Tag Archives: commentary

Commentary

Here is an insightful piece by Dr. Jeff Mirus of catholicculture.org

EVANGELIZING: ONE WORD AT A TIME

Detecting the Eucharist — the quality of our belief

Commentary by Dr. Jeff Mirus of catholicculture.org

Tuesday of the First Week in Advent – Reflections

Today we also celebrate the Memorial of St. Francis Xavier, priest and missionary

Read today’s readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Here we are, on the second weekday of Advent, and therefore on the second weekday of the new Liturgical year, 2013-2014. This third day of Advent builds wonderfully on the visions of the readings for the First Sunday and Monday of Advent, visions of universal peace and restoration, beginning with the restoration of the tribes of Israel, then reaching out to all the nations of the world.

Like most of the readings during this special season of Advent, today’s texts flow together to tell a single story. They speak to the deepest of human desires for rescue, healing, restoration, and the peace that embodies all that is meant by the Hebrew word shalom—the full flourishing of the people of God in covenant union with their Creator and Redeemer.
Isaiah speaks of a future son of David, who will rule with justice, with a special concern for the poor. The images that the prophet uses to illustrate the ultimate shalom of this king’s rule are expressed with an exuberance that can stretch our credulity. The lamb will offer hospitality to the wolf (which sounds like the beginning of an Aesop fable that will end up poorly for the lamb). The carnivorous lion will go vegetarian to dine with the ox. The infant will play without harm near the cobra’s den. These images evoke a peace that is beyond what we can reasonably expect either from nature or from the greatest of human efforts. And that is exactly the point: such peace requires “outside help”—the Spirit of the Lord. That is why Isaiah climaxes his vision, twice, with references to the “fear” and “knowledge of the Lord.” Only with human cooperation with the source of all creation and redemption will full shalom come about. Only when we behave as creatures of a loving God do we experience the beginnings of the fulfillment of the prophet’s visions.

Psalm 72 elaborates Isaiah’s picture of the son of David who will rule over such a peace. Again, the onset of peace is linked with special attention to justice for the poor.

Finally, four verses from the Gospel of Luke proclaim how the fulfillment of the promises of the prophet and the psalmist took a quantum leap in the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Messiah. Those of us who have come to know the love and power of God in the humanity of Jesus have begun to see what the world had been looking for.

Christ deniers will continue to taunt Christians with the question: “If Jesus is the Messiah, where is the peace and justice that is supposed to accompany the messianic age?” In faith and hope, we answer that the promises have only BEGUN to be fulfilled; we have experienced that beginning, and we continue to pray, as Jesus taught us, “Thy kingdom come.” The point of Advent, and the season’s reading, is to help us face up to the remaining gap between promise and fulfillment and to nurture the hope that the peace we still hunger for lies in the further manifestation of our risen Lord. The spectacular missionary work of St. Francis Xavier, whose feast we celebrate today, was energized by this kind of faith and hope. The promised “outside help” depends on our cooperation with our Creator and our acknowledgment that we can’t do this on our own small strength. Lord Jesus, come!

By Father D. Hamm, SJ

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.
dhamm@creighton.edu

From Creighton University

Scripture Commentary for First Sunday of Advent

Here is the Word to Life series commentary for Sunday from Catholic News Service.

Reflections for the Mass Readings for Tuesday

Read today’s readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Everything that’s built by human beings can be destroyed. That’s why something like the Great Pyramids of Egypt are so awesome: not simply because they are so colossal, but because they have—to an amazing extent—survived the ravages of time. You can think of one of the large cities on the West Coast of our own country (Los Angeles, for example): from the air, as you fly into the area, you can be filled with awe. And yet an earthquake could destroy everything in the area in a matter of minutes.

Through the prophet Daniel, God wanted King Nebuchadnezzar to know that his kingdom, so dear to him, could and would undergo destruction. Other kingdoms would take its place, but they, too, would last only a time. The prophecy of Daniel foreshadowed the words of Jesus, when he spoke of the Temple of Jerusalem: it, like everything built by human beings, will be destroyed. These are not the sorts of things to place our hope in.

Daniel also prophesied that God would set up a kingdom that would not be destroyed. There was no way that Daniel could understand this prophecy, but through Daniel, God was speaking about the Church: not church buildings (even Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome will someday fall), but the Church herself, made up of “living stones”. Those who place their faith in Christ the King will have eternal life.

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita

Commentary for Tuesday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Zacchaeus is a rich collector of taxes. Each of us, like him, is attached to worldly things. Zacchaeus, like you, wants to see who Jesus is. But Zacchaeus has two strikes against him.

