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Roger Karban

Ordained in Rome in 1964, Roger R. Karban is a priest of the Diocese of Belleville with scholarly expertise in the Sacred Scriptures. He received a Licentiate in Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and did his doctoral studies in Scripture at St. Louis University.

Karban has been the chair of religion departments at Mater Dei and Gibault Catholic High Schools; director of the diocesan diaconate program and is currently the administrator of Our Lady of Good Council Parish, Renault, IL. A part-time faculty member of St. Louis University and Southwestern Illinois College where he teaches the Bible as literature, Karban also teaches adult weekly scripture classes in Belleville, Breese, Carbondale and Lebanon, IL. With the vision of Vatican II, Karban presents workshops, not only in the diocese, but throughout the country.

 

 

Roger's Essays

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02/19/2017

FEBRUARY 19TH, 2017: SEVENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; I Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48

That's why the Leviticus author must have deeply disturbed his readers when he not only reminds them that Yahweh's holy, but, through Moses, also tells them to imitate that holiness. They're to accomplish this not by dressing different from everyone else, but by living lives that are other from people around them, lives based on a unique value system. Against common wisdom and practice, they're to “take no revenge, cherish no grudges,” and, unbelievably, “love their neighbors as themselves.”

Matthew's Jesus simply points out a few implications of such holiness in today's gospel pericope. His followers are not only expected to “turn the other cheek” when someone strikes them, they're even required to “offer no resistance to one who is evil.” He consistently wants them to show “hesed” to everyone.

Biblical hesed refers to what an individual does for someone which goes beyond what he or she has a right to expect. It's a way of exercising freedom in situations in which one's freedom has been taken away. For instance, though someone might have a right to “go to law with you over your tunic,” handing over your cloak to that person is a totally free act. In the same way, going two miles instead of one mile for someone forcing you to do so, is also a free action. There's “no charge” for that second mile.

As a good Jew, Matthew's Jesus is convinced that one way we demonstrate our holiness is by freely doing things which we have no responsibility or obligation to do. A significant part of our otherness is that we're free even in situations in which others have surrendered their freedom. Just as our “perfect” God freely deals with people, so do we. Those who want to be like God are expected to act like God.

It's significant to recall that even though main-stream Jews had huge difficulties with the Roman destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 CE, Christian Jews didn't seem to take its demise on the same level. We have to thank Paul for their reaction.

Though the Apostle was martyred about 10 years before the Roman army leveled Jerusalem, the theology he develops in today's I Corinthians passage certainly provided them with a unique perspective from which to view that national and religious disaster. No longer was the Jerusalem temple the only place where Jesus' Jewish disciples could encounter God. “Do you not know,” Paul asks his Corinthian readers, “that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Then he reminds them of the obvious: “The temple of God, which you are, is holy.”

If acting like everyone else is the norm of wisdom, it's no wonder, Paul argues, that people judge other Christs to be fools.

We know from movies like Jeremiah Johnson that many Native American tribes gave their mentally ill members a free pass, interpreting their unconventional actions as signs they were close to their gods, who they logically reasoned would act differently from themselves.

I wonder how many of our friends and relatives are just as generous in judging our holy actions?

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


02/26/2017

FEBRUARY 26TH, 2017: EIGHTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Isaiah 49:14-15; I Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34

I was part of a prison retreat team some years ago, when I noticed a handwritten poster on one of the conference room's walls. It carried a simple message: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I, God, will never forget you.” One of the residents had obviously been deeply moved by today's Deutero-Isaiah passage.

This unnamed 6th century BCE prophet confronted many difficulties during his Babylonian ministry. One of the most serious revolved around the captives' belief they'd been deserted by Yahweh. They had good reason to come to that conclusion: they and their families had been in Babylon for over 50 years. Any hope of returning to Israel had disappeared years ago. Besides, at that point in salvation history, most Jews believed Yahweh – like all other gods – was territorial. He was God only in Israel. Take one step across the country's border and you had to deal with another country's gods and goddesses. Why trust a God who was helpless in Babylon?

