Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Outpouring of the Spirit: Pentecost (rev., w/ Gospel for Year B)

 

I recommend glancing through my post on the Readings for the Vigil before looking at the Readings for Pentecost, because both the lectionary readings and the posts build on each other.  

The First Reading for Pentecost Sunday is (finally!) the account of Pentecost itself, from Acts 2:1-11:

Gathering the Human Family: The Readings for the Vigil of Pentecost



Pentecost is a very important feast in the liturgical life of the Church, and it has it’s own vigil.  Not only so, but the Readings for the Vigil are particularly rich.  I cannot think of another that has such a wide variety of options, for example, for the First Reading.  Even though only one First Reading will be proclaimed in any given Mass, it is well worth pondering them all, in order to come to understand the significance of Pentecost more deeply:

The First Reading Options for the Vigil:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

You Shall Be a Royal Priesthood: 7th Sun. of Easter



Those of you fortunate enough to live in a diocese where the Ascension is observed on its proper Thursday will be able to hear proclaimed this Sunday the proper Readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter.  Pre-empting this Sunday by the Solemnity of the Ascension is a bit unfortunate, because it damages the pattern of the Lectionary.  During the later Sundays of Easter, we read from the Last Supper Discourse (John 13-17), culminating in the Seventh Sunday, on which we read the grande finale of the Last Supper Discourse, namely the High Priestly Prayer (John 17).  Ironically, although John 17 is important enough that it is read on the final Sunday of Easter in all years (A,B,C), due to the transference of Ascension Day, this remarkable and beautiful chapter—the longest prayer of Jesus recorded in Scripture!—is never read at a Sunday Mass.  A passage that the framers of the Lectionary wished the faithful to hear every year is thus never heard.  Hopefully some kind of adjustment will be made in the future. 

Be that as it may, the Readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter are very rich, including themes of kingship and priesthood for the Apostles, and by extension for all Christians.  At Mt. Sinai, God promised Israel that, if they were faithful to the covenant, “you shall be to me a royal priesthood” (or, “kingdom of preists,” the Hebrew is ambiguous).  But due to the Golden Calf and other violations, this promise was not fulfilled.  St. Peter proclaimed it fulfilled in the Church: “you are a royal priesthood,” (1 Peter 2:9).  In a very special way, this was fulfilled in the Apostles.  In today’s Readings, we see both the royal and priestly aspect of the Apostolic role. 

1. Our First Reading is Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26:

The Kingdom of God: Readings for Ascension Day


In the Diocese of Steubenville, as well as in most of the USA, Ascension Day is observed this Sunday.  I wish the traditional observance on Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter was retained, but reality is what it is.

Therefore, this weekend we will look at the powerful readings for Ascension Day. 

This is an unusual Lord’s Day, in which the “action” of the Feast Day actually takes place in the First Reading.  We typically think of all the narratives of Jesus’ life as recorded in the Gospels, overlooking that Acts records at least two important narratives about the activity of the Resurrected Lord (Acts 1:1-11; also 9:1-8).

Friday, May 08, 2015

All We Need is Love: Readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

 
In 1967 the Beatles wrote and performed a song for one of the first world-wide TV broadcasts called, “All You Need is Love.”  It became a classic and as late as the 1980’s I can remember working on the trombone line of an adaptation of it for my high school band.  It’s one of a number of Beatles songs where they stumbled on something true out of their Christian heritage, without understanding the full implications.  In fact, they actively distorted the real implications of love by overly-eroticizing the concept.

Be that as it may, “All You Need is Love” could serve as the theme for this Sunday’s readings, but as we will see, the Readings define “love” in a far more demanding way than the Beatles would have. 

1.  The first reading is the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Roman centurion, Cornelius, sometimes called the "Gentile Pentecost" of the Book of Acts:

Monday, May 04, 2015

The War Among Us: New Documentary on the Chaldean Catholic experience of Islam, from the Baath Party to the Islamic State

It was one of the great joys of my time at JP Catholic to attend the ordination ceremony of now Fr. Ankido Sipo and Fr. Simon Esshaki (pictured in front row). Fathers Sipo and Esshaki have received their theological formation at JP Catholic through the Chaldean Seminary of Mar Abba the Great here in San Diego.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the Chaldean Rite, it is one of the various eastern rites of the Catholic Church, one that traces its origins to very early in Church history.

