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…)
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 17, 2010 – St. John’s
The parables of Jesus were often designed to startle people, to call into question their taken-for-granted assumptions about God or about human life, to require a decision as to which world they will live in, the old, familiar and comfortable life they’ve been living or the new world opened up by the coming of the Kingdom of God, the fundamental theme of Jesus’ preaching and teaching. I used to try to get my undergraduate students at Catholic University to recognize this character of the parables by asking them whether there were any that they didn’t like, even wished Jesus had never pronounced. They usually mentioned the parable of the workers who received the same pay for working all day long as the other workers who had worked only one hour, or the parable of the prodigal son–they thought that the older son had a point in his complaint to his father about the big party he was throwing for his younger son when he had never done anything of the sort for himself, the older son. At that point, I would remark that this unhappiness, dissatisfaction, disagreement with Jesus resembled the reaction Jesus often met in his own day and meant that those parables were aimed at them, too, today.
Some of the parables so depart from common assumptions that they work by contrast. (more…)
Below are two essays I published on Vatican II’s vision of the Church. You will see that they somewhat overlap.
JAK Ecclesiology of Vatican II
JAK Ecclesiology of Vatican II – 2
28th Sunday of the Year — October l0th, 1971 – CNR
On such a gloomy day, on which even preachers–at least this one–don’t feel a great deal of energy, it is something of a comfort to hear the first lines of the second reading: “Remember that Jesus Christ, son of David, was raised from the dead. This is the gospel that 1 preach.” Short and sweet. Forgive me if I am not quite that short: the Irish in me rebels.
The NT gospel is a message of liberation. And yet Paul immediately adds to this statement of its essential content: “In preaching this gospel, I suffer as a criminal, even to the point of being thrown into chains–but there is no chaining the word of God:” The liberating gospel has led to Paul’s imprisonment, and much of the paradox of the Christian’s condition is there expressed. (more…)
27TH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR – OCTOBER 4, 1998 – BLESSED SACRAMENT
The scripture readings today have in common the theme of faith. Both meanings of that word are presented for our reflection. To prepare for the Gospel words about faith the size of a mustard seed, the OT reading from the prophet Habakkuk was chosen because of the last line: “The just man shall live because of his faith.” This, of course, is the statement that in the Epistle to the Romans St. Paul cited as proof of his fundamental doctrine that we are justified, not by our own works, but by faith in the free mercy of God in Jesus Christ. In all of these texts the emphasis falls on the subjective meaning of the word “faith”: the act of believing. “Increase our faith,” the apostles ask the Lord.
It is the objective meaning of faith that is the focus of Paul’s charge to Timothy in the second reading: (more…)