Monday, July 24, 2017

The Parables of Jesus - Part 3 (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest video is now out over at Catholic Productions.   I hope it is helpful.  Please like and share if you are a subscriber and would like to help spread the word about the series.

Thanks!



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hypocrites in the Church: Readings for 16th Sunday of OT


Our Readings for this upcoming Lord’s Day involve a meditation on both God’s mercy and his justice, and the complex way both virtues of God are expressed in his government of human affairs in general and his people in particular.  We see that God’s apparent tolerance of evil in the short-term is an expression of his mercy and desire that all should repent; yet ultimately God can and will establish justice.  

1.  Reading 1 Wis 12:13, 16-19:

Monday, July 17, 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pope Francis on Openness to Life

Lost in the many of the discussions of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia has been Pope Francis' clear re-affirmation of the Church's traditional teaching on the openness to life of the sexual act within marriage.  This occurs in paragraph 80 of the document:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Seed of the Word: 15th Sunday of OT





Ordinary Time focuses on the growth of the Church.  I would prefer we called it “Extraordinary Time,” because there is nothing ordinary about the Second Person of the Divinity becoming en-fleshed in our presence through the Sacrament.

Be that as it may, the Readings for this Lord’s Day are clearly united by the motif of sowing the seed of God’s Word.

1. The First Reading (Isa 55:10-11) is one of the earliest passages in Scripture where an explicit analogy is drawn between the natural cycles of agriculture and the fertility of God’s Word:

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Parables of Jesus - Part 1 (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest installment of The Mass Readings Explained is now out.  Please like and share if you are a subscriber if you'd like to help us spread the word about the series.  Thanks!







Friday, July 07, 2017

Not a Republic, but a Universal Kingdom: 14th Sunday of OT



This Sunday we find Jesus more or less in the middle of his earthly ministry (Matt 11), and the Readings are marked by a strong theme of the restoration of the world-wide Kingdom of David.

Earlier this week, at Independence Day celebrations, the following song was often sung: 

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea! 

The concept of "from sea to shining sea" is not only a reference from the expanse of the U.S. from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but is inspired by the prophecies of the extent of the Kingdom of David in the Old Testament, from the Dead Sea on the East to the Mediterranean on the West.  As a Christian nation, many older American poets and song writers saw the U.S. as participating in the tradition of the sacred state of the God of Israel, a tradition that has its roots in the Old Testament.  

1. We see this "sea to sea" theme in our First Reading, Zechariah 9:9-10:

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

My New Job at the Augustine Institute

Many of you already know this but, just in case you haven’t heard, I wanted to let you know that, after more than 10 years at JPCatholic University in San Diego/Escondido, CA, I have taken a new job as Associate Professor of Scripture and Theology at the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. The Augustine Institute is home to a rapidly expanding Graduate Theology School. I begin teaching at the AI this August at the start of their Fall Semester. I will be teaching a grad class on Luke-Acts. I will also have a great deal more time for scholarship and writing... as well as, most importantly, for being a husband and father.

I don’t write long posts on Facebook, but this major life-change merits some detail.

First, this was the toughest decision Kim and I have made since getting married. We are both Southern California natives. Leaving our families, who are all still local, was, to put it mildly, a very painful decision. They have been incredibly supportive though and we can never thank them enough for all they have done and are doing for us.

We also leave JPCatholic full of gratitude for the time we’ve had there. We are profoundly thankful for the truly remarkable people we have had the privilege of calling friends. The greatest resource of a university is its people and JPCatholic is rich in this regard. If I begin to name names, this post will simply become too long. So, in the coming days, I plan to write a few more farewell posts highlighting specific individuals at JPCatholic to whom we will always be grateful. For now, I will just say to all of you, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Suffice it to say, as I’ve been telling people, I love the school and the people there so much, it seemed almost impossible to imagine ever leaving.

Yet turning down the opportunity at the Augustine Institute actually ended up being more than “almost” impossible to imagine. I simply can't wait to join Tim Gray, Ted Sri, Mark Giszczak, John Sehorn, Christopher Blum, Ben Akers, Douglas Bushman, to name a few.

