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Roger Karban

Ordained in Rome in 1964, Roger R. Karban was a priest of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, until his death, July 10, 2020, at age 80. He received a Licentiate in Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and did his doctoral studies in Scripture at St. Louis University, the genrously and widely shared his scholarly expertise in the Sacred Scriptures.

Karban was the chair of religion departments at Mater Dei and Gibault Catholic High Schools, director of the diocesan diaconate program and the administrator of Our Lady of Good Council Parish, Renault, IL.

A part-time faculty member of St. Louis University and Southwestern Illinois College, he taught the Bible as literature.He also taught adult weekly scripture classes in Belleville, Breese, Carbondale and Lebanon, IL, and with the vision of Vatican II, Karban presented workshops, not only in the diocese, but throughout the country.

FOSIL is determined to keep archives of his teachings online indefinitely.

 

 

Roger's Essays

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01/23/22

JANUARY 23RD, 2022: THIRD SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Nehemiah 8:2-4a; I Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4, 14-21

The older I get, the more I’m convinced we must constantly be reminded of the basics of our faith. If we don’t, we’ll eventually find ourselves in the same situation the Chosen People experienced during the time of Nehemiah and Ezra. Though they prided themselves on being the people of the covenant, many had forgotten the rules and regulations which comprised the agreement their ancestors had entered into with Yahweh. They had no idea what their covenant responsibilities actually were.

Yet, instead of lording their ignorance over them, Nehemiah and Ezra encourage them to celebrate. The day they finally discovered what Yahweh wanted them to do was sacred, holy to them and Yahweh. They had started to actually become the people God wanted them to be, living the unique contract he/she had made with them.

As a teacher of Scripture, I’ve at times found myself in parallel situations. In helping people return to the beginnings of our faith, I’ve also experienced opening eyes and ears to things some of my fellow Christians never before realized existed. Take, for instance, today’s second reading.

Many of the Christians I’ve encountered through the years have no idea we’ve been blessed to be molded into the body of the risen Christ, an essential part of the covenant we’ve made at baptism with Jesus of Nazareth, a responsibility we can’t sluff off or replace with our membership in the Catholic Church. Though most of us are content just to keep our “noses clean” and eventually squeeze into heaven, we forget that because of our baptismal covenant we’ve agreed to carry on the ministry of Jesus and become other Christs.

Thankfully Paul of Tarsus clearly understood that responsibility and reminded his Corinthian community about it. Since no one person can carry on Christ’s ministry by herself or himself, we constantly must join together with the other “gifted” people Paul spoke about last week. Each of us plays a part; no one’s contribution is insignificant. Christ’s body isn’t whole if any gift – no matter how “small” - is left out.

A sign we’ve forgotten this essential aspect of our faith has been the Catholic practice of referring to priests alone as other Christs. I certainly presume priests can be other Christs, but they became such not on the day of their ordination, but on the day of their baptism.

When Luke’s Jesus announces, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing,” is he speaking about what he historically is doing, or is he referring to himself/herself as the risen Christ? The majority of Scripture scholars believe it’s the latter. The only Jesus our evangelist experienced was the risen Jesus. That means Luke is talking about the body of Christ that Paul spoke about.

Notice, Luke’s Jesus doesn’t say, “I’m fulfilling this Scripture passage;” rather he says, “It’s being fulfilled.” That seems to imply the people reading these words are helping in that fulfillment. All of us are bringing the glad tidings, liberating captives, giving sight to the blind, freeing the oppressed, and proclaiming a “holy” year. If we’re not willing to help, God’s word will never be fulfilled.

In one form or another, Christianity’s been around for more than 2,000 years, far longer than our original ancestors in the faith thought it would take to evangelize the world. Perhaps one of the reasons for the delay comes from the fact that many of us accidentally threw away or lost Jesus’ original plans. As the late Ed Hays frequently reminded us: “Jesus’ original followers imitated him long before they worshiped him.” Could we create some place in the liturgy to quote Ed at least once a month? It could easily become one of our essentials we forget.

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


01/30/2022

JANUARY 30TH, 2022: FOURTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19; I Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30

Will the real Jeremiah stand up? Is he the prophet responsible for today’s first reading or the prophet who composed those horribly depressing lines in 20:7-18? The two passages couldn’t have come from the same person – or could they?

When hearing any biblical prophet’s initial call from Yahweh, as we have in today’s first reading, it’s important to recognize that such narratives are some of the last things written in that particular prophet’s book of oracles – often after the prophet’s death. If we don’t accept this in the case of Jeremiah, we’ll easily misinterpret it, and never be able to reconcile it with chapter 20. Today Jeremiah is reflecting on a lifetime of being the conscience of the people. Through thick and thin he’s finally certain Yahweh had called him to be a prophet even before he was formed in the womb; he’s convinced he’d been dedicated as a prophet to the nations before his birth. But when he accuses Yahweh of tricking him to be his mouthpiece in chapter 20, and wishes he’d never been born, he’s still in the middle of the thick and thin. It’s one thing for a prophet to look at his or her ministry from a confident, life-ending perspective; it’s a totally other thing to reflect on that life during the day by day encounters with evil that makes God’s presence and assistance problematic. Each passage is Jeremiah speaking, each passage is true, but each passage was composed at a different point in his faith journey.

Much the same can be said of Jesus the prophet. Just a few weeks ago we heard a voice from heaven assure him, “You are my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased.” Yet today he’s forced to thread his way through an angry crowd to escape being killed. Not exactly what we’d expect from God’s son. Why can’t a divine Jesus just snap his fingers and the crowd disappear? Is God no longer taking care of his/her son? After all, he didn’t do anything sinful. He simply raised people’s ire by reminding them that God’s actions aren’t limited to just God’s people. Certainly not a crime that merits a death sentence. Could Jesus also have experienced a Jeremiah 20 moment at that point of his ministry, but, for some reason, none of our four evangelists mentions it?

