Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hiatus

Life is very busy at the moment. Blogging will resume here as time allows. God bless.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Overflowing

In today's Gospel, we read:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
--Luke 6:36-38

What you give is what you will be given by the Father. And yet, we are promised that what we will be given will be overflowing abundance. Thus, the only measure that can call forth that reciprocal response of mercy, nonjudgment, noncondemnation, forgiveness, and gift is a superabundant measure. In order to be capable of receiving God's overflowing grace, we must become the sorts of beings who can accept such abundance. But how to grow into being capable of giving and receiving goodness that overflows all natural bounds? With His supernatural help. We are not called merely to be somewhat merciful, or somewhat forgiving, but to be supernaturally, superabundantly merciful and forgiving. This is not a task for unaided human nature. So ask for His help!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tathāgata

As we read in today's Gospel, Our Lord in His Incarnation is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets:
Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
-- Luke

What was this new exodus which Our Lord was going to accomplish?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dove Strategy

In today's Gospel, Our Lord asks the impossible of us:
You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
--Matthew 5:43-45

Friday, February 22, 2013

Promise to Peter

In the wake of Pope Benedict's brave and self-effacing recent renunciation of the See of Rome, today the Church celebrates the "Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle." In today's Gospel, Our Lord promises the first Pope:
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
-- Matthew 16:18

Sometimes it seems as if Christ's Church is in insurmountable crisis. Concern trolls in the media have said as much in their cynical reflections on Pope Benedict's revitalizing and reformist renunciation.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ask!

In today's Gospel, Our Lord counsels:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.
-- Matthew 7:7-11

Perhaps, as in today's first reading, from the Book of Esther, your prayer will be answered in this mortal life. Perhaps afterward. But God knows what you need--and what your heart really wants--far better than you know yourself. And He rejoices in giving it to you, with a Father's love. So ask!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Starfish, not Yoda

Today's first reading says of God that He "repented" (Jonah 3:10) of the destruction of Nineveh because the Ninevites had fasted. How can the author of Jonah speak of God repenting? After all, Aquinas teaches us that God is necessarily immutable, and His will necessarily unchangeable.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Let go

In today's Gospel, Our Lord gives us an assurance, and a warning.
“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
-- Matthew 6:14-15

Surely we should forgive others. But what are we to make of the Father's not forgiving us?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Temptation need not be sin

In today's Gospel, we read:
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.
--Luke 4:1-2a

Our Lord is completely without sin. And yet He was tempted!

When we are tempted, that is not in itself a sin. It is an opportunity to grow in holiness by resisting the temptation.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Doctor is in

Today's Gospel finds Our Lord feasting at the house of a tax collector:
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

-- Luke 5:30-32

As collaborators with the Roman oppression of the Jewish people in Palestine, and as a group that frequently collected far more in taxes from the peasantry than were actually due to the Roman state (so as to enable embezzling by themselves), tax collectors were seen as grave sinners indeed. But it was to such lost sheep that Our Lord's mission of mercy and forgiveness was especially directed. Our Lord has a special love for those of us who struggle with sin: like me and you.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Justice, too, is a virtue

In today's first reading, we are admonished by God:
Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.
-- Isaiah 58:5-7

Private piety and personal chastity do not exhaust the life to which Christian disciples are called by the Gospel.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Take up your Cross

In today's Gospel, Our Lord says:
If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?
-- Luke 9:23-25

To find peace before death and everlasting life thereafter, there is only one path forward. Put away self-infatuation. Let go and love God. Lent is here. Take up your Cross.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ashes: because we all fall down

Today's first reading begins:
Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart....
-- Joel 2:12

God is always waiting for us, like the Father of the prodigal son. Let us turn toward Him. Lent has begun.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tithing isn't enough

In today's Gospel, Our Lord remonstrates with the Pharisees:
“You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother, and Whoever curses father or mother shall die. Yet you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”(meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”
--Mark 7:8-13