Today's parable is in all probability a "doubling" of last week's parable. Matthew found both of them in the tradition with which he was working. They were sufficiently different for him to include both in his Gospel. See last week's background for an explanation. The Mustard Seed story is an addition in this version. It turns out to be an accurate prediction. Sociologist Rodney Stark in a recent study argues that there were only a thousand Christians at the end of the first century, six million at the beginning of the third and thirty million (half the Roman empire) by 350. Constantine's conversion, he suggests was a result of the growth of Christianity, not its cause. Why was Christianity so successful? Professor Stark says that the people in the Roman empire were deeply impressed by how Christians took care of other people, their families and relatives indeed, but everyone that needed help. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time a football coach had what he thought was a good idea. He lived in an uncivilized place where the winters were cold and bitter (I think it was Indiana, but I don't remember). He needed to find something for the players to do in the winter so that they would stay in condition. It had to be done inside so that they wouldn't be frost bitten. It had to be fun. So he decided that he would put two baskets - real baskets -- up on the walls of the cracker box gym which was all his small college had. Then he told his team that the idea was to put the football (which was much rounder then) into the hoop.
To make the game harder - and more interesting - they couldn't carry the ball or tackle one another. They had to bounce the ball on the floor each step they took. And the only way they could stop the other team from scoring was to block their shots. At first the players thought it was BORING, but then they admitted grudgingly that it was kind of fun, especially after they had taken the bottoms out of the basket. But they all agreed that as a sport it would never catch on.
8 Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he
will speak peace to his people, to his saints, to those who turn to him in
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Catholics and the Struggle with Their Church
The survey of the archdiocese, which Father Greeley describes as "a very complicated place" demographically, asks some difficult questions, and finds some interesting truths.
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