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Showing posts from February, 2018

Two Mountains: 2nd Sunday Lent

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Today the Church gives us two mountains to consider. The Transfiguration was traditionally thought to have been on Mount Tabor; there may be a better case that it was really Mount Hermon, but I’ll just say Tabor for now. You might have heard people talk about “mountaintop experiences.” There are a lot of Biblical referents for that phrase, and the Transfiguration is at the top of the list.


It was one of those rare, privileged glimpses beyond the veil. Peter and James and John and the other Apostles didn’t have a really clear picture of what they were part of most of the time. They knew it was something profound and consequential; they knew it was a great divine work, maybe the greatest. But their reactions to the teaching and miracles of Jesus throughout the Gospels show that the whole truth of what was happening in their lives often eluded them. Even at the end of this story after the Transfiguration we find them, not happily enlightened with all their questions answered, but quietly…

Ad Fontes: 1st Sunday in Lent

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Benedict left his home feeling the need for some time away from everything. He walked into a narrow valley going into the nearby mountains. He crossed the Anio River and followed the path up, up, past the ruin of a villa that had belonged to the Emperor Nero, that great terror of Christians. But Nero was long dead, and the Catholic Church was alive. Across the valley he could see more ruins, old Roman baths, still today not entirely gone. There’s no telling if it happened to cross Benedict’s mind that day, but the sight was a perfect symbol of his time. Rome was falling, mostly fallen. All around were the signs and glories of Rome’s greatness. People still thought Roman-ness was something to be proud of. They were still convinced it was the best thing going. And they were probably right. Even as it slid further and further into the slime, many of them couldn’t quite bring themselves to imagine the possibility that the whole Roman civilization might just fizzle out. People talk and wri…

Connecting: 6th Sunday OT 2018

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There’s this really common thing now where people say they love Jesus and have a relationship with Him, but they want no part of ‘religion.’ Jesus is good, religion is bad. When people talk this way, you have to ask what they mean by the word ‘religion.’ Usually they mean something like ‘a bunch of empty rituals and traditions that you focus on instead of having an actual relationship with Jesus.’ But that’s not what the word means, and never has been.

If you look into what it actually does mean, you find something really beautiful. Do you know where the word comes from? The Latin, “religio,” has two parts: “ligare” means to tie together, to connect… like your 'ligaments' tie your bones together. And “re”, meaning what it always does, to do something again. “Re - ligare”… to bind back together. To reunite what was torn apart. To restore and bring back what was alienated.

If you want a symbol for being cut off and alienated, you can’t do better than the first reading from Levit…