded, Jung was felicitous when he dubbed the Crucifixion the “Answer to Job.” When we ask why God allows us to suffer, we should remember that He suffers with us: that he has taken all of our suffering up into His Glory, and that it is to Him Who feels our suffering more deeply than we feel it ourselves that we may look for help, and find total empathy and compassion.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
– Mark 1:21-28
Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Sunday, January 13, 2013
In the second reading, St. Peter instructs us that:
In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.-- Acts 10:34-35
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Friday, January 11, 2013
The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.– Luke 5:15
Again we are reminded that while the Incarnate God could and often did heal ailments afflicting the biological life of the body (bios), that wasn’t really the Problem of Evil that God came among us in human flesh to solve. Sin and death were. Christ came to give us life everlasting (zoe) through the conquest on His Cross of sin, and the consequent conquest by His Resurrection of the death that sin brought into the world of men.
This is the plainspoken Good News consistently proclaimed throughout the New Testament and the Patristic writings of the early Church. But why should we trust the witness of the early Church? What if right from the beginning, it was just some delusional cult?
Thursday, January 10, 2013
The amount of cynicism about the Church amongst Limerick people is hard to exaggerate. Even those in the diocese who still bother to attend Mass have weathered much pain in recent years, as the Catholic News Agency reports:
Bishop Murray, 72, resigned from the diocese in December 2009 after an Irish government report found he had acted “inexcusably” by not investigating serial sex abuser Fr. Tom Naughton when he was an auxiliary bishop of Dublin in the 1980s. The findings came amid continued reaction and controversy over the Catholic bishops’ response to the sexual abuse of minors.
CNA further reports that Fr. Leahy has “entrusted himself to the Virgin Mary and asked Catholics for their prayers.” He has mine! By God’s grace, may he succeed.
– Luke 4:14-22
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Of course, when not playing Gandalf, Sir Ian spends much of his time engaged in political activism on behalf of his fellow gay people; not unrelatedly, he participated in the unfortunate protest against the Pope's recent visit to Britain. Unsurprisingly (and understandably, I admit), this went unmentioned in the Columbia article.
My passing (minor) observation is merely this: Those of us, like me, on the conservative side of the present stage of the kulturkampf might do well to strive to remind ourselves periodically that even some of our most cherished conservative cultural treasures are often in part gifts to us from our gay neighbors.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.– 1 John 4:18
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.– 1 John 4:7-10
Monday, January 7, 2013
This overlong post will address only Vogt’s first argument–specifically, why it fails to be the sort of non-religious argument suitable for use in the secular public square that Vogt claims to be aiming for. Heaven help the reader, but there are ten sections in all, which I shall address when I can and insofar as they interest me. Oddly enough, this post doesn’t contain any reflections whatsoever on the prudence or desirability of same-sex civil marriage: considering the metaphysics behind Vogt’s first argument and its unreadiness for prime time in the secular public square takes me far enough afield by itself.