About Daniel McClain

Director of Program Operations for the Master of Theological Studies.

Lectionary Reflection: Epiphany 3 – Neh 8:1-10; Ps 19; Luke 4:14-21

In this week’s reading from Luke, Jesus has returned to his home region, Galilee, “filled with the power of the Spirit.” Luke tells us that his homecoming made quite the impression—“a report about his spread throughout…”

The excitement does not end, as Jesus then began to teach and preach in the synagogues as he traveled through Galilee. Eventually, he arrived in his hometown, Nazareth, and is received as a teacher on the Sabbath in the synagogue. As he read from Isaiah 61 (“The spirit of the Lord is upon me… to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”), and then sat down, “the eyes of all… were fixed on him.” Continue reading

Lectionary Reflection: Advent 2 – Baruch 5:1-9 or Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel / and ransom captive Israel / that mourns in lonely exile…

“Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.” Baruch 5:1

Our lectionary readings for Advent 2 deal with two themes: comfort and proclamation. In Baruch 5, the Lord’s comfort comes to the Israelites as divine glory. Jerusalem is to trade the garments of sorry and affliction for the garment and diadem of glory. The comfort of glory is also a comfort of peace, for God will give Jerusalem the name of “Righteous Peace,” a peace that is marked by the return of the exiles. Even creation is brought into this peace by obeying God’s command making the path for the exiles straight and level. Continue reading

Intrinsic Goodness and Contingency, Resemblance and Particularity: Two Criticisms of Robert Adams’s Finite and Infinite Goods

SCE Nov 12Prof. David Decosimo has recently published an article, entitled “Intrinsic Goodness and Contingency, Resemblance and Particularity: Two Criticisms of Robert Adams’s Finite and Infinite Goods” in Studies in Christian Ethics 25.4 (November 2012): 418-441.

Here’s an abstract:
Robert Adams’s Finite and Infinite Goods is one of the most important and innovative contributions to Christian ethics in recent memory. This article identifies two major flaws at the heart of Adams’s theory: his notion of intrinsic value and his claim that ‘excellence’ or finite goodness is constituted by resemblance to God. I first elucidate Adams’s complex, frequently misunderstood claims concerning intrinsic value and Godlikeness. I then contend that Adams’s notion of intrinsic value cannot explain what it could mean for countless finite goods to be intrinsically valuable. Next, I articulate a criticism of his Godlikeness thesis altogether unlike those he has previously addressed: I show that, on Adams’s own account of Godlikeness, a diverse myriad of excellences could not possibly count as resembling God. His theory thus fails to account for a whole world of finite goods. I defend my two criticisms against objections and briefly sketch a more Aristotelian and Christian way forward.

Lectionary Reflection: Mark 9:38-50; James 5:13-20

The Gospel reading for Sunday follows Jesus’ confrontation with the disciples over greatness in the kingdom (v. 33). The incongruity of the disciples’ conversation, of course, is in the fact that it comes immediately after Jesus’s announcement that he, the Son of Man, will soon die as a consequence of betrayal “at human hands” (v. 31). He will rise again. But tall this seems to elicit only fear and ignorance from the disciples (v. 32). Jesus, always the good teacher, uses a child nearby as an illustration of what ought to be the object and manner of their faith. The disciples’ work ought to be oriented around welcoming children in Jesus’ name, an implicit contrast to their aspirations for greatness.

And speaking of doing things in Jesus’ name… Continue reading

“The Mystery of the Cross”

a post by MTS student, Justin Hagerman.

This summer, as we incoming Loyola MTS students were preparing to begin our course of study, we were asked to read and reflect on a sermon by the late Herbert McCabe, O.P. I found “The Mystery of the Cross” to be a fascinating sermon because it helps us think about the nature of God’s love for us by exploring His love for the Son.

McCabe asks why Jesus had to die on the cross. His answer is that Jesus died from being human.While Jesus’ death on the cross might appear a failure, in actuality, it is a victory over the power of evil in the world. By overcoming death, Jesus overcame the world’s rejection of him. Continue reading