Fear and Perfect Love

During different times of the year, we hear in the Mass especially from different authors of the Bible. In Advent, for example, we hear particularly from the prophet Isaiah foretelling the person of the Messiah. In this time after Christmas, we read from the writings of the apostle John. Perfect Love John has gone down…

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Crossing the Rubicon

I remember the first time I crossed the Rubicon; or, rather, the second time I crossed the Rubicon. Julius Caesar ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ is a phrase made famous by Julius Caesar, when he rebelled against the authorities of the Roman Republic and seized power for himself. The Rubicon River in northeastern Italy marked a provincial…

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Good Things Now and Later

Today’s gospel puzzled me for years, from the moment I first read it. It seems that Jesus is praising fraud. Unsatisfying Answers I asked fellow college students in a Bible study about it, but got unsatisfying answers. I heard homilies about it—one in particular, when the priest made an elaborate joke about the passage—which did…

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The House in Bethany

Often in mission life the missionary encounters a particular family that accepts the faith wholeheartedly, and this family, this household, becomes the center of the faith for the town or broader community. New Testament We see this in Paul’s second missionary journey when he and his band arrive in Philippi. A woman named Lydia accepts…

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Healing

In today’s readings we see the theme of healing. It is a common theme, of course, in the gospels. A large percentage of the synoptic gospels describes healing miracles. In the 8th and 9th chapters of Matthew alone Jesus cures ten individuals, plus “many who were possessed by devils.” The Gospels In the Gospel of…

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My Journey to the Catholic Church

A dome of a church

It is a real pleasure to comment on the Scripture passage which is dearest to my heart. Sometimes you Catholics from birth must wonder if the passages you use to support Catholic teaching are really convincing, or if you like them because they support positions you already hold. I am telling you today that they…

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Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

A ladder up a tree

Today’s first reading features an image that has captured the imagination of many people ever since—Jew, Christian and modern secular alike: Jacob’s ladder. The situation is this: Jacob, having received his father Isaac’s principal blessing, is now on his way to a distant country. He is going to find a bride among his mother’s relatives.…

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Prayer, Good Conduct, Good Result

Notes pinned on a cross

One interesting feature of today’s reading is the phrase: “Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness.” The New American Bible is the only version which translates the phrase this way. I have two other English translations and four different foreign language versions that read: “Prayer with fasting and…

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Early Controversy in the Church

Basilica of Saint Peter

In today’s first reading we hear about the first great controversy in the Church. It dealt with the relationship of the Jewish law to the Christian faith. It sounds odd to us today, but Jesus lived as a Jew, all the apostles lived as Jews, and Jesus even said that His mission was to the…

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Important Points in History

A clergyman holding a candlestick

We’ve made it! We prepared ourselves by forty days of prayer and fasting, and now we celebrate the great resurrection of our Lord. We celebrate Easter in a special way all week, and in each gospel reading we’ll hear and meditate on a certain appearance of our risen Lord to different disciples. We then keep…

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