Any serious student of Scripture presumes the historical Jesus had many of those moments. Three of the four gospels narrate the best known of those occasions: Gethsemane. Yet we take for granted there were others, else the sleeping disciples who were with him that night wouldn’t have realized what was transpiring. Such moments must have happened before, when they weren’t asleep.

That’s why today’s I Corinthians pericope is so important. Only one thing keeps us going during those chapter 20 moments: love. Already in 8th grade I knew this passage was important because we were all forced to memorize it. But as I’ve gone through life I’ve continually discovered the depth of that importance. As Paul points out, without love nothing else matters. No matter our prerogatives or talents; without love, they’re nothing. It’s the only thing in our life that counts.

Recently I’ve suggested using I Corinthians 13 at funerals, not just at weddings. Though it’s good to plan a future based on love, it’s far more significant to be able to reflect back on a life already lived in and with love. For many of us, our love and God’s love not only keeps us going, it’s the one element that makes sense of our lives, especially in our Jeremiah 20 periods; when we can’t figure out why terrible things are happening and we’re tempted to “chuck the works.”

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


02/06/2022

FEBRUARY 6TH, 2022: FIFTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8; I Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11

Regular readers of these commentaries will remember that I’ve mentioned Fr. Casper Deis before. He was my spiritual director in my first year of minor seminary. Though he was helpful on many levels, one of the main things I remember him telling us 13 and 14-year-old “kids” was that we shouldn’t be afraid to tell him we wanted to leave the seminary. “I’ll take any excuse you give,” he said, “except one. Don’t anybody dare tell me he doesn’t want to be a priest because he’s unworthy. If that’s your excuse, I’ll personally throw you out of my office, fling you down the steps and pitch you out the front door. Nobody’s worthy to be a priest.”

Actually, he could have gone further. None of us is worthy to carry out any ministry God gives us. Today’s first and third readings take that for granted.

In the midst of Yahweh’s majestic call, something suddenly dawns on First Isaiah. “I am doomed! I am a man of unclean lips,” he realizes, “living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of hosts!” In other words, “I can’t possibly do what Yahweh wants me to do. This must be a case of mistaken identity. God’s going to be furious when he/she finds out the wrong guy intercepted this call.”

But to the future prophet’s surprise, Yahweh’s already planned for his unworthiness. A seraph appears, touches Isaiah’s lips with a burning ember and takes care of things. The reluctant man has no other choice. When Yahweh asks, “‘Who will go for us?’” he can only respond, ‘Here I am, send me!’” Obviously when God calls, God provides us with whatever we need to carry out that call.

Simon discovers the same thing in today’s gospel pericope. This professional fisherman makes the horrible mistake of challenging Jesus’ command, “Lower your nets for a catch.” He basically tells him, “You stick to preaching; I’ll do the fishing.”

Amazed when the preacher demonstrates he’s quite a fisherman, Simon “. . . fell at the knees of Jesus and said, ‘Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.’” At that point, this itinerant preacher surprises him more than he did with the miraculous catch of fish. “Do not be afraid;” he says, “from now on you will be catching people.” In one of the low points of his life, Simon’s called to be a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. No talents to speak of, no accomplishment to fall back on, he can only trust in the person who calls him.

Paul of Tarsus reflects on something similar when reminding the Corinthian community of his own call. He lists himself among those who originally experienced the risen Jesus. But unlike the others, the Apostle classifies himself as “one born abnormally:” literally, one who was born when no one even realized his mother was pregnant. No one could have seen this one coming. “After all,” he recalls, “I persecuted the church of God.”

In grade school I learned that baptism removes all sins committed before baptism. Only when I started studying Scripture did I begin to understand how that total removal actually takes place. It has nothing to do with washing sin away. Baptism makes us new persons . . . just as the resurrection made Jesus a new person. Newly baptized don’t have to confess those prior sins because they didn’t commit those sins. A different person did the sinning.

Following that reasoning, I presume those called by Yahweh and Jesus also become new persons when they accept those calls. At that point they’re no longer restricted by the old person’s limits. No need for Fr. Deis to throw us out the door.

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


02/13/2022

FEBRUARY 13TH, 2022: SIXTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Jeremiah 17:5-8; I Corinthians 15:12, 16-20; Luke 6:17, 20-26

Paul employs an argument in our I Corinthians reading that might raise a few of our eyebrows. He doesn’t reason the way we’d expect him to reason. We’d suppose he’d say, “If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then we’re not going to rise from the dead.” But he turns the argument around. He maintains, “If we’re not going to rise from the dead, then neither did Jesus rise from the dead.”

Some Corinthian Christians seem to believe Jesus rose from the dead, but they don’t see what that has to do with their rising from the dead. I, for instance, believe Bill Gates is a multi-billionaire. But his wealth doesn’t put an extra dollar in my billfold. What does Jesus’ resurrection have to do with me?

In Paul’s mind, it has everything to do with me. If I’ve made the decision to become another Christ, then our lives overlap. What happens to one happens to the other, and vice versa. If I suffer, then the risen Jesus suffers; if the risen Jesus rejoices, then I rejoice. The key to understanding this passage is that Paul’s referring to the risen Jesus, not the historical Jesus. The latter was a free, Jewish man; the former, as much a slave as free, Gentile as Jew, woman as man. That means a non-Jewish, female slave can be part of risen Jesus’ body, even though the historical Jesus couldn’t identify with any of those aspects.