The first strike against Zacchaeus is the crowd, because everyone wants to see Jesus. It’s easy to get lost and not to be loved in the crowd. One might ask himself, “How can Jesus love everyone?” The second strike against Zacchaeus is his small size, which may represent the size of our soul. One might feel unworthy of God’s love, and ask himself, “How could Jesus love little old me?”

So Zacchaeus climbs up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus. This is all Zacchaeus wants: to see Jesus. But that’s not enough for Jesus.

Here’s the turning point in this gospel passage. When Jesus reached the place where Zacchaeus had climbed the tree, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly; for today I must stay at your house.” Jesus takes the initiative to reach out to this individual. And just as he reached out to this little sinner, he is trying to reach into your life.

Catholic Diocese of Wichita

Commentary for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

The Sunday Readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Here is a lectio divina (commentary) from the Carmelite Order.

Friday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for August 23

When we were little we were expected to memorize the basic truths of our Faith. At the top of the list were the Ten Commandments, which could be difficult to memorize. Today’s Gospel passage offers a clue to help us to remember—or to teach—the Ten Commandments more easily.

If not pointed out, we may never have noticed that in many pictures of Moses bringing down the two tablets from Mt. Sinai, the Ten Commandments are not divided five and five. Rather, the first tablet has the first three commandments, and the other tablet the remaining seven. This illustrates Jesus’ teaching today: that there are, in fact, simply “two commandments”.

On the Cross most especially, but in fact in His very divine Person, Jesus embodies the unity of these “two commandments”. True God and true man, Jesus’ teaching today merely foreshadows what He teaches us on Calvary. Some people teach an ethic that promotes complete devotion to God, but ignores if not disdains the corruption of man. Others teach an ethic that promotes an apotheosis of human nature, but disdains if not altogether denies God. Neither of these “two commandments” in fact can stand or be understood thoroughly without the other. Jesus reveals the meaning of each of these commandments in His divine Person.

Commentary from the Diocese of Wichita

Monday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Gospel Mt 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

Some thoughts on the Gospel

The young man in today’s Gospel Reading knows that something more is needed. He’s very confident that he has observed the commandments, but knows that he still lacks something for the gaining of eternal life. Jesus’ response aims for Heaven: “to be perfect”, the young man must sell what he has in order to give to the poor, and then he must follow Jesus.

It would not be accurate to take today’s passage as a proof that every Christian must abandon all his or her possessions. Jesus was speaking on this occasion to an individual. Individual members of the Body of Christ have different vocations, and are called in different ways.

What every Christian vocation does have in common with every other is to seek “to be perfect”. In fact, Jesus commands us elsewhere to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. That might seem an impossibly lofty goal, were we not to understand the meaning of the word “perfect”. From the Latin, it could be colloquially translated as “to become what one is”, or in other words, “to become what one is meant to be”. God “designed” each human person, and calls each human person, to spend himself in love for others, and above all, for Himself as the ineffable Other. However God may ask you to accomplish this, give thanks for His call.

Wednesday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time

Click here to see today’s readings.

Well, folks, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, is not celebrating his public daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta until September. He is doing this to give the members of the Vatican staff, both priests and laity, the opportunity to have some time off. So here are my reflections on today’s readings.

Today Jesus refers to the twelve specially selected collaborators as Apostles. The word “Apostle” means “one who is sent.” And so he sends them out with authority to cure illnesses and to dispel unclean spirits. He particularly instructs them to proclaim the Kingdom of God to all the people of Israel.

When we are growing up, we sometimes sense that something like this is being expected of us — maybe by our parents and friends — and possibly even by Christ himself. Sooner or later, we are called to share the Good News of Jesus to those around us. This can be by our personal testimony, or simply by our actions and the way that we live.

All of this may be too much for us. We do not feel worthy in the minds of other people, and maybe even more so as we look in the eyes of Our Lord.

We think about our own knowledge of the Gospel, which may be inadequate. We worry that people who know us won’t listen to us anyway.

But cheer up. Look at the motley crew that Jesus chose as his Apostles. It shows us that he can choose anyone to be his Apostle, even us. Look at Peter, who denied him three times. He not only accepted him, but made him the rock on whom the Church would be built and sustained.

So we need to be listening. Do you hear Jesus calling you? How does he call, and how do we answer?

We need to be attuned in order that by grace we become aware of the call to Apostleship. He will invite us. When he does let us hope to have the grace which gives us the courage and the strength to say, “Yes, Lord!”

The Concho Padre