Friday, September 23, 2011

Is God Fair? Round Two: The 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Apparently Holy Mother Church wants us to learn something about God’s justice and mercy, because the themes of this Sunday’s Readings repeat, with variation, those of last week’s.

Last week we had to deal with the difficult Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, which raised the issue of whether God is “unfair” in his merciful generosity.  (On a side note, a good friend and fellow scholar passes on a suggestion from a saintly priest that the “denarius” in last week’s parable may be identified with the Eucharist, the “daily wage” or “daily bread” that sustains us for Today so that we may live to see Tomorrow.  Beautiful!)

This week the topic of God’s “fairness” rises again at the beginning of the First Reading:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Is God Fair? The Readings for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Gospel Reading for this Lord’s Day raises the issue of the fairness of God.  Jesus, being a good teacher, wants his students to think.  He teaches in parables that—on the one hand—do indeed communicate truth and answer questions, but—on the other—also raise new, puzzling questions that require the student (discipulus means student, after all) to expend some mental energy. 

Our First Reading emphasizes the distance between God’s perspective and ours:

Friday, September 09, 2011

Forgiveness: The Readings for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Readings for this Lord’s Day are unified around the theme of forgiveness.  We begin and end with the words of “Jesus” on this topic: the First Reading records the words of Jesus, son of Sira, and the Gospel records the words of Jesus, Son of God.

One of the last books of the Christian Old Testament to be written, Sirach (also known as Ben Sira or Ecclesiasticus) often seems to anticipate the teachings of Christ himself:

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Warning and Rebuke in the Christian Life: Readings for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

I don’t like personal conflict.  I try to avoid it as much as possible.  Probably most Americans do.  I’m not sure what it’s like in other cultures, although I’ve heard of others where open social confrontation is more common.

This Sunday’s readings deal with situations in which Christians have a duty to confront one another.  They don’t make for comfortable reading in a culture that puts a high value on keeping the peace and minding one’s own business.

The First Reading is the great “Watchman” passage from the prophet Ezekiel:

Why the Pope Has to Be Infallible, Part 3

This is the third in a series of posts about Papal infallibility and its relationship to the interpretation of Scripture. See part 1, part 2, and part 2a.

In the first and second parts of this series of posts, we discussed the infallibility of the Church as a whole, and then the infallibility of an ecumenical council.

We concluded the last post with the question, Is the infallibility of an ecumenical council enough? In other words, in order to preserve the unity of the Church, and to transmit the faith with certitude to the common believer, is it enough that ecumenical councils alone be infallible?