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August 29, 2017 - We All Paid a Price for Patriarchy on This Day

Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist

Scripture Readings

The story we encounter in Mark today is a story of a very powerful man (King Herod) who as king can hand out punishments as easily as rewards. And whether he does the former or the latter is entirely up to him. While his wife (Herodias) undoubtedly enjoys many privileges, she doesn’t have anything like the power of her husband. If she wants to get something done, she has to go through the king or work in the shadows.

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August 28, 2017 - Voices

Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Scripture Readings

What constitutes the authentic practice of religion? What is it that we do in our everyday lives that establishes who we are as Christians? What 'voices' command our attention?

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August 27, 2017 - Who Are You?

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Not because Jesus was having an identity crisis, he asks his disciples who they thought he was. Peter confesses that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” As I said last week about the story of the Canaanite woman, Matthew wants his readers know that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. What happens after this is truly meaningful. Jesus does not ASK Peter who Peter is. Jesus TELLS Peter who Peter is - the rock on which he will build his church. In fact, Jesus defines two things - Peter and the church. Jesus was not having a identity crisis. Jesus was giving Peter and the church a vision and a mission. 

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August 26, 2017 - Monitored

Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Several months ago a significant change occurred in my family.  Our roughly 18 month old daughter, Hosanna, was found at the top of the stairs.  No big deal, right?  The minor detail that I'm excluding is that we had last left her in her crib.  My wife and I took her back in her room, put her in her crib and asked her to show us how she got out.  She complied without a fuss and in less than 5 seconds was standing on the floor wondering why our expressions were closer to fear than pride.  All of this was occurring just before our third child would be born.  Suddenly, we had two bed-sleeping toddlers sharing a room, so we made an investment.  We bought a video monitor.  That's when we took parent spying to a whole new level.

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August 25, 2017 - Culture Wars

Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

My students like to think that church and all that “religion stuff” doesn’t have much of an effect on their “real lives”. Sure, they go to mass on Sunday for an hour but the rest of the week, they don’t need it. They are in the midst of a culture war – video games and hanging out with friends are far more enticing than going to Mass. Indeed, lots of Catholics like to think that all this church stuff doesn’t really affect me and my life as a Christian (not really). Today’s scriptures are about culture wars, too. In the first reading (Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14b-16, 22), we are introduced to the characters of Ruth, Naomi, and their husbands. There are three significant points to lift up in this passage. First, Naomi and her husband and sons have had to leave behind the land God gave them, to enter Moab. If you have been following along with the scripture passages this summer, you know that getting to the promised land of Canaan was difficult in the first place. How much more wrenching, then, to have to leave it behind. But second, Naomi’s sons marry Moabite women, not Jews. That means her sons have married foreigners, people who are not always looked upon with favor in the Bible. In addition, Naomi becomes a widow, a position of hardship in Biblical times, especially since she is now without her sons as well. Naomi has no one to look after her and care about her welfare. 

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