Steve’s Columns

2nd Sunday In Lent – 17 March 2019

The Lord God took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.” Abram put his faith in the LORD, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness. (Gn: 15:5-6) When God spoke with Abram and promised him a great reward, Abram responded that a reward or gift would be pointless since he had no children on whom to bestow it; and Abram was already aged. God responded that the gift he would give to Abram was in fact an abundance of children …

1st Sunday in Lent – 10 March 2019

“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here… Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” (Lk: 4:9;12) If you are a parent, then it is very likely you have had recourse to the phrase, “You are testing my patience”. It is very unlikely though that you ever said, either as a parent or otherwise, “You are testing my humanity”. This is unfortunate because our human nature is tested regularly by our present culture to become less human. We are tested over life in …

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 3 March 2019

Jesus told his disciples a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? (Lk: 6:42) We begin our reflection on this Sunday’s gospel reading with a rhetorical question. In it Jesus is being obvious that one who cannot see certainly cannot guide another who needs guiding. In order to comprehend the full sense of this scriptural passage, we must always recall that the parables of Jesus have a deeper spiritual meaning. On a few occasions Jesus called the Pharisees “blind guides” chastising them for neglecting major virtues and institutions while being preoccupied …

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 24 February 2019

Abishai whispered to David: “God has delivered your enemy into your grasp this day… But David said to Abishai, “Do not harm him, for who can lay hands on the LORD’s anointed and remain unpunished?” (1 Sam: 26:8-9) In this Sunday’s gospel reading Jesus attaches a greater demand of love onto the commandment to love. He tells his disciples “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Lk 6:27). From there he counsels that when struck by another we should “turn the other cheek” and when another takes what is ours we should not demand it back. Respectively, …

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 17 February 2019

Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream (Jer 17:7-8). There is no faith without grace. In chronological order, the process of human redemption goes this way: grace, faith and good works. One may certainly perform good works from one’s own human will, yet such natural works gain no merit before God unless they flow from the confluence of supernatural charity. One can also have natural faith: he or she can for example have faith in their …

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 10 February 2018

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” (Lk 5:4-5) The boats of Jewish fisherman on the Lake of Gennesaret were unlikely to be large vessels and so their nets for catching fish were much smaller than the nets of our modern fishing crafts. So when Jesus challenges Peter and his crew to go out “into deep water”, he was not sending Peter out to drag up fish from the bottom of …

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 3 February 2019

The word of the LORD came to me, saying… stand up and tell them all that I command you. Be not crushed on their account… They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD (Jer 1:4,17,19) It is said of Judaism that it considers its second greatest prophet to be Jeremiah. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet of God in the 7th century B.C. He was called for the specific purpose of calling the Jews to conversion and away from idolatrous worship. In particular, Jeremiah warned the Jews about the Babylonian conquest …

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 27 January 2019

He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lk 4:16-18;21) Isaiah was a great 8th century prophet who faithfully counseled King Hezekiah against the Assyrians and who foretold the Babylonian Captivity and its liberation by Cyrus the Great. He also prophesied, as noted above in our quotation from today’s first reading, about the arrival of the Messiah, the anointed king who …

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 20 January 2019

“… You shall be called…Espoused. For the LORD delights in you and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you. (Is 62:4-5) This is the first Sunday celebrated in Ordinary Time since the conclusion of the Christmas liturgical season. Yet still we celebrate the echoes of Epiphany with the great gospel manifestation of Jesus at the Marriage at Cana where the Virgin Mary directs her son, the Son of God, to begin his miraculous ministry. Our …

Baptism of the Lord – 13 January 2019

The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying,”… one mightier than I is coming… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Lk 3:15-16) Just a few weeks ago we wrote in this column that the essence of the Advent season is “expectation”. The Church (that is, the Holy Spirit) instructs us today that the substance of the Christmas season is also one of glorious anticipation. Christmas concludes with the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, and as our quotation above from …