April 19, 2022

Thinking about Debt with Michael Hudson Jesus, a non-believer in trickle-up economics, chases the money lenders out of the Temple in illustration on cover of “… and forgive them their debts” by Michael Hudson. (Image credit: michaelhudson.com)   Almost all of the new money the American economy has produced in four decades has gone to the wealthiest people. We’ve been living with this trickle-up economics ever since Ronald Regan introduced the phrase “trickle down” in his 1980 presidential campaign. Long... Read more

April 11, 2022

  Why do we kneel during the Communion Rite? A small change in liturgical procedure at my parish church stimulates a reengagement with the meaning of the posture of kneeling. I’ve also written about postures in the liturgy here. I’m thinking now not of whether we stand or kneel while receiving Communion but of kneeling in our pews throughout the Communion Rite. That is the new thing that my parish is doing. Previously we sat until the usher got to... Read more

March 21, 2022

Virtue and economics go together in the work of Anthony Annett. In an age that hasn’t gotten past the neoliberal economics and skyrocketing inequality of recent years, that’s a radical thought. Annett recently published Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy. The book is the fruit of his Catholic faith, studies in philosophy, and work in the field of economics. It will be the impetus for future posts. Annett refers throughout the book to Catholic teaching, but,... Read more

March 19, 2022

My parish, St. Raphael’s in Springfield, Minnesota, has begun an adult education course on the Nicene Creed. We are listening to and discussing a series of video lectures by Bishop Robert Barron. (From Word on Fire: The Creed) The bishop’s first talk took us all the way through the first three words of the Nicene Creed. There was enough material there for some serious thought. The Nicene Creed begins I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven... Read more

March 14, 2022

Two individuals ask Jesus the same question. Two straightforward answers are given, but they are miles apart from each other. First we hear: Love God and neighbor.” Then we get: “Follow the commandments.” But when Jesus gets down to his usual way of teaching – through parable and parabolic saying, the message is the same. In these two incidents we have two of Jesus most iconic utterances — the parable of the Good Samaritan and the saying about the Eye... Read more

February 23, 2022

A massacre in the Temple and a fatal tower collapse – stories, or maybe rumors. In Chapter 13 Luke’s Gospel starts sounding a bit like 21st century USA. Some people, convinced of their own righteousness, accost Jesus with a story that has righteous anger written all over it. Pilate, the Roman governor, has ordered the massacre of several Galileans while they were offering sacrifices in the Temple. Luke doesn’t tell us whether the story is true or not. What little... Read more

February 15, 2022

A quote from William Stringfellow, Dissenter in a Great Society illustrates how hard it is for the Cross to penetrate our personal theologies and our lives: Let the Church, they [we?] say, remain pure and undefiled. Let the Church, at least, be one place left where men can contemplate their God, devote themselves to ‘spiritual’ things, and get away from conflict and dissension. Let the Church be a shrine of peace of mind and positive thinking, of the blessed assurance... Read more

February 7, 2022

We remember Jesus’ words near the beginning of Chapter 12 in Luke’s Gospel: “Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” And again at the end: “Do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear…. Notice how the flowers grow. They do not toil or spin….” But between these two irenic trains of thought, like between two slices of bread, Luke sandwiches a story that is... Read more

February 1, 2022

At Mass on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, I paid special attention to the reading of the Gospel from Luke. For churches, like mine, who use the common lectionary, the Gospel selection features Jesus at the beginning of his public ministry. In the synagogue at Nazareth he was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He read a passage, set the scroll down, and said, in essence, “This is a time when everyone who is in debt gets to... Read more

January 23, 2022

Sixth in a series on social justice in the Gospel of Luke. It’s standard to see Luke’s “Infancy Stories,” Chapters 1 and 2, as an introduction to the rest of the Gospel. That rest, then, gives us Jesus “public” life, beginning with his baptism and some temptations in the desert. But the New American Bible calls Chapter 3 “The Preparation for the Public Ministry.” I think of this chapter as a second introduction or a continuation of the first. There... Read more

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