Godzdogz

Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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13th December - St Lucy

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Third Week of Advent - Monday - Discernment

Monday, December 12, 2011
Numbers 24:2-7,15-17; Matthew 21:23-27 Read more

Third Sunday of Advent - “Rejoice!”

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Readings: Isaiah 61: 1-2, 10-11; Luke 1: 46-55; 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24; John 1: 6-8, 19-28 Read more

Carmelite First Professions

Sunday, December 11, 2011
Congratulations to Brother Ian Elias Ward of the Trinity and Father Stephen Michael Quinn of Jesus, two of our fellow students in the Blackfriars Studium, who yesterday made their First Profession in the Order of the Discalced Friars of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel! Read more

Second Week of Advent - Saturday - 'Elijah has already come'

Saturday, December 10, 2011
 Readings: Sirach 48:1-4,9-11; Psalm 80; Matthew 17:9.10-13

John the Baptist must have cut a strange figure in his day. No matter how many and various the attempts to sanitise his image, he is for many of us, an extreme character. Yet, he is a character who fulfils a vital role in salvation history. But however ‘obvious’ he may have been, the disciples in today’s Gospel could not immediately equate John with another, equally extreme figure of scripture, Elijah. Elijah, ‘whose words were a flaming furnace’, and who was destined to return and ‘to turn back the hearts of fathers to their sons.’

Following Jesus down the mountain after his Transfiguration, the disciples ask him; “Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?” Jesus replies: “I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognize him but treated him as they pleased.” Like the scribes, the disciples presume that the literal Elijah, who was translated into heaven, would return as forerunner to the Messiah. They do not immediately see John the Baptist as a ‘type’; one who would precede the Messiah in the spirit and power of Elijah, and prepare the way for his coming (Malachi 3:1, 4:5).

The disciples initial blindness to this fact is echoed in the wider people, Israel; ‘they did not recognize him’. Not only did they not recognize him, but he was treated cruelly and killed for his pains. Like Christ he was destined, ‘to suffer at their hands’. With Jesus to explain, the disciples were to understand all this, unlike the ‘scribes’. A clear implication for us is whether we are to be disciples or scribes. Are we to grasp the message of Christ and prepare earnestly for his coming or are we to reject his words and ultimately him. Further to this we can indeed, try to be ‘types’ of John the Baptist, and make others ready for Christ’s coming. We can try to share in the Baptist’s ministry and, ‘make straight the way of the Lord’ (John 1:23) However, in doing so, we must be prepared for others to see us as strange and extreme, and be prepared for the cruelty and rejection of the world should it come.  Read more

Second Week of Advent - Friday - 'Wisdom is justified by her deeds'

Friday, December 09, 2011
Readings: Isaiah 48:17-19, Ps 1, Matthew 11:16-19

If you want to live as part of a happy community, usually it's a good idea to try to fit in and not cause offence to other people – don't rock the boat. This principle governs much of our day to day behaviour, and within reason, this is no bad thing, but today's Gospel reminds us that this cannot be an ultimate principle. John the Baptist, who went out into the wilderness and preached a message of repentance, definitely didn't fit in, and Jesus, who ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners, certainly caused offence. Read more

8th December - The Immaculate Conception - "Just another difficult dogma?"

Thursday, December 08, 2011
Readings: Genesis 3: 9-15, 20; Psalm 98; Ephesians 1: 3-6, 11-12; Luke 1: 26-38 Read more

Second Week of Advent - Wednesday: ‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Readings: Isaiah 40: 25-31 Ps 102 Matthew 11:28-30 Read more

Second Week of Advent - Tuesday: it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Readings: Isaiah 40: 1-11; Psalm 95; Matthew 18: 12-14 Read more

Second Week of Advent - Monday: "Friend, your sins are forgiven you."

Monday, December 05, 2011
Readings: Isaiah 35: 1-10; Psalm 85; Luke 5: 17-26

Would you be comfortable waging your salvation on the strength of your faith? Is your faith strong enough to save you? The Gospel presents these questions often. At some point in our lives, we will each have to answer. Hopefully, each of us is ready to respond with an emphatic “Yes!”

However, would we be as zealous, as sure of the strength of our faith, if someone else’s salvation rested on our faith?

The men who lower the paralytic through the roof in the Gospel of Luke recognize the importance of acting on their faith. The crowd is too dense. They cannot get the paralytic to Jesus. If they wait too long, these men may never have a chance to save their friend. Yet, they do not let this obstacle stand in their way. When Jesus sees this man lowered through the roof, he does not cite the paralytic’s faith as he heals him. Rather, Jesus sees the faith of these men who let nothing stand between God and someone in need of God’s healing.

It can be easy for us to put ourselves on the line in a grave situation. Often times, we consider self-sacrifice a way of growing in our faith. If we fail at first, then we acknowledge our failure, repent, and continue in the life of faith. But when we realize that our faith and actions impact the wellbeing of others, we open ourselves up to the reality of our Christian vocations.

Our faith in God is not a gift solely for our benefit. We do not follow Christ isolated from other people on our own private paths. The grace of God must be diffusive, coming from God, through us, to the world. For this reason, the Church exhorts us toward the Sacraments and public witness, not only that we may grow in faith, but that we may also bring the gift of faith to others.

As we continue our Advent meditations, let us contemplate how our faith impacts the lives of others. I do not doubt the awe one experiences when hearing Jesus say, “Your faith has saved you.” But, as a member of the Body of Christ, I think such an experience reaches its zenith when Jesus also says, “Your faith has saved others.”
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