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

The Kingdom of God

Chapter Talks

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Mt 13: 44). What is it that we have found and are ready, without much deliberation, to go and sell all we have for the treasure lying within the field of our lives? The next terse parable holds a similar dynamic: “A merchant in search of fine pearls finds one of great price, goes and sells all he has and buys that pearl” (Mt 13:45). Is this not how a vocation is born? Or, minimally, a life dedicated to giving one’s self totally for the ‘treasure’ or the ‘pearl’. We have all bought the field containing the treasure…We took the leap of faith…it was led by joy in the finding and followed by joy in ‘selling all’ for the treasure, the gift. But, how do we keep this dynamic alive?

July 26, 2020 Read More

Living From the Inside

Chapter Talks

The present pandemic has turned our lives, world-wide, upside down. Covid-19 has affected the global community and its economies in ways that none of us have lived through before now. Through the pandemic we see how interconnected we all are. Are not the living ‘saints’ those in the medical field who willingly risk their lives daily to care for us? As we live surrounded by so much uncertainty about the present and the immediate future, perhaps it is good to step back and ponder our lives. What, as a monastic community, do we need to renew or work to change in order to continue to mission God’s enduring word of life, of hope, of love?

(Above Thomas Merton at Redwoods Abbey, 1968)

April 26, 2020 Read More

The Man Born Blind

Chapter Talks

Conversion to a deepened faith: the eye of the heart continually needs this transformation…transformation into a living and growing faith. 

March 22, 2020 Read More

On Becoming Authentic One's Self

Chapter Talks

For the solemnity of All Saints I referred to Thomas Merton who wrote: “to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore, the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and discovering my true self” (New Seeds of Contemplation, p.31).  It is interesting that Merton says it is a ‘problem’ to find our true selves!  Evidently, he is implying that the process of finding our true selves is difficult.  To expand more on this, how do we discover our true self?  This self-discovery is a life-time spiritual adventure.   As we discover more and more of our true self, how do we live from that self that is centered in Christ?  If we turn to Jesus, the ‘key’ to finding our true selves lies in this saying: ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake,…will save it’ (Mk 8:34-35).

 

November 13, 2019 Read More
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