Just read a transcript of the 11 sermons the “papal preacher” recently delivered to the American bishops during their Mundelein retreat. I was especially interested in the one in which he treated celibacy. He started out presuming something no Scripture scholar presumes: Jesus wasn’t married. We have no idea whether or not this Galilean carpenter was married. Our biblical sources are silent on the subject. This not only tells us Jesus’ marital status wasn’t important for our sacred authors, but the preacher might have been dealing with the “wrong” Jesus. If he was solely concerned with the situation of the historical Jesus, he logically would have had to give separate conferences on how Jesus’ being a free person, a Jew and a man paralleled the bishops’ ministry. If he treated those topics, no one provided the transcripts. I presume he preached on celibacy simply because “we’ve got it,” and he felt obligated to defend it.

The preacher wasn’t alone in employing such biblical methodology. We hear it frequently, for instance, from those defending a male only priesthood. Such reasoning flies in the face of Paul’s theology. How can one argue priests must mirror the maleness of Jesus if they’re disciples of the risen Jesus?

Like Jeremiah, we’re constantly trying to achieve life through our faith. But the life the prophet discovered in a relationship with Yahweh, we discover in a relationship with the risen Jesus.

There’s only one way to do that: by dying with Jesus. That’s why today’s gospel pericope is so significant. Luke’s Sermon on the Plain has the same beliefs as Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount. They’re taken from the same source. Both stress that the only way to rise with Jesus is to first die with Jesus. We don’t necessarily do this physically, we achieve it by giving ourselves to others. But the life-giving results are always the same. Sharing our wealth and food with those around us, for instance, brings a wealth and satisfaction we can’t acquire any other way. And the best (and most demanding) part about it, anyone can do it. The risen Jesus has taken away all human restrictions. If we can pull that off, then the person who first achieved it – and with whom we’re one - must also have pulled it off.

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


02/20/2022

FEBRUARY 20TH, 2022: SEVENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

I Samuel 26:7-9, 12-13, 22-23; I Corinthians 15:45-49; Luke 6:27-38

In those dark days before I began studying Scripture, I thought a “holy” person was someone who exuded pious, other-worldly characteristics. Their eyes always turned heavenward, their thoughts constantly on “good” things. But eventually I started to realize that holy has just a one-word biblical definition: “other.” A scriptural holy person is someone who’s different from others around him or her. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with faith or religion. Some cultures, for instance, regard people who are severely mentally ill to be holy.

When Jesus asks his followers to be holy as he is, he’s simply asking them to risk being different. If you’re going to imitate him, difference is the name of the game.

David starts off today’s three readings by doing something so different that it creates amazement among his followers. He’s being pursued by the present king, Saul, who’s rightly convinced David is leading an insurrection against him. Saul’s so convinced of David’s treason that he leads 3,000 men into the desert of Ziph to track him down and kill him.

Yet when the tables are fortunately turned, David – against his soldiers’ advice - spares Saul’s life. This passage, and the “bathroom cave” episode in I Samuel 24, seem to have been prompted by the sacred author’s pro-monarchy theology. Because of that bias, he presents David as refusing to do something the vast majority of Israelites would have had no problem doing.

Christians are also expected to engage in unique behavior, not because of any pro-monarchy stance but because they, like their mentor, are unique. In today’s I Corinthians pericope Paul shares one of the reasons he buys into that theology. In God’s plan of salvation he is convinced Jesus is the “second man,” - the “last Adam.” What the first Adam screwed up, Jesus rectifies. But he and his followers can only achieve this not by just objecting to what the first man did, but by actually doing the opposite of what the first man did.

Luke gives us a partial list of those unique things in our gospel passage.

Presuming Luke and Matthew never knew about one another’s gospel, both must have employed a common source for Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount and Luke’s Sermon on the Plain. Scholars believe that yet-to-be-found source was a pre-gospel scroll chock full of Jesus’ sayings. (Usually referred to as the “Q.”) Both evangelists make generous use of it.

The teaching which holds today’s sayings together is, “Do to others as you would have them do unto you.” In Luke’s mind that simple command includes some drastic behavior. Turning one’s cheek, giving, not lending, loving, not hating, forgiving, not condemning, and giving without measuring. Such persons can’t help but stand out from those who are the opposite.

One lap from the finish of the 1989 Indianapolis 500, Emerson Fittipaldi “spun out” Al Unser Jr., the leader. Unser immediately released his restraints, climbed out of his car and waited on the track apron for Fittipaldi to come by to receive the checked flag. Everyone speculated on what gesture Unser would give to the man who had just cost him the world’s most prestigious auto race. But to the fans surprise, Unser gave Fittipaldi a totally unexpected thumbs up!

When reporters eventually caught up with Unser and asked about his thumbs up, he smiled and answered, “Well, if I did what people thought I was going to do, they’d have forgotten it in 24 hours. But I figured everyone will remember what I did just now for a long time. It’ll make all the highlight reels.”

I trust some of the unexpected things we’ll do in imitating Jesus will also make the highlight reels – the reels that really count.

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


03/06/2022

MARCH 6TH, 2022: FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT

Deuteronomy 26:4-10; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13

Long before Lent became a dreaded period of penance it was simply a time for reflection. It consisted of a few weeks set aside every year for Christians to ponder the implications of actually being other Christs. Though the local church’s catechumens originally used these days to prepare for their Holy Saturday baptisms, the rest of the community couldn’t help but think back to their own experiences of dying and rising with Christ. Often when presiding at weddings, for a second or two I take my eyes off the couple exchanging their vows and glance at some of the people in the church who’ve already made that commitment, imagining what’s going on in their minds. I take for granted they have different perspectives on those words than the pair uttering them for the first time.

Just so, the already baptized will think about these Lenten preparations from a different perspective than those anxiously awaiting this specific Easter. These “old timers” have already been through the mill; they know where the bodies have been buried, though it might have taken years to discover them. Nothing can replace their years of experienced reflecting

As far as we can tell, no one sat down on the original Easter Sunday night, took stylus in hand and started to write the Christian Scriptures. It was at least 20 years before Paul, our initial Christian author, penned his first letter to the Thessalonians, our earliest Christian writing. All our authors had time to “think things over.” No gospel or letter was composed cold turkey. The various communities’ experiences of living their faith affected the way their sacred authors wrote about that faith.

This biblical process didn’t begin with the Christian Scriptures; it was already at work centuries before during the composition of the Hebrew Scriptures. For instance, the author of Deuteronomy, along with his community, had encountered Yahweh present and working among the Chosen People for dozens of generations before the classic profession of faith took the form which is at the heart of today’s Deuteronomy passage. It took the Israelites hundreds of years to understand what Yahweh had accomplished for Jacob, the “wandering Aramean,” and his family. Only gradually, for instance, did they begin to appreciate this specific ritual was talking about “us” and not “them.” They were experiencing some of the same things their ancestors had experienced.

In the same way, it took Paul a long time before he was able to click off the essentials of faith which he mentions in today’s second reading. The Apostle didn’t come to all those insights immediately after his Damascus Road conversion. Lots of reflection went into that list. I wonder how frustrated his personal secretary must have been taking his dictation. How often did he say, “Let’s do that line again?”

Most interesting are the Lucan temptations the gospel Jesus endures while fasting in the wilderness. The earliest evangelist, Mark, only says Jesus was tempted. He doesn’t provide a list of them. The well-known three only appear a generation later in the collection of sayings we know as the “Q,” where both Matthew and Luke find them.

This seems to tell us the early Christian community didn’t come up with these specific three until they reflected for at least a decade on the temptations the church was experiencing years after the historical Jesus’ death and resurrection. Seems these specific sins didn’t become evident until after that reflection.

If we actually spend the next seven weeks not in penance, but in reflecting, as the early Christians did, on the implications of being another Christ, I wonder what specific new sins we might come up with. Only recently, for example, have I learned about the sin of clericalism. Could there be others?

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


03/13/2022

MARCH 13TH, 2022: SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT

Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Philippians 3:17 – 4:1; Luke 9:28b-36

How long can an insight last? All of us have a sudden flash of knowledge that we don’t reason to, but is suddenly there. One I distinctly remember occurred in the middle of a sophomore study hall almost 65 years ago. I’d always studied, even did all my homework. But I did these things just to get good grades. Then out of nowhere came the conviction that there’s something valuable in study itself, even if I never took another exam. That thought only lasted a split second, but it’s been guiding me all my life.

I bring up insights today because most Scripture scholars believe we’re dealing with an insight when we hear the gospel accounts of Jesus’ transfiguration. The narrative contains the classic trademarks of a biblical myth. For instance, it’s chuck full of biblical symbolism: the cloud, the voice, and the unique participants. Notice also that the name of the mountain isn’t mentioned; we can’t track down the geographic place. These elements – and others - seem to imply that the story is rooted in an insight many of Jesus’ followers experienced in their encounters with him. This particular itinerant preacher was unlike anyone they’d ever chanced upon.

In their minds Yahweh not only sent and confirmed this Galilean carpenter, but to follow his teachings and example placed one squarely in the middle of the teachings and example of the Hebrew Scriptures. The special person the Chosen People had anticipated since the days of the Exodus is in their midst right here and now. No matter how one put that insightful experience into words, their biblical attempts tell us some of Jesus’ few followers at least had a hint Jesus of Nazareth was the one.

Yet it’s clear from today’s second reading that no matter how intense the original insight, for some Christians that “illumination” eventually faded away. Due to Paul’s reference to “their stomach,” scholars believe the fallen-away Philippians to whom he refers could be within the community’s Christian Jews who have returned to keeping Judaism’s dietary regulations. Instead of giving themselves over to the ever-changing risen Jesus, they feel more secure in giving themselves over to a set of never changing concrete laws.

Our Jewish faith ancestors no doubt had parallel insights revolving around Yahweh at work in their daily lives. The historical Jesus certainly did. Today’s Genesis pericope reminds us they locked some of those insights into a covenant with Yahweh. When they’d gather to renew that agreement – as they did yearly during Passover - they’d recall those special moments. In the world before photographs and tape recorders, remembering them would be the only way to make them live again. In the case of the Passover, they would especially recall the moment when they realized for the first time that Yahweh, not a set of accidental circumstances, was freeing them from slavery.

Based on his Jewish heritage, Jesus also weaved his community’s insights into a covenant, an action especially to be remembered in their celebrations of the Eucharist. But as Paul warned the Philippians, unless people imitated him, they could fall into the same trap as those whose glory became their shame. We know from his letters, imitating Paul revolves around learning how to die and rise with Jesus.

From I Corinthians 11, there’s no doubt in the Apostle’s mind that the best place to experience that dying for others is in the community’s celebrations of the Lord’s Supper. If the celebration is done correctly – and we actually give ourselves to and for one another – there’s a great chance many of us will have frequent insights about the presence of the risen Jesus among us.

Afraid there just aren’t any lasting insights that come from mouthing empty rituals.

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


03/20/2022

MARCH 20TH, 2022: THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15; I Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12; Luke 13:1-9

Out of loyalty to Carrol Stuhlmueller, my beloved Scripture prof, I always include his unique explanation of the burning bush when I deal with Exodus 3. Unlike the vast majority of scholars, Carrol was convinced an angel wasn’t positioned that day along Moses’ path, waiting for him to reach a certain point, then notify another angel, “Cue the bush!” and the bush burst into flame. The late Scripture expert was convinced the bush always was on fire. The miracle in the narrative revolves around Moses seeing something everyone else overlooked. In the midst of a billion wilderness furze bushes, Moses alone notices the fire in one of them.

At some point of our lives, we stop looking. What passes before our eyes is so repetitious we no longer concentrate on it. We presume we’re just seeing a constant repeat of what we’ve seen before.

Paul reflects on that phenomenon in today’s I Corinthians passage. “Our ancestors were all under the cloud,” he writes, “and all passed through the sea . . . yet God was not pleased with most of them . . . .” In other words, not everyone who experiences Yahweh working in their lives notices Yahweh working in their lives.

Following an identical insight, Luke’s Jesus brings up something we’ve all experienced: God works almost the same way in everyone’s life – even in ways that are at times unjust. Rarely does there appear to be a “method to the madness.” It’s simply part of being alive.

Yet our sacred authors are convinced Yahweh normally communicates with the “seers,” those who notice God at work in those areas and those people most of us overlook. Precisely in those unnoticed places and individuals one learns more and more about who Yahweh is and what he/she is doing in our lives. We eventually learn Yahweh’s “name.”

Of course, the main drawback in seeing what others ignore is that we then have responsibilities others never assume. It initially never crosses our mind that God’s calling us to carry out a specific part of God’s will. Moses, for instance, in seeing the fire in the bush, quickly discovers the freedom all Israelites expect Yahweh to achieve for them will only come about when he personally takes a hand in winning it. He never counted on that. Instead of being in the audience, this wilderness shepherd now finds himself on the stage. He quickly regretted he didn’t lead his sheep down a different path that day.

Perhaps that’s why Luke ends today’s pericope with Jesus’ simile of the persistent fig tree grower. “I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future.” Though we insist on going through life blindly ignoring the meaning of our everyday encounters, we follow a God who frequently boasts about his/her patience with us. Faith isn’t either something one has or doesn’t have. It’s an ongoing process.

Among others, Paul recognizes movement in faith, else he wouldn’t have used Scripture the way he did. He refers to it as being an “example” in our lives; something that can be a teaching tool. The Apostle believes that unless we’re conscious of the examples God provides, we could end up “falling,” as some Corinthians already have.

Trained in much of my Catholic education to regard Scripture as simply a source of proof texts, I was as blind as those who never noticed fire in the Sinai bush. Certainly glad for the risen Christ’s patience with me. Still have a lot to see. But I’m glad my study of Scripture at least started me down a road in which I at least began to notice some of the fire God’s spirit has ignited in this book.

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


03/27/2022

MARCH 27TH, 2022: FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Joshua 5:9a, 10-12; II Corinthians 5:17-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

 

Those - like Jesus of Nazareth - who employ parables when they teach have a deliberate, specific agenda. For such people parables are more than just cute, memorable little stories. By integrating them into their teaching, they’re revealing their unique mentality.

Parables only come into play when teachers are trying to go beyond just providing more information or facts to their students. They’re a sign teachers are interested in changing the way their students process all the information and facts entering their brains. A parable is a means to retool one’s frame of mind, telling the recipient, “You can’t get to where I am from where you are. Unless you drastically change the way you look at reality, you’ll never understand what I’m saying.”

A parable traps the listener to sign off on something he or she normally would never accept. When, for instance, Jesus is criticized in Mark 4 for wasting his time preaching to the crowds, he quickly comes up with a parable about a farmer sowing seed. If he stopped sowing just because the process wasted most of the seed, we’d have no bread. It all depends on how you look at it.

Today’s Lucan parable of the prodigal father accomplishes something similar. Triggered by those in the evangelist’s community who can always be counted on to come up with logical reasons for putting limits on their forgiveness of others, the gospel Jesus reframes the issue into a death and life situation. “Your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” Looking at the younger son’s behavior from that perspective, what father – and what Christian - wouldn’t throw legalities to the wind? We’re dealing with a whole new ball game.

One of the problems we face today is that once Jesus’ parables were lifted from their original contexts and “allegorized,” they lost a lot of their kick. Rarely do they demand a 180-degree turnabout in the way we think. Yet, as Paul mentions in our II Corinthians pericope, Christians always presume they must develop a new frame of mind. Why? Because the person we imitate is himself or herself a “new creation.” The risen Jesus is unlike anyone we’ve encountered. If we approach that unique person with the same mentality we approach everyone else, we’ll never develop into other Christs; never scratch the surface of the “righteousness of God.”

Just as things changed when the Israelites celebrated their first Passover in the Promised Land, so if we really want to appreciate the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, we must change our value system. That transformation is what the Galilean carpenter insists upon when he commands his followers, “Repent!”

It’s sadly clear that we’ve resisted this change through the centuries. Instead of developing the mindset of the risen Jesus, we’ve successfully squeezed his teachings into our mindset, lopping off an ear there, a leg here, until it fits. How can we possibly carry on his “ministry of reconciliation” unless we first accept the uniqueness of that ministry?

As important as today’s gospel pericope is in our imitation of Jesus, do you realize that, before the 1970 lectionary reforms, this passage was never proclaimed during a Sunday liturgy? Unless we heard it during a religion class (as I did) or in a retreat conference, we could have gone a lifetime not knowing it exists. And though I did know about it, for some reason I don’t remember anything ever being said about the prodigal father’s key older son – the person whose mindset triggered the parable’s creation.

Even today the vast majority of Scripture is never found in a liturgical setting.

Don’t you wonder what else is “out there”?

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


04/03/2022

APRIL 3RD, 2022: FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Isaiah 43:16-21; Philippians 3:8-14; John 8:1-11

 

Though scholars are convinced today’s gospel passage originally wasn’t included in our Christian Scriptures – that’s why modern translations often relegate it to the footnotes – it still contains a key tenet of our faith: we should forgive others because we’ve first been forgiven. Perhaps it’s one of those stories that Fiddler on the Roof’s Tevye includes in his statement, “If it isn’t in the Good Book, it should be there.” Compared to our first two readings, it doesn’t need much explanation.

On the other hand, both our Deutero-Isaiah pericope and Paul’s Philippians verses open the door to reflecting on things we often overlook.

I encountered a woman once who assured me she’d been saved; even provided me the exact date on which the event happened. Though I envied her certainty, I don’t know Deutero-Isaiah and Paul would agree with her extreme confidence. Both regard God’s working in their lives as an ongoing process. As long as we breathe, it’s never over.

This is especially clear in Deutero-Isaiah. Though they rarely show up in translations, he constantly employs participles in order to show God’s ongoing work in our lives. For instance, the first verse of today’s passage literally reads, “Opening a path in the mighty waters . . . leading out chariots and horsemen.” What Yahweh once did, Yahweh continues to do. The exiled Israelites to whom he prophesied, presumed Yahweh’s glory days were far behind him/her. One of the prophet’s objectives is to demonstrate those special days are still happening, even during his audience’s lifetime.

That insight leads to one of Scripture’s most powerful verses. “Remember not,” Yahweh insists, “the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” True prophets can’t depict Yahweh by pinning a still photograph to the wall. If your Yahweh’s not moving and constantly doing new things, it’s not Yahweh. You’ve been given the wrong bill of sales.

Yet Paul of Tarsus is not only convinced that Yahweh moves, he assures us that those who follow the risen Christ also move. His discipleship forces him to go from one stage of life to another, all the time becoming more one with the person he imitates, until he eventually attains the new life Jesus has attained.

In one of the most beautiful passages in Scripture, the Apostle admits to something that the already saved woman I encountered never seems to have experienced. “It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.”

For other Christs, there’s always another door to open, one more road to travel, a new person to encounter. My Grandpa Karban once shared a bit of his years of experience with me. “Roger,” he warned, “the day you have nothing to do is the day you die.” The older I get, the more I appreciate his advice, though through the years I’ve discovered it’s hard not to die before I die.

Perhaps that’s why it’s important to understand what Paul means by having been “possessed” by Christ. Of course he wants to possess his resurrection, but he realizes that before he can pull that off, he must first share in “his sufferings by being conformed to his death.” If Christ possesses him, it’s only because Christ has taught him to die. That’s why the two passion narratives which will be proclaimed next week on Passion Sunday and Good Friday are so important. If we don’t know how he dies, we won’t know how we’re to die. We might end up saved, but never “possessed.”

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


04/10/2022

APRIL 10TH, 2022: PALM SUNDAY

Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 22:14-23:56

 

One reason we have four gospels and not just one revolves around the early Christian conviction that there’s more than one way to experience the risen Jesus in our lives. This is especially true when it comes to the gospel Passion Narratives. Each narrative provides us with a different dimension of Jesus’ dying and rising; a different way for each of us to become another Christ.

Our sacred authors didn’t think the way we do. We basically analyze when we think, tearing the object of our thought apart, imitating the classic Greek philosophers whose goal was always to come up with an either/or answer for any problem. Our biblical writers, on the other hand, thought semitically, not Greek. Instead of analyzing, they synthesized; instead of eventually reaching an either/or conclusion, their thought process always finished with a both/and pronouncement, constantly providing at least several ways of looking at the same person or situation. One of the classic Jewish sayings is, “Where three rabbis are discussing theology there are always at least five theological opinions on the floor.” After my own course in rabbinics I was convinced it’s impossible to flunk a true/false exam on the subject. No matter the “correct” answer, you can always surface a rabbi who holds the opposite opinion.

Since Semites, not Greeks, wrote and passed on our gospels, we have four of them, not one.

For instance, this year on Palm Sunday we’ll hear Luke’s unique take on the suffering Jesus. Unlike the other three evangelists, he constantly zeros in on Jesus’ concern for others, giving us several passages we don’t find in Mark, Matthew and John. He’s not content just to show the impact of Jesus’ suffering and death on himself, but he also stresses Jesus’ concern for how his pain affects others.

Only Luke’s Jesus heals the ear of the high priest’s arresting servant, makes eye contact with Peter after his denial, comforts the women mourning his impending crucifixion along the road to Golgotha, and assures the “good” thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Though scholars debate whether the famous line, “Father, forgive them they know not what they do,” was originally in Luke’s gospel or is a latter addition, it’s significant that if the latter, the guilty scribe added it to Luke’s gospel and not to one of the other three. It’s the only gospel in which it fits. (As Fiddler on the Roof’s Tevye would say, “If it isn’t in there, it should be!”)

Luke’s theology was certainly triggered by Paul’s advice to the Philippians, “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus.” (Why these words were left out of the Apostle’s introduction to today’s liturgical passage blows my mind.) Acquiring Jesus’ unique mentality is the goal of all his followers. Why else would the Christian Scriptures been written and saved? If our mindset isn’t his/her mindset, how can we dare call ourselves other Christs? The emptying of ourselves – as it was for Jesus - is an ongoing process. It doesn’t stop until we experience our own resurrections.

Deutero-Isaiah tells us exactly how we’re to empty ourselves: by listening for Yahweh’s word every morning, even before our feet hit the floor. Carrol Stuhlmueller always stressed there’s no better biblical definition of a disciple. God’s always talking, but only those who make an effort to listen actually hear his/her voice.

As I mentioned above, there’s no one way to listen or one group to whom we’re to listen. Carrol once mentioned that if he told me who God’s prophets are for him and his list got around, he’d never be permitted in another Catholic pulpit the rest of his life.

Afraid he took his list to eternity with him.

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


04/14/2022

APRIL 14TH, 2022: EUCHARIST OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; I Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15

 

Our ancestors in the faith could never have understood why so few of us participate in tonight’s liturgy. It was one of the highlights of their liturgical year. So many longed to take part in tonight’s celebration that the community’s penitents who had completed their years of penance were usually absolved on Holy Thursday morning so they could once again join in tonight’s festivities. (They were forbidden to participate in the Eucharist while they were still completing their penances.)

It’s not only on this night that we have so few Eucharistic participants. We’ve experienced similar drop-offs in all our weekend parish celebrations. Church after church constantly cuts back on the number of its Eucharists. The diminished numbers can’t be blamed solely on the ongoing priest shortage. In a great part, this appalling situation comes from the way we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Tonight’s second and third readings tell us this has been a problem from Christianity’s earliest days. In both passages, Paul and John are concerned with the community’s “freeloaders” who refuse to die with Jesus during the celebration.

Biblical references to the Breaking of Bread have nothing to do with a special person saying special words over unleavened bread and grape wine. From the disciples sharing their bread with the crowd to Jesus’ last meal with his followers, whenever the Eucharist biblically comes up or is referred to – except for John 6 - the sacred author’s message always revolves around giving yourself or what belongs to you to others.

The second half of I Corinthians 11 is triggered by some of the wealthy in the local church refusing to share their Eucharistic food and drink with the poor. Through various gimmicks, they avoid taking part in the early celebrations’ potluck format. That’s why Paul reminds his readers that the original reason they “ate this bread and drank this cup” was “to proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” They weren’t there to “get graces” by receiving communion or to fulfill a church regulation to “go to Sunday Mass.” Their presence at the Eucharist was to somehow show their determination to die with Jesus. One way the Corinthians demonstrated this determination was to share their food and drink with those who had nothing. Only when they died by recognizing the risen Jesus in all around them, did the risen Jesus also become present in the bread and wine.

John, on the other hand, experiences that same death in the community’s service to one another. In their culture, nothing demonstrated their giving better than washing one another’s feet. Such a demeaning action was usually a job for slaves. No wonder Peter, the leader of the apostolic community, initially refuses to take part in such a ritual. It’s far below his dignity. (A friend once pointed out that its neigh on impossible to wash someone’s feet while you’re standing on a pedestal.) The gospel Jesus is basically telling Simon, “It’s my way or the highway!” There are no limits to how far we’ll go in giving ourselves to others.

Obviously we’ve got to change this ridiculous new translation that’s been foisted on us. (Even Pope Francis agrees!) And we must acquaint ourselves with the history of the Eucharistic celebration. Once we do we’ll see how absurd it is to ring bells during the celebration or zero in on the elevation. But more than anything, we again must find ways to give ourselves to one another during the Lord’s Supper. We should die in more ways than just suffering through meaningless rituals. Once we surface and implement meaningful ways to give ourselves, I presume we’ll again have to worry about turning people away from our Eucharistic celebrations, not attracting individuals to them.

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


04/16/2022

APRIL 16TH, 2022: EASTER VIGIL

Genesis 22:1-18; Exodus 14:15-15:1; Isaiah 55:1-11; Luke 24:1-12

(Ideally all nine readings should be proclaimed tonight. But because of space limitations, I can only comment on four.)

If we’re determined to prove the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection from the four gospel accounts of the discovery of the empty tomb, we have an impossible task. There are so many contradictions within those four narratives that, taken together, no one can be certain about what exactly happened at the tomb on Easter Sunday morning.

Each of tonight’s nine readings wasn’t chosen for what it could prove, but for what it could help us understand about the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection. There are probably as many implications of that event as there are people who believe it took place. In many ways, we’re free to look at it from any perspective we choose.

Early Christian communities frequently turned to tonight’s Genesis and Exodus narratives of Abraham sacrificing Isaac and the Chosen People crossing the sea as ways to understand the resurrection’s significance. Just as Yahweh delivered Isaac from death at the last second, so God also delivered Jesus of Nazareth. And just as the enslaved Israelites went from death to a new life at the Red Sea, so Jesus went from death to a new life by his dying and rising. In each situation, people expected death, but found life.

Yet as Deutero-Isaiah reminds us, one thing is consistent as they face their deaths: God’s word. No biblical author emphasizes that word more than this unnamed prophet. Preaching during Israel’s 6th century BCE Babylonian Exile, Yahweh’s word is the prophet’s only recourse. Few people believe him when he speaks about Yahweh freeing them and returning to the Promised Land. Such good news can only be a figment of his imagination. But over and over again he insists in the name of Yahweh, “My word shall not return to me void.” Once God’s word is spoken, it happens. Its effect is just as certain as the effect of the rain and snow.

One of our problems in experiencing that effect is that we simply don’t notice it. Dealing with God is completely different from dealing with human beings. Deutero-Isaiah refers to this in his well-known passage describing the contrast between Yahweh’s immanence and Yahweh’s transcendence. “Seek Yahweh while he may be found, call him while his is near . . . . For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways . . . . As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” In the same instant, God is as close to us as the air we breathe and as distant as the furthest galaxy.

No wonder our sacred authors only tell their readers about Jesus’ empty tomb and never attempt to describe his resurrection. That unique event is part of his transcendence. As Rudolf Bultmann observed, “How does one describe the ‘other side’ for people on ‘this side?’” The evangelists can only talk about the effects, and those differ person to person. Luke, for instance, zeros in on the necessity of the death that precedes the resurrection. In tonight’s pericope, the angels tell the women, “The Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified . . . .” It’s not a matter of choice. It’s the way God set things up.

Some in Luke’s community were looking for loopholes to attain life, akin to the ways we learned in grade school – such as wearing a special medal around our necks or receiving communion on specific days of the month. Luke’s angels assure us there are no shortcuts to dying with Jesus. Though there are a million ways to die, die we must.

