Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday, 7 September 2007

Today's readings may be found at:

Jesus’ teaching always employs examples that the people could understand that were drawn from their daily experiences or common knowledge. We don’t store wine in skins anymore, although you can go to some catalogs and get a semi-authentic wine skin to show off with, I suppose. Because new wine is often still active, it has to have a container that will breathe and move with it. Old skins have lost their suppleness, instead of giving, they burst. It is the same with cloth. The natural fibers of wool and linen that were used most commonly in those days shrank after washing. A new piece attached to the shrunken fibers would shrink at the next washing and the hole would return. These examples deal with common good sense; from them Jesus has drawn his lesson: There is an appropriate way to deal with things and people, and they should be dealt with according to their nature. Wine that has settled down is more enjoyable because it has developed flavor and palatability. Old wine is better. But there will be no old wine, unless the new wine is properly stored. There is a way of teaching the young in the Faith that is appropriate for them. There is a way of further developing the Faith in others. As Aquinas said so truly in the 13th century: What is received is received in the mode of the receiver.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Gospel for 6 September

See this URL for today's readings:
Sound travels well over water, and for Jesus to get into the boat and pull away from the shore for a distance allowed his words to be heard much better than if he were just sitting in the midst of the crowd. Unlike at other times, Luke fails to tell us what effect Jesus’ teaching had on those who listened. While his words were all well and good, on the religious level, you can almost hear the disbelief in Peter’s voice when he realizes that the carpenter is trying to tell the fisherman how to fish. Jesus’ teaching is verified for Peter, Andrew, James, and John by the splendid and unlooked for catch of fish. His message sank in, and the person of Jesus was revealed, only when Jesus’ work brought about faith---faith that led to repentance: Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man. How slow we are to believe and to repent. At least our distance in time from Jesus’ day allows his word to be heard more clearly, just as his distance from the shore helped the crowd to hear.

Mother Teresa's Dark Night of the Soul

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was famous in her life and after her death because of her work for the poor and her spiritual teaching. Now that the cause for her canonization is working, her letters and other materials about her life have come to light. It appears that from the 1950's on she experienced a sense of complete abandonment by God. This feeling of God's absence in her life was a great trial, but something that never got her down. She continued steadfastly onward in her service of Christ without spiritual consolation. What a great example to us in modern western countries where the cult of "feelings" and "Oprah-ism" reigns. See the articles in Zenit:

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

September 5, 2007

Both the epistle reading and today’s gospel contain the words “Good News.” The Good News that has reached you is spreading all over the world and producing the same results as it has among you ever since the day when you heard about God’s grace and understood what this reality is. And I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do. There is a universalist message about the Good News. It is not something to be put under the bed or a bushel basket---like a lamp it is to be placed on a stand to give light to the whole household of God. The people of Capernaum wanted Jesus to stay with them, and be their very own civic miracle worker. He would have been outstanding in that role, however, he was always conscious of his mission: to bring the gospel, the “Good News,” to those who were near and to those who were far off. Such should be our mission, too.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gospel for 4 September

Today's readings may be found here:

What is nice about today’s gospel is that there is no suspicion or violence in it, no Pharisees looking for a way to catch Jesus saying or doing something that will bring him into a scandal. His teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority. The scribes and Pharisees always appealed to the teachings of those who went before them, when they commented on the Torah---everything that they said had to be backed up with some ancient rabbi’s opinion. Jesus didn’t appeal to the opinions of the revered rabbis of the past---he spoke with his own authority: You have heard it said, but I say to you. Beyond that, he backed up his authority, as occasion offered by some kind of healing or other work---even on the Sabbath, as in today’s reading. The astonishment of his listeners was as much for his command of the scriptures as it was for his healing. Nothing like this had been seen in anyone’s memory. It truly seemed as if God had visited his people, and he did.