Yes, like the mustard seed, the kingdom of God starts small. So too does the Church, the community of those who put their trust in Jesus, which began as the smallest of seeds, through God’s abundant grace now puts forth large branches under whose generous shade many can take shelter.
Among the perks that come with teaching, researching, and writing about the Bible (in addition to the surpassing blessing that is the study of the Word of God), is the opportunity to learn from and with so many brilliant colleagues in biblical studies and theology. I deeply appreciate the scholarship of fellow Catholics, Christians from many other faith communities, and Jewish colleagues as well.
We celebrate this weekend one of the greatest mysteries of our Christian faith. There have been many theologians who tried to give eloquent explanations about the Blessed Trinity. But like the saying goes, “answers lead to more questions.” We can only really appreciate this with the “eyes of faith.”
Feelings or emotions play a big role in our daily life. It is one of the things that separates us from machines. Most often, we might not even be aware of it but emotions affect our mind and how we respond to situations. This is something that we are asked to consider as we read the opening description in today’s Gospel reading.
In the past couple of weeks, we also heard at weekday Mass readings how the apostles dealt with the tension emerging between Hebrews and Greeks. They addressed the situation immediately before it festered and took root. The conversations were not easy and maybe even brutal but because they engaged it with the desire to stay united in love, they were able to bring peace.
This past year had been a challenging time for many of us, not just because of the great losses and emotional stress that this pandemic had brought us but also for the physical day-to-day conditions and limitations that we have to deal with while waiting to get the spread of infection under control.
May is one of those months when we have religious processions almost every weekend to celebrate May Crowning or another Marian Devotion.
Hans Urs von Balthasar, a 20th-century Swiss theologian, wrote, “But the issue is not only life and death but our existence before God and our being judged by him. All of us were sinners before him and worthy of condemnation.” But God’s love changes that and gives us the opportunity to become so much more.
Through our reading and hearing the Scriptures, our reception of the Eucharist and our participation in the life of the Church, we witness the same miracle as the apostles in the upper room: We encounter Jesus alive among us. And so we become the witnesses of today.
In 2016, Martin Scorsese directed the thought-provoking film, “Silence.” It was the story of two Portuguese missionaries who hear that their mentor had rejected his faith in Japan. Convinced that the reports are wrong, they embark on a mission to find him although they are aware that they will be putting themselves in great danger.