August 11, 2020

     “And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, ‘How long has he had this?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mk 9: 20-24)

     The father of the child does believe. And yet he is not quite sure if the Lord “can do anything.” He says quite desperately, almost hopelessly, to Jesus, “…if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”

...

August 10, 2020

     “I see the bad moon a-rising

     I see trouble on the way

     I see earthquakes and lightnin'

     I see bad times today

     Don't go around tonight

     Well it's bound to take your life

     There's a bad moon on the rise…”

     (“Bad Moon Rising,” Creedence Clearwater Revival,1969)

     “Monday” literally means “the day of the moon.” It is the English translation of the late-Latin “lunae dies,” from a time, in antiquity, when the seven days of the week were named after what the ancients believed to be the seven planets, which were deified, and believed to affect our human decisions and lives. John Fogerty did not believe that about the moon, when he wrote the well-known song quoted above, but – nonetheless – he...

August 8, 2020

     “He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” (Rom 14: 6-9)

     How “liberal” of St. Paul, to put our minds to rest like this, not only with regard to our various traditions of fasting and feasting, but also to our various ways of “living” and “dying.” He’s saying, whether you’re “observing” this day (say, in church), or whet...

August 7, 2020

     “And they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you discussing on the way?’ But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, ‘If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’ And he took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.’ John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afte...

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