Exploring the Word

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.

16 Jul 2017

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Bless our eyes, and bless our ears!

There’s something very appealing about Jesus portraying himself as the mad farmer. He tosses precious seed where a sober sower would never intend it to go. Only a reckless farmer sows the footpath, the brambles, the rocks, and among the weeds—NONE of which makes any sense!

9 Jul 2017

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

This is the Jesus we like

Every pastor, preacher, religion teacher, and religious writer can expect the occasional review. What homilist hasn’t gotten feedback on the message, or a critique of the experience the listeners are having out in the cheap seats?

2 Jul 2017

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

I pledge allegiance

Loyalty is a quality we value highly. We want our friends to be loyal. We expect our families to be. We hope for some modicum of reliability from bosses or employees. In fact, every meaningful relationship involves loyalty to be viable.

25 Jun 2017

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Our addiction to fear

“Fear no one,” Jesus says. Not long after, he nuances this command: Fear only the one who can destroy the soul along with the body. Soul killing may sound esoteric, but it’s pretty common nowadays. At times it feels like someone has murdered the soul of America while no one was looking.

18 Jun 2017

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), Cycle A

Breaking bread with angels

“Lo, the angel’s food is given!” So we sing in today’s special sequence. On this feast of Christ’s Body and Blood, we recapture the wonder of what has become commonplace for so many of us: the reality that the Kingdom banquet is set before us, and we’re invited to come forward to this table.

11 Jun 2017

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Cycle A

Forget the math, embrace the unity

An elderly man confided to his priest the secret of his answered intercessions. “I always pray to the Faddah, the Son, and the Muddah!” As Trinities go, this one is hard to beat. Though we might quibble about terms, envisioning God as divine family is both accurate and helpful.

4 Jun 2017

Solemnity of Pentecost, Cycle A

Melt the frozen, warm the chill

Veni Sancte Spiritus! Come, Holy Spirit! The title of today’s sequence, to be sung after the Second Reading and before the Gospel Acclamation, is an exuberant reminder of this robust and active feast we celebrate.

5 Jun 2011

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, Cycle A

Catch some air

When athletes in racing, basketball, or other sports leave the ground even for a few seconds, they are said to “catch air.” Especially when it comes to basketball, most of those players have a higher perspective than the rest of us who are only walking around!