Recent Blog Posts


Fantastic New Commentary on Matthew's Gospel!

Posted on January 20, 2011

With the coming the New Year, a number of blogs gave recommended readings for the upcoming year. I’d like to do the same, and recommend two books to read carefully over the course of the coming year.

1. First, since for those of us following the Catholic lectionary, it is Year A, it’s a great opportunity to reread closely and carefully the Gospel of Matthew. Over a hundred years ago, the French author and...


Word Association

Posted on January 05, 2011

Christmas came early for me in 2010. My biggest present arrived, date-stamped from the Vatican, in my email in mid-November. It was Pope Benedict’s new missive, the apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini (“The Word of the Lord”) — the most important magisterial document on Sacred Scripture in nearly half a century.

(Click Here for a pdf version of Verbum Domini)

The Word of God is Pope Benedict’s highest priority, as he...


Catholic Saint on the Importance of Scripture

Posted on December 20, 2010

The Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation, Verbum Domini, (through which I am reading, albeit slowly), reminds me of how frequently the popes, the fathers, the doctors, and the saints have urged us Catholics to read and reflect on Scripture—and how sluggish our response has been!

I know the stereotype is that Catholics aren’t interested in Scripture. In many places and at many times the stereotype holds true. I would add that many...


Ruth and Advent

Posted on December 17, 2010

The Book of Ruth is rarely mentioned during Advent, but it makes for good Advent meditation.

There are obvious connections between Ruth and the Christmas story. Both Bo’az and Ruth are mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1. Outside of Matthew and Luke, only in Ruth do we have a story about a pious young Jewish couple having their firstborn son in Bethlehem.

When we read Ruth in light of all the Scriptures,...


A Christmas Invitation

Posted on December 07, 2010

Advent is a profound moment in the Church’s year. As we pray the Mass, as we hear the readings, as we ponder the mysteries, we’re really studying the grand panorama of salvation history. In these few short weeks, we relive the longing and expectation of God’s people as they awaited the Messiah.
It’s also a chance to review our personal history, and to appreciate how God continues to work in...


The Great St. Ambrose

Posted on December 07, 2010

Today is the memorial of the great St. Ambrose. Bishop of Milan, friend of Augustine and Monica, great teacher of the Milanese clergy, and greatmystagogue for the laity, Ambrose is one of my favorite figures from the era of the Fathers. From the first post on this blog, I’ve returned to him again and again (sometimes in friendly disagreement withAdrian Murdoch, esteemed fellow of the Royal Historical Society). You can read selected backpostshere,...


Was Joseph Really Suspicious of Mary’s Pregnancy?

Posted on December 07, 2010

During this Advent/Christmas season we will turn again and again to introductory chapters of Matthew and Luke. Here I’d like to look at one passage in particular.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; 19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to...


St. Nicholas Day

Posted on December 06, 2010

Happy St. Nicholas Day! My friend Carl Sommer worked on a graphic novel for the occasion, and you can view it in its entirety online at Catholic Heroes of the Faith.

Here’s my take on ol’ St. Nick — as a patron of a particular kind of ecumenical dialogue.

There’s a certain kind of Catholic who likes nothing more than a good inter-Christian tussle. Their model, among the ancient Christians,...


Ignatius of Antioch on the Eucharist

Posted on December 06, 2010

“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible” (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).

“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary...


Pope Benedict XVI's New Apostolic Exhortation on the Bible is Here!

Posted on November 10, 2010

Great News!

According to Zenit News Service, Pope Benedict XVI’s long-anticipated Apostolic Exhortation on the Bible, Verbum Domini will be released today, November 11!
The following link will take you to the Exhortation on the Vatican website:

Verbum Domini: Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church (September 30, 2010)

For those of us in Catholic biblical studies circles, this document’s advent is something akin...