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Showing posts from March 28, 2021

Sharply Divided Over Jesus (John 9:13-23)

 The Pharisees wanted to talk to the man that Jesus had healed of his blindness. They sent for him, and asked him how it happened. The person who receives this kind of miracle thinks at least that the man was a prophet. We don't think this way today, mainly because we've given up on the idea of miracles in our society. Then the leaders sent for the man's parents. The leaders had already decided that if anyone openly believed that Jesus was the Messiah-- "Christ" is the Greek form of it--they would be put out of the synagogue. We can sort of understand the position of the parents here, but on the other hand, they are saying in effect, "You're on your own." It's reasonable to think that a lying sinner would not be able to do these miracles. There were some in the leadership that spoke up in defense of Jesus on this exact point. Who is he? We should ask the question for ourselves. That's exactly what St. John wants us to do. We shouldn't thi

Jesus Heals a Blind Man (John 9:1-12)

 Jesus saw a blind man while he was passing by. The disciples asked the natural question, especially as good Israelites, who knew their Scriptures. They knew that every sorrow and trouble in the world came about from the sin of Adam and Eve. Still, it probably rings a little harsh in our ears, the way they ask it. And when Jesus answers, he reveals a great mystery: that sometimes God gives a great difficulty to someone, in order to glorify Himself in them. In general, we talk about our weakness and frailty, and the tendency to sin, as part of the consequences of original sin. But it is important to recognize that original sin is different than personal sin, and that's part of what Jesus was trying to communicate. Jesus tells the guy to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, after Jesus spits on the ground, and makes mud or clay out of the dirt, rubbing it on the man's eyes. Do you notice how physical everything is? Jesus isn't afraid to touch people, or the ground on which he w

Women In The Church: Some Thoughts

 I'm going to start in a unique place, and hope that I work around to a reasonable point that I wanted to make. I don't read Fr. Dwight Longenecker too much anymore; there's too much culture war--that is, a dangerous conflation with "package deal" politics--but he had a really interesting blog post some years ago. He argued that he understood why women's ordination movements were picking up steam in the Protestant world. He said that there was no principled reason for Protestants to exclude women from their clerical states, because the office itself is not sacramental in that setting. If all that is required for good preaching is education in the scriptural texts and homiletical training, there is no reason why those couple of verses which seem to prohibit women preaching should carry the day. In the Catholic world, the clerical state is much more than an office of one who is educated concerning the Bible, and preaches at Mass. Jesus Christ is of course a man,