When Jesus takes the most basic duties of the most essential institutions—duties that surpass even the most bedrock religious obligations of ancient Israel—and says there is something higher, we need to sit up and notice. On three occasions Jesus trumps the very bricks and mortar of the Jewish family by calling upon something even higher: proclaiming the kingdom of God, hearing and obeying the word of God, and doing the will of the Father in heaven. (Lk 9:60, Lk 11:28, Mt 12:50)
Sunday, June 16, 2019
As I have preached for a decade: "If you want to know what a feast day is about, read the preface." And that is all the more true when dealing with a tricky, highly-theological feast like Trinity Sunday. So, what do Catholics believe about this great mystery? Read. The. Preface.
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Was there one special tree in Eden, or two? Most of us picture that there is just one, but a close reading of the text suggests there are two: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil AND the tree of life. And even when Eve, the serpent, and God speak vaguely about trees, the Hebrew verb yadah reveals the emphasis. The tree of life disappears from the story, but reappears in the Heavenly Jerusalem. And later Christian reflection on the tree of life connects it with the cross of Jesus.
Saturday, June 1, 2019
Revelation tells us that, surprisingly, the Heavenly Jerusalem doesn't have a temple. But, beyond surprisingly, the city doesn't have sun or moon either. God and the Lamb are its temple, and God's glory is its light, and the Lamb, its lamp. The promise of a temple that can't be destroyed and likewise that the glory of God is inseparable from that temple answers fears left in Jewish hearts since the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel and the Babylonian Exile: "God will never leave us again; God himself will be our indestructible temple."