Due to the instability in the region, Bishop Sarhad Jammo of the Catholic Chaldean Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle (located here in San Diego) opened the first Chaldean Seminary outside of Iraq six years ago (Mar Abba the Great); Fr. Sipo and Fr. Esshaki are the first seminarians to be ordained, and two of their classmates are about to be ordained priests this August (Deacons David Stephen and Royal Hannosh).



The ordination of these four excellent young men is particularly significant considering the current situation of the Chaldean people, for as many of you may know, many Chaldean Catholics living in northern Iraq have been either forced out of the region or killed by the members of the Islamic State. In fact, the Arabic "N" (for "Nazarene") that has now become a symbol for Christian solidarity in persecution, is the symbol that was placed on many Chaldean doors by the Islamic State.

While this story did garner some media attention at times last year, the life and faith of Chaldeans remains largely unknown not only to the wider world, but even to other Christians. It is my hope that this will soon change, both through the priestly work of our students noted above and through a new documentary being produced here at JP Catholic entitled "The War Among Us."

This documentary originally emerged out of my philosophy of God class last winter, during which I encouraged media students to consider developing either documentaries or movie scripts that demonstrate the role that both philosophy and theology play in our contemporary world.

Along these lines, I showed the class a documentary produced by Vice News on the Islamic State, and this documentary inspired one of our finest media students, Lisa Spehar, to develop a documentary about the Chaldeans' relationship to Islam, and in particular, their experience of the rise of the Islamic State.

While the documentary has yet to be produced, it is now in "launch" phase, which includes a five minute trailer, produced for the purpose of raising funds for production.

Here is the website for the documentary: http://www.thewaramongus.com/

In the trailer, the four Chaldeans who are being interviewed are Frs. Sipo and Esshaki, and as well as Deacons Stephen and Hannosh, along with background music taken from the Chaldean liturgy as sung by one of our students, Olivia Nelson.

Please take a look, and if possible, give to the project, it is a story that needs to be told.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Questions asked during Q & A sessions

UPDATE: I just noticed that Anthony Le Donne has linked to the same post. He posted it first.

From The Toast.
1. “I’d like you to know that I’m particularly smart. Here are some subjects I consider myself to be very smart about. There is no question.” 
2. “Can you explain why I didn’t understand this presentation?” 
3. “This question has two parts, neither of which have anything to do with the other or the subject at hand. Also, this question has four parts.” 
4. “Can you possibly speak to an area that is outside of your expertise but is secretly in mine, so that when you can’t answer it, I can try to hang onto the microphone and answer it for you?” 
5. “I’ve written a book. Why hasn’t anyone published it? I will not tell you what this book is about. I have already tried all of the suggestions you are about to offer me, so don’t even try it.” 
6. “I have some opinions about other ethnic groups that I would like to take this opportunity to share.” 
7. “Why aren’t I very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very famous and successful?” 
8. “Hi, I’d like to complain about as many things as possible before the moderator realizes I’m not building up to a question of any kind and cuts me off.” 
9. “I’m deeply unpleasant, and have run out of friends and family members who are willing to put up with my opinions.” 
10. “I used to like your work, but I don’t now. Have you considered doing the things I like again?” 
11. “Hi, I have a personal anecdote that I believe completely disproves the central thesis of your research?”

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Scandalous Jesus: Readings for the 4th Sunday of Easter

 
The readings for this Sunday’s Masses are truly “scandalous” in more ways than one. Our English word “scandal” comes ultimately from the Greek skandalon, “a stumbling block.”  A “scandal” is something that causes people to “stumble,” i.e. that offends or injures them in some way.  As we will see, the exclusive claims made for and by Jesus in the readings for this Sunday are scandalous to the “inclusive” and “diverse” culture we live in today, which does not recognize the possibility of a religious truth binding on all humanity.



1.  The first reading is Acts 4:8-12:


Friday, April 24, 2015

National Catholic Bible Conference




Other TSP contributors have been there in the past.  I'll be giving these talks:
* "How to Get through the Bible in an Hour": A one-hour journey through Scripture, showing how God is always inviting us to become part of his family through a covenant.
 * "Building Holy Families: Lessons from Genesis": The Book of Genesis describes the origin of all things, including the family.  We need to get back to our roots.
* "The 'Passion' of Marriage: Foundation of the Family": Did you know the Cross was also a wedding?  That's how the Apostle John saw it.  The Sacrament of Marriage flows from Jesus' self-gift on the Cross.  Once that is understood, our view of marriage is never the same. 