But since Deutero-Isaiah was a proponent of the novel theology that Yahweh was the one and only God, he was certain Yahweh was just as powerful in downtown Babylon as he was in downtown Jerusalem. He was convinced Yahweh was more one with the captive Israelites languishing in a foreign land than a mother with the child at her breast.

Five hundred years later, Jesus of Nazareth confronted a similar problem. As we know from Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, he demanded some radical morality from his followers. They were to treat others in completely unique forgiving and loving ways. Anyone who dared follow his radical lead logically feared God would leave them in the lurch. After they generously gave everything of themselves to those around them, what would happen to them? That seems to be why Matthew's Jesus spends so much time assuring them of God's care and concern.

He tries to convince them not to worry about what they'll eat, drink or wear. They're not to fudge on their imitation of him. “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” In other words, when you begin to notice God acting effectively in your lives, you'll also begin to notice God taking care of those lives. “Don't worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” Commit yourself to living day by day.

Paul takes us even deeper into God's care. In today's I Corinthians passage he reflects on questions about his own ministry, not certain whether he's failed or succeeded in what the risen Jesus has called him to do. As a “steward of the ministries of God,” he can only keep trying to be trustworthy in carrying out his mission. He constantly works at truthfully sharing God's plan with those around him, no matter the results or consequences.

The Apostle doesn't seem to be losing any sleep at night, second-guessing what he's done or hasn't done. He's convinced only the risen Jesus can make such a judgment, and he/she's not expected to do that until the Parousia.

I presume one of the reasons Paul doesn't worry about success or failure is because, as he once told the Galatians, he's experienced the risen Jesus. And that encounter originally took place while he was still a sinner – a persecutor of Jesus' disciples. If the risen Jesus was caring for him while he was in that state, then he/she must be near to and concerned for him and all of us on a level that goes far beyond even the love of our parents.

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


03/05/2017

MARCH 5TH, 2017: FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT

Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11

Back in the late 60s, Pope Paul VI convened a unique meeting at the Vatican. Realizing the majority of anthropologists were convinced the human race evolved from more than one set of “original parents,” the pontiff was anxious to explore how this rather new theory of polygenesis could fit into the Christian doctrine of original sin. Based on today's first reading, that doctrine presumed we all sprang from one set of parents who at one point in their early existence had committed a sin so serious that it not only affected them personally, but was somehow passed down to all their descendants.

Among those whom Paul gathered were eminent scientists, Scripture scholars, anthropologists and theologians. Their final report was eventually published in the now-defunct Critic magazine. Though their opinions differed, they all seemed to agree on two things. First, the Yahwistic author of Genesis never expected us to take her biblical account of the “fall” literally. She simply created a classical myth to explain the origins of something we all experience: a basic sinful disorder in each of our lives. Second, the actual original sin probably wasn't something our ancestors did, but something they didn't do.

According to these experts, the first humans were few enough to have definitively changed the moral environment in which they lived. But they didn't. Instead, time and time again they caved into their “dog eat dog” surroundings, refusing to replace the hateful situations they encountered with the love God intended them to display. The result was that their descendants were forced to face the same disordered environment – a climate which guaranteed it would be only a matter of time before each individual committed his or her original sin.

It's good to hear today's second and third readings from this perspective. Paul is convinced Jesus of Nazareth totally changed the environment we daily encounter. He reminds the Christian community in Rome that they no longer have to give in to the hatred and mistrust flourishing around them. The risen Jesus has overcome all that. And if we have the courage to join him/her in dying and rising, we'll also replace our disordered surroundings with an environment of love. “For, if by the transgression of the one, the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many?” Each of us has the ability to change our surroundings for the better.

In a similar way, Matthew's Jesus begins his pubic ministry with the message that no longer will it be “business as usual.” He's determined to alter the way people live their lives. He isn't, for instance, going to spend his life just taking care of people's physical needs. Changing stones into bread won't be a top priority. He's determined to tackle the roots of our “screwed up” environment, not just the externals.

Neither is he going to do the spectacular, something that would make the headlines. No jumping off high buildings. Instead, he's committed to the day by day loving of those around him: the one thing that would definitely change everyone's life.

In the end, he's simply not interested in having dominion over the “kingdoms of the world.” Those who lust after such a grandiose position have obviously made a pact with the devil to manipulate their sinful surroundings to their own selfish benefit, not to eradicate them.

It's easy to forget the kind of person we've committed ourselves to imitate; someone who just didn't want his followers to avoid sin. More than anything, he expected them to change their environment enough that sin might no longer be the trap it was for those who first inhabited our planet.

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


03/12/2017

MARCH 12TH, 2017: SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT

Genesis 12:1-4a; II Timothy 1:8b-10; Matthew 17:1-9

Many of us falsely believe God only works through those individuals who've lived lives worthy of God working through them. We grew up believing in the non-biblical statement of St. Bonaventure: “Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit.” God is able to do it, it would fitting if he did it, therefore he does it.

One of my grade school religion teachers once applied this reasoning to the Blessed Virgin. His reason for believing Mary was the most beautiful woman who ever existed was simple. Following Bonaventure he asked, “Couldn't God create such a uniquely beautiful person? Doesn't it make sense such a woman would be the mother of His Son? Therefore Mary was that most beautiful woman.”

Such reasoning might make sense to us, but as I mentioned above, it's non-biblical. Going counter to Bonaventure, our sacred authors were convinced, “God could do it, it'd be fitting if he did it, but God almost never does what we expect him or her to do!”

This kind of theology especially kicks in when it comes to biblical “calls.” God never calls people to a special ministry because they're the “holiest” persons in the room. They haven't necessarily engaged in an ascetic lifestyle, gone to Mass frequently, never forgot their meal prayers or even said a daily rosary. The God we know from Scripture simply calls certain individuals without any reference to who they were or what they did before that call. Only what they do after the call is important. This is especially true of the very first biblical call – the one narrated in today's Genesis reading – that of Abram.

The sacred author never tell us why Yahweh chooses Abram from the thousands of migrating people around him. Nor is there any mention of the kind of relationship the two had before the call. The significant thing is that the passage ends simply with the statement, “Abram went as Yahweh directed him.”

Yet notice what this resident of Ur agrees to do. He's leaving all the security he's ever known – his land, his kinsfolk, his father's house – and sets out for a still-to-be determined country. Though Yahweh promises to one day make his family a “great nation” and his name a “blessing,” Abram can't fall back on Yahweh's track record. At this point there is none. Everything starts from here.

That's the key to biblical calls: the person called is expected to put all her/his security in the one doing the calling. They're expected to follow not an institution or a set of rules and regulations, but a person; to live their lives based on the whim of that special individual, no matter where it takes them.

The unknown author II Timothy takes that for granted when he reminds his community that the risen Jesus has also “called us to a holy life.” Though we believe the good news he proclaims about eventually destroying death and bringing us life and immortality, we're only going to achieve those things by putting our security in Jesus right here and now.

I presume many of us, because of our past track records, don't even notice the calls God frequently extends to us. If we actually did hear some of them, we'd probably take for granted they're cases of mistaken identity. We forget that just as Jesus was “transfigured” by generously responding to his Father's call, so our response would also transfigure us.

We can't let our preconceived notions of how God should act stop us from seeing how God actually is acting, especially when that concerns our own lives. The only way we're ever going to transfigure the earth is to first acknowledge how God and the risen Jesus have already transfigured us.

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


03/19/2017

MARCH 19TH, 2017: THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

Exodus 17:3-7; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42

We know we're dealing with the Yahwistic source of the Torah when during those passages describing the Chosen People's Exodus and wilderness wanderings the author goes into detail about the Israelites' griping, grumbling and complaining. Today's Exodus pericope provides a classic example: “. . . The people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst . . . ?'” Scholars believe this 10th century BCE author had a good reason for zeroing on that embarrassing aspect of her ancestors' personality.

Our sacred authors always write for specific groups of people. They never compose their works for “everyone;” certainly not for us. The faces of the communities for whom they write are always before their eyes. Their unique problems prompt them to write. If there were no problems in our ancient faith communities, we'd have no Scripture.

It's easy to conclude there must have been lots of griping, grumbling and complaining in the Yahwist's community, else we wouldn't have today's first reading. Thankfully the author actually tells us what the whining was about – a simple question. “Is Yahweh in our midst or not?”

Like all faith communities, the Yahwist's fell into the trap of creating a “sacred history:” a time like no other, when God worked in special ways for special people, a time which made their own day and age pale in comparison. If only they could have taken part in the Exodus when Yahweh worked those famous signs and wonders, or even participated in the 40-year trek through the wilderness when Yahweh constantly appeared to the Israelites, assuring them of his/her presence. But now, over 200 years later, God no longer did what God did during their sacred history. It was left to them simply to complain and grumble about Yahweh's absence.

That seems to be why the Yahwistic author constantly reminds her readers that even during that unique Exodus event, their ancestors also griped and complained about what Yahweh was and wasn't doing. There never was a special sacred history, a time when everything was hunky dory. The Yahwist was convinced that God's working today, just as God worked in the past. We know how to surface that work and presence in the past, but find it difficult to uncover it in the present. The answer to the question above is, “Yes, Yahweh is in our midst. We just don't take the time and make the effort to notice Yahweh's presence.”

Paul of Tarsus is a firm believer in the risen Jesus working in our lives right here and now. He/she isn't just killing time, patiently waiting in the wings for us to first change into authentic other Christs before springing into action. Our state of soul isn't a condition for such action. The Apostle reminds the community in Rome of one of our faith's most amazing facts, “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” That insight applies not just to the past or distant future. It means our sacred history is happening all around us, even as we're reading this commentary.

Perhaps the most important line in today's gospel is Jesus' remark to the woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you ‘Give me a drink,' you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John obviously presumes that “living water” is part of our everyday lives. But it's a part almost no one notices.

Instead of griping and complaining about God abandoning us in crucial situations, we should begin to understand that we've probably abandoned God.

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


03/26/2017

MARCH 26TH, 2017, FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

I Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41

One really must know the background of today's I Samuel reading to appreciate what the sacred author is trying to tell us.

This event takes place in the late 11th century BCE while Saul, a rather unstable king, is on the Jewish throne. When Samuel, the last of the judges, complains to Yahweh about the situation, Yahweh tells him to commit high treason: to anoint another king – one of Jesse's sons. Samuel wisely camouflages his visit to Bethlehem by announcing he's going to conduct a communion sacrifice at Jesse's house, not anoint a new king. That's where today's narrative kicks in.

One of the reasons Samuel originally anointed Saul as Israel's first king was because he “stood head and shoulders” above all the country's warriors. As the late Frank Cleary once observed, “He could knock heads better than anyone else.” So we presume Samuel is simply looking to replace Saul with another – more stable - head-knocker.

When none of Jesse's seven sons proves to be the king Yahweh wants, Samuel bribes the protesting father to bring in the runt of the litter who's out watching the family flock: “We will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.” Hearing peoples' stomachs growling, Jesse has no choice. When David finally comes into the house and is anointed, we find the truth in Yahweh's remark, “Not as humans see does God see, because humans see the appearance, but Yahweh looks into the heart.”

The sacred author is telling us not to trust our eyes. We only see correctly what God's Spirit leads us to see; a Spirit which always expects us to go deeper than appearances.

That seems to be why the Pauline disciple responsible for the letter to the Ephesians creates a powerful contrast between light and darkness. “You were once in darkness,” he reminds his community, “but now you are light in the Lord.” Then quoting from what seems to have been an early Christian baptismal hymn, he pens the memorable words, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” Only through the risen Jesus' Spirit are we able to see what others never seem to notice.

This is the same theme behind John's well-known narrative of the blind beggar. Unlike the Jesus we find in the Synoptics, John's Jesus doesn't demand faith as a condition for working miracles. For the fourth evangelist, faith only comes after the miracle, not before. In this case his blind beggar doesn't ask Jesus for sight. He simply rubs mud in his eyes, tells him to wash it out, and suddenly the man sees. At that point he also begins to see Jesus with the light of faith – gradually.

When he initially talks to his neighbors and friends about his unexpected sight, he simply refers to his benefactor as “the man called Jesus.” Later, when Jewish leaders interrogate him about the event, he dares go one step further: “He is a prophet,” he proclaims. Finally, toward the end of the pericope, “he worshiped him.” His new-found sight eventually enables him to see this Galilean carpenter as God.

No one who's heard the entire chapter can miss the meaning in Jesus' final condemnation of the Pharisees: “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,' so your sin remains.” We really have to be careful when we claim we can see what the risen Jesus wants us to do in our everyday lives. Not only were Samuel and the blind beggar expected to look at people and situations with new eyes, so are we. It always takes ever-new, Spirit-filled eyes to actually “learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


04/02/2017

APRIL 2ND, 2017, FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Ezekiel 37:12-14; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45

A critical reading of Scripture shows us that we profess a constantly evolving faith. It's always on the move. Just when we think we've nailed it down, we read the next author and discover it's shifted once again. Because our sacred authors are committed to sharing their ever-changing insights with us, we have no choice but to accompany them on their unique faith journey. Nowhere is this movement clearer than in today's well-known gospel pericope.

Though I learned very early in my grade school religion classes what exactly was going to happen to me when I took my last mortal breath, our Christian sacred authors never attended those classes. We know from I Thessalonians 4 - the earliest Christian writing we possess – that Paul thought Christians who had the misfortune to die before Jesus' Second Coming would simply have to spend time in their graves awaiting that event. They would rise only when he/she returned.

The first two evangelists – Mark and Matthew – never say anything which would contradict Paul's theology. But by the mid-80s when Luke writes his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, faith in the risen Jesus' imminent return is beginning to wane. We hear in Luke's narrative of Stephen's martyrdom that Jesus comes for him at the moment of death; he doesn't have to wait for the Parousia to have that glorious experience. In some sense, Christians can now expect to have their “personal Parousia” when they die.

John takes Luke's theology one step further when he writes his gospel in the mid-90s. He uses Jesus' raising of Lazarus as the vehicle to convey it. In her conversation with Jesus, Mary gives the “old” theology. “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” John's Jesus then provides us with the “new and improved” theology: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”

All who study John know about his knack for pushing “realized eschatology.” In other words, what we expect to happen only at the end of time – the “eschaton” – John presumes is already happening right here and now. In regards to the afterlife, he's convinced such an existence is already part of our lives even before we breathe our last. In this particular passage, he demonstrates his belief with a sign: Lazarus is alive though he physically died.

Our sacred authors have come a long way from the 6th century BCE days of Ezekiel when there was no belief in an afterlife as we know it. For Yahweh to return all the exiled Chosen People to the Promised Land, he'll have to actually open up some graves, pull them out and bring them back. But this will be a unique resuscitation; only these particular Jews will experience it. Everyone else's life will still definitely end with their physical deaths.

Yet even after Jesus' death and resurrection, now that all people have a chance to achieve eternal life, we're still not 100% certain in what that life consists. Paul can assure the church in Rome, “. . . The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.” But we know from his I Thessalonians theology that, unlike Luke and John, he doesn't expect that life to begin until after the Parousia.

Knowing the biblical history revolving around faith in an afterlife, why would we believe that John has provided us with the last word on the subject? Presuming the topic is still evolving, this is one case in which we can validly ask, “What do you think?”

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


04/09/2107

APRIL 9TH, 2017: PALM SUNDAY

Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66

Though I enjoyed reading Dava Sobel's best-selling book Galileo's Daughter, I was deeply disturbed by what happened in the early life of the title character: Galileo's oldest child, Virginia. Because she and her younger sister, Livia, were “illegitimate,” their father felt forced to put them – for the rest of their lives - into a cloistered convent when they were only twelve and thirteen years old. He reasoned, because of the circumstances of their birth, they'd have almost no chance of ever being married. The renowned scientist's early 17th century Italian culture simply took such disturbing actions for granted. That's just the way it was back then.

