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Bible

Stern Love – A Meditation on a Moment When Jesus Was Unkind

February 9, 2017 5 Comments
Stern Love – A Meditation on a Moment When Jesus Was Unkind

The Gospel for today’s Mass shocks most modern readers and perhaps a few ancient ones as well. It is the story of the Syrophoenician woman who begs Jesus to heal her daughter. But Jesus ignores and then rebuffs her. Our shock says perhaps more about our poor understanding of love than about Jesus’ terse response. For review, here is […]

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Adam Lived to Be 900? Maybe, but Our Shorter Life Spans Tell Us More Than We Might Like to Admit

June 9, 2016 30 Comments
Adam Lived to Be 900? Maybe, but Our Shorter Life Spans Tell Us More Than We Might Like to Admit

I sometimes get questions about the remarkably long lives of the patriarchs who lived before the great flood. Consider some of their reported ages when they died: Adam 930 Seth 912 Enosh 905 Jared 962 Methuselah 969 Noah 600 Shem 600 Eber 464 Abraham 175 Moses 120 David 70 How should we understand these references? […]

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On Straining out Gnats and Swallowing Camels, as Seen in a Persistent Biblical Debate

February 23, 2016 8 Comments
On Straining out Gnats and Swallowing Camels, as Seen in a Persistent Biblical Debate

The teaching contained in the Gospel for yesterday (Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Lent) is one that is easy to miss by overanalyzing the details. Catholics are frequently questioned about the passage: Jesus says, “Call no man on earth your father.” That one line spurs a battle! On one side, Evangelicals stand poised to […]

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Why Does Jesus Tell Us to Use “Dishonest Wealth”?

November 8, 2015 19 Comments
Why Does Jesus Tell Us to Use “Dishonest Wealth”?

There was a puzzling reference in Saturday morning’s Gospel (Saturday of the 31st week in Ordinary Time) in which Jesus says, I tell you, make friends for yourselves by your use of dishonest wealth, so that, when it fails, they will welcome you to eternal dwellings (Luke 16:9). What does He mean by “dishonest wealth”? […]

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The Sins of God’s People As Stated in the Prophet Malachi

November 3, 2015 11 Comments
The Sins of God’s People As Stated in the Prophet Malachi

In yesterday’s post, we considered the sins of the priests (and they were numerous enough). Today we examine the sins of the people that the Lord sets forth in the Book of Malachi. Here, too, please understand that not everyone is guilty of all of these things. However, they are common human sins and sinful […]

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Genesis and Genre – A Brief Consideration of the Need to Understand Literary Form

October 8, 2015 19 Comments
Genesis and Genre – A Brief Consideration of the Need to Understand Literary Form

The Bible has within its pages many literary forms: history, poetry, prayer, prose, theology, liturgical instruction, cosmology, genealogy, philosophy, parable, moral tale, and so forth. How exactly to read its pages and understand them is often a matter of understanding the genre. The word genre comes directly from the French word meaning “kind” or “sort.” […]

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The Story of the Samaritan Woman, as Beautifully Retold in a Movie Clip

September 11, 2015 9 Comments
The Story of the Samaritan Woman, as Beautifully Retold in a Movie Clip

There is a story in the Gospel of John that you surely remember: the Samaritan Woman at the Well. She was a woman with a “past.” She’d had five failed marriages, and was now just “shacked up.” And Jesus reached out to her in that searing noonday heat. He reached out to her across the […]

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Did the Patriarchs Really Live to Be 900 Years Old? Perhaps, but Here’s Why We Do Not

August 11, 2015 34 Comments
Did the Patriarchs Really Live to Be 900 Years Old? Perhaps, but Here’s Why We Do Not

I sometimes get questions about the remarkably long lives of the patriarchs who lived before the great flood. Consider some of their reported ages when they died: Adam 930 Seth 912 Enosh 905 Jared 962 Methuselah 969 Noah 600 Shem 600 Eber 464 Abraham 175 Moses 120 David 70 How to understand these references? There […]

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