Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Law Written On Our Hearts

 Several years ago the snow almost covered the Adirondack chairs in our front yard.
"I will plant my law within them and write it on their hearts," promises the Lord through the prophet Jeremiah (31:31-34.)  When faced with a moral decision we check with the living voice of God within us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Hour

At the wedding of Cana Jesus told his mother, "My hour has not yet come."  In this Sunday's Gospel (John 12:20-33) Jesus says, "Now the hour has come." In the preceding verses we are told that some Greeks asked to see Jesus.  These Greeks represent the world beyond Judaism. Jesus has come to save the whole world.  So it's time now for his "hour," his passion, death, and resurrection.  He asks, "What shall I say, 'Father, save me from this hour?' But it is for this very reason that I have come to this hour.  Father, glorify your name." 
These words make me wonder what is the hour in my life, the "very reason that I have come."  Why am I here?

Friday, March 9, 2018


In 1974 I read James Burtchaelle's Philemon's Problem: a Theology of Grace, a book that changed my life.  Let me quote this entire eloquent paragraph:  Unlike ourselves the Father loves us, not for what he finds in us, but for what lies within himself.  It is not because we are good that God loves us, nor only the good among us whom he loves.  It is because he is so unutterably good that God loves us all, good and evil alike.  Put most clearly: the Father of Jesus loves sinners.  He loves  the loveless, the unloving, the unlovable.  He does not detect what is congenial, appealing, sound, or attractive, and respond to it with his favor.  Indeed, he does not respond at all.  He initiates.  His is motiveless love, radiating forth eternally. And because the Father of Jesus is creative, his love originates good rather than rewarding it.  St. Augustine had this in mind when he prayed to God, "By loving me, you made me lovable."

Thursday, March 8, 2018

God's Masterpiece

Returning home from this morning's very cold and lovely walk.
St. Paul can't wait to explain his whole idea, so he blurts out, "It is through grace that you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:4-10.)   "Grace" means "gift."  We can never earn it.  God always makes the first move.  Paul concludes, "We are God's work of art."

Monday, March 5, 2018

"The Jews"

This wall is all that is left of the Temple in Jerusalem (the golden dome is a mosque) 
In John's Gospel when Jesus drives the merchants out of the Temple area (2:13-25) the author says, "The Jews said to him 'What sign can you show us for doing this?'"  John does not mean  that all the Jews present challenged Jesus.  He uses "the Jews" to designate the Jewish leaders who oppose Jesus, and whose opposition will grow and grow as the story continues.  If we don't know that John's use of "the Jews" almost always refers to the Jewish leadership, we will blame a lot of bad things that happen on the whole Jewish people, not just on their leaders.

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Decalogue

This mountain is in the country of Jordan, looking west to the Holy Land.   Perhaps the mountain from which God showed Moses the Promised Land which Moses never lived to enter. 
Reflecting on what we call the ten commandments ("ten words" in the Hebrew) in this Sunday's first reading (Exodus 20:1-17) got me thinking of how very much we owe the Jewish people.  Most of all the Bible.  We forget that even the New Testament, the Christian writings, were written by Jewish people.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Cosmic Force

"Love is the most universal, the most tremendous,
  and the most mysterious of the cosmic forces....
  the physical structure of the universe is love."

(Teilhard de Chardin  quotation for March 
on the beautiful wall calendar published by the Ministry of the Arts)