Category: Catechesis

On Eucharistic Existence
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On Eucharistic Existence

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The death of Jesus Christ—the liturgy par excellence, the supreme oblation and fulfillment of Israel’s sacrificial system—occurred outside the holy precincts of the temple, thus demolishing the rigid dichotomy between the sacred and the profane. The Christian knows no “temple” but his body, wherein the Spirit dwells individually; and the church, wherein the Spirit dwells […]

The Witness of John the Baptist
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The Witness of John the Baptist

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John the Baptist stood waist deep in the Jordan River.  Thousands of faith-seekers came to be baptized by John for the forgiveness of sins.  John believed that baptizing was his calling in life, the reason that he was born; indeed it was.  Then one day Jesus arrived and the life and mission of the Baptist took on a […]

Reflections for Sunday, January 19, 2014
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Reflections for Sunday, January 19, 2014

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Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion (Isaiah 49:3,5-6; Psalm 40:2,4,7-10; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34) Seeing Jesus More Clearly, a Work of the Holy Spirit I did not know him. (John 1:33)  When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin […]

Why Ad Orientem?  Part I
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Why Ad Orientem? Part I

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A frequent refrain to those who love traditional liturgical piety is that our piety, while nice and beautiful, is no longer culturally relevant.  They tell us it is near impossible to teach today’s generation with these bygone customs.  One of the customs they believe this applies to most is the issue of saying Mass ad […]

A Great Mystery: Salvation Appears in the Jordan
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A Great Mystery: Salvation Appears in the Jordan

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When Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” This […]

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
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Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

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At first glance, the scene makes little sense.  John’s strident call to repentance provokes an overwhelming response.  People of all shapes and sizes flock to him in the wilderness.  They are baptized in the Jordan as a sign of repentance and cleansing.  Suddenly, out of the crowd steps John’s cousin, Jesus.  Wait a minute.  What’s […]

Reflections for Sunday, January 12, 2014
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Reflections for Sunday, January 12, 2014

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The Baptism of the Lord Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion (Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7; Psalm 29:1-4,9-10; Acts 10:34-38; Matthew 3:13-17) View NAB Reading at USCCB.org At Jesus’ Baptism, The Sinless One is One With Us esus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan. (Matthew 3:13) It’s a big day! After thirty hidden years […]

To See or Not to See
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To See or Not to See

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“I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even as just now I’ve tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth.”  Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man Christmas flows into 2014, and the busy-ness of the worldly life pulls us away from our true center. These times when we are […]

The Incarnation and the Family
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The Incarnation and the Family

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Every year right after Christmas, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family.  There is an important reason for this.  It’s easy to think the “incarnation” means God took on a human body, that he appeared in human flesh. But there is much more to it than that.  In Jesus, God unites himself to an […]

The School of the Gospel is Always in Session
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The School of the Gospel is Always in Session

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The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus—the school of the Gospel (CCC No. 533).   My parents married in 1969.  The day before the wedding my father got cold feet.  In the hotel bar he sat drinking beer with the lawyer Tom Wall who counseled my father […]

Reflections for Sunday, December 29, 2013
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Reflections for Sunday, December 29, 2013

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Feast of the Holy Family Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion (Sirach 3:2-6,12-14; Psalm 128:1-5; Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew 2:13-15,19-23) View NAB Reading at USCCB.org What it Means to “Put on Love” Put on then, as God’s chosen ones … love. (Colossians 3:12, 14)  You are about to head out the door for a family […]

Avoiding the Climax of Intellectual Stupidity
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Avoiding the Climax of Intellectual Stupidity

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Until relatively recently, atheism just seemed to me like a phase for confused college students—usually nothing to be taken seriously, only something to be outgrown. However, atheism has become more pernicious in recent years. Aside from those who are going through a phase of “amateur atheism” occasioned by trendiness, myopic biology professors, or tough situations […]

The Deeper Meaning of Christmas
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The Deeper Meaning of Christmas

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In the days of Caesar Augustus, an era of peace was established in the Mediterranean world after centuries of strife.  But this peace was forged by the proud ambition of emperors and the edge of their armies’ swords. Upon this stage appears a baby acclaimed as king by eastern dignitaries.  Neither Caesar nor Herod will […]

