Author: Patrick Clark

The Heart Has Its Laws —26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 137 Numbers 11:25-29 Psalm 19:8-14 James 5:1-6 Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48 Blaise Pascal’s famous adage “the heart has its reasons which reason knows not” would sound very strange to one attuned to the Biblical concept of “the heart.” The term “heart” occurs over a thousand times in the Bible, and its meaning consistently refers to the center of an individual’s identity, comprising all the various dimensions of one’s personal agency: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. In the Biblical imagination, your heart is “you”; it is the integral core that makes you who you are. Like his near-contemporary Descartes, Pascal presumes...

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Life amidst Death—20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 119 Proverbs 9:1-6 Psalm 34: 2-7 Ephesians 5:15-20 John 6:51-58 This week’s readings are about two themes: wisdom and life. The first reading speaks of wisdom as a person building a house and preparing a table of food to entice passers-by to enter. Wisdom is not a passive conceptual category, but an active agent. She draws people enter in, in order to nourish them and give them life. The second reading is a more straightforward ethical exhortation from St. Paul to “live not as foolish persons but as wise.” He says we should make the most of the...

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In God’s Time—3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

As the history of Israel demonstrates, living in God’s time makes one distinctive, and often renders one at odds with the world’s way of marking time. But only by living in God’s time can one convey to the world the fullness of the love that is the ultimate meaning of all that is.

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Fear and Knowing—12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 94 Jeremiah 20:10—13 Psalm 69 Romans 5:12—15 Matthew 10:26—33   What is it that makes us most afraid: pain, suffering, and loss, or the possibility of their future occurrence? What is it that makes children afraid to go into a dark room alone, even if that room happens to be their own? Could it be that what makes us most afraid is the combination of our abiding knowledge that we are vulnerable to suffering together with our ignorance of when that suffering might come upon us, where it might come from, and what it might mean? There is little...

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