You know what I love about being Catholic? We know from historical documents that a man referred to as Jesus Christ walked the Earth about 2000 years ago.
We know that he turned the world upside-down with a message that was completely radical.
His followers recorded Him saying such things as, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them” (John 6:56) and “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:23)
We also know (again, historically) that He was tortured and put to death in a gruesome manner.
We know that His followers denied knowing Him and locked themselves away in fear of suffering a similar fate.
We know Jesus rose from the dead and made it clear to His followers that death is not the end and there is nothing to fear outside of separation from Him.READ MORE
One of the key elements of being a Catholic, is that we know that there are two, equally important aspects to our relationship with God. One is our individual relationship with the Lord.
Most denominations emphasize only the “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” The natural result is less of an emphasis on the need to attend every Sunday. ‘Sure,’ they will say, ‘You should join us for the worship and the fellowship, but if you don’t, it certainly isn’t a sin.’READ MORE
I often hear people lament the fact that there are so few believers left in the world. We are outnumbered. We are the remnant.
Except it isn’t true. We have just lost our nerve.
In the first chapter of 2 Timothy, we hear the words, “I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord… but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.”
Power. Love. Self control.
These are three qualities that can be difficult to balance, unless we ask for the help of the Holy Spirit.READ MORE
I need to thank you.
If you give generously to the collection basket, you have made it possible for me to serve this parish on a full-time basis for over three years (thus far), writing this column, directing RCIA, planning all aspects of the parish missions, coordinating 33 Days To Morning Glory, overseeing our youth ministry programming, facilitating a weekly Scripture Study, and so much more! (There are also many others you are supporting who, I assure you, work harder than you realize to make this parish as wonderful as it is!)
I need to thank you.READ MORE
This is one of those Gospels where 90% of Catholics either wonder it was they just heard as they mumble “thanks be to God” or miss it entirely (statistic entirely made up).
Jesus tells the story of a financial advisor who messes up and destroys his employer’s portfolio. Then, before he is fired, he goes out and accepts various partial payments as full payments without permission. Thus, he makes friends with those who were able to settle their debts at fractions of the full amount due. This ensures he has opportunities once he is fired.
The crazy part? Jesus seems to affirm this man’s behavior!
What is actually happening here?READ MORE
Growing up, I loved hearing my name during the First Reading of various Masses throughout the year. As a little boy, that story about Goliath was rocket fuel for the imagination!
A few years later, I was even happier to hear my namesake was not only in the Bible, but wrote some of it!
As I entered my teenage years, I found out God referred to David as “a man after his own heart” and I loved my first name all the more.
Then, I read more about the life of David. Adultery? Check. Murder? Check.
How could this be? Surely he was being confused with another David.READ MORE
Life can be difficult.
It can be tempting to look at all the advantages others seem to have - better connections, deeper pockets, good looks, greater intelligence, inspiring creativity - and think God couldn’t possibly use to some great end.
The book of Wisdom asks a simple question: “Who can know God’s counsel, or who can know what the Lord intends?”
I recently reread the book “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” by Malcolm Gladwell. (Despite its name, it is a secular book.) In one of the first chapters, he reminds the reader of every obvious advantage Goliath had: his height was estimated to be closer to seven feet tall than six, he was muscle-bound, gifted at the art of close combat, and wore only the thickest armor and carried the most devastating armor.READ MORE
Do you consider yourself a strong Catholic? You might find this week’s readings a bit challenging.
Do you struggle with your faith and fear you have a long way to go in order to be holy as most of the other people in church? These readings should sound like honey.
We are told plainly in Luke 14 to avoid sitting in a place of honor, lest we be humbled when told to move. This is akin to anyone who always knows best, only to eventually taste embarrassment when they are not universally lauded for their opinions. We are, after all, told self-exultation leads to humiliation.READ MORE