Gospel: "My house shall be a house of prayer," says Jesus today, quoting Isaiah (Lk 19).

I always think of the Jesuit Community at St. Mary’s Hall at @BostonCollege when I read this passage. On the first floor is a huge iron gate, the old demarcation of the "cloister..." Image
...the dividing line between the public space and the private Jesuit rooms, which reads: “Domus Mea Domus Orationis.”

I was very impressed when I saw that as a first-year novice in the old New England Province. First, because I had never seen anything remotely like it before...
...and second, because I had no idea what the Latin meant. On my first visit, one old Jesuit priest was giving us novices a tour. He pointed to the sign, thoughtfully translated it for us, and then said, “House of Prayer? Well, at least trying not to be a Den of Thieves!”
In today's reading, we clearly can sense Jesus’s anger. And it’s often used as an excuse or a reason for Christian anger, and an entrée into Jesus’s humanity. Because who doesn’t get angry?...
The temptation of course is to think that any anger is justified, since Jesus was angry.

But in the Gospels, Jesus is angry only on behalf of someone else, when he sees people being mistreated; or something else, in this case the Temple....
His anger here is because people have desecrated something holy, something he loves, by focusing only on money. It disgusts him....
So in my own life I often have to ask, “Why am I angry?” Is it my own wounded pride? Or is that there is something unjust that’s hurting someone else, or some group, that deserves to be treated justly?...
If it’s the latter, then I don’t think it’s so wrong to turn over a few tables now and then, metaphorically at least.

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More from @JamesMartinSJ

16 Nov
Gospel: Here is something that may upend how you see today's Gospel, the story of Zacchaeus (Lk 19). Basically, the translations that most Bibles use are inaccurate, as Joseph Fitzmyer, SJ, points out in The Anchor Bible Series; as does Luke Timothy Johnson in Sacra Pagina...
The usual translation is that upon being welcomed by Jesus, Zacchaeus undergoes a conversion experience, and promises to give half of his money to the poor and repay anyone he has defrauded four times over--in the future. Here is the NAB, which we read at Mass today:
"Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much."

But that's not accurate. As Johnson writes, "In both sentences Zacchaeus uses the present tense..."
Read 8 tweets
16 Nov
On a day when Pope Francis praised the new book of
@MikeOLoughlin, an openly gay man, I was happy to participate in a panel at Gesu Church, a Jesuit parish in Detroit, on welcoming #LGBTQ parishioners. More on Gesu here: gesudetroit.com
Here is the beautiful welcome statement from Gesu's website:

"You are welcome! Reflecting the welcome that Jesus Christ offers to all, Gesu Parish welcomes every person to seek full participation in our parish community and within the Body of Christ....
"We believe that all are worthy of respect and love, because all are created in the image of God. Our welcome is not limited by a person's age, sex, race, cultural background, physical or mental health or ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, social or economic....
Read 5 tweets
7 Nov
Gospel: The story of the "widow's mite," where a poor widow gave "all she had" to the Temple, is usually held up as Jesus's praise of her generosity (Mk 12). But is it? Some NT scholars say Jesus is actually critiquing religious authorities who are exploiting the poor....
This entry from "Sacra Pagina" (Donahue and Harrington) on this passage is eye-opening:

"The widow is surely generous. But is she generous to a fault? Does Jesus really approve her action? Thus far in Mark 11-12 the Jerusalem Temple and its officials have been treated...
...from a critical perspective (see especially 11:15-19) and in 13:2 Jesus will prophesy the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple--an event that was to occur in 70 CE under the Romans. Thus the context of Mk 12:41-44 raises the question whether the generosity...
Read 6 tweets
6 Nov
Gospel: "You cannot serve God and mammon," says Jesus today (Lk 16). The word "mammon" derives from the Hebrew word for money or wealth. But why can't you "serve two masters"? For one thing, your focus will be on the wrong thing. If you make decisions thinking, "How will this... Image
...serve God?" then you will lead a life of love, mercy and compassion. If you make decisions thinking, "How will this make me more money?" then you will lead a different kind of life. Obviously, everyone needs some money to live and to flourish. But when money becomes...
...the thing around which your life is ordered, then it has become a god. Often people smile when they read the First Commandment: "You shall have no other gods before me." They think, "Well, of course, I don't worship little idols or false gods." But if your life revolves...
Read 4 tweets
2 Nov
Gospel: On #AllSoulsDay we remember all the "faithful departed" who enjoy new life with God.

Often it's hard for people to believe in the afterlife. But Jesus tells his disciples many times, as in today's Gospel (Jn 6); he shows them with the raising of the dead (Lazarus... Image
...The Widow of Nain's Son, Jairus's Daughter); and then he reveals it definitively at his own Resurrection.

But you can also think of it this way: God loved us into being and loves us for our whole life. God enters into a loving relationship with us at our conception...
… Why would God end that relationship? It makes no sense. God would never end the loving relationship God has with you. Even death cannot end it. Trust in Jesus's promises about what God has in store for believers: eternal life.
Read 4 tweets
25 Oct
Another #LGBTQ person fired, this time from two positions, as a teacher and a parish music minister, and also pressured to sign a "gag order" in order to collect his severance. Here, he explains to his students and those in his parish what happened...
The targeting of LGBTQ people in the Catholic Church must stop. It destroys lives, as well as communities. No other group in the church is targeted in this way....
Usually LGBTQ employees are fired because their lives do not "fully convey or support church teaching" (as one archdiocese requires). But by this measure, Catholic institutions would have to fire all Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and agnostics...
Read 4 tweets

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