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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

Click here to see Archived Articles


05/08/2022

MAY 8TH, 2022: FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Acts 13:14, 43-52; Revelation 7:9, 14b-17; John 10:27-30

One of the reasons Luke wrote Acts is found in today’ first reading. Some early Jewish critics of Christianity were claiming that from the beginning Jesus of Nazareth was planning to destroy Judaism by opening the reform he preached to non-Jews. According to them, the Gentile converts multiplying in Christianity during Luke’s day and age weren’t accidental. The whole process was part of the Capernaum carpenter’s master plan from day one.

Luke responds, “No way!” The Gentiles who were accepting the risen Jesus’ faith were a total surprise. If non-Jews were becoming other Christs it was only because many of those who were originally invited to experience Jesus’ dying and rising personally rejected the invitation.

Luke shares his read on this unexpected situation in today’s first reading. Paul and Barnabas, as good Jews, initially bring the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection to their fellow Jews in the Antioch synagogue. Only after those worshipers contradict what the pair proclaim with “violent abuse,” do the two state the evangelist’s thesis: “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.”

No secret plan existed to evangelize Gentiles. Paul and his co-evangelizers were forced to develop one out of necessity when the unexpected happened. Though Jewish Christians were still obligated to keep the 613 Mosaic laws along with imitating the risen Jesus, Gentile Christians simply concentrated on the latter.

The greatest 20th century scholar of the Christian Scriptures – Rudolph Bultmann - once observed, “Eventually the preacher became the preached.” During his earthy ministry, Jesus of Nazareth preached a reform of Judaism. After his death and resurrection, he/she became the reform he had once preached. Nowhere is this change clearer than in today’s famous gospel pericope about Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

Most probably written in the mid-90s, this Johannine passage speaks about Jesus shepherding his people. It isn’t the first time the gospel Jesus lists the characteristics of a good shepherd. He does so a generation or two before in both Matthew and Luke. But in those prior passages, he never identifies with the shepherd. He simply speaks about God – as a shepherd – wasting lots of time and effort going after “lost” sheep. Only at the end of the first Christian century does someone eventually identify the risen Jesus as such a shepherd. The preacher has finally become the preached.

Of course, once people no longer have the “Jewishness” of their faith to fall back on, they have no choice but to concentrate completely on the Christ, as does the author of Revelation. His theology closely parallels John: “The Lamb . . . will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water . . .” If you’re not following the risen Jesus, you’ll end up dying of thirst.

The basic problem for non-Jewish Christians is that those who break concentration on the risen Jesus among them are going to have terrific difficulties accomplishing the reform he preached. I presume that was the main reason celebrations of the Eucharist were essential for the earliest Christians. They simply couldn’t be who they were expected to be without creating frequent occasions to give themselves to one another.

It’s more than a shame that the biblical Breaking of Bread eventually developed into just a series of prayers and rituals by which a person gains sufficient graces to one day get into heaven. None of our Christian sacred authors could have foreseen that development.

Church historians tell us reform of the church must begin with reform of the Eucharist. Considering the recent translation foisted on us by Rome, we’ve got a long way to go.

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


05/15/2022

MAY 15TH, 2022: FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Acts 14:21-27; Revelation 21:1-5a; John 13:31-33a, 34-35

What do we do when the opposite of what we expect will happen actually happens? Are we so busy concentrating on what should have been that we don’t even notice what actually took place?

Years ago I experienced some of “that” while visiting friends in Paris. One evening they took me to meet their pastor in Belleville (France that is.) During the introductions, the priest smiled, shook my hand and said something to me. I quickly turned to one of my friends and instinctively said, “Tell Father I’m glad to meet him, but please tell him I don’t speak French.” My friend hesitated for a few seconds, then quietly informed me, “He’s speaking English to you!”

We heard about a similar happening in last week’s readings when, beyond all expectations, most Jews who encountered the good news rejected the faith of Jesus while many Gentiles accepted it. Jesus’ first followers originally presumed non-Jews would have little in common with this Jewish carpenter and the reform he preached. Yet by the time Luke composes his Acts of the Apostles in the mid-80s, Gentiles are making up the vast majority of the Christian community while the percentage of Jews in the church falls year after year.

A unique Christian pattern is being created. Followers of the risen Jesus are expected to constantly “hang loose.” Those who are serious about accepting his/her faith can never be certain where he/she is going to take them next. The invitation could come from the most unexpected people, and lead down the most overlooked roads. Luke zeros in on this phenomenon in today’s Acts pericope.

When Paul and Barnabas returned to the community in Antioch which had originally commissioned and sent them out to spread Jesus’ faith, the church couldn’t help but be amazed at the report they gave. Though they sent them to evangelize Jews, they actually converted Gentiles! And when they backtracked through these new communities the pair discovered they were so generously adapting their lives to Jesus’ faith that they could begin appointing leaders among them. Christianity was much more than just a fad.

Slowly but surely, Jesus’ followers are discovering their faith is creating what the author of Revelation often refers to as a “new heaven and a new earth.” Right before their eyes, “the former heaven and the former earth had passed away.”

