For an excellent, informative dive into today’s first reading (Ez 17:22-24), and its importance for truly appreciating the subsequent Gospel (Mk 4:26-34), one would be hard pressed to do better than “The Last King Standing” — Bp. Barron’s Sunday Sermon that was posted today. One of St. Augustine’s most famous quotes is, “The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New” (read more here). Few are better at employing this principle than the good bishop.
I will make some short comments on the psalm (Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16) and second reading (2 Cor 5:6-10), though. Yes, it is good to give thanks to the Lord, as the psalmist exclaims. I will be the first to admit that it is something I often forget to do. Asking for stuff? I’m good at that. Complaining about everything? Ditto. But just showing simple appreciation? Too often, this does not even come to mind. Of course, it is “right and just,” as we say at Mass, to praise God — it is due Him in justice. But note the list of benefits to us described by the psalmist: flourishing, growth, bearing fruit, vigor, and sturdiness. See, whatever we give to God we get back a hundred-fold. Praise God!
The last verse of the second reading makes me shudder:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,2 Cor 5:10
so that each may receive recompense,
according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.
The Lord is a God of mercy, and we don’t underestimate that (just read St. Faustina). But he is also a God of justice. He perfectly blends the two. So, we don’t presume heaven or hell for ourselves or for anyone else (unless the Church canonizes someone). This is one of many instances when Jesus speaks of the importance of our behavior in this life in determining are eternal fate in the next life. We must pay heed. Confession, penance, and reform are needed. But it all begins with prayer since we do not have the means to go it alone. All is grace.
We’ve been hearing a lot about “pride” the last two weeks. I thought it worthwhile to see what Scripture says about this matter. I again use my favorite search engine to find references to this word. I encourage you to take a deeper dive, but here I list a few stand out verses:
 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
and perverted speech I hate.
 When pride comes, then comes disgrace;
but with the humble is wisdom.
 Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
 A man’s pride will bring him low,
but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
 But if you will not listen,
my soul will weep in secret for your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,
because the LORD’s flock has been taken captive.
 Therefore, as I live,” says the LORD of hosts,
the God of Israel,
“Moab shall become like Sodom,
and the Ammonites like Gomor’rah,
a land possessed by nettles and salt pits,
and a waste for ever.
The remnant of my people shall plunder them,
and the survivors of my nation shall possess them.”
 This shall be their lot in return for their pride,
because they scoffed and boasted
against the people of the LORD of hosts.
 The beginning of man’s pride is to depart from the Lord;
his heart has forsaken his Maker.
 For the beginning of pride is sin,
and the man who clings to it pours out abominations.
Therefore the Lord brought upon them extraordinary afflictions,
and destroyed them utterly.
The overwhelming number of references to pride in Scripture are its problematic nature. Pride in man is always a problem, though. Humility counters this vice. Just click here for overwhelming proof.
A related video worth checking out.
SPEAKER SERIES VIDEOS
I have been remiss in not providing a link to the channel that contains all of the Zoom talks from the Spring Speaker Series my high school hosted. Find here excellent presentations by Rachel Bulman, Katrenia Reeves-Jackman, Daniel Boyd, Michael Dauphinais, and Mike Aquilina. Enjoy!
As often as I say I need to stop buying books, I run across another I “must” have. It is true that I have substantially reduced my personal library in recent years, and I am better about continuing the weening process, but I do still pick up certain works I can’t resist.
- The Decline and Fall of Sacred Scripture: How the Bible Became a Secular Book by Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker
- The Wisdom of the Word: Biblical Answers to Ten Pressing Questions About Catholicism by Michael Dauphinais and Matthew Levering. Michael is a fine scholar and recent friend. See the previous section of this post for a talk he did for my school.
- What Is Redemption? How Christ’s Suffering Saves Us by Philippe de la Trinité. Scott Hahn says this is “the book that made me start thinking like a Catholic.” The podcast in which Dr. Hahn reads his Foreword to this new edition is worth a listen and may well compel you to pick up this work yourself. In it he refers to the 150 volume 20th Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism. I have that! And this gem has been in there all along.
(By the way, I want to encourage you again to download the St. Paul Center app (at the very bottom right of the home page) to your phone if you have not already. Free and chock full of outstanding resources.)
I’m looking forward to diving into all of them.
So many books, so little time.
AND ONE MORE BOOK
Victor Davis Hanson is an amazing mind and a brilliant military historian. Having come across a talk promoting his book, titled: The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won, I was compelled to purchase it. I’m not quite a third of the way through it, but I can already recommend it highly to anyone interested in military history, especially WWII. If nothing else, at least check out the talk (there are many others by him on the same topic on YouTube).