Friday, April 20, 2018

Cajetan and His Continued Relevance

A student who is something of an expert on Cardinal Cajetan sent me a brief essay that I found very edifying and relevant for Catholic believers soldiering forward nowadays in this valley of tears, so I thought I'd share a portion of it:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Scandal of Jesus: 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:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Salvation History as a Good Movie: The 3rd Sunday of Easter



One of my favorite movies is M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs.”  It’s a cross between Robert Benton’s “Places in the Heart” and Roland Emmerich’s “Independence Day,” and probably a couple other movies I’m forgetting at the moment.  Anyway, one of the marked features of the movie is its foreshadowing.  Shyamalan introduces all sorts of strange themes associated with the different characters who surround Fr. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson), an (Anglican?) priest who’s lost his faith and left his ministry: the strange last words of his dying wife, his brother’s obsession with hitting home runs, his son’s asthma, his daughter’s water-drinking compulsion.  The significance of these motifs does not become clear to the viewer until the final scenes, where one discovers that a strong hand of Providence was guiding the life of Fr. Hess through it all.

Friday, April 06, 2018

The Readings for Divine Mercy Sunday



Behind the readings for this Sunday lies a Gospel text which is never read, but whose influence is felt and whose concepts and images serves as a link between the texts that are read.  That passage is John 19:34:

John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.  35 He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you also may believe.

The blood and water flowing from the side of Christ is the background for the Divine Mercy image seen by St. Faustina. 
This “river” that flows out from the side of Christ is understood in the Church’s spiritual tradition as a river of mercy, but there is also a rich biblical background to this passage of John.  

Friday, March 30, 2018

Easter Sunday Readings


The Mass of Easter Day is one of the most joyful in the Church calendar, as the Church basks in the afterglow of the most remarkable intervention of God into human history, the resurrection of his own son. 

1.  The First Reading is Acts 10:34a, 37-43:

Easter Vigil Readings


The Readings for the Easter Vigil recount the history of salvation by focussing on the various covenant stages throughout the Biblical storyline.  My book Bible Basics for Catholics follows this same pattern, using stick figure drawings to illustrate these various stages.

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:

Readings for Good Friday


Every year on Good Friday, we read St. John’s account of the Passion from John 18-19, together with Isaiah 52-53  and Psalm 31.

One of the themes that runs through these reading is the Priesthood of Christ.

1. There is priestly language already in the First Reading, from Isaiah 52 & 53, the famous “Suffering Servant” Song:

The Readings for Holy Thursday




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:

Monday, March 26, 2018

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Why Have You Forsaken Me? The Readings for 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 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.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The New Covenant: The Fifth Sunday of Lent



In this Lent of Year B, we are taking a survey through the Old Testament of the great covenant moments. We have seen the Noahic covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, the covenant failure of Israel resulting in exile, and now finally, on this fifth week, we witness the promise of the New Covenant through the voice of the prophet Jeremiah.  In the Gospel, Jesus speaks in ominous terms about the coming suffering that will be necessary for him to undergo in order to establish that New Covenant.  

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Grain of Wheat and Jesus' "Hour" (The Mass Readings Explained)

Check out the latest video in The Mass Readings Explained series for this Sunday's Mass Readings.  The 14 day free trial is still available.  God bless.



Saturday, March 10, 2018

Parish Mission in Alexandria, LA

If you're in the Alexandria, LA, region, I'll be giving a parish mission at Our Lady of Prompt Succor parish on Tuesday-Wednesday nights this upcoming week:




Laetare Sunday Year B: The Readings

 
We've reached the midpoint of Lent!  Congratulations, and I hope your Lenten practices have helped you to grow closer to Jesus!

At this midway point, our Readings are filled with themes of judgement, exile, and mercy.  

Friday, March 02, 2018

Parish Mission in Geneseo NY

If you are in the Rochester NY vicinity, I'll be doing a parish mission at St. Mary's in Geneseo next week Sunday and Monday, March 11-12.  Info below:

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Jesus, the Law of God: Readings for 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.  The constitution of the United States, for example, says that the “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” but somehow in American jurisprudence that has morphed into “a wall of separation between church and state,” such that there are lawsuits to remove memorial crosses from government land.