Yet in the midst of all these changes, there’s one constant in the faith of Jesus: love. Everything isn’t up for grabs. John’s Jesus couldn’t be clearer in his Last Supper discourse. “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It’s this love which demands the frequent changes. The same act of love doesn’t always show love to everyone at the same time. As Paul and Barnabas discovered, other Christs have to reflect not only on what should be, but what actually is.

I, for instance, was always taught to expect dire “things” to result from inviting non-Catholic Christians to participate in the Eucharist. These transubstantiation unbelievers would probably do something to disrespect the host – or worse. (I clearly remember horror stories of people taking the host out of their mouths and conducting “black masses!”)

Yet in my personal experiences I’ve encountered nothing but good when the “rules” are broken and intercommunion happens. Not only are the recipients profoundly grateful to receive the Body of Christ, but it creates a oneness among the participants that can’t be accomplished any other way. Eucharist is no longer a reward, but a help.

During those times, is the risen Jesus is actually speaking English to us?

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


05/22/2022

MAY 22ND, 2022: SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Acts 15:1-2, 27-29; Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29

One of the most important concepts in our Christian Scriptures revolves around the community’s belief that the teachings of the risen Jesus continue to come to his/her followers through the years. They don’t end either with Jesus’ ascension or the end of the biblical period. John’s Jesus clearly states that belief during his Last Supper discourse. “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” (16:12-13) In other words, his Spirit will keep the revelation coming.

Even in today’s gospel pericope we hear Jesus assure us, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit . . . will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” The Spirit is always in our lives, constantly teaching the community what the risen Jesus wants us to learn about God’s will. Though our sacred authors certainly presume revelation is an ongoing process, our church “officially” closed the canon of Scripture within a century of the historical Jesus. At least on that level, this church-mandated shut-down implies that our job in the faith today is just to review, no longer to discover.

But if we actually did listen to the Holy Spirit, and go beyond what the gospel Jesus taught his people, what form would that new teaching take? How does the Spirit communicate its ongoing revelation to the church? Does she regularly schedule listening sessions or setup ecumenical councils? Who conducts the meetings, takes the notes or verifies the Spirit’s message? Where should the sessions be held? Perhaps it would be best for the Spirit just to go one on one with a special designate and cut out the middle people, sort of like the church does with papal infallibility. Yet if we listen carefully to today’s Acts passage, those middle people are essential. Luke’s convinced that’s how the process is done. After the ascension in Acts, the risen Jesus works only through people; he/she no longer works directly in the life of the church.

Former St. Louis University historian Jack Padberg once remarked that there’ve been no significant changes in the church which haven’t been preceded by years – if not generations – of disobedience. (Private reconciliation is a classic example; something for which we must credit that great “rule breaker” St. Patrick.) It seems the same holds true for the Holy Spirit’s changes.

When Paul and Barnabas began baptizing Gentiles without first converting them to Judaism, they were at least skirting an early church law, if not actually breaking it. No wonder some Jewish Christians want to go back to the status quo, to the days when things are once again in black and white.

It’s too bad that those who have chosen today’s Acts reading have omitted 20 verses! Obviously there’s lots of discussion – call it arguing – over this Gentile issue. Such a community-changing decision doesn’t just come into people’s mind fully cooked. It takes time before it develops. Though we long for the day when the community experiences a New Jerusalem, we’ll experience lots of “hit and misses” before that event actually takes place.

John’s Jesus presumes we must give ourselves over to a Spirit-filled, ongoing process. Those who expect immediate, facile answers aren’t hearing our readings. As frustrating as Pope Francis can be at times, he seems determined to implement this process. Instead of just telling us what the Spirit wants, he’s listening to what the Spirit is saying – not just to those in authority in the church, but also to the rule-breakers. He wasn’t being flippant when he uttered those memorable words, “Who am I to judge?” He was simply being serious about the Spirit’s ongoing role in the church.

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


05/26/2022 or 05/29/2022

MAY 26TH or 29TH, 2022: ASCENSION OF THE LORD

Acts 1:2-11; Ephesians 1:17-23; Luke 24:46-53

We always encounter confusion when we deal with Jesus’ ascension. Only those who ignore Scripture and simply adhere to our yearly liturgical framework are spared the mixed messages our sacred authors convey. Though the vast majority of Christians believe Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after his resurrection and is securely ensconced in that celestial zip code, only one evangelist actually narrates such an event: Luke in his Acts of the Apostles. It’s clear from Mark, Matthew and John’s narratives that the risen Jesus is simply “out there” somewhere. He/she hasn’t gone anywhere. The risen Christ could “pop up” anytime at anyplace to anyone.

Even today’s Lucan gospel pericope doesn’t appear to describe a definite departure. The passage talks about Jesus being “taken up to heaven,” but within the first verses of Acts he’s again back among his followers teaching them for 40 days. It appears the evangelist is saying only that at this point of salvation history Jesus comes and goes. I, for instance, can “go to the store,” but a little later in the day, I’ll be back. In this case, Jesus is not yet leaving us for good.

The Pauline disciple responsible for the letter to the Ephesians isn’t much help. He simply speaks poetically about the position the risen Jesus maintains in each of our lives. Among other things, God has seated him/her “at his right hand in the heavens, far about every principality, authority, power and dominion and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.” Beautiful thought, but poetry isn’t history. In some sense it’s parallel to telling your significant other, “The sun and moon rise over you.”

