Into the Deep

Into the Deep offers practical insight and encouragement for being a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.  Deacon Bickerstaff draws from Sacred Scripture, Church teaching and personal testimony to help readers life the faith throughout the day. Each week, he reflects and teaches on a passage from the bible, a truth of the faith, a Person of God, an event in the life of Christ or his saints, in a way that resonates with readers more important questions about life.

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Photography © by Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are […]

In life and in death, O Lord, abide with me

"Road to Emmaus" (detail) by Robert Zünd [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent” (Luke 24:29). Just yesterday we remembered the victims of September 11, 2001 in our prayers as we marked the twentieth anniversary of that tragic day. That is a day that I pray we never forget. However, our present year, 2021, is one of the darkest […]

Religion that is True, Good and Beautiful

“The School of Athens” (detail showing Aristotle with the elder Plato) by Raphael

Pontius Pilate infamously asked Jesus, “What is truth?” A number of years ago, Sister Regina Marie OCD, a Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, spoke at the Atlanta Catholic Business Conference. She asked the audience a question, “What is the greatest of truths?” The answer she gave was simply, “God is.” I remember one of the […]

Eucharistic Faith

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

Four Sundays ago, I mentioned here that the liturgical calendar of the Church was taking a short break from the Gospel of Mark, which we had been hearing this year at Sunday Mass. Next Sunday, we will return to Mark’s Gospel. We have spent this time hearing from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Its content has been focused profoundly […]

Mary is Perfected in Christ

Guido Reni, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

On August 15th of each liturgical year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the United States, the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation unless it  falls on a Saturday or Monday, in which case the precept to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, […]

Elijah and the Lord Jesus

"The Prophet Elias" (detail) by Daniele da Volterra

Here’s a quick test for you!  You didn’t know there was going to be a pop quiz, did you?  I thought one might be in order to celebrate the start of the coming school year. Yes?  No? Seriously!  Here’s the question… “Who was the famous prophet in today’s first reading?” The prophet is none other than Elijah!  In his ministry, he […]

The Food that Endures for Eternal Life

"Mulitplication of the Loaves and Fishes" (detail) by Très Riches Heures

Today’s Gospel is taken from St. John and continues our short five-week break from Mark’s Gospel that we’ve been hearing during this liturgical year. The focus of the passages during these five weeks is the Eucharist and the Lord’s abundant love for each of us. So much power and promise are contained in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, that […]

The Eucharist in the Gospel of John

"Mulitplication of the Loaves and Fishes" (detail) by Très Riches Heures

During this Liturgical Year (Year B), the gospel readings at Mass on Sundays are taken primarily from the Gospel of Mark. However, beginning this weekend, we will spend five consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John and the focus will be on the Eucharist. To set the scene, we need to look back to last […]

Blessed Are You

"Ezekiel" (detail) by Michelangelo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Our duty is to share the Lord. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to convert souls. We mustn’t show frustration or anger when people do not respond as we expect them to. We must simply remain faithful and love them.” Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against […]

Do Not Be Afraid to Touch Jesus

Ezekiel"The Raising of Jairus' Daughter" (detail) by Repin

The Gospel for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) comes from Mark 5:21-43 and consists of the accounts of two miracles Jesus performed. Jairus, a synagogue official desperate to save the life of his daughter, seeks out Jesus. On His way with Jairus to restore his daughter, Jesus encounters the woman with a hemorrhage. Mark frequently interrupts one story to […]