Here is an essay written, by commission, for the centenary of the Revue d’Histoire Ecclésiastique.
August 27, 2011
August 20, 2011
Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 24, 2008 – Blessed Sacrament
For the last three weeks we have been hearing as our second readings snippets from the ninth to the eleventh chapters of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Although the passages we heard were too brief to follow the path of his argument, they did convey some sense of the anguish with which he addressed what he called a great “mystery,” the fact that so many of his fellow-Jews had failed to recognize their Messiah and Lord in Jesus of Nazareth, the one who was crucified and whom Paul believed had been raised from the dead for the redemption of Israel and indeed of the whole world. In the end, all Paul could offer was tentative reasons for hoping that his Jewish kinsmen would one day be integrated into the community that acknowledges that Jesus is Lord and that in him God was reconciling the world to himself. (more…)
August 18, 2011
This essay has been published as: “‘A Postmodern Augustinian Thomism?’” in Augustine and Postmodern Thought: A New Alliance against Modernity?, ed. L Boeve, M Lamberigts, and M. Wisse (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium, 219; Leuven: Peeters, 2009), 123-46.
August 13, 2011
20TH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR – AUGUST 18, 2002 – BLESSED SACRAMENT
The remark of Jesus recorded in today’s Gospel-passage does not fit very well with common perceptions of him as gentle and ever-welcoming. To the Gentile Canaanite woman, he says sharply: “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” It was not uncommon, of course, for Jews to refer to Gentiles as dogs; the Middle East’s habit of denigration of the other has a long history. In fact, it is in that context that we must place this exchange between Jesus and the woman. We have to imagine it as a kind of verbal jousting, (more…)
August 6, 2011
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 7, 2011 – St. John’s, Goshen
If you ever go to Sicily, be sure not to miss the cathedral in Monreale, a small city not far from Palermo. Built by the Normans in the twelfth century, its interior is covered from floor to ceiling with beautiful mosaics. The principal ones tell the biblical stories from creation to Pentecost, the life and deeds of Christ, and the life of the Blessed Virgin. On either side of the main sanctuary, two smaller areas are covered with mosaics depicting the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the series on St. Peter contains a beautiful representation of today’s Gospel.
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 10, 2008 – Blessed Sacrament
In our first reading we have heard of the famous scene in the First Book of Kings in which the prophet Elijah, alone and discouraged, encounters the God of Israel. But this encounter is not like earlier ones, particularly the encounter between Israel and God at Mt. Sinai, where smoke and fire, earthquake and thunder, announce the presence of God. As Elijah stood before God, there was a mighty wind, but the Lord was not in the wind; there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; there was fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. Instead there comes “a tiny whispering sound,” as our translation has it. “A still small voice” is an older translation. One scholar thinks it should be rendered “a fine sound of silence,” the paradox of a silent sound, an audible silence, being deliberate. Here, we are given to understand, is where the Lord was to be heard.
The passage can lead us to reflect on the various images of God that we meet with in the Scriptures. (more…)