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Monthly Archive for September, 2009

The book of Numbers is about the numbers of Hebrews that went with Moses across the desert to the promised land. It is a delightful book. Part of the delight is how Moses handled the organization of this great crowd of ex-slaves. Foundational to the organization was a sense that Moses was a prophet…a leader […]

I wrote this as a pre-bulletin for the Catholic Community. The letter of St James, (3:16-4:3) is the second reading for September 20, 2009. You are another generation at war. Lives lost and resources wasted are the standard costs. But without a draft and taxes to pay for the war, we all of us, can […]


That is an unattractive stark title about a two edged sword cutting across most camps. Jason Byassee in 22 September issue of Christian Century reviews Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart’s Atheist’ Delusions. One of Hart’s arguments is summarized as “paganism, whether ancient or modern, has no grounds for such tongue clucking [about the failures of […]

Edith Wharton looked the very essence of a high society grande dame of 1900. Willa Cather for all her western and midwestern novels dressed fashionably and spent her last years in New York City. Both wrote books that are still companions revealing to me with empathy and deep insight the place of suffering, the cruelty […]

Three Pines by a River

I was walking in a gallery with a Mandarin speaking student. He looked at the English label identifying a ink painting from ancient China. He got rather sad at the “translation.” “Three pines by a river” was an accurate word for word translation but he said it missed almost everything of the Chinese title. There […]

Waiting for the Plague

I was living in Hawaii 9/11/01. The attack was on a Tuesday. Thursday evening the secular Oratory met as usual. In that small group and in that parish so far from New York City we found that one couple had a son going to work at the World Trade Center at the time of the […]

It says in the Bible

It is very hard for modern people to read anything written even a little way back in time. Even the recent past fades fast so we do not understand who the people are in the text or what the event is that the text talks about. Worse, we bring our experiences to the text first […]

One memory of how we got here…

Some great literature begins with a sentence about getting lost…and how did we get here? Peggy Steinfels has a Commonweal article, about how her Catholic life in Chicago and some great teachers and great questions. One of her teachers was John L. McKenzie…a priest who knew so much about the Bible he did a huge […]

The birth of Mary, Mother of God

September 8 is a feast day common to the western and eastern churches. Of course, like the birth of Jesus, we have to pick a date ourselves to celebrate since such information was not considered important so long ago. But we celebrate a lot when we celebrate anyone’s birthday and in our faith, Mary the […]

Sunday Mass September 6, 2009

XXIII Sunday: Mark 7:31 ff. The restoration of speech! Shy? Afraid to speak? Here is Jesus approached outside Jewish territory and the encounter enables someone who could not speak before. In some ancient cultures the heart was thought to be a kind of thought producer, like our brain because people had experiences of words “getting […]