Exploring the Word

24 Sep 2017

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

How can this be fair?

Where did we first learn to idolize fairness? Maybe it was in math class: a nickel equals five pennies, no more and no less. If someone gives you four pennies for your nickel, you’ve been robbed. Of course, fewer of us object if someone gives us six pennies for the same nickel.

17 Sep 2017

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Practice what you would teach

I teach 10-year-olds their catechism. It’s the hardest job in the world, or so it seems each week as I prepare to face the children. After a lifetime as an adult religious educator—a cakewalk by comparison—I feel thrown into the lion’s den as a parish volunteer.

10 Sep 2017

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

It’s a win when we all win

Paul says something remarkable rather simply today—worth noting, since Paul says a lot of remarkable things that sound like gobbledygoop when translated from Greek to English by way of Latin, as these texts come to us. In Romans, Paul shows off a lifetime summarization of his Christology, which gets quite esoteric at times.

3 Sep 2017

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

The living sacrifice     

It’s Labor Day weekend! Who wants to work? Nobody in their right mind. Of course, plenty of people in our society will be working right through the weekend so the rest of us can relax and tend to our barbeques. They make the sacrifice; we get the benefit.

27 Aug 2017

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Naming Jesus

Some days, Jesus is my Lord. Other days, I’m the only authority to which I answer. Which day is which is probably more obvious to folks around me than it is to me. From within the borders of self-involvement, all you can see is yourself.

20 Aug 2017

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

How far does our mission go?

We’re the church, a people on a mission: to bring good news wherever it’s yet to be heard. We know what to do. We may be less clear on how to do it. Our resolve might be weak. And then there’s the question: Just how far does this mission extend? What are the limits of our responsibility, at which point we might reasonably claim: Mission accomplished?

13 Aug 2017

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Waves of adversity

We find Jesus again where we encountered him last week—up a mountain, communing with God. This time he goes alone, sending his friends along ahead to the opposite shore. And, as usual, no sooner are his followers out on their own before they’re into trouble.

6 Aug 2017

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Cycle A

Shock and awe

Today the world commemorates what remains the ultimate demonstration of worldly might and power: the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, by the United States in 1945. Nagasaki was also bombed three days later. Seventy thousand Japanese men, women, and children were killed at once.

30 Jul 2017

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary, Cycle A

The cost of the Kingdom

Do we love the way of God, or simply tolerate it? This is a question I ask myself every time I read Psalm 119. It’s the Law Psalm, delineating in acrostic fashion all the reasons why the commands of God are worthy and desirable. Each acrostic spells out a Hebrew word for Torah, including: word, law, commandment, rules, decree, precepts, and teaching.

23 Jul 2017

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Virtue and vice grow up together

It’s rare that a motion in D.C. gets bipartisan support. But instituting Parents’ Day on the fourth Sunday of July to “recognize, uplift, and support the role of parents in the rearing of children" did just that in 1994. No matter how we vote on Election Day, every day of the year parents deserve our thanks for doing the toughest and most vital job in America: preparing the future.