Taking that for granted, the question students of Scripture must answer is, “Why does Luke uniquely remove Jesus?” Why does he disagree with the other three evangelists on that point? He alone claims Jesus leaves and doesn’t come back. He seems to take the ascension literally, not poetically. There must be a reason for him to have developed such a theology.

According to most scholars, Luke uniquely seems to zero in on the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. For him that “promise of my Father” is at the heart of the Christian community. We can’t carry on Jesus’ ministry without the Spirit. How would we know what to do or in what direction to proceed? Jesus’ ministry is a living entity. We don’t just memorize a plan, then keep repeating it. It’s something to be experienced, a new event every day. According to Luke, we’re continually learning there’s more than one way to preach “repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Without the Spirit, the message of Jesus dies.

In some sense, Luke thinks it’s necessary to get Jesus “out of the way” before the Spirit “takes over,” the Spirit who will empower us to be Jesus’ witnesses “in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” That seems to be why Luke’s angel warns the disciples to stop “looking up to the sky.” The Jesus whom many first century Christians are still expecting to come back in the Parousia is now gone. Though we presume he’ll eventually return, we’ve work to do in the meantime. And it’s the Spirit who will guide us into and through that work. What a shame to miss the main event while we’re waiting for a preliminary event to take place.

Were we in Luke’s place today, what would we want “out of the way?” What’s keeping us from making the Spirit the center of our lives? Any ideas? As a scriptural Catholic I suspect our hierarchical system would garner more than a few votes.

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


05/29/2022

MAY 29TH, 2022: SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Acts 7:55-60; Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20; John 17:20-25

One of the things about which I was certain as a child were the events that were going to kick in the moment I’d die. The catechism was black and white on the issue, and, one way or another, our religion teachers constantly reminded us of it.

First, at the moment of death, each person would undergo a “particular judgment.” Jesus (or “God”) would personally evaluate us on how we’d lived our lives. Three options were on the table: heaven, hell, or purgatory. Though we preferred heaven, we presumed none of us were instantly worthy of such a place. We were simply content to avoid hell and be assigned to purgatory. We were warned we’d have to suffer the same tortures as hell, but unlike hell they’d eventually end – quicker if our friends and relatives said a lot of indulgenced prayers for us or paid to have Masses said for the repose of our souls.

Next, when the world finally ends and the risen Jesus returns in the Parousia, there’ll be a “general judgment.” Purgatory will be taken off the table. Only heaven and hell will remain. Everyone who ever lived will be judged – even those who already went through a particular judgment. Of course, those who had previously been sent to purgatory will now be sent to heaven to join all the other saints in praising God forever. Such a general judgment. will give an opportunity for everyone to join in the glory and shame of those who had either lived their lives correctly or had really screwed them up. (My belief in such a spectacle started to wain after I sat through my first large high school graduation ceremony.)

Though this two judgment. scenario is tight and tidy, nowhere is it found as such in Scripture.

The earliest Christian belief in what happens after we die is in I Thessalonians 4. Paul states his belief that we simply stay in our graves until the Parousia when Jesus comes to take us with him to heaven. No judgment. seems to happen before Jesus’ Second Coming.

Neither Mark nor Matthew seem to have anything in their gospels which would contradict Paul’s belief. Only after several generations, when a delayed Parousia becomes a problem, does staying in one’s grave for that length of time also become a problem.

That seems to be where Luke – and today’s first reading – comes in. Notice what happens as Stephen is dying. “Filled with the Holy Spirit, (he) looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God . . . .” Then, at the point of death, he calls out, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” No grave, no delay. Stephen instantly experiences his “personal Parousia.” No reason to have a later judgment. Everything’s taken care of at the moment of death.

Scholars point out that John carries Luke’s theology one step further, as we hear in today’s gospel passage. He believes in “realized eschatology:” in other words, what we’re expecting in the future, we already have right here and now. Those who think we’re only going to be “one with the Father” in heaven must realize that anyone who is already one with Jesus in his or her present life is already one with the Father in this present life. We don’t have to wait until our physical deaths to experience that part of heaven.

It’s clear that ideas about the afterlife evolve throughout the Christian Scriptures. Perhaps that might be why it’s better to trust in our relationship with the risen Jesus than in our relationship with catechisms. Certainly where I’d put my money – and my life.

COPYRIGHT 2016 - 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


06/05/2022

JUNE 5TH, 2022: PENTECOST

Acts 2:1-11; I Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23

Though I intend each of these commentaries to be read independent of my other commentaries, I’m afraid this particular Pentecost piece logically follows on last week’s.

For many Catholics, today’s feast is somewhat parallel to the fourth commandment. We eventually outgrew it. Just as God’s command to “obey” our parents only applied when we were children, so anything to do with the Holy Spirit came into our lives only when we were young enough to take our school exams. Though the Cardinals entering a papal conclave logically join in singing “Come Holy Spirit” before they choose the next pope, I’ve never heard of any parish singing that hymn before they pick their next pastor, nor any diocese doing so before it elects its next bishop. The hierarchical system we’ve created – then later blamed on the historical Jesus – has taken away the necessity to depend on the Spirit for any help in our lives of faith.

