Author Archive for Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

Grew up in Providence RI. BA at Providence college, Ph.D. in historical theology from Catholic University of America. Former professional musician and theology professor at Loyola College in Maryland and the University of Dallas. Currently owner of Wellness Business Ventures LLC and director of CrossroadsInitiative.com. Father of five.

Unless the Grain of Wheat
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Unless the Grain of Wheat

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All of us want the very best for those we love. But as we pursue it, we often have a rude awakening. The best turns out to be quite expensive, whether you are dealing with homes, cars, or colleges. To get it will cost much time and money, maybe even some blood, sweat, and tears. […]

If God so Loves the World, Why is There a Hell?
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If God so Loves the World, Why is There a Hell?

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As the camera pans the crowd at a football game, you see a few fans holding up the sign. It simply says “John 3:16.” For years, evangelical Protestants have extolled this little bible verse as the heart of the Gospel. In their minds, if you only have a moment to tell people something about the […]

John 3:16 and Grace
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John 3:16 and Grace

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As the camera pans the crowd at a football game, you see a few fans holding up the sign.  It simply says “John 3:16.” For years, evangelical Protestants have extolled this little bible verse as the heart of the Gospel.  In their minds, if you only have a moment to tell people something about the […]

The 10 Commandments and the Cleansing of the Temple
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The 10 Commandments and the Cleansing of the Temple

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When it started, all was fresh and new.  An unnamed but mighty God freed a motley crew of slaves and offered them a new way of life in a new land.  Most importantly, he offered them a privileged and exclusive relationship with Himself. In the ancient world, most nations worshipped their own god and believed […]

The Sacrifice of Isaac
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The Sacrifice of Isaac

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Everyone knows that Lent is about sacrifice.  So it’s fitting that the first reading in the second Sunday of Lent recalls one of the most famous sacrifices of all time. Here’s the background.  Abraham really only desires one thing–a son who will lead to descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky.   The only […]

Lessons from the Leper
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Lessons from the Leper

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Many Catholics are confused about suffering.  Some writers extol its surpassing value.  But does that mean that we should look for suffering?  Or, if suffering should come our way, that it would be unspiritual to seek relief from it? The story of Jesus and the leper in Mark 1:40-45 provides us with a case study […]

Preach It!
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Preach It!

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The Bible is not just for Churches and Synagogues. Portions of it are read as literature, even in secular university classrooms.  Invariably, when you look at the syllabus of such courses, you find Job. It’s not hard to see why.  Job poignantly expresses what all human beings experience at one time or another–the feeling that […]

Authority over Demons
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Authority over Demons

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I’ve read many term papers in my day.  Most of them are no more than a patchwork of quotes.  That’s because college students are smart enough to know that they really can’t say much on their own authority–to make their case, they have to lean on the authority of others more learned than themselves. That’s […]

Detachment from the World
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Detachment from the World

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Peter and Andrew were businessmen.  So were their neighbors, James and John. They tried to wring a living out of the Sea of Galilee, and it probably took nearly all of the time and energy that they had. So it would have been easy to pass on the chance to hear some new prophet proclaim […]

Called and Consecrated
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Called and Consecrated

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When I was growing up, we were urged to pray for vocations. That meant to pray for more priests and nuns. After all, they were the ones especially called by God. The rest of us had to figure out for ourselves what to do with our lives, what school to go to, who to marry, […]

The Holy Family
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The Holy Family

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The Passion of the Christ was the most intense movie I’ve ever seen. But there was a moment of comic relief, a flashback to a young Jesus in the back yard, building a new invention. It was the kind of table that is now a commonplace. But in a society where people reclined to dine, […]

The Mystery of the Incarnation
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The Mystery of the Incarnation

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“Mystery,” he sneered. “That’s a good Catholic word.” My friend was a fundamentalist who had more than a bit of antipathy towards the Catholic Church, charging that it added to the simple faith of the Bible. But he didn’t read his bible very well. The word “mystery” is a Catholic word, only because it is […]

