Our Lord Jesus, in today’s Gospel reading, poses a question to his disciples that is very important: “Who do you say that I am?” “I, Jesus of Nazareth, who you have been following—who am I?” And when we find the true answer to that question, we find that, in a way, it is the central question we have to answer, because so much else follows from who he is. (more…)
In about two weeks, our Holy Father Pope Francis is going to arrive here in the U.S.—indeed, here in the Washington, D.C., area—to visit us. We know that he has gained a great deal of attention by many people since he was elected as Pope, and that many people find him a fascinating and attractive person. One of the aspects for which Pope Francis is famous is his concern for the poor, and his readiness to reach out and embrace people who are poor or who live with difficult physical or life circumstances.
And surely we can imagine Pope Francis giving us the same admonition that we heard from St. James in our second reading today. (more…)
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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Aug. 30, 2015
Deut 4:1-2, 6-8; Ps 15; James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
In the Gospel reading we have just heard, the Pharisees and the scribes took Jesus’ disciples to task for not washing their hands before eating, according to the customs of the time. Now, we should remember that their motivation for such handwashing was not being sanitary, but rather ritual purity. The law that the Lord gave his people in the Old Covenant required certain kinds of washing—especially of priests preparing to offer sacrifice, but also of all people in certain circumstances—for the sake of ritual purity.
But there is a problem with the Pharisees’ view of this: (more…)
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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Aug. 23, 2015
Josh 24:1-2, 15-17, 18; Ps 34; Eph 5:2, 25-32; John 6:51-58
Have you ever thought about one of the teachings of the Catholic Church: “That teaching is hard! It doesn’t seem right. It seems impossible. It seems shocking or offensive!” Maybe you have thought this sometime in the past; maybe you are thinking this right now, as you are here at Mass. I’m sure you have known others who have thought this.
Well, if you have had this reaction, you are in good company— (more…)