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Showing posts from January, 2018

5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Why is there evil in the world?  Why does God let bad things happen to good people?  These are common questions we hear in society, and yet even as believers in God, as followers of Christ, we often feel inadequate to address these types of questions.  The fact is that we, humanity, have been struggling with these questions since the beginning of time and much has been written on the subject through the millennia.  Our readings this Sunday can give us some guidance…


The Word for the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time Job 7:1-4, 6-7
Psalm 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Mark 1:29-39

We open with a passage from the Book of Job (pronounced with a long “o”).  The story of Job is fairly well known in Biblical circles, yet we Catholics only hear from the Book of Job twice during our Sunday Liturgy… and both times this ear with Cycle B.  It’s difficult to get a good understanding of this book with so little exposure to it, yet it is one of the best didactic (teaching) tools we…

The difference between "teaching" and "telling"... and why we should question authority

A very interesting article from Michael J. O’Loughlin of America Magazine. It's worth your time to read it.

‘Why does the church hate gay people?’ Boston bishop seeks to listen to young people
The article focuses on questions young people were asking Boston's Auxiliary Bishop Mark O'Connell... not an unusual thing when you have a bishop talking with Confirmation candidates about their faith. When asked about their feelings on the event I was struck by one of the responses: "One person told him that bishops should teach, not listen."

This comment cut me, as a catechist, to the core. Yes, it is a bishop's primary mission to teach. But the operative word here is "teach" not "tell." "Teaching" people is not the same as "telling" them what to do. "Teaching" by it's very nature involves a dialogue between the teacher and the student. We call it the "Socratic method" employed by the g…

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Since the close of the Christmas season we’ve been following Jesus as he begins his ministry.  We’ve seen him Baptized by John, we’ve seen him gathering his first Apostles (Andrew, Simon-Peter, James and John), and this week we continue our journey as Jesus begins to preach, teach, and heal.  Jesus has many different titles, but this week we focus on three:  Prophet, Teacher, and Lord.


The Word for the 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Mark 1:21-28

Our first reading from the book of Deuteronomy gives us a clear understanding of what it means to be a prophet.  Here Moses says to the people that a prophet is one like himself… someone chosen by God to speak for God.  Now hearing this you might ask why God can’t speak for himself?  Addressing that exact point Moses continues by reminding the people that it was they themselves who requested that God speak through an intermediary… through a prophet.  It was at Mt. Horab wher…

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Our readings this week focus on a core theme that runs through Jesus’ ministry… repentance.  There is no sin so grave that cannot be forgiven with true contrition and a return to God.  This was the message that John the Baptist proclaimed, and the message Jesus continued as he took up his ministry.  This theme not only runs through the gospels, but is a major theme that binds the entire Bible into a cohesive volume. 


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

Our first reading comes from the book of Jonah.  The story of Jonah is well known in both Jewish and Christian circles, yet for all its popularity, we only hear it in the Liturgy this once.  For this reason, many Catholics only have a passing familiarity with Jonah’s story.  They know his name and that he was swallowed by a large fish (or whale), but that’s about it.  In our passage this week, God asks Jonah to go through the city of Nineveh preac…

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

We Christians love the Christmas Season because it allows us to dwell on the story of the Nativity and those first special moments in the life of Jesus and the Holy Family.  For as much as we love these stories, however, they’re not that important in the larger narrative.  Mark and John don’t even mention these moments in their Gospels because they didn’t find them relevant to their telling of the story.  The infancy narratives are like the hors d’oeuvres of scripture… something to whet our appetites for the larger story to come… which begins now as we leave Christmastide behind and enter into Ordinary Time.


The Word for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time 1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
Psalm 40:2, 7-8, 8-9, 10
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
John 1:35-42

We ended the Christmas season with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord… a moment that marks the beginning of his ministry.  Jesus’ baptism by John is a passing of the torch, an acceptance of his divine mission and the beginning of a j…

The Epiphany of the Lord

If Easter is our highest holy day, the Epiphany is rightly the second.  It is the celebration of the realization that through Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection that God's salvation is a gift for all people, everywhere.  It is this feast that defines us as Christians, revealing not only that this child, Jesus, is the Christ, but that the grace of reconciling the people to God is not exclusive but is a universal invitation.


The Word for the Epiphany of the Lord Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-2

Our first reading comes from the later chapters of Isaiah.  Here the prophet sees a glorious vision for Jerusalem… the city shall be radiant and become a beacon for all the nations.  And that is the key point of this reading today... that all people, all kingdoms, will see Jerusalem, God's city and God's people, as the light and life, and be drawn to her and the glory of the Lord.  These later chapters of Isaiah reflect th…