(The add is pretty epic, no?  I hope I get that full orchestration backup while speaking.)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"He opened their minds to understand the scriptures": Readings for the Third Sunday of Easter

Two themes are underscored by this Sunday's lectionary readings. First, Jesus' passion was anticipated by the prophets. Second, Jesus died for a purpose, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

As the lectionary will also make clear, however, recognizing these truths is not simply the result of rationalistic biblical interpretation. It requires faith.

FIRST READING: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Peter said to the people:
“The God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus,
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Now I know, brothers,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”
There are many fascinating aspects of Peter's speech. Among other things, he refers to Jesus as the "author of life" (or "prince of life"; archēgon tēs zōēs), a reference that might be seen as highlighting Jesus' divinity (though that could be disputed, hence the interesting discussion).

However, here let us focus on one particular aspect of this passage: Peter insists that Christ's suffering was foretold by the prophets.

Specifically, the language employed by Peter seems to link Jesus to Isaiah's famous "Suffering Servant" passage.

The reference to Jesus as the God's "servant" and as the "Righteous One" evokes Isaiah 53:11, "by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous".[1]  Of course, there is something ironic here: the "author/prince of life" is also a "servant".

That Peter speaks of Jesus' passion and death, of course, also fits well with an allusion to Isaiah's Servant passage, since that figure is described as suffering:
3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5)
Finally, Peter explains why his audience ought to repent and believe in Jesus: "that your sins may be wiped away" (Acts 3:19). It is hard not to hear echoes of Isaiah 53 in this. Isaiah explains the Suffering Servant dies in order to bring about the forgiveness of sins:
"he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed" and that he shall "make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities" (Isaiah 53:11). 
The speech of Peter, then, emphasizes that Jesus' death was anticipated by the prophets (namely, Isaiah). Recognition of this, Peter insists, should lead to faith. While the rejection of Jesus was the result of ignorance, looking back it should now be clear that everything that happened to Jesus was a result of God's plan. Comprehending this--realizing that, in fact, Jesus' death was in accordance with the divine plan--should lead to repentance and conversion.

In short, for Peter, conversion is the result of understanding the Christ-event in view of the scriptures. The Gospel, however, will also make it clear that such an understanding is not possible without faith.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Speaking in Dubuque Next Weekend

I'm looking forward to visiting the great state of Illinois this weekend and early next week for a wonderful parish mission at St. Mary's Parish in East Dubuque.  A copy of the parish flyer:


Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Great Reversal: The Second Sunday in Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday

For the second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday, the Church sets before us a combination of texts that helps to illuminate the nature of ”the great reversal”[1] inaugurated in the resurrection of Jesus, beginning with our first reading from Acts 4:32-35.

First Reading: Acts 4:32-35
The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.
With great power the apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.
In order to best comprehend the inner rationale of this passage, it is important to take a step back and briefly examine the resurrection itself against the various eschatological expectations in second Temple Judaism. While there was not a single view regarding the afterlife in second Temple Judaism, for those who expected the resurrection of the body, for many it was seen as an event that would occur in the age to come. One passage that points in this direction is Daniel 12, where the righteous are resurrected and shine like the stars of heaven.

With the resurrection of Jesus, something unexpected happens: one man is raised before all the rest, inaugurating the age to come by defeating death. What is more, the resurrection of Christ serves to produce in his followers a manner of living that demonstrates a willingness to invest in this dawning new world, and this can be seen in the disciples willingness to give of their own possessions in order to help those in need.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Easter Vigil 2015

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Brant, Michael and I belong to a school of thought that sees covenant as a central concept in biblical theology, particularly Catholic biblical theology.  Such an approach has strong support in the text of Scripture and in the tradition and liturgy of the Church, and would seem to be a "no-brainer," yet there are those who oppose it and de-emphasize the significance of covenant for interpreting the Scriptures in the Church.  For that reason, it's necessary periodically to justify this approach.

When I teach biblical theology, I focus on a series of covenants which are central to the economy of salvation: the (1) Creation (or Adamic; Genesis 1-3; Hosea 6:7), (2) Noahic (David Noel Freedman preferred "Noachian"; Genesis 9), (3) Abrahamic (Genesis 15, 17, 22); (4) Mosaic (Exodus 24), (5) Davidic (2 Samuel 7; Psalm 89); and (6) New (Jeremiah 31:31; Luke 22:20).  It has always struck me, and my students, how well this overview of the divine economy accords with the readings of the lectionary of the Mass, especially the readings of the Easter Vigil.