When, in the summer of 1965, I returned to the United States from Rome as a newly ordained priest, I was expecting to get a fair amount of static from the older parishioners of any parish to which I was assigned. They’d be the group most resisting the Vatican II changes I was bringing with me. They had, for a lifetime, bought into the theology that the Roman Catholic Church was founded by Jesus as an unchangeable institution, an institution that this young priest was informing them was changing.

To my surprise, I discovered my presuppositions weren’t always verified. The elderly were frequently my staunchest supporters! They accepted my explanations and went along with the reform. I had more problems with middle-age parishioners.

Years later, my friend and teacher, Carroll Stuhlmueller, explained the reason for their reluctance to change. “They’re young enough to hold out the hope that one day they’re going to discover things in life that never change. The Catholic Church filled that expectation. Older people know that’s an impossible dream. In their senior years, they simply take change for granted. It’s become a way of life.”

I frequently remember Teilhard de Chardin’s remark that as a youth he longed to uncover an element in his environment that never changed. He thought he found it one day when he came across a small piece of iron from a broken plough. He couldn’t bend, break or destroy it, until . . . he noticed it began to rust after it rained. He was eventually forced to admit the only thing that didn’t change was change.

I presume the main reason Luke brings up the wind, fire and noise accompanying the Holy Spirit’s arrival springs from that basic insight. Each is a disturbing element. (I distinctly remember letting my grandmother in on one of my treasured childhood plans. When I grew up I intended to cut down all the trees! That would stop the wind from frightening me.)

The evangelist presumes there’s no need for the Spirit if the risen Jesus doesn’t demand constant change in her/his community. For Luke, the Spirit is the force behind the Christ’s wind, noise and fire, and causes the directions in which they blow, sound and burn. He’s not alone.

For Paul, the Spirit instigates the gifts which are creating chaos in Corinth. And for John, the Spirit leads us into the great “unknown” that forgiveness creates. In each case, followers of the risen Jesus would be more unchanging, more peaceful if they just didn’t have to deal with such an uncontrollable element.

I belong to a church that has consistently employed various (successful) hierarchical deforestation programs. Thankfully I’ve also lived long enough to have encountered a pope who’s actually started planting trees instead of cutting them down. Francis must have had a very understanding and wise grandmother.

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


06/12/2022

JUNE 12TH, 2022: HOLY TRINITY SUNDAY

Proverbs 8:22-31; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15

Ever guilty of going about things backward?

I presume this is the situation many of us Christians face every Trinity Sunday. Though our sacred authors describe and comment on God from one direction, we’re usually approaching him/her from the opposite direction. While our writers create the biblical pictures they develop based on their personal experiences of that God, many of us shape our personal God-experiences just to fit into their pictures. Our definition of God is frequently more important than our experiences of God. First, we look for a theology, then search for experiences to reinforce it.

Our sacred authors weren’t brought up on catechisms; they were formed by experiences. Though they later attempt to put their experiences into some form of logical patterns, it’s clear from the many – often contradictory – biblical theologies we encounter that no one size fits all. Those willing to be involved with God are committing themselves to an adventure almost impossible to describe. Perhaps that’s why, in God’s wisdom, our Scriptures were composed by Semitic – not Greek – thinkers, people who refuse to analyze their exploits. Instead of coming up with either/or ways of looking at their God-adventures, they concentrate on synthesizing them. They’re always on the lookout to add another dimension or surface an aspect they never before noticed. Their one goal is to zero in on the both/and of their experiences.

Not long ago I learned of an interesting custom among 19th century North American Plains Indians: “counting coup.” In battle, the tribe’s most courageous warriors would simply touch an enemy - not kill or wound him - then ride off. After the conflict, the survivors would gather to count the touches and compare notes. Among other things, they were convinced such “coups” transferred some of their enemy’s strength or spirit to them in ways that killing them couldn’t achieve.

Could saving and collecting our sacred writings be another way of counting coup? In a sense, our biblical writers have touched God, and lived to tell us about it. They could have “killed” God by giving us a technical, catechism definition of divinity. But instead, they only touched her/him, leaving something for another day and another encounter. Best of all, they shared the spirit they gained from their contact, helping us uncover another dimension of someone who boasts unlimited dimensions.

Unlike our Semitic-thinking sacred authors, we Greek-thinkers are in the business of killing, not touching. When we get done with the subject we attack, there’s nothing left but to bury the carcass in some theological manual.

Thankfully today’s three sacred writers touch and don’t kill.

The author of Proverbs could never have buried his or her coup in one of those manuals; it’s simply too poetic. The writer actually “co-creates” with Yahweh, standing next to God during the creation process.

Paul and John, on the other hand, bring up things on which many of us rarely reflect. The Apostle zeros in on the failures and weakness that come to the fore when we reach out to God in our lives. Yet the instant we put our hands on the divine in our midst, we see the limits of those hands. In the same way, the Evangelist takes us beyond what we “cannot bear to hear now.” We can never look forward to retiring from the battle, no matter how often we engage with God. It’s an essential part of who we are.

No matter how we’ve learned about God in the past, there’s always time to rearrange our priorities. It might take a lot more courage, but what an experience we’ll have to boast about? We’ll not only leave God intact, but have a strength we’ve never had before.