Monday, July 03, 2017

The Easy Yoke of Jesus (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest video is out for this upcoming Sunday's Mass Readings.  If you are subscribed please be sure to Like and Share to help us spread the word about this series.  We greatly appreciate it, and I hope the video is helpful!




Friday, June 30, 2017

Receiving a Prophet: Readings for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time


God is generous, and he rewards those who help his servants as generously as he rewards his servants themselves. That is the message of the Readings for this 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  We begin with an account from 2 Kings concerning the reward of a wife of the town of Shunem, who was consistently gracious to the prophet Elisha.  In the Gospel Reading, Jesus proclaims a blessing on all those who give succor, refuge, and assistance to those he sends out to proclaim the Good News.  This Sunday’s Readings complement last Sunday’s, which emphasized the violent reaction that the proclamation of the Gospel often receives. This Sunday, on the other hand, we are reminded that not everyone opposes the Good News, and those who assist in its spread will be rewarded along with the messengers themselves.

1. Our First Reading is 2 Kgs 4:8-11, 14-16a:

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Cost of Discipleship (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest video is now out; I hope it is helpful.

If you are a subscriber and would like to assist us in spreading the word about the series, please be sure to Like and Share via your social media streams.

Thank you.





Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fear No One: Twelfth Sunday of OT Year A


Two Sparrows Sold for a Penny


After the celebrations of Pentecost, Trinity, and Corpus Christi, this Sunday finds us transitioning back to Ordinary Time, and the transition is a bit painful.  The Readings for this Sunday shift right back into the reality of persecution in the Christian life, as we read about Jesus advising the apostles to be prepared for the opposition they will encounter as they do the work of evangelization.
You would think that following the Prince of Peace would lead to a peaceful life, but sadly that’s not how it usually works out.  Those who follow Jesus often find themselves hated, because they speak the truth and thus pose a threat to those who want to promote false ideologies.  The practice of virtue also makes the non-virtuous look bad by contrast, so virtuous people are often resented.  And finally, there is a spiritual warfare dimension: Satan and his demons will oppose everyone who chooses to follow Christ. 
In the Readings for this Sunday, we find the common theme of persecution, beginning with the prophet Jeremiah, then the ancient psalm writer, and finally Our Lord’s words to the apostles about mission.

1. Our First Reading is Jer 20:10-13:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Do Not Fear Those Who Can Kill You (The Mass Readings Explained)

Latest video his now up for The Mass Readings Explained video series.  Check it out and please Like and Share if you are already subscribed and would like to help us spread the word.

Thanks!



Friday, June 16, 2017

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi




This weekend is another great liturgical feast, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, otherwise known as Corpus Christi.

Corpus Christi is one of a handful of feasts that celebrates the very gift of the Eucharist itself.  It is one of my favorite feasts, because the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was instrumental in my becoming Catholic.

Back in the Fall of 1999 I was reading through the Apostolic Fathers and came to this passage in Ignatius of Antioch’s Letter to the Smyrneans (c. AD 106):

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Body and Blood of Christ (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest video for this week is out on The Body and Blood of Christ.  Please Like and Share if you'd like to share awareness of this series to friends and family.  Thanks!



Friday, June 09, 2017

Circle of Love: Readings for Trinity Sunday!


The Easter Season usually ends with a sort of “trifecta” of major feasts: Pentecost, Trinity, and Corpus Christi, as the Church celebrates the central mysteries of the faith before entering into Ordinary Time once more.

In any event, this weekend is Trinity Sunday, a meditation and celebration of the central mystery of the Christian faith, the dogma that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions.  Christians alone believe in one God, who nonetheless exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Strangely, our Readings for this Sunday tend not to be classic “proof texts” for the idea that there is more than one person in the Godhead.  Instead, the readings tend to focus on the character or essence of God.  This is appropriate, because as we will see, the character of God is very different, and the meaning of salvation history as well, when one knows God to be a Trinity of persons. 

Reading 1: Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9:

Monday, June 05, 2017

The Mystery of the Trinity (The Mass Readings Explained)

This Sunday's video is now out: The Mystery of the Trinity.

Please Like and Share if you are a subscriber and would like to help us spread the word about this series.  Thank you!