Showing posts from March, 2013

Sunday Scripture: Easter Sunday

Welcome to this, the thirty-sixth of my reflections on the theology of the Sunday readings at Mass. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I sincerely hope that this reflection will inspire you. You might find that it answers a few questions you may have, but most of all I hope that it will show you how fantastic Sacred Scripture is and perhaps enable you to share some of my love and passion for the Bible as you begin to comprehend how layered and multi-faceted it is, and what a carefully considered part of the Mass the readings are. If you want to know how these posts came about, please read my first post in this series  here . I would like to think this regular blog would be a great help to anyone who reads at Mass, to enable them to foster a deeper understanding of the message they are trying to impart to the congregation. There are several different ways to read this post. I would suggest the first thing to do is to look at the relevant  readings . You might th

The Pope's Mandatum

On Maundy Thursday the Pope just outside Rome where he celebrated the Mass of the Last Supper at the Casal del Marmo Juvenile Detention Centre where he washed the feet of 12 jailed teens. I have thought carefully before posting on this event and read as much as I can so that I can understand both sides of the argument. My initial reaction was one of deep joy and appreciation, but on hearing of the concerns of many I love and respect, many who know far more than I do on the subject, I began to feel worried and concerned. This post constitutes a broad survey of the issue. From the reaction of the media, what seems clear is that this has been seen as an act of great humility and practically all the reaction I have read from outside the Church has been positive, almost shocked that this man would do this. Of course, all our priests did this on Thursday, but it is Pope Francis choice of venue and participants that have drawn the attention of the world's media to the essential me

Why redemption through the death of God’s Incarnate Son?

Earlier this week I posted some thoughts on the subject of how Jesus saves us . This prompted a commenter to ask the pertinent question of why the 'saving' had to happen through the death of God's Son. I posted an answer in the comment section, but, as it was quite long, I thought it might be worth re-posting it here. As a result of our sins we have distorted God into either a cruel tyrant or a permissive, non-demanding force of love or simply into the non-existent sanction of an oppressive morality--to mention just a few of the many possibilities. In rescuing us, God responded to our needs. He took into consideration our distortions of His divine reality, our suspicions, mistrust, and aggressiveness towards the Divine. In the state of sinfulness we needed more than just moral exhortation and a divine offer of grace to convert us. God's grace had to provide us with convincing and tangible evidence for the reality of His infinite compassion and of His hol


So I noticed JP Sonnen over at Orbis Catholicus Secundus  had a post about the meaning of INRI with an appropriate image by way of explanation: It seems to me that the Hebrew acrostic is the essential message of this sign and felt compelled to comment to that effect on JP Sonnen's post. An acrostic is a common form of writing (especially for the Jews) in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. For example, one famous acrostic was made in Greek for the acclamation JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, SAVIOUR (Greek: Ιησούς Χριστός, Θεού Υιός, Σωτήρ; Iesous CHristos, THeou Yios, Soter — ch and th being each one letter in Greek). The initials spell ICHTHYS (ΙΧΘΥΣ), the Greek for fish. The Hebrew acrostic of INRI has an extraordinarily powerful meaning. This was the subject of some homework for my son William in his first year of secondary school, when he was asked to produce a poster explai

How Does Jesus Save Us?

Crucifix by Charles I'Anson in bronze & fibreglass (1971) Courtesy of Greg Daly. Easter has long been a confusing time for me. Growing up, as I did, in the catechetical desert which has been the legacy of the "Spirit of Vatican II", I was taught that Easter was about Jesus of Nazareth, who was convicted as a criminal and nailed to a wooden cross, and this saved us. I mean what? Saved us from what? How could that save us? Why did He have to be nailed to a cross to save us? Surely lots of people were nailed to crosses in those days, why was it this one who saved us? Answers were not forthcoming. And with hindsight, I'm not surprised. It turns out it is a multi-faceted question and one which is well worth asking. Still, I'm not sure that we are getting many answers, even today.  Last week I attended a very well done and moving Stations of the Cross liturgy at our local junior school, where my third son John attends. It was beautiful and the children

Of Different Papal Signs and Symbols...

The main criticisms I have heard aimed at Pope Francis seem largely motivated by a love and concern for the liturgical reform instigated by Pope Benedict. I cannot help but wonder whether this constitutes a somewhat insular concern in that, 1. I think it is very early to be making any judgements and 2. although many of us loved what we saw Pope Benedict trying to gently do, most people didn't even notice, or understand. We can learn much about Pope Benedict's papacy by reflecting on this I think and I have to wonder who was actually switched on to what he was doing liturgically and theologically. I know I have enjoyed discussing and teasing out lots of the little signs and symbols he has given us over the course of his papacy, and I have been deeply enriched as a result. But I have engaged in a lot of defence and a lot of explanation as well. I want to continue a discussion began here because I don't want anyone to mistake my points therein as criticisms or even dis