Exploring the Word

26 Apr 2020

Third Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

Signage on the path of life

Near my hometown are the remains of an old route the locals unofficially call the Road to Nowhere. It used to be a paved road to somewhere, obviously; but as civilization would have it, new thoroughfares proved more useful and the old route was not upgraded, fell into disuse, and was eventually abandoned altogether.

19 Apr 2020

Solemnity of the Second Sunday of Easter; Divine Mercy Sunday, Cycle A

Thomas, we owe you one

Hearing the stories of the Early Church from Acts can sometimes be a bit of a downer. Where oh where did the perfect church go? Once upon a time, we are told, the community of faith was full of awe, signs, and miracles.

12 Apr 2020

Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Sunday), Cycle A

Tell what you know

Witnesses in a courtroom are always admonished to tell what they know in precise and unembroidered terms: “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Compare this to Saint Paul’s championing of the “unleavened” truth in his words to the Corinthians.

5 Apr 2020

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Cycle A

I have a friend in Jesus

It has become a nearly dogmatic element of contemporary religious education to assert that Jesus is our friend. We teach this to children, herald it in devotional meditations, sing it in hymns, and hear it wafting down from pulpits far and wide.

29 Mar 2020

Fifth Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Using the “D” word

Try having a talk about death and see where it gets you. Talk to your parents about making a will, and they come up with a million reasons not to have this conversation. Scan the newspaper in time of war and count the euphemisms for the dead: “casualties,” “collateral damage,” “losses.”

22 Mar 2020

Fourth Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Called, anointed, and empowered

The ritual is a strange one, as archaic rites tend to be when viewed from the distance of centuries and across cultures. An animal is sacrificed at the altar, and after much ceremony that is as precise as it is significant to the participants, a designated person steps forward to the presiding priest.

15 Mar 2020

Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

God, are you here?

The Israelites grumbling in the desert asked the right question, the only one that matters when you come right down to it: Is the Lord in our midst or not? If not, we might as well get what we can in this world and Commandments be damned.

8 Mar 2020

Second Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Climb every mountain

The Lenten terrain keeps changing. Last week, we crossed a desert. This week, we scale a mountain. No one said the journey of faith would be easy. But neither were we warned that this level of athleticism would be required.

1 Mar 2020

First Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Conversations with the devil

When we read about them in Holy Writ, conversations with the devil seem eerie, dramatic, and singular. Consider Eve, standing naked at the tree, while the serpent insinuates itself around her heart with whispered words of unimagined greatness.

23 Feb 2020

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

So you want to be perfect!

As children most of us believed in perfection as an attainable goal. Maybe not our own particular perfection (I was never going to get an A in science!), but the finish line was clearly marked out and someone was going to cross it. We were literally schooled into the quest for perfection: defined as an A+, or 100 percent answered correctly, or the coveted 4.0 at the end of the term.