Last week Jesus greeted us with parables, being stories of events that never happened but nonetheless ring true for us. Today he teaches in metaphors about what God’s imperial rule, God’s “Kingdom,” is like. As background, it is important to understand that the Roman Empire maintained its order by personal power and patronage, in a class system solidly rooted in economic inequality, human slavery, and enforced status, with its world peace rooted in vicious domination maintained through military might and intimidation. Rome’s “King,” the emperor Augustus, was known as the Son of God, Lord, Eternal Father of the People, Ruler of all Nations, and Saviour.Read More →

Today we have a treasure of Scripture readings. Saint Paul speaks of living in the Spirit (Rom. 8) and Solomon movingly reminds us, “Your care, O God, encompasses all creation!” (Wis 12). But there is special treasure in ancient folklore (Gen. 28) and in a powerful parable of Jesus (Mt. 13). Let’s focus on those latter two offerings today. The first is often called “Jacob’s Ladder.” To set the scene, Jacob has just stolen his brother Esau’s birthright by deception perpetrated on their father. Now the trickster Jacob had fled towards his mother’s family home. Enroute, he makes an overnight pit-stop at a bemot, aRead More →

Today in the gospel passage [Mt. 13: 1-9, 18-23], Jesus speaks out to the first disciples, but he addresses issues that would become very important for the Matthaean community, whose gospel text was released right after the awful destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E. At that time, both the large mainstream Jewish community and the small Jesus communities read the event as a divine “sign” to move in a new direction, according to their own particular orientation. In agricultural Palestine, Jesus’ parables spoke of the earth. Today Jesus talks about soil. What is good soil? What is required to have fertile land? Well,Read More →

“From Aztec shore to Arctic Zone, to Europe and Far East, the Flag is carried by our ships in times of war and peace: And never have we struck it yet, in spite of foemen’s might, who cheered our crews and cheered again for showing how to fight. We’re always ready for the call, we place our trust in thee. Through surf and storm and howling gale, high shall our purpose be. ‘Semper paratus’ is our guide, our fame, our glory too. To fight to save or fight and die! Aye! Coast Guard, we’re for you.” (U. S. Coast Guard Hymn) Today, at the endRead More →