Christ in the Desert

On Saturday, I watched good friends carry a miniature white casket up the aisle of our parish church, to be laid before the altar for a funeral Mass. My friends have entered the season of Lent in a profound way. Continue Reading »

Our Canaanite Woman

I made my first confession last month, and it was easier than I expected. Not that I enjoyed recalling misdeeds from 2010, or that I wasn’t nervous when I stepped away from the parishioners in the middle of Mass that morning in St. Vincent Ferrer and entered the dark quiet of the confessional. But . . . . Continue Reading »

The Gospel of Jesus on Sexual Binaries

Rachel Held Evans is once again arguing against “The False Gospel of Gender Binaries.” Regrettably, she does little more than provide us with a reminder of a textbook example of eisegesis (reading “into” the biblical text one's own ideology) rather than exegesis (reading “out of” . . . . Continue Reading »

St. John's Seventh Sign

The eleventh chapter of John opens with Jesus across the Jordan, away from Judea, laying low after having escaped being stoned to death at the Temple. It is there that he receives word from Bethany—from Mary and Martha, Lazarus’s sisters—to hurry and aid his friend who is sick. Continue Reading »

Taking Pride in Humility

It all started when a guy told me in a Facebook post that if someone tells him he is humble, it is a certain sign he isn’t. Though I told him he should just be humble enough to take my word for it, nonetheless, I decided to consult the New Testament, if only to straighten out a few things. The short of it is, I’m pretty sure humility is overrated, at least as preachers tell it. Continue Reading »

Salt of the Earth

Salt of the earth” is one of the best-known phrases in the Bible, but it’s more enigmatic than we realize. Salt has many qualities, and it’s not clear which one Jesus is highlighting. Does Jesus want disciples to preserve the world? Are disciples as necessary to the world as salt is to life? Are disciples the seasoning on a main course dished up by someone else? Continue Reading »

Toasting Jesus

At an evangelical gathering on a New Year’s Eve, someone stood to announce that he wanted to toast us all. We sipped from our glasses of sparkling apple cider as he expressed his wishes for our collective good health for the coming year. Then someone else spoke up: “Now please join me in a toast to Jesus!” Continue Reading »

Slaughtered Sons

We like the story of angels proclaiming peace on earth and good will toward men. But we too often forget a darker side of the Christmas story: the slaughter of Bethlehem’s infant boys. Continue Reading »