"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

February 11, 2012

Touching lepers

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 8:22 pm

Sixth Sunday of the Year – February 12, 2012 – St. John’s

Much in the brief story we have just heard may appear foreign to us. Leprosy is very rare among us, and appears to be disappearing elsewhere. We know that it is a disease, what causes it, and how to treat it and prevent it. None of that was known in the time of Jesus. Because of that ignorance, the only way to prevent its spread was to forbid lepers to live in the towns and cities, to isolate them apart in leper colonies or in leprosaria, as is still done even today in some parts of the world. (St. Peter Damien went to the island of Molokai to work among the lepers there.) In ancient Israel leprosy was also considered to render people ritually unclean, and to touch them was to make oneself unclean, too. The passage was easy to the conclusion that the disease was the result of sin and the work of the evil one. Lepers were among the most outcast of people at the time, doomed to wander muffled in a cloak, crying out in warning: “Unclean, unclean!” There was a rabbinic saying that it was harder to heal lepers than to raise the dead. (more…)

February 5, 2012

Meeting Christ on the road

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 9:15 am

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 5, 2006 – Blessed Sacrament

Our first reading today was taken from the Book of Job and might almost be taken as a classic description of depression: life a drudgery, months of misery, troubled nights, restless sleep, day after day flies by like the wind: “I shall not see happiness again.” The Psalm of response, of course, hastens to reassure us: “The Lord heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. He tells the number of the stars and calls each by name”–and if the individual stars, then surely he has a care for you, the Psalmist tells the depressed.

But the real counterweight to Job’s complaint is found in our Gospel reading, (more…)

Receiving and preaching the Gospel

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 9:10 am


Both New Testament readings emphasize the preaching of the Gospel. St. Paul speaks of his ministry as an obligation placed upon him, which he exercises without claiming the right to live by the effort, doing so in order for him to be able to share in its blessings. That insistence on the duty to preach is heard also in the Gospel where Jesus himself says that this is why he has come: “For this purpose have I come”: to preach the Gospel.
That Gospel, of course, is the good news St. Mark had already summarized as the message of Jesus: “The time has come. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news.” It is what St. Mark was himself doing by writing his book. Preaching the Gospel for him meant telling the story of the one who announced and brought the Gospel.

This is also what is happening at this and at every liturgy. (more…)

February 2, 2012

Contrasting views of what Vatican II should say

Filed under: Vatican II — komonchak @ 7:59 pm

The second phase of the unfolding of Vatican II was the Preparatory Period which ran from November 1960 through to the very eve of the Council’s opening on October 11,1962. During it ten commissions prepared texts for discussion and approval when the fathers assembled in St. Peter’s for the Council proper. It was also the period when the rules for the conciliar deliberations and decisions were drawn up. I have discussed the preparation of the Council in a long chapter in the first volume of the five-volume History of Vatican II, under the title, “The Struggle for the Council during the Preparation of Vatican II (1960-1962).” My title indicates that in the course of the preparation distinct and even contrasting views of what the Council should do and should say became clear and, after revealing themselves here and there in the work of the commissions, openly confronted one another during meetings of the Central Preparatory Commission which had the task of supervising the preparatory work, of reviewing the documents prepared by the various commissions, of recommending emendations, and of judging whether the texts should be submitted to Pope John XXIII for his approval as an agenda for the Council. Although the preparatory commissions had been encouraged to form joint subcommissions to deal with matters that fell under the competence of more than one commission, not much collaborative work was undertaken.

The Preparatory Theological Commission (PTC) in particular resisted the idea that it had to collaborate with other commissions, particularly not with the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (SPCU) which the PTC dismissed as a mere “information-bureau” for non-Catholic bodies. The PTC reserved all doctrinal matters to its exclusive competence and pledged, in turn, not to involve itself in practical matters. Only the preparatory Liturgical Commission and the SPCU refused this separation and did not hesitate to engage the doctrinal issues that underlay their work. As the commissions began their work in November 1960, certain documents reveal already different visions of the Council.

The following documents illustrate some of these differences:

The plan for the Council drawn up by the Holy Office;Holy Office Plan for Vatican II

The questions proposed to the preparatory commissions; Questions for the Preparatory Commissions

Four brief outlines of documents to be prepared by the PTC; Brief Outlines 1960

Fr. Yves Congar’s counter-proposal for a conciliar agenda; Congar’s plan for the Council

An unpublished paper of mine on the initial work of the PTC;  Preparatory Theological Commission

An essay of mine originally published as “The Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity and the Preparation of Vatican II,” Centro pro Unione Semi-annual Bulletin, 50 (Fall 1996) 11-17. SPCU amd Preparation of Vatican II


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