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July 29, 2015
Doing the Work of God. Many Catholics will automatically associate today's readings about the manna in the wilderness from Exodus, the psalm response that the "Lord gave them bread from heaven," and Jesus' self-identification as the bread of life in the Gospel of John with the Blessed Sacrament. This association would be traditional and appropriate - but in a way its also distracts us from the more profound message of the scriptures. What did these readings mean to those who first heard them who would not hear this association? On a deeper level these reading have to do with faith and belief - they describe a response to the amazing generosity of God, first on the part of the Israelites and then the people who follow Jesus. In order to grasp the full depth of what is said in today's Gospel we need to examine what the word "belief" meant in Jesus' response to the question "what is the work of God?" His answer was "that you believe in the one God sent."
July 22, 2015
In today's gospel, a crowd had gathered to see Jesus after he had withdrawn to the mountain for some solitude. Concerned that the people were hungry, Jesus asks his disciples where they could buy provisions to feed them and the puzzled Philip exclaims that "two hundred day's wages" won't be enough for a crowd numbering five thousand. When Andrew mentions that one boy brought five loaves and two fish, Jesus takes them, gives thanks, and then distributes the food so that everyone has more than enough.
July 15, 2015
"His heart was moved with compassion for them" (Mark 6:34). In contemporary ecumenical dialogues, today's second reading is used most frequently to set forth the ideal of the visible oneness for which we long. How do peoples who are separated become united? Today's readings emphasize the role of compassionate leaders in the work of reconciliation. In the New Testament texts the focus is on the person of Christ as the one who accomplishes oneness.
July 8, 2015

Readings: Am 7:12-15; Ps 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14; Eph 1:3-14; Mk 6:7-13

This Sunday officially falls within "Ordinary Time" on the liturgical calendar. But I suggest that we are living in times that are far from "ordinary"! Indeed, today's readings speak about extraordinary times - of prophetic challenge to moral conversion of heart and actions.

June 25, 2015

Readings: Wis 1:13-15, 2:23-24; Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13; 2 Cor 8:7-9, 13-15; Mk 5:21-43

"Can I interrupt? This will just take a minute." It never does. The question requires a much more complex answer. The grocery line is much longer than anticipated. The holes in the panel you were asked to hold up didn't match up with the screws. It never takes "just a minute." The interruption means more of a commitment than you were originally presented with.

June 10, 2015
Like a Mustard Seed. I once saw a simple pendant the size of a small marble. It was clear plastic and in the middle was a tiny mustard seed. I was, of course, reminded of the parable found in today's Gospel, and I wondered at the possibilities that this tiny speck might hold. But when you think about it, everything comes from some kind of tiny seed, even each one of us did. Cosmologists tell us that the universe itself developed from the tiniest subatomic particle. The marvel of it boggles the mind. Just imagine - all of that potential packed into something that is too small to be detected even with our most powerful instruments. This is precisely what today's readings would have us consider. With great poetic insight, both the reading from the prophet Ezekiel and the passage from the Gospel draw on the seed metaphor to demonstrate the astonishing miracle of natural growth and the equally astonishing mystery of hidden potential.
June 3, 2015

Today's Scripture readings: click here.