I'll proceed to point out how all these covenants appear in various forms in the seven Old Testament readings that form the backbone of the Liturgy of the Word for the Vigil.

1. The First Reading:

Was Plato a Prophet of Christ?



I've been trying to work through Plato's Republic in my "spare time" in an effort to be cultured and well-read like everyone says we ought to be—actually, at the suggestion of Alvin Plantinga, who lists the Republic as one of the three books everyone educated person should have read.  In any event, I came across a striking passage some weeks ago from Book II of the Republic, during Socrates dialogue with Glaucon.  The two are discussing the nature of justice, and whether it is really better to be a just rather than an unjust person.  Glaucon adopts the extreme Machiavellian (atheist-materialist) position that it is better to be unjust than just, because the wicked person prospers in this life, while the good person suffers and experiences abuse.  Christian readers will see correlations here with Wisdom of Solomon 2 and the passion narratives of the Gospels:

"On the first day of the week. . .": Readings for the Mass of Easter Day

Here I thought I'd offer some thoughts on the readings for the Mass of Easter Day. (For the Easter Vigil readings, go here for John Bergsma's fine commentary from last year.)

Happy Easter in advance!


FIRST READING: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Peter proceeded to speak and said:
“You know what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.
We are witnesses of all that he did
both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
In the First Reading, Peter explains that Jesus is the "Christ". The term is the Greek equivalent of "Messiah". Both terms, of course, mean "Anointed One". Here Peter tells us that God "anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power" (Acts 10:38). Here we see that the "Spirit" is inseparable from Jesus' identity as "Christ".

In the Old Testament, we read that kings (as well as priests and prophets) were anointed. The anointing oil seems to have been linked with the coming of the Spirit. I cannot fully develop this here but let me simply highlight one passage where this is clear: the anointing of David. In 1 Samuel 16 we read:
"Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed [David] in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. (1 Sam 16:13)." 
We might also mention Isaiah 61:
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me" (Isa 61:1).
What is the Christ? He is the "anointed one", i.e., he is the one who comes in the Spirit. 

Thursday, April 02, 2015

20 Observations from Thomas Aquinas on the Gospel of John's PassionNarrative

In the past, we here at TheSacredPage.com have offered commentary on the Good Friday readings. (Here is last year's fine commentary from John Bergsma).

While the lectionary for Sundays and Holy Days follows a three year cycle, the readings for the Good Friday service remain the same every year. So you can go back and read those commentaries if you'd like--they are just as relevant now as they were when we originally posted them.

Instead of essentially re-doing a past post, I thought this year I'd offer something a little different. (Besides, I don't think I can top John's excellent work.) 

This year I'd like to highlight 20 Things Thomas Aquinas has to say about the Passion Narrative in the Gospel of John--the Gospel reading for the Good Friday service. 

A couple caveats.

First, I'm not going to get into some of the critical issues that could be raised. For example, Thomas assumes--as all the Fathers and Doctors do--that the author of the Fourth Gospel is meant to be understood as the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee. Many contemporary scholars, of course, reject that identification. I don't have time to deal with this issue here. Suffice it to say, there are good reasons to think the author is identifying himself as the Apostle John (for one treatment, listen to Mark Goodacre's podcast on the topic). 

Second, there are many aspects of Thomas' commentary on Jesus passion I have not included. Certainly, some will complain that I have left out some things I should have included and have included some things I should have left out. The only defense--dubious as it is--that I can offer is: "What I have written, I have written."  

The following quotes are all taken from St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of John (trans. F. Larcher, O.P. and J. A. Weisheipl, O.P. with M. Levering and D. Keating; Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2010). 

