Reflection - December 10, 2017

“Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.”

As a theological virtue, hope is given or infused by God. It is not something we create ourselves or something we can achieve through our own effort. With faith and love, it is a gift. We must receive it. This dynamic reveals something else extremely important about hope. We must receive it, but we must receive it from someone, namely, God. Therefore, hope is not an isolated practice, discipline, or virtue. It is not a concept that dwells within you or me only or individually. 

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Reflection - December 10

“Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.”

As a theological virtue, hope is given or infused by God. It is not something we create ourselves or something we can achieve through our own effort. With faith and love, it is a gift. We must receive it. This dynamic reveals something else extremely important about hope. We must receive it, but we must receive it from someone, namely, God. Therefore, hope is not an isolated practice, discipline, or virtue. It is not a concept that dwells within you or me only or individually. 

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Reflection - November 18, 2017

“A man going on a journey called in his servants 
and entrusted his possessions to them. 
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

Immediately the one who received five talents went and 
traded with them, and made another five. 
Likewise, the one who received two made another two. 
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master's money.”

There is something to say for security. The psychologist Abraham Maslow posited that there is a hierarchy of needs, which begins with food, shelter, and other physiological needs. The second level deals mostly with issues of safety and security. While not absolute, he thinks that the needs of one level must be mostly met before motivation based on the next level comes into play. In his expanded model, the eighth and highest level is transcendence. In essence, security necessarily comes before faith. 

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Reflection - October 29, 2017

“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.

This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

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Reflection - December 3, 2017

“Yet, O LORD, you are our father;
we are the clay and you the potter:
we are all the work of your hands.”

In Game of Thrones, the HBO television series, there are competing religions. The newest on the scene is monotheistic and follows the “Lord of Light.” A prayer, of sorts, uttered by followers of this fictional religion is, “The night is dark and full of terrors.”

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Reflection - November 12, 2017

“Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Eschatology is the study of the “last things.” Traditionally, Catholic eschatology has dealt with the four last things related to the human person: death, judgement, heaven and hell. Early eschatology, as early as St. Paul himself, was focused on Jesus’s return in glory, called his “second coming” or the parousia in Greek. This eschaton, or last thing, was thought to be the imminent return of Jesus, which was the final consumption of history ushering in a new heaven and new earth. It was the end point of this created reality, in a sense, and the entrance into an eternal reality where God is all in all. And that, my friends, is how you summarize a semester long graduate level theology course in a paragraph! Whew!

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Reflection - August 27, 2017

“Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.”

Odd, really. Following Peter’s confession of faith and subsequent designation as the rock on which the church would be built, receiving the authority of the keys of the kingdom, it’s as if Jesus is saying, “But whatever you do, don't tell anyone!” Why?

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Reflection - November 26, 2017

“'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. 
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'

Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when...?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

The hungry. The thirsty. The stranger. The naked. The ill. The prisoner. 

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Reflection - November 5, 2017

“The greatest among you must be your servant.”

Why do we do what we do? Plato wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It is important for us to have a certain amount of self knowledge: to know who we are, our motivations and intentions, and our true gifts and limitations. This knowledge is central for us to grow and mature, but it’s not always easy to gain. 

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