Thursday, January 19, 2017

Joy in Dropping Everything to Follow: 3rd Sunday of OT


The Readings for this Sunday focus in part on the theme of joy, the joy that comes from recognizing Jesus Christ as the light of the world, the ray of sunshine from God who shows us a different way to live, a way that will lead to an eternal friendship with a God who loves us as our Father.  Jesus is the joy and light that first was promised to the people of Israel long ago, but is now available to the whole world, from Sweden to Swaziland.

1.  Our First Reading is Isaiah 8:23-9:3:

Monday, January 16, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Afterglow of the Baptism: Readings for the 2nd Sunday of OT



The Readings for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time this year are like a “holy hangover” from the Feasts of Epiphany and Baptism that we celebrated last week.  Traditionally, three events of our Lord’s life have been celebrated clumped together around January 6, between the Christmas season and the transition to ordinary time.  These are the arrival of the magi (Epiphany), the Baptism, and the Wedding at Cana.  These are the three events in the various Gospels that “manifest” or show forth Jesus’ glory at the beginning of his life or career: the Magi in Matthew, the Baptism in Mark and Luke, and the Wedding at Cana in John.  In the modern lectionary, the Wedding at Cana is read on the Sunday after the Baptism only in Year C.  This is Year A, and following the Baptism (which was last Monday—on years when Epiphany is observed on Jan 7 or 8, Baptism is celebrated the next day) we read the reflection on the Baptism from the mouth of John the Baptist, as recorded in the Gospel of John.  The Readings for this Mass focus on the role of Jesus as God’s definitive Servant, come to show the glory and salvation of God to the whole world.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Set on History and the Bible!

Ever wonder if the Bible is really history?  Catholic Productions has just rolled out my three-hour overview of this question.  While we can't address every historical claim the Bible makes, I do point out many of the most significant historical and archeological finds that confirm key points of the Bible's narratives.  From the unearthing of St. John's "Pools of Bethesda" (John 5) to the recovering of the "Taylor Prism" with the account of Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem (2 Kings 18-19), we come to see that the main biblical narrative is rooted in history in a way unlike the  myths and sagas of other ancient peoples.  Click here: http://bit.ly/2j7T3OR

The Gospel of Matthew: An Introduction (The Mass Readings Explained)

Catholic Productions just released the bonus video I did as part of The Mass Readings Explained series. I hope it gives some insight into the Gospel and provides a good primer as we start moving through the Gospel of Matthew with the Church each week in the liturgy. 

If you can kindly Like and Share that would great. Thank you and God Bless!




Monday, January 09, 2017

Thursday, January 05, 2017

The Readings for Epiphany!





The word “Epiphany” comes from two Greek words: epi, “on, upon”; and phaino, “to appear, to shine.” Therefore, the “Epiphany” refers to the divinity of Jesus “shining upon” the earth, in other words, the manifestation of his divine nature.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Friday, December 30, 2016

Mary, Mother of God


This Sunday is the Solemnity (Holy Day) of Mary, Mother of God, one of the more significant liturgical celebrations in the Catholic calendar.

The confession of Mary as “Mother of God” presents a stumbling block for some non-Catholic Christians, but curiously it never did for me.

I think it was back in the Fall of 1992 when I was sitting in a course in Ancient Church History at one of the best Calvinist seminaries in America.  Our professor, a devout Dutch Calvinist (like most of us students), was lecturing on the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus AD 431, the council that recognized Mary as “Theotokos,” “Mother of God” (or more literally, “Bearer of God”).  He began to address the question, Can Calvinists confess Mary as “Mother of God”?  He answered in the affirmative, granted that one understood this not as a claim for Mary’s motherhood of divinity itself, but in the sense that Mary was mother of Jesus, who is truly God.  And that, of course, is precisely how the Catholic Church understands the term.

So far from being a cause of division, the common confession of Mary as “Mother of God” should unite all Christians, and distinguish Christian orthodoxy from various confusions of it, such as Arianism (the denial that Jesus was God) or Nestorianism (in which Mary mothers only the human nature of Jesus but not his whole person).

Happy feast day to all!

A brief commentary on the Readings:

Two themes are present in the Readings: (1) the person of Mary, and (2) the name of Jesus.

