Thanks for coming here to check out my speaking page!
Finding good speakers for Catholic events can be tough. Not everyone is qualified, communicative or available. While I can’t promise to be omnipresent, since I only do 10-12 events per year, I do promise that if you invite me to speak, I will communicate with you regularly and promptly. And most of all, I’ll show up on time for your event and deliver a great talk!
As a Catholic biblical scholar, I have a passion for Scripture and for sharing the Word with Catholics. It’s my joy to help others read, understand and pray the Bible. While we hear snippets of the Bible every Sunday, often times those little passages leave us hungering for more depth, more context, more explanation. So much of the Bible remains unexplored and I want to help people drink deeply of the Word of God.
What Can I Do For You?
If you invite me to speak at your event, I can promise to
- Offer an intellectually stimulating presentation
- Help you achieve the goals you have for your event
- Dig into the biblical text in a thought-provoking and enjoyable way
- Encourage your participants to read the Bible
- Foster an environment of curiosity, conversion and spiritual growth
If you are curious about my fast-paced, engaging speaking style, check out my YouTube channel.
You should know a few things about me:
- I am Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture at the Augustine Institute, where I have been on faculty since 2010. My day job is speaking to groups of masters-level students, so I have a lot of experience holding an audience. In addition, I am usually video-taped while teaching, so I have logged many hours in front of the camera.
- I hold several credentials you’ll want to know about:
- Ph.D. (Biblical Studies), The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC (2013)
- S.S. L. (Sacred Scripture), Pontifical Biblical Commission, Rome (2016)
- S.S.B. (Sacred Scripture), Pontifical Biblical Commission, Rome (2014)
- M.A. (Sacred Scripture), Augustine Institute, Denver, CO (2007)
- B.Phil. (Philosophy and Theology), Ave Maria College, Ypsilanti, MI (2005)
- I also have a mandatum to teach theology from the Archbishop of Denver.
- I have written a popular book about the tough parts of the Bible called Light on the Dark Passages of Scripture (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2015).
- I have written over 150 articles for CatholicExchange.com
- I have published in the scholarly realm:
- “The Canonical Status of Song of Songs in m. Yadayim 3.5,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 41 (2016): 205-220.
- “Song of Songs 1,7 – What Kind of Wrapping,” Revue Biblique 122 (2015): 58-70.
- I teach masters-level courses on biblical topics, which have included Salvation History, Pauline Literature, Johannine Literature, Jesus and the Gospels, Prophets, Wisdom Literature, so I am prepared to speak on many different biblical topics.
- I have spoken to groups of scholars, students, priests, high school youth, seminarians, and Catholic parishoners.
The talks I give most frequently include the following, but I am able to tailor my talks for your audience and will consider developing a new topic if your event’s needs call for it. Usually, these talks take about an hour to deliver, but they can be adjusted for different event schedules.
- Bringing the Dark Passages of Scripture to Light
Right now, this is my favorite talk since I get to dive into some of the subjects of my recent book, Light on the Dark Passages of Scripture. Catholics who read the Bible are often shocked by some of the nasty things lurking in the pages of the Old Testament. My goal in this talk is to pull back the veil a bit and talk through some of the tougher-to-understand issues that appear in the Bible. In this talk, we get into some of the nitty-gritty like God’s mercy and justice, the conquest of Canaan, and the mystery of the Cross.
- The Mass as Victory Banquet
For thousands of years, people have celebrated battle victories with banquets. In this talk, I explore the ancients’ understanding of feasts as signifying and ritualizing victory. Then I show how the pattern of battles linked with banquets permeates the biblical text from Genesis to the Gospels. This pattern culminates in the victory feast which is the Mass, a banquet that celebrates Jesus’ triumph over sin, death and the powers of darkness by his Cross and Resurrection.
- Praying in the Dark, Waiting for the Light
Have you ever wondered why we have an Easter Vigil or Christmas Eve Mass? In this talk, we go deep into the biblical foundations and spiritual meaning of prayer at night. We explore not only the origins of vigil prayer, but its development in Early Christianity and modern liturgical practice. Finally, this talk points to the ascetic, Christ-focused, spiritual importance of vigil-keeping in Christian spirituality. This is a great talk for Lent or Advent.
- More than Facebook Friends: A Biblical Guide to Friendship
This talk jumps into the timely and relevant realm of building friendships in a socially broken world. We investigate the importance of friendship and draw upon the Old Testament, Greek philosophy and the Catholic tradition to explain the goals of friendship, the qualities of true friends and the difficulties of making and losing friends.
- Jesus, the Bible and Me
This talk is my most personal approach. I get into my own story and use it to launch into some big questions for all of us, particularly about the centrality of loving God in our own lives. We take a look at some of the false answers the world offers and how we can respond to the Word of God with generosity and openness. This talk is great for youth or college-age groups.
- Beyond the Pall: What Does Resurrection Really Mean?
“For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Cor 5:4 RSV) Resurrection is a confusing concept. In this talk, we explore the origins of the hope for resurrection, the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection as the “firstfruits” and the longing for “the resurrection of the dead” which we proclaim every Sunday, but rarely understand. This is a great talk for Easter Season.
- Taking the Prophets to Heart
The prophets of the Old Testament are often a sealed black box to Bible readers. Even some of the most adventurous readers will never look inside Habbakuk! This talk strips away the opacity of these ancient seers, explains the core message of the prophets in three easy steps, describes their indictments of the ancient people of God and relates their message to our contemporary experience.
- Responding to Failure: Judas, Peter, and Me
“Even though they all fall away, I will not.” (Mark 14:29 RSV) Judas betrays Jesus and Peter denies him, yet only one of these two ends up a great saint and martyr, the first Bishop of Rome. The other ends his life in despair. In this talk, we take a look at these two personalities and what led to their fateful decisions. This is a great talk for Lent.
- The Psalms: Tradition, Emotion, Performance and Prayer
This talk is very suitable for Church musicians, cantors or lectors who regularly perform the Psalms. I paint the background of the Psalms, which are rich with history and originated in a musical tradition. I dive into the emotions which they present and explain how our emotions can sync up with theirs. I compare the original performance of the psalms with modern liturgical instructions and finally tease out the spiritual dynamics of praying the Psalms as modern Christians.
Get in Touch
If you would like to contact me to discuss your event’s details, my availability, and whether I’d be a good fit, please shoot me an email at mark —at— catholicbiblestudent.com