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.
Read more.

First Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 13, 2011
Today's Readings: Genesis 2:7-9. 3:1-7; Psalm 50(51); Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11 Read more

Saints this Month - January 25th, The Conversion of Saint Paul

Monday, January 24, 2011
Do you ever wish that God would make a striking and stunning intervention in your life? I know that in my darkest moments I have wished God would make his presence known to me in a flash of lightning or a Monty Pythonesque foot-stomp. It is understandable that we could desire such an event. We think that such a solid and tangible episode will convince us beyond doubt that there is a God and our faith will be secure. Likewise maybe we study theology hoping that we will strengthen our belief through an intellectual foundation based on reason and argument or alternatively perhaps we practice spiritual exercises in the hope that we will enter a mystical ecstasy that will confirm us in our union with God. Whilst all of these things are not bad in themselves they are lacking something essential: the Holy Spirit! Read more

Preparing the Way: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

Thursday, December 23, 2010
This  week the Students of Blackfriars are preparing the way for Christmas with a series of reflections on the Rosary. They are taking place in the Priory Church at 12:30pm on Tuesday 21st, Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd December. All are welcome! Read more

Preparing the Way: The Proclamation of the Kingdom

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
This  week the Students of Blackfriars are preparing the way for Christmas with a series of reflections on the Rosary. They are taking place in the Priory Church at 12:30pm on Tuesday 21st, Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd December. All are welcome! Read more

Preparing the Way: The Annunciation

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

 Read more

Fourth Sunday of Advent - Set apart for the Gospel of God

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Third Sunday of Advent: The One Who Is To Come

Sunday, December 12, 2010
The familiar figure of John the Baptist, embodying our Advent hope, greets us again in this Sunday’s gospel. However, we find a man whose circumstances are much changed. The figure of hope seems to have become rather a pathetic figure, the great preacher and prophet languishes alone in a prison cell, awaiting his fate. To compound this unfortunate state of affairs it seems that the Baptist has also come to question the deeds of the one they call the Christ – the Anointed One – the one he was sent to prepare the way for. Indeed, he has come to question whether Jesus is such a Messianic figure at all.

Today’s Gospel is then, a question of identity. For John, disconnected from the community he loved, alone in a world filled with uncertainty, the identity of the Anointed One is paramount, and so he sends his disciples to ask; “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” It may seem a rather odd question, after all, if he has heard of the deeds, why then ask the question? The answer to this would appear to be that the identity of ‘the One who is to come’ was very different from the One that the Baptist expected. Indeed, the figure of Jesus had fulfilled none of John’s eschatological promises. John had preached that; “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” In an age when such a Messiah was expected to overturn the social and political status quo, John’s question does seem more reasonable. Should we look for another, or perhaps read differently, should we be looking for another of a different kind? Read in this manner we can see that although John’s expectations of Jesus’ role as judge were correct, he was unaware of the mission Jesus first had to fulfill on earth.

John is for us, a very human figure, his certainties have turned to questions, and he seems to waver between a man of prophecy and a man uncertain of the future. But where is the hope? Well, difficulties and questions do not equal despair: where would we all be if such were the case? On the contrary John provides the opportunity for Jesus to make clear the situation concerning his identity. In replying to John’s question Jesus marries his deeds with a patchwork of prophetic promises in Isaiah (29:18-19, 35:5-6, 61:1); "the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offence at me.” Jesus makes clear the fruits of his ministry and lastly proclaims blessed those who do not see his actions, unexpected though they may be, as a stumbling block to faith.

Whilst the question of identity is not cleared up with a simple Yes or No the answer couldn’t be clearer, and the message we can take from this should be heartening as we journey onward through Advent. We may all have times when we question, when our expectations in faith are not fulfilled, but we must draw upon what we see and hear, upon word and deed. We are surrounded by numerous examples of Christ’s love for us and nourished by the words of scripture. Indeed, our principal source of comfort and solace, even when we feel we are languishing alone and afraid, is Christ himself, given to us in the Eucharist. His identity is certain, but are we this Advent, able to recognise Him? “Are you the One who is to come.”

 Read more

The Immaculate Conception

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Second Sunday of Advent:-Viva La Revolution

Sunday, December 05, 2010

First Sunday of Advent - Being Ready for the End

Sunday, November 28, 2010
Follow us
Meet the Student Brothers

Meet the Student Brothers



Featured Series

Featured Series

Recent posts


Liturgical index

All tags & authors


Upcoming events

View the full calendar