Maybe those Indians knew what they were doing.

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


06/19/2022

JUNE 19TH, 2022: BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

Genesis 14:18-20; I Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11b-17

I grew up with images of “Corpus Christi” which completely contradict today’s readings.

We old-timers graphically remember those glorious processions in “days of yore.” The event was held outside if possible, but if necessary up and down the aisles of our parish church; thurifers swinging, incense rising, bells ringing, everyone’s eyes riveted on the small host in a golden monstrance, each straining to get at least a glimpse. One of the highlights of my seminary career was traveling over the Italian hills to attend the Orvieto procession in June, 1963 – just a few days before Pope John XXIII’s death - 700 years after the tradition originally began.

Back then everyone was expected just to watch and look. It involved almost no practical participation. Some unknown priest had already done all the work; we showed up only to admire the end product. Yet nothing could be further from the biblical concept of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Our sacred authors presume the community – not one individual – “confects” the Eucharist. Their actions lead to the risen Jesus actually being among us.

Both Paul and Luke pinpoint what their communities can (and must) do to pull off such a tremendous event.

The Apostle perfectly summarizes the situation: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” Unless someone’s willing to die, we’re eating just a piece of bread and drinking just a sip of wine. If we refuse to give ourselves to one another, there’s nothing miraculous even to look at.

Though in this passage’s original context, Paul graphically hammers away at what his Corinthians should be sharing, in today’s liturgical readings it’s left up to Luke to be specific. Following the conviction of our gospel scholars that all six bread miracles are Eucharistic, it’s essential to note – contrary to popular belief – that the people, not Luke’s Jesus, feed the crowd. He simply starts the process, “Give them some food yourselves,” and ignores their complaints. He’s the distributor, not the multiplier of the food his community provides. The loaves and fish are miraculously increased in the giving. An action that normally would produce less, actually produces more!

Our present problem revolves around the “stuff” we’re to share today. When the Eucharist was celebrated in the context of a pot-luck meal, the actual food and drink that both Paul and Luke mention makes sense. (Even the pagan priest/king Melchizedek provides Abraham and his men with bread and wine.) But, except for occasionally helping feed the poor, we probably should look beyond just sharing our “victuals” with one another.

As a pastor and Eucharistic presider, I almost always engaged in “dialogue homilies.” I gave a brief homily on the readings, then opened the floor. It took a little while, but eventually many of the parishioners took advantage of the opportunity to reflect on the Scriptures. No one seemed to mind the homily’s added length, and most gained from the community’s insights. (I always did!)

On those rare occasions on which no one added, I usually reminded the people, “I presume some are leaving the Eucharist hungry today. Though the Spirit blessed you with the food they needed, for some reason you didn’t think you had enough to share. Always remember, there’s only enough when someone begins to give what she or he has. It’s how we die with the Christ.”

Considering today’s feast, it would be a shame if we revert to listening to the risen Jesus’ word instead of sharing Jesus’ word. Why would anyone reinvent the feast of Corpus Christ? We already have such a weekly “celebration” in most of our parishes.

Can’t you smell the incense burning and hear the bells ringing?

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


06/26/2022

JUNE 26TH, 2022: THIRTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

I Kings 19:16b, 19-21; Galatians 5:1, 13-18; Luke 9; 51-62

No two biblical calls are exactly the same. Though they contain the same basic elements, each is just a little bit different. In today’s first reading, for instance, Elijah permits Elisha to return home to kiss his mother and father goodbye, something Jesus forbids his prospective disciple to do in our gospel pericope. Perhaps that’s why it’s good to zero in on the elements of the calls that are the same, the elements which apply to everyone, no matter his or her historical situation.

In every biblical call, God (or Jesus) expects the person to change his or her basic focus. What they once thought important, they now relegate to the perimeter of their priorities; what they once kept on the periphery, they now put front and center. At the start of his public ministry, the gospel Jesus labels this turnabout “repentance:” metanoia in Greek. In his mind, it’s an essential personality trait in anyone who would dare follow him; a 180 degree change in one’s value system.

In the situation of receiving a “call,” it includes a demand that one’s relationship with Jesus be more important than other relationships – even those relationships we have with our parents. The classic passage on this topic is part of today’s gospel. When he invites someone to “Follow me,” the man replies, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” Jesus stuns us with the response, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Scholars remind us that most probably the man isn’t on his way to the local funeral home to make arrangements for his deceased father. That’s simply not how people were buried in Jesus’ day and age. Rather, he’s telling Jesus, “I’ll follow you, but because my father wouldn’t understand such a drastic move, let me wait until he dies and I bury him. Then I’ll follow you.” That seems to be why he says, ‘Let the dead bury their dead.” In other words, “Haven’t you noticed that your father – by not being part of my reform of Judaism – is already dead? Let someone just as dead as he is bury him. Nothing, or no one – not even parents - should stop you from being truly alive.”

Jesus presumes that just as we must eventually die physically to enter eternal life, so we must die right here and now to receive life right here and now. And the main way he expects us to die is to undergo a metanoia.

In just what does the life the risen Jesus offers us today consist? In our Galatians passage, Paul states his belief that it’s a freedom we can’t achieve any other way. “For freedom,” the Apostle writes, “Christ set us free. . . . For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.”

