Letters from Home

I’ll keep this one short, but I wanted to share a podcast that, frankly, I thought had gone away. “Letters from Home” is a daily offering from the St. Paul Center with a reflection on the day’s Mass readings. Always about 10-15 minutes long, they are frequently gems. Listen daily, before Mass, after Mass, or even (maybe especially) if you can’t get to Mass.

Today’s installment by Dr. Scott Hahn was particularly edifying. He brought out to me several aspects of the familiar story of the mother of James and John asking a favor for her sons. It’s this sort of exposition that I wish many priests would adopt in their homilies. Bringing out aspects of the familiar that are unfamiliar to the pew-sitter, along with practical applications for daily living, makes Scripture come alive and brings to new light the relevance of the Word.

Check out today’s reflection here. From this page you can link to places to subscribe on your smart phone.

Allow me to add a note of my own on the readings. I wonder how close a follower of Jesus these two brothers’ mom was. “She did him homage,” so she knew who He was first hand, through her sons’ witness, or, most likely, both. Since they came up to Jesus as a threesome, did they discuss this beforehand? Did the boys ask their mom to do this? Did she come up with it? If so, did they encourage her or attempt to dissuade her? Did she really understand Jesus’ response? Did James and John know what they were agreeing to?

We know Jesus is speaking of a chalice of suffering. But, I wonder, when James and John were “breaking the bread” after Jesus Ascension and offering the cup, now transformed into Christ’s blood, did they think back to this episode and how Jesus’ Passion and death gave us this chalice of salvation? They really held a “treasure in earthen vessels,” as Paul exclaims at the beginning of today’s first reading.

God bless.

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