Saturday, January 22, 2022

We kill the prophets (Philip Berrigan)

   The poor tell us who we are, the prophets tell us who we could be, so we hide the poor and kill the prophets. 

--Philip Berrigan 

Image source: James Tissot, Jesus Unrolls the Book in the Synagogue (1886-1894), 
Quotation source

Friday, January 21, 2022

To see the Scriptures for what they are (Scott Hahn & Curtis Mitch)

   What we get out of the Bible will largely depend on how we approach the Bible. Unless we are living a sustained and disciplined life of prayer, we will never have the reverence, the profound humility, or the grace we need to see the Scriptures for what they really are. You are approaching the word of God. But for thousands of years, since before he knit you in your mother’s womb, the Word of God has been approaching you. 

--Scott Hahn & Curtis Mitch 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Sunday Gospel Reflection, January 23, 2022: Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life...

Does the Word of God speak to your heart?

   Psalm 19 suggests that the people of Israel believed that the law of God, as inscribed in the five books of the Torah, enriched their lives and improved their understanding of their relationship with God and with each other. The command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye, the psalmist sings; when properly interpreted, Scripture gives wisdom to the simple. Unfortunately, the community that gathers to hear Jesus in his hometown, Nazareth, has no interest in Jesus’ interpretation of the passage he presents to them. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Jesus reads in Luke’s Gospel, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. But his audience believes they have heard all they need to hear; once Jesus adds, Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing, they will make their rejection of him clear. They, like the Corinthians to whom Paul is writing, are too focused on themselves to understand the gifts they have been given, including the gift that is Christ, God’s Word itself; they will therefore remain at a distance from the Lord.

    Only the community described by Nehemiah seems ready to open fully to God’s words. When Ezra the priest reads out of the book of the law – the Torah – from daybreak to midday, all the people listen attentively. Indeed, they are so moved by the words of God that they weep with emotion. Ezra must interpret the law for then; like Luke the Evangelist, Ezra realizes that God’s words and Word need to be examined and understood anew in their context, and then expanded on, that all might integrate them into their daily life. This is precisely the function of the homily at Mass: to interpret God’s Word so that it makes sense to us in our time.

    Do we think about the prophecies of God being fulfilled in us now, because we are Body of Christ, united in his love, through one baptism? Can we hear God’s Word? That Word tells us who we have the potential to be, giving us hope. Prophecies are possibilities. We are commissioned at our baptism as priests, prophets and kings. As such, we must speak God’s Word, bringing glad tiding to poor, proclaiming liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and letting the oppressed go free… all of which is possible, if only the Word of God speaks to our hearts. 

This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class. 
Image source:

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

May you use the gifts that you have received (St. Teresa of Avila)

May today there be peace within you.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, and bask in the sun. It is there for each and every one of you.

--St. Teresa of Avila 

Image source:  Sadao Watanabe, Wedding at Cana (1968),
Quotation source

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Reclaiming the word celebration (Henri Nouwen)

     It is of great importance to reclaim the word celebration as one of the core words of the Christian life. Celebration is not a party on special occasions, but an ongoing awareness that every moment is special and asks to be lifted up and recognized as blessing from on high. There is Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and the many feast days of the saints. There are countless birthdays, anniversaries, and memorial days. And then there are days to welcome and to say farewell, to receive guests and to visit friends, to start a project and to finish it, to sow and to reap, to open a season and to close it. 

   But even these moments do not exhaust the full meaning of celebration. Celebration lifts up not only the happy moments, but the sad moments as well. Since ecstatic joy embraces all of life, it does not shy away from the painful moments of failure, departure, and death. In the house of love even death is celebrated, not because death is desirable or attractive but because in the face of death life can be proclaimed as victorious. 

 --Henri Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak 

Monday, January 17, 2022

If Jesus can change water into wine (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

  When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. 

   Our fears which seek to control us when change is imminent, they need to be overcome. Times, they are a-changin’. If Jesus can change water into wine, what else can he change? Can he change hardened hearts? Can he change closed minds? Can he change how and why we live? Can he change hate? Can he change the world around us so that it will suit our needs, or will he change us so we can change the world? 

   I have to ask myself, what changes need to occur in my life so that I can be more like Jesus? Do I need to broaden the circle of who I will love, and who I will let love me? Do I need to give more and take less? Do I need to see my neighbor in more and more people, or less and less? 

--Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Image source: John August Swanson, Wedding Feast, 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Celebrate this day! (Br. David Steidl-Rast)

   You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day; it’s the one day that is given to you today. It’s given to you; it’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day of your life and very last day, then you will have spent this day very well. 

--Br. David Steidl-Rast

Image source 1: Pablo Veronese, The Wedding at Cana (1563), detail, 
For a fascinating analysis of the painting, including alternative source material: