Church—Are you called?

Since Christians are members of Christ’s Church and the term Church means those who are called, that must mean that every single believer without exception has a call or a vocation. The Mass readings for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) are Isaiah 8:23–9:3; Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14; First Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; Matthew 4:12-23 or 4:12-17. DEATH AND […]

Jesus, Lamb of God?

John the Baptist pointed out Jesus as the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  This title, so prominent in the Mass, illumines the meaning of Christ’s passion, recalling the first Passover remembered every year during Holy Week and the Triduum. The Mass readings for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) are Isaiah […]

Rejoice in Hope

Gaudete Sunday calls us to rejoice in hope.  As John the Baptist found joy amidst suffering due to the Good News that the Christ had appeared, we too pause from our Advent penance to rejoice in a salvation that has drawn near and whose first fruits we can taste. The Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Advent (Year A) […]

Fast Before Feast

Christmas is a joyous celebration of the birth of Peace.  So why does the Church precede the feast of December 25 with a somber season of fast, penance and repentance?  A meditation for Advent… The Mass readings for the Second Sunday of Advent (Year A) are Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalms 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17; Romans 15:4-9; Matthew 3:1-12. Christmas cards speak […]

Thanksgiving and the Eucharist

For Americans, the term “Thanksgiving” conjures up images of turkey and cranberry sauce, parades and bowl games.  These are “traditions” that have come to mark an event made a perpetual institution of American life by President Abraham Lincoln. But why did Lincoln proclaim the last Thursday in November as a national holiday? Because it was clear to him that the blessings of food, land, […]

The Second Coming in Glory

The belief second and final coming of Jesus as sovereign Lord and judge of the world is common to all Christians, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.  It is commemorated each November in the Roman Catholic Feast of Christ the King, a celebration that inspires both hope and a salutary fear. The Mass readings for the Solemnity of Christ the King (Year […]

Armageddon, Apocalypse and the Final Battle

The Apocalypse — What does the Bible really teach about the End of the World, Armageddon, the second coming of Jesus Christ and the final battle against the Antichrist? The gospels and the book of Revelation raise many apocalyptic questions for Christians. The Mass readings for the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) are Malachi 3:19-20; Psalms 98:5-6, 7-8, […]

Heaven, Marriage and the Resurrection

Will there be marriage in heaven? Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees about the widow married to seven deceased husbands needs to be understood in light of some important truths about the resurrection and the afterlife. The Mass readings for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) are Second Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14; Psalms 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15; Second Thessalonians 2:16–3:5; […]

All Souls Day and Prayers for the Dead

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

I’ll never forget that bleak January day when my father died.  It was very hard to believe in the resurrection as I watched the undertakers carry away his lifeless corpse in a body bag. But imagine this scene.  You are an unborn child who has lived in cozy but cramped quarters with your twin for nine months.  But now you […]

Sunday Reflection—The Pharisee and the Publican

The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (tax collector) in Luke 18 teaches us a lot about pride, humility and . . . insanity.  It even gives us insight into one of the principal battle cries of the Protestant Reformation — “sola gratia” or “grace alone.” The Mass readings for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) are […]