Second Sunday in Advent–December 8, 1974–CNR
St. Paul meant it of the writings we call the Old Testament, but his words may be extended to include his own writings and the rest of the books that constitute the Christian Bible: “Everything written before our time was written for our instruction, that we might derive hope from the lessons of patience and the words of encouragement in the Scriptures.” That sentence speaks well of the place of our Christian living–if we look back to things said and done and written in the past, it is to gain hope for the future.
Advent, we saw last week, is the great season of hope; and in today’s liturgy the focus of its celebration turns from the expectation of the final coming of God’s Kingdom to the anticipation of the Word’s becoming flesh which we will celebrate at Christmas. (more…)
First Sunday of Advent – November 28, 1971 – CNR
The readings today begin the celebration of the season of Advent. The reading from Isaiah expects the reign of peace when the word of the Lord comes from Jerusalem. The readings from Paul and from Matthew’s Gospel concentrate on the future-orientation which calls Christians to decide to live lives worthy of the light that is about to dawn. I thought there might be some point to reflecting on the reading from Isaiah.
Its language is familiar to us all, the noble description of the day when peoples “will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks,” when “one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (more…)
Two years ago I posted three homilies for the feast of Christ the King, which you can find here.
Here are six other ones on the readings for this C cycle:
The Feast of Christ the King – October 31, 1965 – St. Bartholomew’s
The feast of Christ the King is designed to emphasize the central place of Jesus Christ in our lives. If in our time and society to speak of kings is a little odd, still there is no doubt that what a king was once to his nation, Jesus Christ is to each of us.
I should like to reflect a little on what Christ should be for us, and, since there is little danger of our ever ignoring or neglecting his divinity, I want to speak about the meaning for us of that humanity of his we so easily pass over. (more…)
This essay reproduces the paper I delivered at the first Salamanca Conference, on the nature and future of episcopal conferences, held in Salamanca, Spain, January 3-8, 1988. The interdisciplinary conference was convoked as a way of responding to the call made at the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 for a study of the theological and canonical status of episcopal conferences.
JAK – Subsidiarity in the Church
Just some notes as background for tomorrow’s Gospel. It begins with the admiration being expressed by some people at the Temple in Jerusalem, with its “costly stones and votive offerings.” To which Jesus replies: “All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (Lk 21:5-6).
The Temple in question was the third on the site. Solomon’s Temple had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. A second Temple was built after the return from Exile and completed around 515 B.C. Herod the Great decided it was not grand enough and embarked on a reconstruction of it that doubled its area. This work took decades, and in fact it was still under way in the time of Jesus. Completed about 63 A.D., it would be destroyed only seven years later.
Joseph Fitzmyer’s commentary on Luke, from which I took those details, has also this:
According to Josephus, the Temple was built of “hard, white stones, each of which was about twenty-five cubits in length, eight in height, an twelve in width.” …
The exterior of the structure lacked nothing that could astound either mind or eye. For, being covered on all sides with massive plates of gold, the sun was no sooner upon it than it radiated so fiery a flash that people straining to look at it were compelled to avert their eyes, as from the rays of the sun. To approaching strangers it appeared from afar like a snow-clad mountain; for all that was not overlaid with gold was of purest white. From its summit protruded sharp golden spikes to prevent birds from settling upon and befouling the roof. Some of the stones in the structure were forty-five cubits in length, five in height, and six in breadth.
(The biblical cubit is commonly taken to be around eighteen inches in length.)
You can find here various scale-model reconstructions of Herod’s Temple offered by various archaeologists and architects. Here are two of them:
33rd Sunday of the Year – November 14, 1971 – CNR
St. Luke wrote his Gospel sometime around the year 85; he belonged, then, to the second or third generation of Christians. His writings reflect the wider perspective on the significance of Jesus Christ that the passage of time afforded him. He is the only evangelist to have written a second book, The Acts of the Apostles, telling the story of the journey of the Gospel from Jerusalem to Rome. And in both books, he found it necessary to alter the presentation of the Second Coming of Christ, in order to give positive importance to the time of the Church between Resurrection and Parousia.
Earlier, the Church expected the End to come quickly. What God had begun at Easter and Pentecost would soon be completed with the return of Christ and the full realization of the Kingdom of God. But the mere coming and going of generations of believers, with the End still not in sight, led Luke to reconsider the matter. (more…)
Thirty-second Sunday of the Year–November 9, 1974–CNR
Our Gospel-reading today is one in a series of disputes between Jesus and his various opponents. Taken together, they illustrate and demonstrate his authority and wisdom as the Messiah. Each of them separately at once teaches something about the nature of the Kingdom he was announcing and calls his hearers to the conversion that alone gives access to it.
The opponents today are the Sadducees, a more conservative group among the Jews, who, accepting only the first five books, the Torah, denied the resurrection of the just. The homey story they propose to Jesus was meant to point up the absurdity of that belief, and was probably borrowed from their disputes with the Pharisees, who took the resurrection so literally and uncritically that they could say, for example, that in the next life, “women will bear children daily.” Their argument takes the classic rabbinic form of quoting a single text, here about the obligation of a brother to marry his brother’s childless widow, and rigorously deducing conclusions from it.
Jesus’ reply is not an out-and-out rejection of the argument. (more…)
31st Sunday of the Year – October 31, 1971 – Cathedral Parish, Portland, Me.
“Today salvation has came to this house.”
Salvation is one of those words we use a lot as Christians. We call Christ our “Savior.” There are signs that proclaim, “Jesus saves.” In our creed every Sunday, we confess that God has become man “for us and for our salvation.” But it’s also a word we use a lot without understanding it. So let us just ask today, what does “salvation” mean? (more…)
3oth Sunday of the Year – October 24, 1971 – CNR
Today’s Gospel is a hard saying, difficult to comprehend, difficult to accept. It is not primarily told as a lesson in humility; it is much more fundamental than that: it is a lesson on the nature of the Gospel, on the nature of Christianity.
Jesus does not suggest that the Pharisee was a hypocrite or a liar, that it was not true that he was not like the rest of men or that he fasted and paid tithes. (more…)