Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Why Being Good Doesn't Pay: 25th Sunday of OT


When I was younger, especially from high school through my early days as a Protestant pastor, I had this strong sense that if a person always did what was right, “things would work out.”  That is to say, righteousness was the path to the good life.  God would pave the way in front of the person that does his will. 

There is some truth to that, of course.  A great deal of interior and exterior suffering is cause by our wicked and selfish choices.  When I used to work as an urban missionary, occasionally I would have the chance to witness a fairly significant conversion in the life of a person who had been living a life basically consisting of criminal activity.  Sometimes there would often be a “honeymoon” period after the person’s conversion, as so much stress and sadness in their life faded away as they stopped making evil choices.  

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Second Passion Prediction (The Mass Readings Explained)

This Sunday's video is now available over at Catholic Productions.  Check it out and subscribe today if you haven't already.

Catholic Productions' Notable Quote from this week's video:

"The description of this suffering righteous man in the Book of Wisdom is strikingly similar to what we see of Christ in the New Testament.  The most important part being here is that the righteous man calls himself “God’s Son.”  The reason that’s so critical is that in the Old Testament “Son of God” is a term that gets applied to the angels as a group.  It gets applied to Israel as a group — they are the “sons of God.”  But, whenever it’s applied to an individual, it’s exclusively applied to the King of Israel…  So, when the Wisdom of Solomon uses the language of a suffering, righteous, Son of God, it’s also a Messianic context.  So, this is about a coming Messiah who’s going to suffer, who’s going to be persecuted, and who’s going to die."



Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Paradox of Discipleship: The 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 
We have been getting a number of rousing challenges from Jesus in the past several weeks, as our readings have followed the progress of his ministry, and Jesus repeatedly makes clear that following him is not going to be easy in any way.  This Sunday we get another challenge from Jesus to “fish or cut bait” in our relationship with him.  Paradoxically, however, if we think we are going to preserve our lives and comfort by turning away from him, Jesus warns us: long term, that’s a bad strategy.

1.  Our First Reading is one of the Servant Songs of the Book of Isaiah:

Monday, September 10, 2018

Discipleship and Self-Denial (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video is now out for The Mass Readings Explained.

Catholic Productions' Notable Quote from this week's video:

"Notice what Jesus is saying.  Not only will he be a suffering and crucified Messiah, but he calls his disciples to imitate that life.  He calls his disciples to also, in a sense, be crucified — die to this world and live for the kingdom.  The whole Church is supposed to be cruciform in its shape.  It’s not that Jesus dies on the cross so that I don’t have to.  It’s that Jesus takes up his cross so that I have the grace and the power to do the same in my own life … and in my own walk of discipleship.  …You can believe in Jesus without ever getting into the question of suffering.  But you cannot be a disciple of Jesus apart from self denial and the cross.  That’s what he’s saying here."




Friday, September 07, 2018

To See and To Hear: 23rd Sunday of OT


The reality of sight and hearing are a great mystery that natural science has difficulty explaining. 

Robots, of course, can be equipped with sensors to detect sound and light, and react in various ways to audio and visual stimuli.  But a robot cannot “see” or “hear” in the way that a human person does.  A robot cannot create the visual field that each of us “sees” when we open our eyes.  A robot can sense the frequencies of sound but cannot feel the harmonies of Mozart or experience the sensations of good music.  A robot is not conscious.  True sight and hearing are experiences of consciousness, of the mind.  Without the gift of the mystery of consciousness, everything is blackness and silence.  When God breathed into Adam the “breath of life” and gave him the gift of consciousness, then light and sound came into being for the first man.

To hear and to see are mysterious gifts of the creator God.  In this Sunday’s readings, we are invited to ponder more deeply the different senses of what it means to be blind and deaf, and how Jesus can heal us of these maladies.

1.  Our First Reading is from Isaiah 35:4-7: