Recent Blog Posts
Bonds Loosed: Reflections on the 2nd Sunday of Lent
Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18
Psalm 116:10, 15-19
The Lenten season continues with another story of testing. Last Sunday, we heard the trial of Jesus in the desert. In this week’s First Reading, we hear of how Abraham was put to the test.
The Church has always read this story as a sign of God’s love for the world in giving His only begotten...
Intro to Lent III: Almsgiving
Third in a series of three posts.
Of the three marks of Lent — prayer, fasting and almsgiving — almsgiving is surely the most neglected.
And yet, in the only place where the Bible brings all three together, the inspired author puts the emphasis firmly on the last: “Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness … It is better to give alms than to store up gold;...
We continue this series of posts on the basics of Catholic understanding of revelation, now moving from natural revelation to supernatural revelation.
In addition to the revelation of God available in nature, God has also communicated directly with mankind through history, which may be called supernatural revelation. Supernatural revelation communicates to humanity truths that which transcend human reason although are not opposed to it (e.g. the Trinity, or the divinity of Christ), as...
It was exhausting and exhilarating. Between the end of one semester and the beginning of the next, I spent ten days working to establish a more visible and permanent presence for the St. Paul Center in southern California—teaching, speaking, taping, consulting with bishops, meeting with scholars and Hollywood stars. At night I sometimes caught chill, and I had no appetite for eating. But I chalked it up to the frenetic activity.
I came home briefly...
Intro to Lent II: Fasting
Second in a series of three posts.
“Why do Catholics have to fast?”
The question came from a non-Catholic Boy Scout in my son’s troop. We had spent a long, soggy weekend in the middle of the woods. And now, Sunday morning, the adults announced that breakfast would be delayed so that the Catholics could keep the Communion fast. He was not a happy camper.
His question comes to...
Natural Revelation in the Catholic Tradition
Natural revelation refers to God’s self-disclosure in creation, through the things that have been made. Scripture and magisterial teaching are equally clear and emphatic that the knowledge of the existence of God and his basic attributes can be achieved by human reason reflecting on the created order:The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no...
Intro to Lent 1: Prayer
First in a series of three posts.Reprinted from 2007.
How do you know it’s Lent?
It’s not so much by the ash mark on your forehead or fish marks on the calendar. Tradition tells us that Lent has three distinguishing marks: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
This three-part series will examine those practices. Prayer is surely the best place to begin, because it’s the one that unites them...
The New Creation: Reflections on the First Sunday of Lent
1 Peter 3:18-22
Lent bids us to return to the innocence of baptism. As Noah and his family were saved through the waters of the deluge, we were saved through the waters of baptism, Peter reminds us in today’s Epistle.
And God’s covenant with Noah in today’s First Reading marked the start of a new...
Gods Great Amen: Reflections on the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24-25
Psalms 41:2-5, 13-14
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
Today’s Gospel makes explicit what has been implied in preceeding weeks. Namely, that in healing the sick and casting out demons, Jesus is manifesting God’s forgiveness of His people’s sins.
They had wearied of God, refused to call on His name, we hear in today’s First Reading. Despite that, God promised...
Thoughts on the Church’s Old Testament Canon
The Canon of the Old Testament in the Days of Jesus
There was no universally-accepted canon of Scripture among the Jews in the first century A.D. Instead, different sects within Judaism had divergent views of which books were inspired and authoritative. The Samaritans and the Sadducees, although very different in their religious views and practice, were agreed that only the five Books of Moses were divinely inspired Scripture. The Pharisees, on the other hand, accepted a...