Verbum Domini
Verbum Domini
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Every time I visit my mother’s house, I get the tour of the garden and plants. She shows me which have been repotted, which have started to bloom, and which, sadly, have seen better days. There are almost always new acquisitions as well. These plants need constant vigilance. They don’t take care of themselves. When my mother is away, I receive detailed instructions on the horticultural maintenance of the house. There are different measurements of water for each of these green friends and one flower, the orchid, has its own food measured out a 1/4 cup at a time. Of course, I also have to be careful to distinguish the real plants from the fake. I’ve watered plastic more times than I’d like to admit. more
Our tastes change. As children, we wanted desert before dinner. Some dinners we would forego altogether. But as we developed, so did our palate. more
We have been remade in Christ: “whoever is in Christ is a new creation” (2Cor 5:17). If this is true, our recreation should look something like the first creation. more
There is a pernicious heresy today that we might term “the Gospel of wealth” or “the Gospel of success.” This false teaching assures its adherents that if we believe enough (and tithe enough) God will shower material blessings upon us. The flipside, of course, is that should any personal tragedy befall us, it’s either because of our own failure in faith or giving. This “Gospel” is most lucrative for those who preach it. Though it is erroneous, it is slightly better than the equally false notion that a life in God is a life on the Cross. Many fear giving the reigns to God because they believe Calvary is the only destination he knows. We might call this “the Gospel of disaster.” While no one would ever preach such a thing, it is surprising how many people believe it. more
Jesus wanted to make a great catch. He wanted to catch both Gentile and Jew. Where does he turn for help? Fishermen, of course. He chooses those who know their trade, who know both how to cast and mend their nets (Mt 4:18,21). But wanting to make a big catch, he needs a big crew. In gathering his disciples, he subsumes some smaller operations. more
The Dictionary defines hyperbole as “exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.” We use hyperbole when we want to dramatically make a point. For example, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” Hyperbole is such over exaggeration that it draws the listener into the drama that we are describing. more
A few years ago, HBO released a miniseries on the life of President John Adams. A powerful scene in the final episode depicts him, in the last years of his life, walking with one of his sons. He has lost all the vigor of his youth (he can no longer even bend his knees). He is off the world’s stage. His power and influence has largely disappeared and he is left an old man at a farmhouse. One might anticipate bitterness, the pain of loss, or a pining for younger days. But the dying President has found something new. Admiring a simple flower in a field, he remarks that, though he has seen the French queen, “all the charms of her face and figure, added to all the glitter of her jewels, did not impress me as much.” The world has become wondrous to him. It is new and alight with grace. His monologue concludes with an exuberant quotation from Saint Paul, “Rejoice evermore!” more
Anxiety is unbecoming of a Christian. It is a bit scandalous to see an adopted child of God worried and hurried, nail-biting and waiting for the other shoe to drop. The redeemed heart should be peaceful. The gift of the Spirit should set the mind at ease. It is unsettling to encounter an apprehensive and fretful believer. Perhaps they imagine wrath piled at the gates, an irritable God trailing us, ready to vent, saying to himself, “just give me a reason.” Perhaps they see themselves on the edge, ready to be dropped from his charity at the slightest fault. It is almost as if they don’t know who they are. They certainly don’t know their Father. more
A visit to the Vietnam War Memorial feels like dying. Walking its length, you gradually descend, the world disappearing behind an imposing wall of obsidian. more
Even prophets get down in the dumps. In our first reading this Sunday (Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4) the prophet Habakkuk is disturbed by the evil of his day, but even more by God’s apparent inaction: “I cry out to you ‘Violence!’ but you do not intervene.” more
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