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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Fourth Sunday of Lent - The Challenge of the Cross

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St Patrick

Saturday, March 17, 2012
Readings: 1 Peter 4:7-11; Psalm 96:1- 10; Luke 5:1-11 Read more

Stations of the Cross 2012: Jesus Meets His Mother

Friday, March 16, 2012

Br Augustine DeArmond offers a reflection on the Fourth Station of the Cross, which will be delivered in the priory church this evening and which has been specially pre-recorded for Godzdogz: Read more

Thursday of the Third Week of Lent - Reading the Signs

Thursday, March 15, 2012
Jeremiah 7:23-8, Psalm 95, Luke 11:14-23 Read more

Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent - Humble role models in the Kingdom of God

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Readings: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9; Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20; Matthew5:17-19.

Matthew 5:17-19 is the beginning of the “expounding of the Law” in the Sermon on the Mount. The “adherence to the Law”, meaning here the Mosaic Law, was a heated debate in the first years of Christianity. Some Christians wanted to ignore the Mosaic Law, saying that Jesus Christ changed the Law; some others wanted to stick to that law and suggested that the Gentiles were to be required to do the same. Obviously, the Jews could not just move on without taking with them all those laws that they believed were from God and meaningful to them. Saint Matthew, who wrote his gospel for a Jewish community, needed to give the view of Jesus towards the Mosaic Law. While Jesus might have appeared to be a revolutionary who came to abolish the “old law” in favour of his new commandment, he still could be seen as the one who came to explain the law and make it more significant and accessible to the people of Israel.  

However, the most astonishing statement in today’s Gospel is not the fact that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but the fact that he still allows those who lead others astray into his kingdom, even though they might be considered as the smallest there. Our interrogation would be: if those who break the Law are allowed into the kingdom, why bother respecting the Law? Two things could be considered from there: first we all break the law thus leading others to break it, secondly and consequently, we may not be worthy of the position we might allot to ourselves in the kingdom of God.

Role models shape our lives in many ways. When they are noted for commendable acts, we are proud of them and strive to follow their good example; when we are scandalised by their deeds, we are discouraged and we feel betrayed. Those of us who are very weak might suffer long-lasting sorrow. When we have felt let down by our models, it is sometimes difficult to forgive them. However, we often forget that, in one way or another, we all are role models to many others. Whichever our position we have in the society or in the church, there are many people who consider us as role models and expect us to be their guides in many ways.

Jesus says that “whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.” This verse provides an answer to our first question: despite our imperfections, we still share in the inheritance of the kingdom. Nevertheless, we are called to humility: as it is clear that often, consciously or unconsciously, we mislead those who refer to us as role models. And as it makes us become the smallest in the Kingdom of God, we'd better humble ourselves and avoided to condemn others who go astray; we could find ourselves in the same “category “than them in the kingdom of God.

As we journey in our Lenten Season, let us pray for the gift of humility.
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Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent - Priorities

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
It is easy to get confused in our Christian life. We are so close to the most Holy, to the most important thing in the world, that we sometimes kind of drift of and begin to believe that it is we who are the centre of the world. Each of us may start to think: I have now been Christian for a certain number of years, and so have I got a certain authority. I have become good at this. Or, as a Dominican brother, I might fall into the temptation of believing that I have a certain seniority over others. After all, haven’t I made some great sacrifices? Don’t I represent the very core of the Church? 

And as we grow bigger in our own eyes, it becomes more and more natural for us to think that we are - or should be - God’s first choice. As we get bigger in our own eyes, a certain blindness comes in, a blindness to all that is new. We become like the historian whom God brought back in time so that he could get to witness the very Creation. The historian lifted one eyebrow and said: ‘I think I have seen something similar before’. 

This perspective is neither the spirit of the Gospel nor the Spirit of God. ‘Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges; can you not see it?’ (Isaiah 43,19) asks the prophet, and mentions a new song that we should sing along with the whole of creation (Isaiah 42,10). 

 Those who really know this song are the children! Charles Peguy wrote a book called ‘The Mystery of the Holy Innocents’. In a passage, he begins to meditate on the child who has this extraordinary capacity of saying the same thing over and over again without getting tired. The child says ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Good night’ not once or twice; it can go on and on! ‘Good morning. Good night. Good morning. Good night. Good morning... ‘ And the 20th time is just as funny as the first. How can this be, asks Peguy. Well, that is because for the child, every time is like the first time. 

 This is the nature of the revelation in Christ. It is ever new, ever about to become real. We get to hear secrets that are being whispered into our ears, if we just bother to listen. The prophet says about those secrets: ‘they have just been created, not long ago, and until today you have heard nothing about them, so that you cannot say, 'Yes, I knew about this.' (Isaiah 48,7) To turn to Christ is to expect the unexpected, to let him cure our ‘stiffness’ and make us more flexible, and to lay aside our self-made layers of authority and our spiritual tiredness that make it so difficult to see the immensity of the Gospel. As we approach Christ in the Holy Communion, let us then pray with the words that we find in a chorale in Bach’s oratorio St John Passion: 

Jesus when we will not turn, 
Look on us in kindness: 
Make our hearts within us burn; 
Rouse us from our blindness.
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Monday of the Third Week of Lent – Life after leprosy

Monday, March 12, 2012
Readings: 2 Kings 5:1-15ab.  Psalms 42:2, 3; 43:3,4.  Luke 4:24-30. Read more

Third Sunday of Lent - The Anger of Jesus

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent - The Creative Act which is Forgiveness.

Saturday, March 10, 2012
Readings: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20; Psalm 103:1-12 (not 5-7 or 8b); Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32 Read more

Stations of the Cross 2012: Jesus Meets Veronica

Friday, March 09, 2012
Br Gustave Ineza offers a reflection on the Sixth Station of the Cross, which will be delivered in the priory church this evening and which has been specially pre-recorded for Godzdogz:

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