Third Friday in Advent
I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.
Isa 48, 17
It would seem, by the light of this passage, that the path of discipleship is both simple and easy. God is our teacher and our guide. All we have to do is trust God and everything good will come our way. If good things don’t come our way, it’s our own fault. We must not be trusting. We must not be following. We must not be obeying. If we’re not enjoying good things, the problem can’t be God. The problem must be selfishness and sin. Read More…
Second Saturday in Advent
Judges 13, 2-7, 24-25; Psalms 71 3-6, 16-17; Luke 1, 5-25
On you I depend from birth;
From my mother’s womb you are my strength;
Constant has been my hope in you.
Ps. 71, 6
What an extraordinary claim the psalmist makes! He asks us to believe that he had hope in God before he was trained in religion, before he learned to speak, even before he was born. He claims to have had hoped in God when he smaller than a bug – without even that much faculty. If you’re even half-awake when you read this passage, you realize that a literal interpretation of the verse makes it utterly and hopelessly absurd. He hoped in the LORD from his mother’s womb. Really? It’s the kind of thing that we can forgive our ancestors for believing; but it’s the kind of thing that those of us who understand how nature actually works should regard as a fanciful fairy tale. Read More…
Third Saturday in Advent
Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11 ; Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 ; Matthew 17:10-13
Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.
Matthew 17, 11-12
There were many people, in Jesus’ day, who were renowned for their religious fervor – men and women who adamantly upheld proper doctrines of faith and who praised the prophets with their lips. Jesus shocked his disciples by explaining to them that some of these fervent followers were actually very far from following God’s ways. Some of these religious people couldn’t even recognize Elijah when he stood right in front of them – in the person of John the Baptist. The problem with these people wasn’t with their religion, or their understanding of it; the problem was with their stubborn hearts. Their stubbornness prevented them from recognizing Elijah, and it prevented them from recognizing the Messiah as well. Read More…
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Genesis 3:9-15, 20 ; Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4 ; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12 ; Luke 1:26-38
The Lord has made His victory known.
Psalm 98, 2
I wish more were done to eliminate the confusion between today’s Feast Day – which commemorates the conception of Mary – and the Feast of the Annunciation, when we recall the conception of Jesus. Read More…
First Sunday in Advent, 2005
Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
“The day is at hand!”
For nearly two thousand years, Christians have been reminding each other that humanity’s long night of darkness and sleep is about to end and a new day of salvation with the Lord will soon begin. Read More…