John the Baptist and Spiritual Joy
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John the Baptist and Spiritual Joy

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On the third Sunday of Advent, penitential purple gives way to pink and we celebrate “Gaudete” or “Rejoice!” Sunday. “Rejoice heartily in the Lord, says Isaiah” (61:10). “My Spirit finds joy in God my Savior,” says the Virgin Mary (Luke 1: 47). “Rejoice in the Lord always,” says St. Paul (I Thes. 5:16). “Make straight […]

Prepare ye the Way
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Prepare ye the Way

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Advent is a time of joyful anticipation. For someone even bigger than Santa Claus is coming to town. The human race has been waiting a long time for his next and final visit. Actually, it waited a long time for the first visit. Things had gone awry quite early in the history of the human […]

You Snooze, You Lose
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You Snooze, You Lose

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Have you ever had one of those days when you just wish God would show up, snap his figures and work miracles? The people of Israel had about 500 years’ worth of days like that, groaning under the oppression of one tyrant after another. The book of Isaiah gives voice to these sentiments: “O that […]

Feast of Christ the King
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Feast of Christ the King

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34rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, From the dawn of civilization, kings have dreamed of possessing a world-wide dominion, a universal kingdom that would last forever.  Some have come close to conquering much of the known world: Alexander, Genghis Khan, Augustus Caesar, to name a few.  And some kingdoms have lasted a very long time, such […]

Last Judgment
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Last Judgment

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On the final Sunday in the liturgical year, it is time to remember things that we’d prefer to forget. For starters, we recall that there is an infinite qualitative difference between us and God. He is immortal and infinite. We are not. Each one of us will come to our individual end. But so will […]

The Parable of the Talents
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The Parable of the Talents

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I’ve seen it time and time again. Someone decides to seek a better paying job, or pursue and investment strategy, or launch a new business. Invariably some pious person in the parish objects that maybe this is too worldly, that it will be a distraction from Church and family priorities, that one should be satisfied […]

Who Needs Church Buildings?
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Who Needs Church Buildings?

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As a rebellious teenager, I thought that Catholics should stop wasting their money on expensive churches. We ought to sell them all and buy food for the poor, I argued. Funny thing. Jesus, who cared much for the poor, did not have this attitude. As an adolescent he yearned to spend time in Herod’s sumptuous […]

Holiness is For All!
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Holiness is For All!

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At age 16, I thought that aspiring to holiness was out of the question. If you really wanted to be holy, I thought, you had to be a priest, nun, or brother. And you had to spend your days doing “religious stuff” like praying, preaching, teaching catechism, or serving the poor. But I had developed […]

The Radical Rabbi and the Great Commandment
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The Radical Rabbi and the Great Commandment

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They are at it again. In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus’ opponents enlist a lawyer to do what lawyers do best- ask a question that puts a person on the hot seat. “Which commandment of the law is the greatest?” (Matthew 22:34-40). If the law consisted in only the Ten Commandments, this would be tough enough. […]

Render unto Caesar
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Render unto Caesar

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Despite their flattering words, they were trying to trap him, to force him into a no win situation. Consider the circumstances.  They are living under the iron boot of a brutal empire which filled the earth with its idolatry.  Patriotic Jews longed to throw off the tyrants’ yoke.  They prayed for an anointed king who […]

The Sneakiest of the Seven Deadly Sins
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The Sneakiest of the Seven Deadly Sins

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At age 16, life was about rock ‘n roll. If my own band was not performing on Saturday night, I was out in the audience, watching another band. It would have never occurred to me to spend my Saturday nights at a Catholic conference or retreat. True, no matter how late I was out, I’d […]

Peace and Security
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Peace and Security

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A few years ago, I toured northern England.  There, stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a massive wall.  Constructed of stone, it was built to last, since it marked the northernmost boundary of the greatest empire the world had ever known.  Soldiers from every corner of the world were […]

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