Catholic in Yanchep

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B | How to read the story of Adam and Eve

Catholic weddingCrucial to interpreting The Bible correctly is our understanding of genre.  Many people abandon the Bible, because they can’t reconcile Genesis with evolutionary theory.  But if we can get rid of two major hangups first, Genesis becomes more-easily interpretable to the modern ear.

  1. Genre.  The first few chapters of Genesis are a kind of theological poetry or myth-drama.  ‘Myth’ here is used in the technical sense, not the popular one.  As in any legal document, I have to define my terms here to prevent misunderstandings.

Myth: popular meaning = a fantasy story which is unrelated to truth or fact.

Myth: technical meaning = supernatural or fantasy-like stories that explain reality and natural truths.

(for more on this, read Peter Kreeft’s chapter on The Bible: Myth or History? in his Handbook of Catholic Apologetics, where he gives six definitons of myth.)

So when looking at today’s first reading, ask yourself, “What theological truths is this trying to teach me?”

  1. Reconciling Evolution and Scripture. By the grace of God, the Catholic church has never been against evolutionary theory, but has only placed limits on its scope.  From Dr Edward Feser:

On the subject of human origins, both the Magisterium and Thomist philosophers have acknowledged that an evolutionary explanation of the origin of the human body is consistent with non-negotiable theological and philosophical principles.  However, since the intellect can be shown on purely philosophical grounds to be immaterial, it is impossible in principle for the intellect to have arisen through evolution.  And since the intellect is the chief power of the human soul, it is therefore impossible in principle for the human soul to have arisen through evolution.  Indeed, given its nature the human soul has to be specially created and infused into the body by God — not only in the case of the first human being but with every human being.  Hence the Magisterium and Thomist philosophers have held that special divine action was necessary at the beginning of the human race in order for the human soul, and thus a true human being, to have come into existence even given the supposition that the matter into which the soul was infused had arisen via evolutionary processes from non-human ancestors.

I would highly recommend this two-part outline of the Church’s approach to human origins by Dr Feser.

Part 1: Knowing an Ape from Adam

Part 2: Monogenism or Polygenism?: The Question of Human Origins

Having got these points out of the way, we can now turn to today’s readings and focus on what God is trying to tell us – for which I will refer you to some great commentaries on the beauty of sexuality, love and responsibility, love and children.  Enjoy!

Bishop Robert Barron: Sexuality, Love and Marriage

Michael Barber: The Two Shall Become One Flesh

John Bergsma: God loves Marriage and Children

Edward Sri: Theology of the Body from Eden to Today

Today’s readings:

Word format: Year B 26th Sunday 2015

Pdf format: Year B 26th Sunday 2015

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B | Be opened!

Codex Vindobonensis Palatinus 485_CuraSurdoMudo-Christ heals Deaf Mute

Jesus Christ healing the man who was deaf and dumb, Cura surdo mudo, miniature, folio 86 of the Codex Palatinus Vindobonensis 485 (4th or 5th century), Austrian National Library, Vienna.

One of the reasons so many crowds followed Jesus was his power to heal people – we hear of him healing cripples, blind men, a man with a skin disease, lepers, Peter’s mother-in-law, a man with a withered hand, the possessed, epileptics, the paralysed, a woman with a haemorrhage, not to mention those he brought back to life.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a deaf man with a speech impediment.  He says to him “Ephphatha” – “Be opened!”

And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly.

If you want to experience the transformative power of Jesus in your life, try and ‘hear’ his Word today.  Open up a Bible and read the Gospels.  Apply what he says to your life.  Develop a personal relationship with Him.  He is more alive than you are.  Ask him to speak that word into your life: “Ephphatha!”  And if you are already a Christian, ask what sort of witness you are?  When people meet you, do you convey to them the excitement and joy of what it’s like to follow Christ?

I had a powerful experience of Christ’s action in my life this week.  As you may know, I attend a weekly Bible study with some wonderful people from the Churches of Christ in Yanchep who love God and enjoy meditating on his Word and how it applies to their lives.  We have just finished a study called 40 days in the Word and were wondering what to do next.  I told them I had an inspiring series of DVDs on Catholicism if they were interested in watching it.  And they agreed!  When Catholics go to Bible studies with Protestants and when Protestants watch Catholic movies together, you can know that God is working out something interesting in our little part of the world.  By the way, if you’re wondering why I don’t go to a Bible Study with Catholics, I can tell you that I invited the people from our Catholic Church to let me know if they were interested in more faith formation activities.  Haven’t had a response yet …

Bishop Robert Barron has a homily for today here.  Highly recommended.

Download the readings for today (Australia):

Word format: Year B 23rd Sunday 2015

Pdf format:Year B 23rd Sunday 2015