Yet because our basic metanoia revolves around focusing on the importance of others, we’re never free to put others down or use them for our own purposes. On the contrary, we’re called and expected “to serve one another through love.” Other Christs simply can’t go through life doing “what we want.”

We’re to be as free as the historical Jesus was free, free to give himself to those around him, no matter the consequences. Such freedom eventually enabled him to accept death for those others.

Perhaps many of us are willing to follow Jesus in certain areas of our daily lives; those areas which don’t cost us very much. But few of us are willing to slaughter the yoke of oxen around which our peaceful lives revolve. We haven’t quite yet achieved that kind of freedom.

COPYRIGHT 2016 - 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


07/03/2022

JULY 3RD, 2022: FOURTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Isaiah 66:10-14c; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

I presume Paul would have benefited from a class or two in anger control before he wrote his letter to the Galatians. It’s an understatement to say he was uptight when he dictated it. He had personally evangelized the Galatian community, teaching them how to become other Christs by imitating Jesus’ death and resurrection in their own lives. Only by giving themselves for others would they be transformed into the same new creation into which the risen Jesus had been transformed.

Yet in a short period of time, some of them – as former Jews - had reverted back to their old practice of finding salvation in keeping the 613 laws of Moses, symbolized by the men being circumcised. They found more security in that than in being crucified with Jesus. Paul was so infuriated by their behavior that a chapter before today’s pericope, he angrily writes, “Would that those who are upsetting you might also castrate themselves!” (Somehow the church has never found a liturgical setting for this particular passage.)

Using himself as an example, the Apostle encourages people just to look at him and see the damage to his body that his dying with Jesus has brought about. (Scholars believe his “marks of Jesus” have nothing to do with the later phenomenon of individuals receiving the “stigmata.”) Paul’s been scourged and beaten because of his imitation of Jesus, not because of his keeping the Mosaic regulations. Though he’s endured great physical pain, he’s convinced there’s also a huge amount of psychological pain in discipleship. That seems to be what he means when he speaks about “the world being crucified” to him.

That’s precisely the kind of pain Third Isaiah is presuming when he talks about “rejoicing with Jerusalem.” Among other things, the prophet is trying to stimulate his community to simply leave Babylon and return to the Jewish capital. The problem is that when he’s preaching these words, Jerusalem is in ruins, wiped off the face of the earth by the Babylonians over 60 or 70 years before. These formerly exiled Israelites not only have to return, they also have to rebuild. After one glance at the destroyed city, most decided to go back to Babylon. They found more peace and security in a foreign land than in rebuilding their native land.

Obviously we must go beyond the here and now and have a vision of what can be if we’re true disciples. Living by such a vision entails a real psychological death; something not only many Israelites, but also many Galatians were unwilling to endure.

As we hear in today’s gospel passage, giving oneself over to the vision of Jesus frequently causes rejection. Luke’s Jesus is not just predicting what’s going to happen when his followers try to evangelize others, like all gospel writers, Luke is also reflecting on what already happened to some of the “missionaries” in his own community. He wants to make certain they don’t get down just because they were often rejected. No matter how their message was received, God is still among us working effectively in our daily lives. God’s presence doesn’t depend on people recognizing it. Whether proclaimers of Jesus’ word succeed or fail, as long as they keep working to make the risen Jesus’ vision a reality in this world, their names are “written in heaven.” According to Luke’s Jesus, that’s the only thing that matters.

Obviously a lot of Catholics again accepted Jesus’ vision after Vatican II. And a lot of Catholics eventually abandoned that vision for the sake of their own security. Thank goodness we have a pope who’s calling us to return to that vision, no matter the cost.

COPYRIGHT 2016 - 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


07/10/2022

JULY 10TH, 2022: FIFTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37

One of my favorite Peanuts quotes is Linus’ offhand remark, “I love mankind . . . it’s people I can’t stand.” I presume it became quite popular in the late 50s and early 60s because so many of us identified with the little guy. We can love things in the abstract, but when it comes down to loving them in the concrete we frequently find a half dozen reasons for suspending our love.

That’s exactly the problem Luke’s Jesus tackles in today’s gospel pericope. It’s not difficult to repeat his answer to the lawyer’s question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” We’re to demonstrate our love of God by loving our neighbor. On face value it’s easy to understand. The kicker comes when the legal scholar follows his first question with another: “And who is my neighbor?”

Those who deal with the 613 Laws of Moses know that definitions of terms is essential to understanding those laws. For instance, when it comes to the commandment “You shall not commit adultery” we Christians presume that prohibition refers to having relations with anyone who’s the spouse of another. Yet many Mosaic Law experts are convinced this commandment originally applied only to those who were having illicit relations with Jews. Similar relations with Gentiles weren’t covered under this particular commandment.

It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t provide this legal expert with a precise definition of neighbor; instead he tells him a story.

