Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Life is very busy at the moment. Blogging will resume here as time allows. God bless.

Monday, February 25, 2013


In today's Gospel, we read:
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


As we read in today's Gospel, Our Lord in His Incarnation is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets:
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

Dove Strategy

In today's Gospel, Our Lord asks the impossible of us:
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

Promise to Peter

In the wake of Pope Benedict's brave and self-effacing recent renunciation of the See of Rome, today the Church celebrates the "Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle." In today's Gospel, Our Lord promises the first Pope:
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


In today's Gospel, Our Lord counsels:
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

Starfish, not Yoda

Today's first reading says of God that He "repented" (Jonah 3:10) of the destruction of Nineveh because the Ninevites had fasted. How can the author of Jonah speak of God repenting? After all, Aquinas teaches us that God is necessarily immutable, and His will necessarily unchangeable.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Let go

In today's Gospel, Our Lord gives us an assurance, and a warning.
“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

Temptation need not be sin

In today's Gospel, we read:
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 Doctor is in

Today's Gospel finds Our Lord feasting at the house of a tax collector:
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

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.”

-- Luke 5:30-32

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

Justice, too, is a virtue

In today's first reading, we are admonished by God:
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

Take up your Cross

In today's Gospel, Our Lord says:
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

Ashes: because we all fall down

Today's first reading begins:
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

Tithing isn't enough

In today's Gospel, Our Lord remonstrates with the Pharisees:
“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

Seeds of Distributism

Today's Gospel reminds us of the goodness of growing things:
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

No pain, no gain

In today's first reading, the prophet Isaiah has a terrifying vision of the Glory of the Lord:
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.

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.”

-- Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-7

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

Not lone wolves, but sheep

Today's first reading instructs us:
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.

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.

-- Hebrews 13:17, 20-21

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

The marriage bed and the plated head

In today's first reading, we are admonished:
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

Good news for DFW

Matthew Yglesias reports:
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.

Answer to Sylvia II

Sylvia D. Lucas has responded to my post about the “childfree” lifestyle in the comments there. As Blogger’s often-frustrating comment system thinks my reply too long, I shall repost her comment and my reply to it here.

She writes:

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.

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.

My response is below. It begins with a requotation of the first part of Sylvia’s comment.


In yesterday's post, we looked at how Divine chastisement is preparing us to be sons and daughters of God in Heaven. In today's first reading, we read of the saints in Heaven described as "the spirits of the just made perfect." (Hebrews 12:23). This is why life's sufferings have to be so hard. God isn't molding us into slightly better people. He is making us literally perfect. We're growing into something beyond our wildest dreams, so there are a lot of growing pains.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Answer to Sylvia

Sylvia D. Lucas, an advocate of the narcissistic "child-free" lifestyle, has braved the comments in Catholic blogger Mark Shea's post on "Hostility to Children" to defend the sins of the contraceptively childless. My response is below.

Chastisements from the Father

In today's first reading, we are instructed:
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

Be not afraid

In today's Gospel, Our Lord remarks, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” (Mark 5:36)

To borrow a hackneyed expression: Words to live by.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Broken iron

In today's Gospel, Our Lord banishes a "Legion" of demons from a man they've been victimizing. These demons had been so powerful that even when chains and shackles had been put around their victim to keep him from harming himself, they had broken them. Not every problem is solvable with human technology....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Israel

The Church is the New Israel, the embodiment in history of the New Covenant. We should read today's Gospel with that in mind. In it, Our Lord says to his Jewish neighbors, children of the original Israel:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

You may let your servant go in peace

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, in which we recall Mary and Joseph bringing the infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for His ritual purification according to the old Jewish law. We read in today's Gospel of St. Simeon, who was in the Temple when the Holy Family arrived there.
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:
“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.”
-- Luke 2:25-32

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bone Thrown

Wonkblog has posted news of a modification to the Obama Administration’s odious contraception mandate. (h/t Mark Shea.) My analysis of the Wonkblog report is below.

Mustard Seed

In today's Gospel, Our Lord shares with us the Parable of the Mustard Seed.
“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.