Hear O Israel

Chapter Talks

How do we love God? We are commanded to love God with our whole heart, soul and mind? This is the first commandment. From an incarnational reality, what does this mean? Well, Jesus implicitly gives the answer when he says the “second is like it” (Mt 22:34-40). Jesus means that to love one’s neighbor as one’s self is like the first commandment…the two are intimately connected and cannot be separated. To know what Jesus means by ‘love of neighbor’ we can turn to other teachings of Jesus: we are called to love our enemies; and if struck on one cheek we are to offer the other cheek; we are not to retaliate, either by word or by hand (Mt 5:43-44, Mt 5:40). To give another example, we have the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’ (Lk 10:29-37). Jesus tells this story in response to the question he is asked: ‘Who is my neighbor’? ‘My neighbor’ in Jesus’ mind and heart is expansive, it includes everyone: my enemy, the one who thinks different or whose views are different, who acts different, the one with whom I am in most conflict with right now, and even the one who would strike me down.

October 25, 2020 Read More

An Attitude of Care

Chapter Talks

“Contemplation…leads us to an attitude of care….,” says Pope Francis (September 16, 2020). Have you, have I ever thought that this is one important fruit of a contemplative practice? The ‘care’ Pope Francis is referring to is care for one another and care for creation. They belong together. If we just care for one another and don’t give the same care for creation, then, there is a ‘split’ in our caring. Our caring is not whole or complete.

October 18, 2020 Read More

Accepting the Invitation

Chapter Talks

Once again, we have a parable that Jesus uses to teach the word of God. The parable for this 28th Sunday is a wedding feast that a king has prepared for his son. If we were to do a scholarly review of the text, we would see that the early church used this parable by adding on its own moral precepts through inserting allegory into the parable. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with this, but it can elude the underlying meaning of Jesus’ message in this particular parable. For example: the servants sent out to invite people are ‘mistreated’ and some ‘killed’. And then the king sends ‘his troops’ who go and ‘kill those murderers’. So: what happens to Jesus’ earlier teaching on ‘Love your enemies’…and ‘if you are struck on one cheek, offer your other cheek’? Remember in an earlier chapter talk I mentioned that the Jesuit scripture scholar Fr. John Donahue stated that Jesus in his parables disorients us in order to orient our minds and hearts to see as God sees. Jesus disorients human ways and he challenges the old way of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ with the radical call for love…indeed our love must extend to include our enemies.

October 11, 2020 Read More

A God of Paradox

Chapter Talks

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways’, says the Lord” (Is 55:8). Well, these words from the prophet Isaiah should be humbling to say the least! If the way we think, or the many thoughts that flood our consciousness are not God’s thoughts, then how do we come to know the mind and heart of God? Added to this, we believe we know ways and means and yet often our ways are not God’s ways! How do we come to recognize in truth God’s ways? How do we sense that an idea or thought is from God, from the small still voice of the Spirit? Do we even ponder or reflect enough, asking ourselves what is God’s way or God’s thought on what to do in a specific situation? Are we ready to surrender our thoughts, to descend beneath the flow of thoughts, to dwell in the silence and to wait for the Word to speak?

September 20, 2020 Read More

Forgiveness from the Heart

Chapter Talks

Peter asks Jesus: “If my brother or sister sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” We all know by heart Jesus’ answer: “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Mt 18:21). What is Jesus saying? The obvious answer is there is no numerical quantity to forgiveness. We must always forgive or be ready in heart to forgive. To go deeper: what is this saying about the nature of God and Jesus’ embodiment of who God is? If this is how magnanimous the heart of God is, does this not indicate how we are to be in heart and action?

September 13, 2020 Read More
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