Most of us know about the historical animosity between Jews and Samaritans, but few of us appreciate the actions of the priest and Levite. When the two pass by on the opposite side of the road, they’re not just refusing to get involved with a fellow Jew in need, they’re actually forced to do so because of their religious obligations. Functionaries at the Jerusalem temple, they’re forbidden to touch a dead body or even come into contact with blood. So, in this particular situation, this particular Jew doesn’t fit their theological definition of a neighbor. He’s more a temptation to sin for them than a concrete occasion to fulfill Yahweh’s command in the book of Leviticus to love your neighbor. The Samaritan, on the other hand, isn’t limited by their religious restrictions. He’s forbidden – under pain of death – from even entering the temple!

Notice when Jesus asks, “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” the lawyer doesn’t say “the Samaritan.” He simply replies, “The one who treated him with mercy.”

As much as I hate to admit it, Jesus seems to be saying that if any of us ever find ourselves in dire straits, we’d better pray an atheist come by. “Religious persons” would probably have four or five reasons why, in this situation, they’re absolved from helping us. Luke’s Jesus couldn’t be clearer: religious obligations can never excuse us from helping someone in need.

He agrees with the author of Deuteronomy who, in our first reading, reminds us that God’s commandments are ensconced in our everyday lives. We don’t have to look up to heaven to find out what God wants us to do; we simply have to look around us. God works in the concrete, not the abstract.

The Pauline disciple responsible for Colossians takes this concreteness one step further, expressing his belief that the human Jesus was actually the “image of the invisible God.” Not the holy card image of Jesus, but the real image.

Along that line, historians remind us that no one over the age of 20 in Jesus’ day and age had a full set of teeth. Since the historical Jesus was 30 when he died, I presume he fits Linus’ definition of “people.”

COPYRIGHT 2016 - 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


07/17/2022

JULY 17TH, 2022: SIXTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Genesis 18:1-10a; Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42

After I saw the movie High Noon at the age of 12, I found myself for a least a day and a half trying to walk like Gary Cooper. I probably wasn’t alone. Movie heroes normally engender imitation. That’s why the most popular motion picture hero of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch. Almost everyone would like to imitate this fictitious hero’s unprejudiced personality.

The imitation of heroes didn’t start with movies. Our sacred authors utilized this concept thousands of years ago. It’s behind today and next week’s Genesis readings. The writer depicts Abraham and Sarah as ideal Jews, in both passages demonstrating characteristics which good Israelites are or should be noted for.

Today’s characteristic is hospitality.

Though the three strangers come at a most inappropriate time – siesta – Abraham doesn’t wait for them to ask for hospitality, he rushes over and begs them to “let” him take care of them. Then, with Sarah’s help, he “picks out a tender, choice steer” and prepares it for them with all the side dishes. (By the way, no Scripture scholar believes these three are the Trinity. They’re simply Yahweh in human form, a unique entity that no one human being can represent.)

In a world in which there were no hotels or restaurants as we know them today, travelers depended on people’s hospitality for survival. Our biblical writer reasons that if Israelites are Yahweh’s Chosen People, then Israelites must mirror Yahweh’s concern and care for all people. She’s proud to say the first two Jews mirror that care and concern.

The sacred author even tells us about the reward Abraham and Sarah receive for their generous hospitality. “One of (the strangers) said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son.’” Sarah’s barrenness is over. Yahweh will demonstrate the same generosity with this couple as they demonstrated for the three travelers.

This isn’t the only time in Scripture that hospitality is given an unexpected reward. Our gospel pericope provides us with another classic example.

We can never forget that Luke revolves much of his gospel around a journey Jesus and his disciples take from Galilee to Jerusalem. They, like the three Genesis visitors, are also travelers, frequently dependent on people’s hospitality. In today’s passage, the sisters Martha and Mary offer Jesus a meal as he’s passing through their village. He not only accepts, he spends the time while the food’s being prepared in teaching his good news.

Then, when Martha complains that her sister is listening to his teaching instead of helping with the cooking, he rewards them for their hospitality by gifting them and all women with something which, in their culture, only men were expected to possess: the ability to engage in the “better part.” They, like men, could be full disciples, fully listening to and carrying out Jesus’ teaching. For Luke, no longer were there “women and men’s activities.” This evangelist, more than the other three could be labeled a radical feminist.

One really doesn’t know what to expect when one offers hospitality to others. And, for the author of Colossians, that offering is ongoing. It never stops. “Filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, the church” is always part of every Christian’s ministry.

Just as Abraham, Sarah, Martha and Mary discovered a totally new direction in their lives when they gave themselves to others, so we, following their example have no idea what to expect when we imitate their example. No wonder our ancestors in the faith found life so exciting.

Maybe we don’t have the right heroes if we’re living boring lives today.

COPYRIGHT 2016 - 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


07/24/2022

JULY 24TH, 2022, SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Genesis 18:20-32; Colossians2:12-14; Luke 11:1-13

Some years ago when I was commenting on this set of readings I had a friendly disagreement with the editor of one of the diocesan papers carrying my articles. She strongly objected to my talking about Abraham “haggling” with Yahweh, believing that term bordered on anti-Semitic language. She encouraged me to use a word like barter or negotiate instead.

I immediately called a rabbi friend, asking his opinion on the matter. He assured me, “Roger, there’s nothing wrong in speaking about a Jew haggling. We’re not only known for it, we’re proud of it.”

That’s why the Genesis author included this narrative in her Sodom and Gomorrah story. If it’s a characteristic for which Jews are proud, then Abraham, the ancestor of all Jews must have had it in spades.