1. On the two-fold involvement of the Jews and the Romans

Thomas has an interesting take on the structure of the Passion in the Fourth Gospel, which comprises John 18-19. Thomas divides the two chapters by saying that ch. 18 deals with Christ's suffering at the hands of the Jews, while ch. 19 deals with what he had to suffer at the hands of the Gentiles (i.e., Romans). He also emphasizes the role of three major parties in the Passion: the disciples, the high priests, and Pilate. 
"Christ’s passion was effected partly by the Jews, and partly by the Gentiles. Thus, he first describes what Christ suffered from the Jews; secondly, what he suffered from the Gentiles (19:1). He does three things regarding the first: he shows how our Lord was betrayed by a disciple; secondly, how he was brought before the high priests (v. 13); and thirdly, how he was accused before Pilate (v. 28)." (no. 2271)

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord's Supper


The Readings for the Holy Thursday Mass focus on the continuity between the ancient Jewish Passover and the institution of the Eucharist.  As the Passover was the meal that marked the transition from slavery to Egypt to the freedom of the Exodus, so the Eucharist is the meal that marks the transition from slavery to sin to the glorious freedom of the children of God.

1.  Our First Reading is from Ex 12:1-8, 11-14:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My God, My God! Why Have You Forsaken Me? Readings for Palm/Passion Sunday

How could the Messiah die?

Despite a few mysterious prophetic texts that seemed to intimate this possibility, the idea that the Messiah could arrive and subsequently be killed was radically counter-intuitive to most of first-century Jews. 

Yet the conviction of the early Christians, based on Jesus of Nazareth’s own teachings about himself, was that the radically counter-intuitive impossibility was actually prophesied, if one had the eyes to see and the ears to hear it in Israel’s Scriptures.

The Readings for this Mass offer us two of the most poignant prophecies of the suffering of the Messiah.

1. Isaiah 50:4-7, the First Reading, is part of one of the several enigmatic “servant songs” characteristic of the second part of Isaiah (Isaiah 40-66).  (I follow Benjamin Sommer in seeing Isa 40-66 as a literary unit.)  The subject of these “songs” or poems is a mysterious “servant” of the Lord, who is described variously in the first, second and third person:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"A Grain of Wheat Falls and Dies": Readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

This Sunday is the last Sunday of Lent before Holy Week. The readings, therefore, lead us into the heart of the mystery of the suffering and death of Christ.

Below are a few thoughts on the lectionary selections.

FIRST READING: Jeremiah 31:31-34
The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers
the day I took them by the hand
to lead them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they broke my covenant,
and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.
I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives
how to know the LORD.
All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.
The famous "new covenant" prophecy of Jeremiah is found in Jeremiah 31. The prophecy appears in a section of the book of Jeremiah--chapters 30-33--that focuses on future hopes for the restoration of Israel. Some refer to this section of Jeremiah as, "the Book of Comfort."[1] Indeed, many scholars recognize Jeremiah 30-33 as a discreet literary unit within Jeremiah. Among other things, God's covenant oath to David is emphasized in this section of the book, pointing to messianic expectations. Marvin Sweeney, for example, writes:
"Despite the emphasis on the criticism of Judah in the message of Jeremiah, the oracles in Jeremiah 30–33 point ultimately to the restoration of the people to the land under the rule of a righteous Davidic monarch when YHWH makes a new covenant with the people."[2]

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Speaking this Saturday at St. Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Walnut, CA

This Saturday morning I'll be speaking at St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church in Walnut, CA. The topic will be intentional discipleship. 

Here's some information.
Cost: FREE. 
Location: Vellucci Hall at St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church, 747 Meadowpass Rd., Wanut CA 91789 
When: Registration begins 8-8:30. The event officially begins at 9am and ends at 12pm. 
 If you're in Southern California, I hope you will consider joining us!

To register in advance or to get more information call: 909-595-9545.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Jesus and the Law of God: 3rd Sunday of Lent



What is the best way to communicate law?  Written law has its limitations, because we are all familiar with the concept of the “loophole.”  There always seem to be methods of interpreting the written law in ways that run contrary to its intent.  In West Virginia, which is across the river for us in Steubenville, they passed a law a few years back allowing cafés to operate some small-time gambling on their premises.  The idea was to allow owners of small eateries a sideline to supplement income during a tough economic time.  Well, now dozens of new “cafés” have sprung up in the old steel towns on the other side of the river, and if you walk in and ask for a cup of coffee, they scarcely know what to do.  The “café” title is just a front for a gambling operation.  What was intended to be small time side business has become the whole purpose of these establishments.  This was not the intention of the law, at least not how it was “sold” to the people and legislature.

So what is the best way to communicate law?  Already in antiquity, the prophet Jeremiah longed for a better way than a written code: ““Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah… this is the covenant which I will make: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts.”

One of the themes that arises from this Sunday’s Readings is Jesus as the embodiment of the law, who gives himself to us, that God’s law may be inside of us.