Monday, December 11, 2017

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Immaculate Conception!


This Friday is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics in the United States, since it is the patronal feast day of our nation.  (Have you ever pondered that the irony in the fact that our capital is a little square of territory nestled in the heart of “Mary-land”?)

The Readings for this Solemnity are extremely rich, and include two famous passages (the account of the curses of after the fall in Genesis 3; and the Annunciation in Luke 1) that are pivotal in salvation history and touch on mega-themes in biblical theology.  Mary is at the heart of the story of salvation; understanding her and her role properly entails understanding the divine economy (salvation history) properly as well.

The First Reading is from Genesis 3:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Staying Alert: 1st Sunday of Advent


The last month of the liturgical year was spent reflecting on the Last Things, culminating in the Feast of Christ the King last week, when we pondered the Final Judgment, the separation of the “sheep” and the “goats.”

There is actually a fairly smooth transition from the end of the liturgical year to its beginning, because the first week of Advent is spent meditating not on the First Coming of Christ, but on his Second. By next week, the perspective will shift, and the liturgy will anticipate the coming celebration of the incarnation.
In any event, although it is a new liturgical year this week, the end-times focus of previous weeks continues.

Reading 1 Is 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7:

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Second Coming of Christ: Stay Awake! (The Mass Readings Explained)

I want to thank all of your who spent this past year studying the Gospel of Matthew with me. It's been a great journey, but with Advent right around the corner, today we begin our new Video Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark! 

On this Cyber Monday, we're offering a Free 14-Day Trial of the new series, just for signing up! Check it out:




Friday, November 24, 2017

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe




Congratulations, everyone!  God has seen fit to let us live to complete another liturgical year!  We have journeyed with Our Lord from his birth through his ministry, passion, death, resurrection, and into the growth of the Church and the spread of the Gospel to all the nations.  Now, at the end of the year, we reflect on the Final Judgment, when Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, will pass sentence on each and every human being, establishing justice, punishing evil and rewarding love and self-sacrifice.  The Feast of Christ the King is a profession of our faith that ultimately there is a moral standard to the universe, that all is not in flux or random, that the Good, the True, and the Beautiful triumph in the end over darkness, ugliness, and selfishness. 

Our First Reading comes from Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Faithfulness in the Little Things: The 33rd Sunday in OT


St. Josemaría Escrivà, the founder of the personal prelature
Opus Dei, has often been called the “saint of the ordinary” for the emphasis he placed on achieving holiness in every-day living.


In fact, one of his most famous sermons was entitled “The Richness of Ordinary Life.”

St. Josemaría once said he could tell a great deal about a man’s interior life by looking in his closet.  Good order in one’s soul is often reflected by good order in one’s lifestyle.  A man who is sloppy or inattentive in the care of his personal effects will often likewise be careless in his life of prayer.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Parable of the Talents (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest video is now out for this Sunday's Readings...


...And the final days are here to save over 20% on Year B's series (on the Gospel of Mark) at Catholic Productions.  Sign up now before the new series begins.


Thursday, November 09, 2017

Waiting for the Party to Start: 32nd Sunday in OT




Many years ago I worked in a cafeteria in northern Virginia with a large group of people who mostly knew each other and lived in the same neighborhood.  Around the 4th of July, they all decided to have a party, and out of politeness invited me, even though I was a bit of a stranger.  They told me the party would start at “six” and I dutifully showed up at six sharp with a dish to pass.  Little did I know that, in the local culture, things tended to start about two hours after the stated time.  It was a lot like what we used to call “Hawaiian time” when I lived on Oahu.  Anyhow, I was the only one there at 6pm, and by 7:30 I had eaten my own dish and was hanging around with still just 2 or 3 other people.  I ended up going home before the party ever really got going.

In the Gospel Reading for this Lord’s Day, we have five young women who, like me, weren’t prepared to wait for the party to start.  The Readings are full of images of the wise person who is prepared for the “long haul”—that is, to endure to the end and to stand upright before God at the final judgment.

1. Our First Reading is taken from the Book of Wisdom:

Monday, November 06, 2017

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Good Leaders for God's People: 31st Sunday in OT



Some years ago at Franciscan University, we had Alexandre Havard on campus to speak about virtuous leadership.  His fine talk is on You Tube here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf36I-n752w

We've also been blessed with visits by Andreas Widmer, another leadership expert, based on his experiences as a Swiss Guard during the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II.  He has an excellent book, The Pope and the CEO.

These men of leadership came to my mind this week as I pondered the Sunday Readings, because virtuous leadership for the people of God is the unifying theme of these Scriptures.

Our First Reading comes from the prophet Malachi, who prophesied to the people of Judah during the post-exilic period, after they had returned from the Babylonian exile.  Although restored to their land, the people of Israel were forbidden to establish their hereditary king of the line of David.  They were still ruled politically by the Persian emperor or his representatives.  In this situation, the priesthood seems to have come to the fore once more, and taken a more active role in governing the people, as it had done in earlier times in Israel’s history, and as the Law of Moses had intended.

Unfortunately, the priests in post-exilic Judah were abusing their authority, as we see in this reading: 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Call No Man "Father" (The Mass Readings Explained)

The video for this Sunday's Mass readings is now out.  Click here to view it if you are subscribed.

If you are not subscribed, the campaign for Year B, next year's Sunday Mass Readings, has a few days remaining at the 20% discount.  Check it out here.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Of Law and Love: Readings for 30th Week of OT

 
How does love relate to law?  The two can seem opposed, a contrast to one another.  Love is a romantic dinner for two on a veranda overlooking the Seine.  Law is a solemn old man in a black robe, sitting behind a high podium with police officers at his side. 



The Readings for this Sunday insist that law and love, as strange as it may seem, are ultimately united.  Without love, law is cold.  Without law, love is mere emotion.  The Readings show the unity of the Old and New Testaments in pointing to the love of God as the highest law.



1.  Our First Reading is from the Book of Exodus:


Monday, October 23, 2017

The Two Greatest Commandments (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest video is now out.  I hope it's helpful!

Don't forget that next year's Mass Readings Explained campaign is still going on and is still at the 20% discount.  Catholic Productions greatly appreciates your support.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Religion and Politics: Readings for the 29th Week of OT

Religion and politics are a volatile mix, such that the old dictum was, these were the two topics one should not raise in polite conversation.  

The readings for this Sunday are concerned, in part, with the interaction of religion and politics, in the rule of God vs. the rule of men.  The Scriptures affirm that despite appearances to the contrary, ultimate control of human history is in the hands of God.  Human rulers have their place, but even they are ultimately instruments by which God guides human affairs.  In the midst of the chaos that is human politics, we cannot become distracted from the true goal of human life, which is union with God.  

The First Reading is taken from the second part of Isaiah: Is 45:1, 4-6:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Jesus, Caesar, and God (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest video is now out for this upcoming Sunday's Mass Readings. I hope it is helpful!

Also, if you want to consider subscribing to the liturgical Year B (starting in Advent) at a 20% discount, you can check that out here.