Though no scholar takes this haggling between Yahweh and Abraham literally, the writer not only created this passage to demonstrate the latter’s negotiating prowess, but also to show his unique relationship with Yahweh. As theologically simplistic as it might sound to us today, the Yahwistic author is telling us God is someone you can bargain with – as long as you’ve given yourself over to God.

In some sense, Luke’s Jesus is telling us something similar in our gospel pericope. It seems God, like the besieged friend, has a breaking point. Find it, and you’ll get what you want. Yet, listen carefully to what Jesus says you’re going to get. It won’t be a lot of “stuff.” Rather, “. . . The Father in heaven (will) give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” In other words, if we ask for the Holy Spirit, we’re certain to receive the Holy Spirit, no strings attached.

As we’ve seen in the past, Luke, more than any other evangelist, is convinced the Holy Spirit is an essential element in our becoming other Christs. In his mind, how would we know how to carry on Jesus’ ministry without that Spirit pointing us in the right direction? At this point in the second half of the first century CE, the Christian community, following the historical Jesus’ mindset, had not yet locked itself into a hierarchical structure. It functioned as the Body of Christ because of its deep relationships with the risen Jesus and with one another, not because of any clerical prerogatives. As Paul once reminded his Corinthian community, the Spirit not only gifts each member of the community with all the talents that community needs, it also helps them integrate those gifts for the good of the community.

Of course, as the Pauline disciple who wrote Colossians believes, the relationship we have with the risen Jesus – who gives us his Spirit - revolves around our determination to die and rise with him. “You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him . . . .”

I don’t worry a lot about the rising. Jesus will take care of that. But I do spend a lot of time mulling over the dying. How am I to accomplish that today? That is where the Spirit kicks in.

Once upon a time I, along with many other Catholics, thought the only way to die was to ignore the Spirit working in my life and simply give myself over to the will of those exercising authority over me. Things certainly got more complicated when I started studying Scripture. Like our sacred authors, I began to realize my relationships with God, the risen Jesus, and the Holy Spirit took precedence over my relationship with the institution. At that point, I also began to do a lot of haggling. Just wish I were as good at it as Abraham.

COPYRIGHT 2016 - 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


07/31/2022

JULY 31ST, 2022: EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23; Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11; Luke 12:13-21

Many of us don’t realize how today’s well-known Ecclesiastes passage contradicts the writings of other sacred authors. Those who composed our Hebrew Scriptures usually challenge Qoheleth’s belief that “All things are vanity!” Knowing nothing of an afterlife – as we know it – until shortly before Jesus’ birth, most of them looked upon wealth as Yahweh’s right here and now reward for being good. They believed if you kept your nose clean, doing what Yahweh commanded, Yahweh would grant you a long life and take good care of you during that life.

Qoheleth, on the other hand, doesn’t see any sense in spending a lifetime acquiring wealth. He’s observed that someone who hasn’t “labored over it” will eventually inherit it. “For what profit comes to someone from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he/she has labored under the sun? All their days sorrow and grief is their occupation . . . .”

How are we supposed to deal with these biblical contradictions?

In some sense we’re invited to spend our money and take our pick. The same theology doesn’t run from Genesis to Revelation. Our ancestors in the faith were convinced there are many implications – often contradictory implications - to our following Yahweh or the risen Jesus. The Scriptures they saved and collected provide us with a bunch of them.

Yet at the same time, a common theme runs through all our sacred writings: people of faith are constantly trying to discover what God wants of them.

In today’s gospel passage, Luke’s Jesus tells us what God doesn’t want: a senseless accumulation of wealth. Following Qoheleth, he warns his followers that the wealth they acquire here isn’t going to follow them into eternity. If they’re smart, they’ll work at storing up real “treasure:” the things that matter to God, the things which are transferable from this life to the next.

The Pauline disciple who authored Colossians couldn’t agree more. “. . . Seek what is above,” he writes, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think what is above, not of what is on earth.” He’s convinced that if we’ve died with Christ we’re already operating in the “above.” That means we must not only sidestep all the evils this earth offers, but also put on a “new self.” We must actually become other Christs.

Following the insights of his mentor, the writer is convinced the first step in this transformation is to recognize the risen Christ in everyone around us. Quite a task! Being human, we first have to overcome all the barriers this earth has built between one person and another. “There is not Greek and Jew,” he reminds us, “circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but Christ is all and in all.”

No wonder there are different theologies in the Christian Scriptures. There’s simply no one way to recognize that divine dimension in everyone. How do we prepare ourselves to experience that uniqueness? It isn’t just a matter of telling our minds to do so.

It takes time to pull that off. It doesn’t happen instantly. Different people are at different stages of that recognition. The American Georgetown University Jesuits, for instance, were still owning and selling slaves in 1838, based on the belief that legitimate slaves – individuals created by God as slaves – were “ontologically different” from non-slaves. It took another generation and then some for all Christians to realize that theology didn’t hold water.

Today some still struggle with recognizing the risen Jesus in gays, lesbians and transgendered persons. Add that to the perennial problem: recognizing him/her in women. We’ve obviously got a long way to go, and a lot of contradictions still to explore.

COPYRIGHT 2016 - 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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