The lessons today really demand our close listening, our paying very close attention, trying to absorb what they tell us because really, this is the core message of the Gospel. A year or so ago, Pope Francis published what he called an exhortation, a letter to the church. He called it "The Joy of the Gospel" -- Evangelii Gaudium. It's been circulating around the world now.
Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968) is often regarded as the greatest Protestant theologian of the 20th century. Some have called his body of work "a theology of the Word."
He exercised profound influence on other 20th-century figures, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, Jürgen Moltmann and John Updike. Barth actively opposed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, and vigorously attempted to prevent the Nazis from establishing a state church.
Pope Francis' devotion is profound but simple: Mary is a mother to every believer; Jesus would not leave his followers orphans.
Religious identity used to be "inherited." "Cradle Catholic" is shorthand for born into the faith; within Judaism, the faith is passed through a Jewish mother to her children unless they grow up to proclaim a different religion.
As I was reflecting on these Scripture lessons during this past week, I was reminded of a book that I had read quite a long time ago that had left a great impact on me. It's called Jesus Before Christianity. In other words, before there was a structured, organized, institutional church, in the very beginning -- Jesus before all that organization took place. It's written by a Dominican theologian priest, Fr. Albert Nolan.
Love. Love. Love. This Sunday's readings open doors to the complicating depths of love. John's Gospel offers us a formula that can be and should be applied to our lives together today: Remain in my love; this love is joyful and whole; this love generates friendships; and fruits of love will remain.
Remain in my love
Soul Seeing: The story of the good Samaritan has always challenged me. My bottom line is: Do I regularly help the guy out of the ditch or not?
In the small cliff-side village of Frías in northern Spain, visitors are welcomed by the aroma of steaks, chops and sausages being grilled on a bed of dead but still intertwined grapevines. The vines that once yielded rich, juicy grapes on terraced hillsides are now, even in death, attesting to their unity and usefulness. They impart a unique flavor to whatever is cooked on them and burn much more cleanly than charcoal or wood.
Opinion: An ultimate question of our faith rests in whether and how we remember Jesus in the condemned of our past and present.
In our first lesson today, we have an incident that shows how the first disciples of Jesus were beginning to carry out the work of Jesus. If you think about it, you can really imagine how distressed those officials in that courtroom must have been, how upset. They thought they had killed Jesus. What's this? Now people are going out now and in his name -- that is, with his power -- acting as he did. They're continuing to do the same thing he did.