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

Towards a Radical Forgiveness

Chapter Talks

“If your brother or sister sins against you…” (Mt 18:15): what are we to do? This is the theme for this Sunday’s Eucharist. All three readings circle around this theme. On the surface, the response about what to do may appear simple…It is not. Here in the gospel narrative the nascent Church is attempting to establish a paradigm for followers of Jesus. We all form and are part of the body of Christ…and this includes those who sin, or even when we sin…No matter, sinners or not, we are still part of this one living body of forgiveness and love. The epistle from Romans I would suggest is the key to unveiling the approach Jesus is asking. What we ‘owe’ to one another is nothing but ‘love’: “Love does no evil to the neighbor, hence, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rm 13:10). ‘Love’ in this context contains other virtues such as mercy, compassion, humility….

September 06, 2020 Read More

Our Daily Crosses - Large and Small

Chapter Talks

Pope Francis was drawn to this epitaph of Saint Ignatius: “‘Not to be confined to what is greater, but to be concerned with what is smaller: this is divine’” (The Mind of Pope Francis, p.10). Pope Francis commented on this epitaph: “’We could translate it this way: without turning away from that which is higher, we must bend down to pick up what is apparently small in the service of God; or while remaining attentive to what is farther away, we must worry about what is closer’” (p.10). What is this saying to us? There is a tension in this epitaph between the ‘greater’ and the ‘smaller’. Held in the tension of these two opposites is potential life…the larger goal we are to keep our heart’s eye upon, while doing the daily work of the ‘small’, which as St. Ignatius says, is divine.

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