Friday, November 29, 2013

Logos Software Releases Verbum Plus Libraries!

I am pleased to share news that Logos Bible software is releasing an awesome update to their Catholic package, "Verbum", which now includes even better libraries and features!

I've been given a sneak peak and, let me just say, this is incredible!

If you're a Catholic who is interested in studying your faith, you need this software.

Upfront, I should tell you the following:
1. If you owned an older Verbum library you do not lose anything by upgrading.
2. There are many more books and features than I am able to mention here in these new Plus packages.

Nevertheless, here's a brief overview. . .

(By the way, here's the link to the Black Friday Deal.)

Better tools to study the lectionary

The first thing I love about this update is that Logos is now helping users better navigate the lectionary. When you first open the software you can now immediately see the readings of the day (or another day if you wish - just click a date on the calendar).

You can also have numerous tools open up alongside of the readings (e.g., commentaries, writings from the fathers and doctors, references in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, etc.).

This is going to be hugely helpful. Right now I'm setting my preferred commentaries up. One of them will certainly be the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. I'll also be using Thomas Aquinas' Catena Aurea, my JPS Torah Commentary Series, Word Biblical Commentary, and Hermeneia series--among other things!

A Fantastic "Catholic Topical Index"

But even more awesome is the new Catholic index. Logos has assembled an incredible list of terms and concepts, including, "Eucharist," "Absolution," etc. For example, select "filioque" and you will immediately be taken to a list of biblical passages, writings from the fathers, and other important resources.

Basically, you have every theoloical source on the topic at the click of your fingers.

Let's just be clear about what this means: I've got virtually every major work by every major early church father at my finger tips. If I'm looking at "baptism", I can quickly search and find every key statement made by the fathers and doctors of the Church. I can also see every time magisterial sources talk about it, including, the Catechism, Church Councils, etc.

You can even get every papal encyclical going back to 1740!

All these resources are tagged and linked together. It's simply stunning!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy New Year! The 1st Sunday of Advent

Happy New Year, everyone!  The Church Year begins this week with the First Sunday of Advent, and we are back to reading cycle A in 2014. 

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.

In 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:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe: 34th Sunday of OT

The Church year comes to an end this Sunday with the Solemnity of Christ the King, one of my favorite feast days.  The Readings focus heavily on the theme of the kingdom of Christ, which was typified or foreshadowed by the Kingdom of David in the Old Testament.

1.  The First Reading is 2 Samuel 5:1-3:

In those days, all the tribes of Israel
came to David in Hebron and said:
"Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The End is Near! The 33rd Sunday in OT


I was driving my son to his orthodontist this past week, and while touring through the back hills of Ohio, we passed a billboard in a farmer’s field that advertised to all passing by on OH-45: “God has a Judgment Day coming!” 

My son asked me if the farmer who had placed the billboard in his field was Catholic or Protestant.  I suggested he probably was a Protestant.  My son asked why Catholics didn’t put up billboards like that.  I theorized that perhaps fewer Catholics owned farms close to the highway, or maybe they were less convinced that announcing the coming judgment was really an effective means of evangelism. 

Billboards announcing judgment day are not a part of American Catholic culture.  Nonetheless, the Readings for this coming Sunday affirm the truth of that well-meaning farmer’s sign.  God does have a day of judgment coming.  Is that good news or bad news?  It would depend, I suppose, on whether we have suffered injustice or committed it.

1.  Our First Reading Malachi 3:19-20a:

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Hope for a Hopeless World: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Some of the readers of our blog are aware that I wrote a little book, Bible Basics for Catholics (Ave Maria Press), that introduces people to the basic outline of the biblical storyline, in seven chapters from Creation to Jesus. 
Last week, a bishop sent me an email saying he liked the book, but thinks I should add a final chapter on the Book of Revelation, the resurrection, and the life to come.  One of the reasons for the suggestion, he said, was that people nowadays are experiencing not just a crisis of faith, but also of hope.  They feel like there is nothing to believe in, but just as importantly: there is nothing to look forward to.

The bishop’s comments ring in my ears as I look over the Readings that the Church has selected for us this coming Sunday.  We are in the month of November, the time of the Church Year given over to contemplating the Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell.  The Readings this week focus our thoughts on a topic intertwined with each of the Last Things: the Resurrection.  They remind us that, as Christians, we are not a people whose hopes are tied to this life.  It they were, how sorry we would be! 

1.  Our First Reading is from 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14: