Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Who Let the Riffraff In? Readings for the 20th Sunday of OT

 
According to Wikipedia, “Riffraff is a term for the common people or hoi polloi, but with negative connotations. The term is derived from Old French ‘rif et raf’ meaning ‘one and all, every bit.’”

My ancestors are Dutch, and—like many other ethnic groups—think they're pretty special.  The typical saying is, “If yah ain’t Dutch, yah ain’t much.”

However one may assess the muchness of the Dutch in modern times, from the perspective of the people of Israel in ancient times, the Dutch were mere riffraff, nameless illiterate Germanic tribes eking out a living on the cold shoreline and humid forests of northwestern Europe.  How could such people ever enter into the fullness of God’s covenant?

The extension of God’s covenant to all the “nations” or “Gentiles” (from the Latin gentes, “races, peoples”) is the unifying theme of the Readings for Mass this weekend.

1. We begin with one of the classic passages from the second half of the Book of Isaiah that indicates a change in the covenant economy under which the people of God were living.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Jesus, the Canaanite Woman, and the Dogs (The Mass Readings Explained)

My video for this Sunday's Mass readings is now out.  Please like and share if you subscribe and want to help us spread the word about this.

Oh -- and you may want to check out Catholic Productions Facebook page throughout the day today -- I've heard they may be releasing this video for free for everyone to view in the next few hours .... :-)





Friday, August 11, 2017

The Still Small Voice of God: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time




There is so much turmoil in the national and international news these days, it makes it difficult to maintain a sense of peace.  Instability in Venezuela, Syria, and the Korean Peninsula seem capable of spiraling out of control, leading to regional or international war.  Christians are targeted for elimination in various places in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere.  Closer to home, we witness political rhetoric becoming increasingly crass and violent, while little is done to heal the culture of our nation.  If this were not enough, all of us face the turmoil of our private lives: struggles to overcome sin in ourselves and our families; illnesses and surgeries; financial struggles; temptations against faith; discouragement and dryness in prayer.  It can feel overwhelming for the individual believer who wakes up each morning to face what seems to be an overwhelming avalanche of challenges on a personal and public level.  

The Readings for this Sunday Mass address the struggle of the believer to stay in relationship with God in the face of overwhelming distractions and threats.  In the midst of wind, waves, earthquakes, the voice of God still speaks to us.

1.  The First Reading is 1 Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a:

Monday, August 07, 2017

Jesus Walks on Water (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest video is now out.   Hope it is helpful!  Please like and share if you can if you are subscribed and would like to help spread the word about this series.  Thank you.

Friday, August 04, 2017

The Feast of the Transfiguration

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration!  This Feast last fell on a Sunday in 2006, and won’t fall on a Sunday again until 2023.

In the first three or “synoptic” Gospels, the Transfiguration marks a pivotal point in the ministry of Jesus, the point at which he begins his “death march” to Jerusalem to suffer his Passion.  It is “the beginning of the end.”  In these three Gospels, too, the Baptism and Transfiguration are paired.  At these two events, the voice of the Father is heard from heaven, “This is my beloved son.”  In this way, the Baptism marks the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and the Transfiguration the end of it, at least in the sense that, from the Transfiguration on, the focus shifts to Jesus’ imminent atoning death. 

1. Our First Reading is Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14: