The crib and the cross: Connecting the dots

The Gospel stories about the birth of Jesus are not a simple retelling of the events that took place at the stable in Bethlehem. In his commentaries on the birth of Jesus, the Scripture scholar Raymond Brown highlights that these narratives were written long after Jesus had already been crucified and had risen from the dead and that they are colored by what his death and resurrection mean.

Listen to Jesus, speak in parables

Some years ago I was challenged by a bishop regarding an article I’d written. We were talking in his office and the tone eventually got a little testy: “How can you write something like that?” he asked. “Because it’s true,” was my blunt reply. He already knew it was true, but now, realizing that, he became more aware of his real agenda: “Yes, I know it’s true, but that doesn’t mean it should be said in that way in a Catholic newspaper like ours. This isn’t a university classroom or the New York Times. It’s a diocesan newspaper and that’s not the best context within which to say something like that. It will confuse a lot of readers.”

Daniel and the great unveiling

Toward the end of the liturgical year, we Catholics hear at Mass from the mysterious, often confounding and utterly fascinating Book of Daniel. Recent scholarship has demonstrated that the Book of Daniel had an extraordinarily powerful influence on the first Christians, providing them a most important template for understanding the significance of Jesus.

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