Category: Biblical Commentary

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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On obligation to love.

This essay started with a random glance at the next year’s possible retreat topic. I think that’s what it was. The topic was “Love as an Obligation.” And my first response was to turn to a sister next to me and to ask, feeling everything slow down as it does when something in my head …

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On taking up my cross.

For a reflection dedicated entirely to the Eucharist, see the essay entitled “On the Bread of Life.” Today is the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, so I thought I’d be writing about the Eucharist, my most precious mystery. Or about the Last Supper, the story we tell of the historical source of …

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On the least of His.

Toward the end of the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, Jesus follows a series of behavior-guiding parables with something that suddenly and uncomfortably no longer sounds like a parable. He shifts into the future tense and into the time of the end-world. Judgment Day. When the King – the Son of Man – will see …

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On optimism, hope, and fish.

Between working on a book about Leonard Swidler, writing for the site you are reading right now, family, and discernment, I don’t have much time to write fiction, but on occasion I do it still. In bits. Between breaths, in a sense. During the Triduum, I started a story about Peter. I’ve thought a lot …

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On foot-washing, Peter, pride, and the opposite things.

I am spending my Triduum with the Dominicans this year, guided by their wisdom and basking in their warmth. A week ago, discussing the Holy Thursday Mass, my vocation director mentioned to me that at the church where we’d go we’d have an option to have our feet washed by the local young people. The …

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On seeing and believing.

In the Gospel of John, there is a man among the disciples of Jesus who is absent on Easter Sunday, when the risen Lord appears to them to cause the first furor and relief and the awakening of faith. Thomas Didymus is told of this but refuses to believe until he has hard and undeniable …

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On Satan and what makes a Christian. Part 2.

Continued from “On Satan and What Makes a Christian. Part 1.” So here we are. There is no evil in the Hebrew Bible. Only sin. By the time Jesus of Nazareth walks the Earth, however – by the time nascent Christianity begins to develop its terms and concepts – by the time New Testament writers formulate …

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On Satan and what makes a Christian. Part 1.

We never know when we might engage in debates on religion. On theology, cosmology, faith… My most recent one occurred on Thanksgiving, in the company of family and friends, who happened to be a diverse bunch of atheists, agnostics, a Russian Orthodox Christian, and yours truly Catholic Christian. Our conversation, attended by all and with …

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On the Ninth Commandment and the Lying Baptists

I have noticed a pattern in my classrooms over the last decade or so: As I elicit from my students the heart of the Law of Moses, we almost always trip over the Ninth Commandment. “Thou shalt not lie,” they tell me. Sometimes closer to the text: “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” And then …

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