The Presentation of the Lord (Fourth Week in Ordinary Time) February 2, 2014

Our Lady of Lebanon Catholic Church, Norman, OK

Malachi 3, 1-4 + Psalm 24 + Hebrews 2, 14-18 + Luke 2, 22-40

Until now, we have been observers as the mystery of salvation unfolds in the Gospel. We heard about shepherds and then about magi. Until now, they were the privileged ones who saw with their own eyes the promised one. Today it changes. With the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, his presence among us becomes public for all to see. In Simeon and Anna, we must find ourselves among those who wait and watch as faithful people who, in the Temple of this Church, find the joy of salvation and the fulfillment of our hopes.

They are not significant people by the standards of their day. … more »

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time January 26, 2014

Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Isaiah 8, 23-9, 3 + Psalm 27 + 1 Corinthians 1, 10-13, 17 + Matthew 4, 12-23

And so it begins for Jesus. The preliminaries in Matthew’s Gospel are over, and the break with John the Baptist is made. To initiate the beginning and the break, Matthew moves Jesus out of Nazareth and up to Capernaum, big city for its time in a strategic location. Because of its importance it was a city full of gentiles unlike Jerusalem, so exclusively Jewish. Something is a little different in the way Jesus goes about his work from the very beginning. Rabbis at the time were sought out by their disciples. They did not go looking or inviting. It was the other way around. … more »

Maronite Rite Third Sunday of Epiphany January 26, 2014

Please note that this reading is not the Gospel for the Latin Rite 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Maronite Rite follows a different Lectionary
Our Lady of Lebanon, Norman, Oklahoma
The Third Sunday of Epiphany
January 26, 2014
Galatians 3, 23-29 + John 3, 14-21

We know very little about Nicodemus. He shows up suddenly out of nowhere. John tells us he is a leader, a Pharisee, and a member of the Sanhedrin. We can tell from the conversation that he is smart, savvy, and a thinking man. We know that he comes at night probably not because he’s busy all day or that Jesus is running a night school. This man has a lot to lose because his questions reveal that he has gone a step or two further than the other Pharisees.

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The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time January 19, 2014

Isaiah 49, 3-6 + Psalm 40 + 1 Corinthians 1, 1-3 + John 1, 29-34

Last Sunday we had an image of Jesus standing in line with sinners to be baptized. It is  an image that unmistakably reveals how God seeks us and sends his Son to become one with us even in our sinfulness. Today with John’s Gospel we are drawn a little deeper into this mystery of God’s love proposed by John the Baptist. The fourth gospel is a gospel of symbols and just a week after proclaiming Matthew’s version of the Baptism of Jesus, we pick up John’s Gospel which curiously does not record any Baptism at all. With the other Gospels a voice from the heavens identifies and speaks of the indentity of Jesus. … more »

The Baptism of the Lord January 12, 2014

Isaiah 42, 1-5, 6-7 + Psalm 29 + Acts 10, 34-48 + Matthew 3,13-17

We all suffer from a bad case of “habituation.” The symptom of “habituation” is that nothing surprises us, and there is no place where our case of this shows up than with the Bible. So, nothing surprises us, and therefore nothing leads us to deeper reflection. That is not good. This Gospel story should cause us considerable surprise, and lead us to a lot of soul searching about what is going on and what it means for Jesus to be Baptized. What does it mean for Jesus to be numbered among the sinners? It’s as though you might come into a church and find Jesus standing in line for confession! … more »

Epiphany of the Lord January 5, 2014

Isaiah 60,1-6 + Psalm 72 + Ephesians 2,2-3a, 5-6 + Matthew 2,1-12

As I sit quietly with this Gospel story that is so familiar, full of nuance and theological implications, I am aware that it is also one in which deep cultural traditions keep telling the story. Earlier this evening I took a walk up the street to a grocery store here in Paris where I am presently, and there was large display of round pastry about two inches thick about the size of a pie. Under the plastic covering was a gold paper crown folded up. Somewhere in the cake is a small plastic image of the baby, Jesus. As the local tradition goes, tomorrow and all through Christmas Season when this desert is served, the person who finds the plastic image in their serving wears the paper crown for the rest of the evening. … more »