Category Archive: Biblical Commentary

Jun 25 2014

On Mount Horeb.

I am spending this summer at a monastery by Lake Superior. I came here away from the noise of the world, to hear God’s voice more clearly. Between work crises and family worries, it’s not always very quiet inside my head, but as the days pass, in the peace of the chapel and the rustling …

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Jun 12 2014

On soil and thistle.

The author of the epistle to the Hebrews was possibly but not probably St. Paul. It was probably but not definitely one of Paul’s friends and disciples in Italy – perhaps, Priscilla or Barnabas or Apollos or even Timothy himself – but, in any case, though the name of the author is most likely lost, …

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Jun 04 2014

On words and waiting.

Later this week, I am embarking on a special leg of my discernment’s journey: I will spend three months at a Benedictine monastery in northern Minnesota, live its life and breathe its air. My regular readers have already seen images of it when I spent two weeks there last autumn (see “On mountain ash and …

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Apr 02 2014

On David and consummate humanity.

The first reading last Sunday was from the book of Samuel, and it described the anointing of, by biblical and popular account, the greatest king in the history of Israel: David. It’s kind of a short and sweet story the way we hear it in church: Samuel the priest and prophet of the Lord is …

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Mar 16 2014

On Transfiguration and the quiet room.

This Sunday, we heard the gospel of Transfiguration. It is a beautiful story, rich in imagery and meaning: onto a high mountain—Mt. Tabor, most scholars believe—Jesus takes with him Peter, James, and John. And then… There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the …

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Feb 17 2014

On forgiveness.

This is not my usual kind of essay. It may not be an essay at all, and it’s not even nice. I am writing this because I can’t be the only one who goes through this particular challenge—it must be ubiquitous enough—and I hope (I hope!) that maybe my rather improvisory train of thought could …

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Jan 08 2014

On leaving the cradle.

We celebrated the feast of the Epiphany this Sunday. One of the most colorful tales in all the Gospels – really, a fairy tale, the most exciting Nativity narrative. Who doesn’t like a fairy tale? In the Gospel of Matthew, three magi – variously translated as kings and wise men from the Orient – come …

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Aug 13 2013

On changing God’s mind.

My parish priest, Father Fran, once told a story during a homily: A little boy came to his father and said, “Daddy, can I please, please have a little brother? I want a little brother!” The man smiled knowingly and replied, “All right. If you pray really hard, every day, twice a day, for about …

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Jul 24 2013

On the Name of God. Part II.

Continued from On the Name of God. Part I. This is where we left off: The Hebrew Bible, the patchwork of myth and the ages and folktale and hindsight and inspiration and gut feeling and politics that it is, refuses to name God. I like that. But that is where I encounter a problem. Two problems, …

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Jul 21 2013

On the Name of God. Part I.

You say I took the name in vain. I don’t even know the Name. But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you? There’s a blaze of light in every word. It doesn’t matter which you heard – The holy or the broken Hallelujah. (from Leonard Cohen, “Hallelujah”)  “Hallelujah” is one of Cohen’s most …

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