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S+L BLOG: Reflections



Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – October 5, 2014 We are back in the vineyard again this week, immersed in another of Matthew’s complex Gospel parables. Jesus told these parables in answer to the question: “What is the kingdom of God like?” His parables are short narratives that combine realistic details from first-century ...read more
Historically speaking, the church had to take root somewhere. When in the early 30’s AD Jesus of Nazareth was executed, rose from the dead and sent his Spirit to be with his little band of disciples, Rome was the dominant political and social player. Peter and Paul brought the faith to Rome before being executed ...read more
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – September 28, 2014 Immediately preceding today’s Gospel story, Jesus has returned to the Temple (Matthew 21:23a) and reclaimed this sacred space for his healing ministry (21:14) and the stage for teaching and challenging his opponents. The chief priests and elders of the people continue to pressure him: ...read more
Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 21, 2014 When Jesus teaches through parables, he expresses profound truths with simple stories and images that engage minds and hearts. In the Old Testament, the use of parables reflects an ancient, culturally universal method of teaching an ethical lesson applicable to everyday life, by using symbolic stories ...read more
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross –  Sunday, September 14, 2014 At the heart of every World Youth Day is a very simple, powerful, ancient Christian symbol: two large planks of wood, known as the World Youth Day Cross, that not a few journalists have called the “Olympic Torch” of the huge Catholic Festival that we were ...read more
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – September 7, 2014 Today’s Gospel passage from Matthew 18:15-20 compels us to consider the essential elements in the process of forgiveness among members of the Church community. Matthew’s text stresses the fraternal correction of members who sin (18:15-18); the importance of the disciples’ prayer (18:19-20); and the ...read more
Perched on the side of a mountain in the central Italian province of Umbria is the historic town of Assisi, best known as the hometown of St. Francis, one of Christianity’s most revered saints. I’ve spoken to many visitors to Assisi over the past few years – especially since Cardinal Bergoglio was elected pope and ...read more
Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – August 31, 2014 Today’s Gospel from Matthew 16:21-27 presents us with the first prediction of Jesus’ passion. It follows the story told in Mark 8:31-33 and serves as a corrective to the misunderstanding of Jesus’ Messiahship as solely one of glory and triumph. Matthew’s account of the ...read more
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – August 24, 2014 During my graduate studies in Israel in the 1990s, I spent time with the Israeli archaeological team working on the excavations of Caesarea Philippi in northern Israel. Caesarea Philippi is situated about twenty miles north of the Sea of Galilee in the territory that ...read more
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 17, 2014 In the pre-conclave meetings of the College of Cardinals prior to the election of the new pope in March 2013, one very memorable and decisive intervention was made by the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires on the morning of March 7, 2013. In his brief, four-minute ...read more