September 23, 2019

Confusion abounds throughout history for the notoriously difficult Parable of the Dishonest Manager, inscrutable even to the Evangelist “Luke”! There should be no confusion that the historical Jesus, unlike the Jesus depicted in the Fourth Gospel called “John,” certainly told parables. These parables are all from Jesus’ ancient, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean context. Peasants, like Jesus the village artisan (definitely not the “intellectual sage” we Westerners idolize), are good storytellers. Therefore, parables are a great folk medium. And thus they are… Read more

September 18, 2019

Fellowship with sinners is justified by the Lukan Jesus. Yesterday we began exploring Jesus’ explanation for his table fellowship with sinners in the Gospel from this past Sunday according to the Common Lectionary. The parable of the Two Lost Sons (often misnamed “The Parable of the Prodigal Son”) is unique to “Luke.” Regardless of whether the historical Jesus actually spoke some primitive version of it or not, the story as is presents a situation that Galilean peasants in the 20s CE… Read more

September 17, 2019

Meaning lost!—The parable misnamed “The Prodigal Son” is neither about Forgiveness nor Repentance.  This week we will be exploring the messy arrangement of this past Sunday’s Gospel, Luke 15:1-32. We are given, in a certain context, three parables about lost things. Today we focus on the longest and last of the three parables. Spurious Familiarity is Bad for Bible Reading Traditionally, this story, called wrongly “The Parable of the Prodigal Son,” has been understood to be a tale about repentance…. Read more

September 13, 2019

Throughout history, Mary has been employed as theological weapon for unjust structures and hegemony, but recovering Mary-as-disciple instead of as “maid” and “mother” might change things for the better. Someone very traditional reminded me earlier this week that September 12—yesterday—was the optional memorial for the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He explained to me that the “evil Spirit of Vatican II” sought to remove this magnificent feast until his hero, Pope St. John Paul II “the Great!”… Read more

September 6, 2019

It may shock many Christians spuriously familiar with passages of Scripture that even their favorite Bible stories and passages are neither obvious nor clear. So many Bible readers claim that the meaning of many verses are obvious. A day does not go by where I do not read someone saying, “the Bible clearly says…” But is the Bible ever clear for Western, 21st century eyes? Is the Bible ever obvious? Look here at this verse: John 3:16 For God so… Read more

September 4, 2019

The Gospels understand sickness originating from demonic powers, a far cry from our Scientific Western sensibilities. This week, Gospel readings turn to demonic liberation and to the beginning of the Jesus Movement as remembered and interpreted by the text called “Luke.” In this Tuesday’s Gospel we read about a son seized by a demon. The entire extended family of the sick person faced the danger of being cut off from the greater community. In the Mediterranean world of the Bible… Read more

August 29, 2019

The “Woes” we read in “Matthew” show us that Jesus wasn’t a nice person. Do you imagine that Jesus was nice and polite? In the Gospel we call “Matthew,” Jesus relentlessly insults the scribes and Pharisees, fakers he mocks as mask-wearing actors and the bastard offspring of snakes. Does that sound like a nice, polite person? The Care Bear Jesus of devotional sentiment needs to go if you want to come to know the real Jesus. The “woes” featured in… Read more

August 27, 2019

The Gospel story from “Luke” concerning entry through the narrow gate offers a great challenge to really strive to understand Jesus. The Gospel for this past Sunday, August 25, offers a spiritual challenge to Western 21st century Christians. The narrow-gate is an entry for those whose relationship with Jesus is real and radical. A blockage of traffic at the point of entry is filled with lots of talk but little walk. Do we desire only acquaintance with Jesus or to… Read more

August 23, 2019

A parable demonstrates the evolution of the Gospels and that “Inspiration” cannot mean Divine Dictation. A parable is messy business. Although at first glance it seems straightforward and simple, looks can be deceiving. The parables of Jesus come from a very different world than the post-Industrial Western Churches of which we are so familiar. In my previous post, I shared about the messiness of simple words found in the Gospel stories—spuriously familiar terms like “earth,” “fire,” and “salt.” These are… Read more

August 21, 2019

SALT, FIRE and EARTH in Jesus’ context demonstrates the need for a respectful reading of Scripture in light of Mediterranean culture. Messy Inspirations Hearing the Gospel this Sunday at Mass about “setting the earth on fire” (Luke 12:49-53), I couldn’t help but recalling other passages where Jesus spoke on “earth” and fire.” For instance, take Matthew 5:13– “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer… Read more

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