1. The First Reading is Numbers 6:22-27:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Readings for Christmas: Vigil, Midnight, Dawn, and Day


The Christmas Solemnity has distinct readings for four separate masses:  Vigil, Midnight, Dawn, and Day.  There’s such a wealth of material here to meditate on, that not everything can be covered.  In fact, there is almost an entire biblical theology in the sequence of readings of these four masses.  In what follows, I am going to offer just a few brief comments on the more salient points.

Christmas Vigil Mass
1. Reading 1 Is 62:1-5

Monday, December 19, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Letting God In: The 4th Sunday of Advent

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As Christians, we tend to assume that the idea of God coming into ones’ life is always an attractive concept.  However, that’s a bit naïve.  Having the almighty creator of the universe come into one’s reality could also be an upsetting prospect.  When doing evangelism, I have encountered people who understood the concept of “letting Jesus into your life” very well, but didn’t want that to happen, because it might upset the apple cart, so to speak.  A God living within you might want to change things.  He might want to take over.  Are we ready for that?

In this Sunday’s Readings, we encounter situations in which people found the “invasion” of God into their lives a little bit distressing.  The Readings remind us that Jesus is not a passive presence within us.  He is a meek and humble babe, yes: but also a challenging Lord.

1.  The First Reading is from Is 7:10-14:

Monday, December 12, 2016

The 4th Sunday in Advent: Born of the Virgin Mary (The Mass Readings Explained)

Catholic Productions just released my latest video on the 4th Sunday of Advent's readings, "Born of the Virgin Mary."  I hope it helps, and please be sure to Like and Share!

Thanks!


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Waiting While Everything Goes Wrong: 3rd Sunday of Advent

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(I apologize that last week I was sick and unable to post on the Second Week of Advent.)

I always take consolation from the example of saints who faced death in the middle of a historical situation that offered little in the way of hope.  Three in particular come to mind: St. Augustine died with the Arian Goths surrounding Hippo in what looked like the end for Western Christian civilization.  St. Thomas More was executed at a time when it looked like all was lost for the Church in England.  St. Maximillian Kolbe was killed when it looked like German Fascism was going to triumph over Christianity in Europe. All these men kept their faith in a moment when faith seemed impossible.

It’s hard to wait for salvation, especially when everything around you seems to be getting worse, not better.  That was the case for two figures that we encounter in this Sunday’s readings: Isaiah and John the Baptist.  Together, these two prophets teach us how to wait with faith and courage, even when the winds of history seem to be thrashing us and threatening to collapse everything around our ears.

1.  Our First Reading is Is 35:1-6a, 10:

Monday, December 05, 2016

The 3rd Sunday in Advent: John the Baptist and the Coming of God (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest video is out over at Catholic Productions for the 3rd Sunday of Advent.  You can access it with your subscription by clicking on the top video still frame.  They have also put out an excerpt from it on their new blog at the bottom still frame.

Thanks and please Like and Share!




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Monday, November 28, 2016

The Second Sunday in Advent: The Mass Readings Explained

My latest video for the 2nd Sunday in Advent is now available at Catholic Productions.  I hope it helps and please be sure to Like and Share!  Thanks!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

First Sunday of Advent, 2017!




Happy New Year, everyone!  The Church Year begins this Sunday with the First Sunday of Advent, and we are back to reading cycle A in Church Year 2017. 

There is a very ancient tradition in the Church of reading the Book of Isaiah during Advent.  In antiquity, both Jews and Christians considered the Book of Isaiah to be one extended prophesy of the “age to come,” the “latter days” when the Anointed One (Heb. “Meshiach,” =”Messiah”) would arrive.  The First Readings for Sunday Mass and for weekday masses, as well as the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours, are dominated by Isaiah during this liturgical season.

The Gospel sequence, the First Sunday of Advent focuses on Jesus’ Second Coming, forming a good transition from the month of November with its focus on the Last Things.  The Second and Third Sundays of Advent focus on John the Baptist, the fore-runner of Jesus.  The Fourth Sunday finally casts its gaze on the events leading directly to Jesus birth. 

That’s the journey we are about to begin, so without further ado, let’s plunge in!

1.  The First Reading is Isaiah 2:1-5: