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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The Conversion of St Paul the Apostle

Monday, January 25, 2016
Tertullian, no stranger to being victimised by his interpreters, called St Paul the “heretics’ apostle”, indicating the amenability of Paul’s writings to being turned against his own intentions.  Read more

St Matthias

Thursday, May 14, 2015

We don't know many things about Matthias. The only thing that Luke says about him in the Acts of the Apostles is that he is one of the men who have accompanied the Apostles during the life of Jesus from his baptism until the ascension and that he is a witness of his resurrection (Acts 1:21-22). In fact, Luke, thanks to the person of Matthias, says more about what it is to be an Apostle. Because Matthias is indeed an apostle, added to the eleven others after the death of Judas. Read more

The English Martyrs

Monday, May 04, 2015
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The Conversion of St. Paul

Saturday, January 25, 2014

All Saints

Friday, November 01, 2013

Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul

Sunday, June 30, 2013

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Feast of the Chair of St Peter: Binding and loosing on earth and in heaven.

Friday, February 22, 2013
1 Peter 5:1-4; Ps 23; Mt 16:13-19.  Read more

January 1st: Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God

Sunday, January 01, 2012
Readings: Numbers 6: 22-27, Psalm 67, Galatians 4: 4-7, Luke 2: 16-21
According to the Old Testament, the blessing of God leads to flourishing: it gives life. In Moses' final exhortation to the people of Israel in the book of Deuteronomy we read: 'I am offering you life or death, blessing or a curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants might live in the love of the The Lord your God, obeying his voice, holding fast to him; for in this your life consists' (Deuteronomy 30: 19-20). To choose life, then, is to live in friendship with God. To be fully alive is to live in the presence of God, hence the priestly blessing that Aaron is instructed to use in our first reading includes a prayer that God's face might shine upon his people and bring them peace (Numbers 6: 25-6).

To hide from God's face, to hide from his friendship and presence as Adam and Eve did after the fall (Genesis 3:8), is to flee from our own fulfilment. Yet as we read through the Old Testament we find that the fall of Adam is a recurring pattern. Israel's love for God cools, her fidelity to the law slackens: the consequence is disaster, death, and finally repentance and some form of restoration. In her alienation, Israel rediscovers her longing for God and so in today's psalm we cry: 'May God be gracious and bless us, and may his face shed its light upon us' (Psalm 67: 1). This is echoed by the desperate appeal of psalm 80: 'God of hosts bring us back, let your face shine on us and we shall be saved' (Psalm 80: 7).

This alienation between God and Man (though perhaps not always the sense that God is remote) is overcome at the Incarnation, which we celebrated just a few days ago at Christmas. Where at one time, as Hebrews puts it: 'God spoke to man through prophets and in varied ways, in our time, the final days, He has spoken to us in the person of His Son' (Hebrews 1: 1-2). There is a sense in our second reading from St. Paul that this coming of the Son of God 'at the fullness of time' (Galatians 4:4) is the birth, the new life, that the whole of Israel's history has been preparing for. Indeed, in Romans Paul tells us that 'the whole creation, until this time, has been groaning in labour pains' (Romans 8:22). All of history has been a kind of pregnancy, a time of development and growth until nature, human flesh, is able to receive the Word of God so that he might dwell among us (John 1:14).

This Word made flesh, Jesus, is the new life that brings life to the world. Mary was chosen to keep this Word, to bare this Word in her womb, hence she is called theotokos, God-bearer or more loosely: Mother of God. John the Baptist leapt in his Mother's womb upon hearing Mary's greeting, recognising this presence of God, prompting his mother Elizabeth to declare Mary to be 'blessed among women' (Luke 1: 42). Mary herself exclaims in her famous Magnificat that 'henceforth all ages will call me blessed' (Luke 1: 48). Mary is blessed because the fruit of her womb, Jesus, is the source of all blessing and all life.

We celebrate the feast of the Mother of God at the end of the Octave of Christmas, then, not to distract our attention from Christ and the Incarnation, but to draw out its implications for us. Mary is blessed because she has been honoured with an unprecedented intimacy with God. Yet as Paul emphasises in the second reading, this intimacy is also open to us. Because Christ became one of us, became like us, we can become like him: adopted sons and daughters of God (Galatians 4: 4). We would do well, like Mary in today's Gospel, to ponder this in our hearts (Luke 2:19). The Incarnation that we celebrated this Christmas is an awesome gift, a gift that is more precious than perhaps we realise. Read more

1st December - St Edmund Campion

Thursday, December 01, 2011
Readings: Isaiah 26: 1-6; Psalm 117; Matthew 7: 21, 24-27 Read more


Saturday, August 06, 2011
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