The Memoirs of the Apostles:  The Epistles of Saints James, Peter, John and Jude
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The Memoirs of the Apostles: The Epistles of Saints James, Peter, John and Jude

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The seven Catholic Epistles written by Saints James, Peter, John, and Jude form a small but integral portion of the New Testament. These letters have always interested me, ever since I learned about the epistolary genre of Scripture when I was a boy at Catholic school. I wonder how much attention these writings receive, written […]

The Christmas Story's Best Supporting Actor
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The Christmas Story’s Best Supporting Actor

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In the drama of the incarnation, Jesus is, of course, the star.  That’s the way it is at every birth.  All eyes are on the baby.  The co-star, though, is definitely mom.  Without her love and labor, the event could not have happened.  In this case, without mom’s faith it couldn’t have happened either.  According […]

The Link Between Catechesis and Liturgy
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The Link Between Catechesis and Liturgy

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From time to time in various debates about the liturgy, the principle of lex orandi lex credendi surfaces.  While the Latin might be a little off putting, the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the concept as follows:  When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles – whence the ancient […]

Reflections for Sunday, December 22, 2013
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Reflections for Sunday, December 22, 2013

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Fourth Sunday of Advent Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion (Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 24:1-6; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-24) View NAB Reading at USCCB.org Sharing With Others the New Life We Have in Christ  She was found with child through the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18) For the first two months of a woman’s pregnancy, […]

Stealing Christ's Job
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Stealing Christ’s Job

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In the Old Testament, the Azazel goat, translated as scapegoat, was one of two goats chosen for a ceremony on The Day of Atonement. The first goat was sacrifice but a priest would lay hands on the second goat and symbolically transfer all the sin and guilt of the community on to this animal. The […]

Snippets From an Exhortation:  The Anti-Modernism of Pope Francis
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Snippets From an Exhortation: The Anti-Modernism of Pope Francis

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The narrative that has been played out since the election of Jorge Bergoglio is one of a Pope ready to overturn all the doctrines of the Church , ordain women priests, change the teaching on marriage and homosexuality, and generally turn the Catholic Church into a minor caucus within the Democratic Party. This narrative was […]

Gaudete Sunday:  Joyfully Waiting
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Gaudete Sunday: Joyfully Waiting

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Saint James the Just, one of Christianity’s early leaders, counsels readers across the ages to be patient but productive while waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises.  The canonical epistle composed by James (or by his community of disciples) urges his audience—“The Twelve Tribes of the Dispersion”—to be patient and to continue to live holy […]

Reflections for Sunday, December 15, 2013
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Reflections for Sunday, December 15, 2013

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Third Sunday of Advent Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion (Isaiah 35:1-6,10; Psalm 146:6-10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11) View NAB Reading at USCCB.org Allowing the Eucharist to Transform Us   They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. (Isaiah 35:2) Thinking about the Eucharist always brings certain Scripture passages […]

Why Aren't They Preaching About What I Think is Important?
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Why Aren’t They Preaching About What I Think is Important?

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Catholics tend to have a love/hate relationship with the concept of a homily.  In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis laments how everyone suffers when it comes to the homily.  The priest suffers because he has to give it, and the laity suffers having to listen.  This can be made worse by the fact that preachers can have […]

St. Paul: To Rome With Hope and Love
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St. Paul: To Rome With Hope and Love

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The season of Advent is about hope.  That is the message to be taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.  His message of hope in Christ speaks to Christians throughout the millennia as it did to the Church at Rome c. AD 57. Back then the Roman Christians experienced persecution at the […]

Reflections for Sunday, December 8, 2013
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Reflections for Sunday, December 8, 2013

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Second Sunday of Advent Meditation and Questions for Reflection/Group Discussion (Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-2,7-8, 12-13,17; Romans 15:4-9; Matthew 3:1-12) Growing in Godly Patience and Love Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you. (Romans 15:7) Jesus sure has a lot of patience, doesn’t he? Day in and day out, he puts up with our erratic […]

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