People rarely dare to question the restrictions culture impose on them. We often put them on the same level as “divine commands.” That seems to be one of the reasons Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. This upstart first century CE itinerant preacher actually expected people to change their culture. We especially see him carrying out this demand in the event we commemorate today.

Jewish culture in this former carpenter's day and age expected the Messiah to be someone who would deliver the Chosen People from Rome's 90-year occupation of their country. To fulfill his mission, Yahweh's anointed one would have to be a military leader, a person who could lead others into battle against Israel's formidable foe. Among other things, such a person would logically ride a horse: a military weapon.

When Jesus comes into Jerusalem on this day, people simultaneously would have heard good news and bad news. The good news: the Messiah has finally arrived! The bad news: he's riding a donkey! He seems to have deliberately chosen this humble mode of transportation to challenge his Jewish culture's long standing concepts of Messiah. If Jesus is the Messiah, he's certainly not the Messiah his fellow Jews are expecting.

It appears the gospel Jesus is deeply committed not just to changing our personal morality, but also in changing the culture within which we live that morality. He perfectly embodies the Scriptural definition of the ideal follower of Yahweh contained in our first reading. “Morning after morning,” Deutero-Isaiah tells us, “Yahweh opens my ear that I may hear.” True disciples aren't content just to follow religious rules and regulations. They listen to what God and God's Spirit is encouraging them to do. They're convinced that they're being daily called to hear a gentle, disturbing voice leading them to go beyond rules and regulations, a voice constantly demanding they challenge even their culture.

Of course, as Paul reminds the Philippians community in today's second reading, they're to hear this voice in the midst of imitating Jesus' emptying himself for others. It's only in the middle of such unselfish giving that the Spirit's voice becomes clearer and louder, and the consequences of carrying out the demands of that voice become more painful. We only have to listen to Matthew's Passion Narrative to discover the latter.

As with all gospel Passion Narratives, Matthew mentions practically nothing about Jesus' physical suffering. (He doesn't even say Jesus was nailed to the cross.) He's much more interested in his psychological suffering and pain. His Jesus is misunderstood, rejected, and deserted by those for whom he gives himself.

Matthew knew practically no one in his Jewish/Christian community would ever be called upon to physically suffer as the historical Jesus suffered. But all of them would be expected to identify with his psychological suffering, something which always happens when people empty themselves for others.

Fortunately in our current culture “illegitimate” girls no longer have to worry about being sent to a cloistered convent. But who else is being hurt today? Perhaps all of us should be listening more intently to the real “listeners.”

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222



Archives in PDF format:
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Each archive file has two articles with the most recent at the bottom.

2017 Essays
April 2 & 9, 2017
March 19 & 26, 2017
March 5 & 12, 2017
February 19 & 26, 2017
February 5 & 12, 2017
January 22 & 29, 2017
January 8 & 15, 2017


2016 Essays

December 25, 2016, & January 1, 2017
December 11 & 18, 2016
November 27 & December 4, 2016
November 13 & 20, 2016
October 30 & November 6, 2016
October 16 & 23, 2016
October 2 & 9, 2016
September 18 & 25, 2016
September 4 & 11, 2016
August 21 & 28, 2016
August 7 & 14, 2016
July 24 & 31, 2016
July 10 & 17, 2016
June 26 and July 3, 2016
Jun 12 & June 19, 2016
May 29 & June 5, 2016
May 15 & May 22, 2016
May 5 & May 8, 2016
April 24 & May 1, 2016
April 10 & April 17, 2016
March 27 and April 3, 2016
March 24 & 26, 2016
March 13 & 20, 2016
February 28 and March 6, 2016
February 14 and 21, 2016
January 31 and February 7, 2016
January 17 and 24, 2016
January 3 and 10, 2016


