Verbum Domini
Verbum Domini
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Promises, promises! For the next 14 months we will be subjected to listening to promises from politicians vying for the presidency and other political offices. The presidential campaign will continue to garner the vast amount of media attention. Already, candidates on both sides of the aisle have begun their campaigns making promises to improve our lives; and as we know, many of these promises will be hard to keep. more
Americans top the list when it comes to eating junk food. In fact, a 2013 Gallup poll found that 8 in 10 Americans eat at fast food restaurants at least monthly. Junk food is so available to us; and let’s be honest, occasionally most of us love to have a good junk food snack. We know, however, that junk food isn’t good for us. The more we eat, the less we hunger for nutritious food, the food that gives us energy and helps us to stay healthy. more
Children teach us so much about faith through their simplicity and trust, yet sometimes we overlook them because they are little. In their littleness, we can tend to disregard the wisdom children can teach us. The same is true for the Gospel; sometimes we disregard little details in the Gospels that can teach us so much. Take this Sunday’s Gospel for example, in which there is a detail about a little boy. Within this detail about the boy, however, lays hidden a great treasure for the spiritual life. more
There’s a saying: “Be careful how you live; you may be the only Bible some person ever reads.” While I understand the point of this saying, I would take it a step further. My hope is that I can live in such a way that people will want to read the Bible, particularly the Gospels. more
I spent Memorial Day weekend with friends at their lake house in Bloomington, Indiana, and on Sunday we went to the Indianapolis 500. I’m not a racing fan, but I must admit that it was a great experience. Racing is the largest spectator sport in the United States. The Indy 500 is proof of that, with more than 300,000 people in attendance. However, unlike other sports, it’s the type of sport that many of us will never attempt. When it comes to race car driving you and I will most likely remain on the sidelines. more
Greatness always begins in seed form. A few examples reveal this: Each of us began as an embryo; the 300-foot redwood trees on the West Coast of the United States began growing quietly, invisibly, spreading their roots under the earth; scientists claim that the universe began from a tiny point, no larger than the head of a pin, and after the big bang it has continued to expand. The same is true, Jesus tells us, for the Kingdom of God. more
The Holy Spirit is not a consolation prize. Whenever Jesus speaks of his departure, his ascension, he mentions the Spirit in the same breath: “For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” Jesus isn’t just cushioning the blow, but promising something better. Of course the disciples want to hold on to Jesus. He has walked with them, he has healed them, he has taught them. They are safe in his presence, they know which direction to take, they have confidence because he is there. Losing him, they fear losing everything. But if Jesus goes, in a strange way, he will be even closer: “[The Spirit] will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” Though physically absent, Jesus is nearer through the Spirit. Now he lives in them and they do his works. more
Relationships are a lot like rubber bands. An elastic can be stretched and pulled for brief periods, but once the stress is released, it returns to its original shape. Yet, if it is stretched indefinitely, left hanging and bearing some heavy weight, it eventually loses its elasticity. It becomes misshapen. Its vibrancy and purpose are lost. Something similar can be said of relationships long overburdened by issues and tensions. They eventually lose their shape. They are overstretched and cannot find their way back. A rubber band can also be pulled beyond its capacity. It can snap. Sadly, we know the same is true in relationships. An act of betrayal, a gross transgression of boundaries, or some other disloyalty can sever any friendship. Most relationships can bend and stretch with little setbacks and peccadillos (they can even be strengthened by them), but a grave breach of trust is almost always the end. more
Love is the most distinctive feature of Christianity. For Judaism, one might point to the beauty and wisdom of the Law. For Islam, one might speak of the towering authority of God’s will. For the Christian, love is the ultimate law (Rom 13:10) and the nature of God (1Jn 4:8). For the Christian, love is both who God is and what God wills. Consider that love is the only commandment Jesus gives. He doesn’t say it is the Father’s commandment, or something he’s received from the Law. He claims it as his own. He says, “this is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” This commandment is a revelation. It is new. Only Jesus could make it known, because only Jesus shows us the love he commands. If Jesus didn’t show us love, we wouldn’t know how to love (1Jn 3:16), and we certainly couldn’t fulfill the command to love. 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
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