Returning to the Gospel of Matthew, another theme in this book is the relationship between Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees are featured in chapters 12, 15, 16, 19, 22 and 23 of the Gospel. Before looking at these accounts, we should clarify what role the Pharisees played in Jewish society. After the reconstruction of […]

Of the more enigmatic stories in the Synoptic Gospels is the account of Jesus and the fig tree. Before even considering the stories, consider the tree itself. Ficus carica typically grows to 30 feet. But examples are known to grow as high as 80 feet, with spreads of more than 100 feet. The tree can […]

Benedict XVI spoke of St. Paul in a Sunday noon address last June, saying Paul is at the same time strong and humble, intimately persuaded that everything is God’s doing, everything is grace. Cardinal George also mentioned the phrase last November. Which makes me wonder, who coined this phrase? Going back a hundred years, Therese […]

I thought I’d get around to a systematic look at justification, since it is a principle them in the Pauline letters.  Where and how often does Paul mentions justification?  The term “justified” occurs ten (1) times in Romans, six (1) times in Galatians, twice in Corinthians, and – ironically, three times in James’ Epistle. This […]