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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


04/24/2022

APRIL 24TH, 2022: SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

Acts 5:12-16; Revelation 1:8-11a, 12-13, 17-19; John 20:19-31

One of the reasons Luke composed a double volume gospel revolves around his belief that whatever Jesus does in the gospel, the Christian community also does in Acts. Though he doesn’t directly employ Paul’s image of the Body of Christ, he certainly shares his theology. It’s up to us to continue Jesus’ work. No matter what he accomplished during his earthly ministry, if we refuse to carry his ministry forward, it remains unfinished. Only other Christs can pull that off. That’s why we should be well-versed in both understanding and copying Jesus’ personality. The second point is most important. As the late Fr. Dan Berrigan insisted, “Our task is to become Christians, not experts on Christianity.” Luke constantly reminds his community that it isn’t what we know but what we do. And based on today’s first reading, one of the main things we do is heal, even going beyond just healing physically. That seems to be why Luke includes in his cures “those disturbed by unclean spirits.” In the evangelist’s day and age, unclean spirits were thought responsible for all evils, not just moral evils. For instance, those with mental problems were believed to have as many demons in them as someone afflicted with cancer.

Following that line of thought, John’s Jesus, on the night of his resurrection, gifts his disciples with the Holy Spirit, enabling them to forgive one another’s sins. Nothing rids us of our demons more than forgiving and being forgiven. Both help us create the kind of world the risen Jesus envisions.

Yet, as the author of Revelation states, unless we keep the risen Jesus as the “first and last” of our lives, we’ll be trapped in our humdrum existence. Only he/she provides us the life for which we dream, as long as we remain participants and not just spectators.

One of the key elements in our participation can easily be overlooked – at least I overlooked it until recently. When John’s Jesus reminds Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed,” we correctly include ourselves in that number. Yet at the same time, there’s usually a group we leave out: our sacred authors. All scholars tell us that no one who physically came in contact with the historical Jesus ever wrote anything about him that we have today. None of our sacred authors – including the evangelists – directly heard or saw Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus who lived between 6 BCE and 30 CE. They, like we, encountered only the risen Jesus. Everything we read in our Christian Scriptures has come down to us from those who have not seen, yet believe. If they didn’t pass on their second and third generation reflections to fourth and fifth generation Christians, we’d have no Christian Scriptures.

Obviously no one alive today has had an experience of the historical Jesus. Along with our sacred authors, we can only have contact with the risen Jesus. Though we might sluff off our risen Jesus experiences as insignificant, thankfully our Christian biblical writers didn’t share that state of mind. Rembert Weakland, the former archbishop of Milwaukee, once wrote that all Christians have an obligation to put their risen Jesus experiences into a format others can later surface. The Spirit didn’t share them with us for our benefit alone.

Hard to tell what that format would entail. (Weakland suggested that, given specific circumstances, it could simply be a letter to the editor of our local newspaper.) Though I imagine few of us will ever write a gospel, we should at least share our reflections with certain family members or close friends. Just as our sacred authors have helped us, we might be a help to others – people who we don’t realize need them.

COPYRIGHT 2019 - The Estate of 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



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Each archive file has two or more articles with the most recent at the bottom.

2021 Essays
May 23 through July 18, 2021, Pentecost through 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time
April 11 through May 16, 2021
February 14 through April 4
January 17 through February 7, 2021
January 3 & 10, 2021

2020 Essays
December 27, 2020, and January 1, 2021
December 20 & 25, 2020
December 6 & 13, 2020
November 22 & 29, 2020
November 8 & 15, 2020
October 25 & November 1, 2020
October 11 & 18, 2020
September 27 & October 4, 2020
September 13 & 20, 2020
August 30 & September 6, 2020
August 16 & 23, 2020
August 2 & 9, 2020
July 19 & 26, 2020
July 5 & 12, 2020
June 21 & 28, 2020
June 7 & 14, 2020
May 21, 24 & 31, 2020
May 10 & 17, 2020

2019 Essays
June 30 & July 6, 2019
June 16 & 23, 2019
May 30 or June 2 & June 9, 2019
May 19 & 26, 2019
May 5 & 12, 2019
April 20 & 28, 2019
April 14 & 18, 2019
March 31 & April 7, 2019
March 17 & 24, 2019
March 3 & 10, 2019
February 17 & 24, 2019
February 3 & 10, 2019
January 20 & 27, 2019
January 6 & 13, 2019


2018 Essays

December 25 & 30, 2018
December 16 & 23, 2018
December 2 & 9, 2018
November 18 & 25, 2018
November 4 & 11, 2018
October 21 & 28, 2018
October 7 & 14, 2018
September 23 & 30, 2018
September 9 & 16, 2018
August 26 & September 2, 2018
August 12 & 19, 2018
July 29 & August 5, 2018
July 15 & 22, 2018
July 1 & 8, 2018
June 17 & 24, 2018
June 3 & 10, 2018
May 20 & 27, 2018
May 10 & 13 2018
April 29 & May 6, 2018
April 15 & 22, 2018
March 31 (vigil) & April, 2018
March 25 & 29, 2018
March 11 & 18, 2018
February 25 & March 4, 2018
February 11 & 18, 2018
January 28 & February 4, 2018
January 14 & 21, 2018


2017 Essays

December 31, 2017, & January 7, 2018
December 24 & 25, 2017
December 10 & 17, 2017
November 26 & December 3, 2017
November 12 & 19, 2017
October 29 & November 5, 2017
October 15 & 22, 2017
October 1 & 8, 2017
September 17 & 24, 2017
September 3 & 10, 2017
August 20 & 27, 2017
August 6 & 13, 2017
July 23 & 30, 2017
July 9 & 16, 2017
June 25 & July 2, 2017
June 11 & 18, 2017
May 28 & June 4, 2017
May 21 & 25 or 28, 2017
May 7 & 14, 2017
April 23 & 30, 2017
April 13 & 15(vigil), 2017
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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