A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
___
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Irenaeus, Human Perfection, and the Nature of the Universe

Here someone may raise an objection. "Could not God have made humanity perfect from the beginning?" Yet one must know that all things are possible for God, who is always the same and uncreated. But created beings, and all who have their beginning of being in the course of time, are necessarily inferior to the one who created them. Things which have recently come into being cannot be eternal; and, not being eternal, they fall short of perfection for that very reason. And being newly created they are therefore childish and immature, and not yet fully prepared for an adult way of life. And so, just as a mother is able to offer food to an infant, but the infant is not yet able to receive food unsuited to its age. In the same way, God, for his part, could have offered perfection to humanity, but humanity was not capable of receiving it. –Irenaeus (second century AD).

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Scriptures and Prayer for Transfiguration Sunday

Old Testament: Exodus 24:12-18

Psalter: Psalm 2 or Psalm 99

Epistle: 2 Peter 1:16-21

Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9
___
O God of the covenant, the cloud of your splendor and the fire of your love revealed your Son on the mountain heights. Transform our lives in his image, write your law of love on our hearts, and make us prophets of your glory, that we may lead others into your presence. Amen.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Scriptures and Prayer for the Feast of St. Matthias the Apostle

First Reading: Acts 1:15-26

Psalter: Psalm 15

Epistle: Philippians 3:13-21

Gospel: John 15:1, 6-16
___
Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rending the Heart: A Lectionary Reflection on Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 for Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17

Symbolic acts can be powerful. Prophets used symbolic acts to get the attention of the people. Isaiah walked around naked for three years as a warning to Egypt and Ethiopia of their coming defeat at the hands of the Assyrians. Jeremiah shattered a pot as a sign of what would happen to God's people because of their disobedience. Jesus himself performed symbolic acts-- "cleansing" the temple as a demonstration of God's judgment upon it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

No Time to Waste: A Lectionary Reflection on 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10 for Ash Wednesday

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10

Years ago there was a parishioner at the church I served who was in need of a heart transplant. She was a young woman whose condition was so serious she was admitted to the hospital for care as she waited. She did just that for several weeks when the news came that a heart was now available. It wasn't very long before she was having the surgery that would save her life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

On Not Making a Show of It: A Lectionary Reflection on Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 for Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Every one of us is motivated by something. We have motives as we go about our employment. We have motives in our various relationships. In fact, we are motivated by something in everything we do. Some persons work a particular job primarily because they love it. They could not imagine themselves doing anything else. Others may not care for their job and would retire tomorrow if possible, but they need to earn money to put food on the table. I know some professors who are motivated to pass wisdom on to their students; and because they are so motivated, they go the extra mile for their sake. I know some other professors who would prefer to spend their days in research and never teach a class if possible, but they have to eat and pay the bills and tutelage is the only way to do so.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Fulfilling Israel's Story for the Sake of the World: A Lectionary Reflection on Matthew 17:1-9

Matthew 17:1-9

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus is placed at the center and above two of Israel's greatest historical figures-- Moses and Elijah. Moses represents the Law, Elijah the prophets. But in Matthew's account of this story he is not simply claiming that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets, but that he is greater than the Law and the prophets. Matthew is clearly more interested in connecting Jesus to Moses throughout his Gospel than Jesus to Elijah, but the significance of Elijah as the epitome of the prophetic office in Israel and as the one to prepare the way for the Messiah should not be ignored.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scriptures and Prayer for the Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

Old Testament: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18

Psalter: Psalm 119:33-40

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
___
O God most holy, in Jesus Christ you have laid a foundation upon which to build our lives. Help us to follow your perfect law of love, that we may fulfill it and observe it to the end. Amen.