2015 Essays
December 25 and 27, 2015
December 13, 20 and 25, 2015
November 29 and December 6, 2015
November 15 and 22, 2015
November 1 and 8, 2015
October 18 and 25, 2015
October 4 and 11, 2015
September 20 and 27, 2015
September 6 and 13, 2015
August 23 and 30, 2015
August 9 and 16, 2015
July 26 and August 2, 2015
July 12 and 19, 2015
June 28 and July 5, 2015
June 14 and 21, 2015
May 31 and June 7, 2015
May 17 and 24, 2015
May 10 and May 14 or 17, 2015
April 26 and May 3, 2015
April 12 and 19, 2015
April 4 and 5, 2015
March 29 and April 2, 2015
March 15 and 22, 2015
March 1 and 8, 2015
February 15 and 22, 2015
February 1 and 8, 2015
January 18 and 25, 2015
January 4 and 11, 2015

2014 Essays
December 25 & 28, 2014
December 14 & 21, 2014
November 30 & December 7, 2014
November 16 & 23, 2014
November 2 and 9, 2014
October 19 & 26, 2014
October 5 & 12, 2014
September 21 & 28, 2014
September 7 & 14, 2014
August 24 and 31, 2014
August 10 and 17, 2014
July 27 and August 3, 2014
July 13 and July 20, 2014
June 29 and July 6, 2014
June 15 and June 22, 2014
June 1 and June 8, 2014
May 25 and May 29, 2014
May 11 and May 18, 2014
April 27 and May 4, 2014
April 19 & 20, 2014
April 13 & 17, 2014
March 30 & April 6, 2014
March 16 & 23, 2014
March 2 & 9, 2014
February 16 & 23, 2014
February 2 & 9, 2014
January 19 & 26, 2014
January 5 & 12, 2014

2013 Essays
December 25 & 29, 2013
December 15 & 22, 2013
December 1 & 8, 2013
November 17 & 24, 2013
November 3 & 10, 2013
October 20 and 27, 2013
October 6 and 13, 2013
September 22 and 29, 2013
September 8 and 15, 2013
August 25 and September 1, 2013
August 11 and 18, 2013
July 28 and August 4, 2013
July 14 and 21, 2013
June 30 and July 7, 2013
Jun 16 & 23, 2013
Jun 2 & 9, 2013
May 19 & 26, 2013
May 9 & 12, 2013
April 28 and May 5, 2013
April 14 and 21, 2013
March 30 and April 7, 2013
March 24 and 28, 2013
March 10 and 17, 2013
February 24 and March 3, 2013
February 10 and 17, 2013
January 27 and February 3, 2013
January 13 and 20, 2013
December 30, 2012, and January 6, 2013

2012 Essays
December 23 & 25, 2012
December 9 & 16, 2012
November 25 and December 2, 2012
November 11 and 18, 2012
October 28 and November 4, 2012
October 14 and October 21, 2012
September 30 and October 7, 2012
September 16 and September 23, 2012
September 2 and September 9, 2012
August 19 and August 26, 2012
August 5 and August 12, 2012
July 22 and July 29, 2012
July 8 and July 15, 2012
June 24 and July 1, 2012
June 10 and 17, 2012
May 27 and June 3, 2012
May 17 and May 20, 2012
May 6 and May 13, 2012
April 22 and April 29, 2012
April 7 (Easter Vigil) and April 15, 2012
March 25 and April 1, 2012
March 11 and March 18, 2012
February 26 and March 4, 2012
February 12 and February 19, 2012
January 29 and February 5, 2012
January 15 and January 22, 2012
January 1 and January 8, 2012

2011 Essays
December 18 and December 25, 2011
December 4 and December 11, 2011
November 20 and November 27, 2011
November 6 and November 13, 2011
October 23 and October 30, 2011
October 9 and October 16, 2011
September 25 and October 2, 2011
September 18, 2011
September 4, 2011
August 21, 2011
August 07, 2011
July 24, 2011
July 10, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 12, 2011
June 6, 2011
May 22, 2011
May 5, 2011
April 10, 2011
May 8th, 2011
April 24, 2011
April 3, 2011
March 20, 2011
March 6, 2011
February 20, 2011
February 6, 2011
January 30, 2011
January 16, 2011
January 2, 2011

2010 Essays
December 25, 2010
December 10, 2010
November 28, 2010
November 14, 2010

 

 

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