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Showing posts from September, 2016

27th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Patience.  It’s a quality that many people have lost in our world of instant gratification.  Items can be purchased on Amazon and delivered the same day.  Not only have we eliminated that whole strolling through the mall way of shopping, but we’re even eliminating that bothersome next day delivery… because waiting even a day would be just too long.  Studies have shown that we even take for granted that knowledge itself can be instantaneous through our  mobile devices, so much so that our minds are no longer exercised enough to be able to store that knowledge in our long term memory.  Our readings this week, however, tell us a different story… that good things will come but not as soon as we would like:

The Word for the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Luke 17:5-10

Our first reading is from the book of the prophet Habakkuk.  A minor prophet from whom we only hear from this once in the full three year cycle of the …

The Challenges of Translating the Word...

One of the gifts of our Archdiocese is our weekly news magazine the Angelus (formerly the Tidings).  In it you will find contributing columnist Fr. Ron Rolheiser weekly musings on an array of topics.  His column for this week, From Paranoia to Metanoia, is definitely worth taking a moment to read. 

Last week we spent some time talking about why there are so many different versions of the Bible, and why we are constantly revisiting our translations of these ancient texts.  As we discussed, language evolves, so if these ancient texts are to remain relevant, or even understandable, we need to occasionally revisit them to make sure they are staying true to the intent of their ancient authors.

One of the problems with translations from one language to another, however, is that there isn't always one word or phrase that easily matches the original.  A classic example, especially for scripture, is the word "love."  The ancient Greeks had at least five different words (philia, e…

Marriage and Confirmation... so misunderstood!

It never fails... As Director of Adult Faith Formation and RCIA, every year I can count on getting at least several telephone calls, or have at least 2 or 3 interviews with couples who are looking to get married in the Church.  Why are that calling me?  Because one of them hasn't received their Confirmation or is not Catholic, and because the priest they're working with has told them that they needed to take care of this before they could get married

Pardon me, that's just bull!

There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation that couples have when it comes to this issue, and unfortunately much of that comes from some of our own priests.  Now don't get me wrong... I know quite a number of priests who do know how to address these situation (I've never had to deal with this problem with my pastor nor the other priests in my parish), but when a couple comes to me during an already anxious time to tell me their priest said they needed to do this, it tells me the…

Captain's Log, supplemental: Vanity of vanities...

Our daily readings for today (22 September, Thursday of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time) open with the famous opening to the book of Ecclesiastes:

  Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
  vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!

If this sounds familiar, it should... it was the opening passage for our readings back on July 31st (the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time).

I don't normally comment on the daily readings, but this morning my wife, who follows the daily meditations from Give Us This Day  thought I would be interested in their commentary for today's first reading.  In it, the author noted how we are more likely to scramble for money tossed on the ground than we are to scramble for the gift of eternal life.  Going to extraordinary effort to grab at the shiny thing in front of us, instead of looking to things that are more important.  Spending our time with Twitter and Facebook instead of reading a book.  Investing in Lotto tickets instead of a savings account.  Fighting over tha…

26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

What is Social Justice?  Our readings last week gave us a basic understanding, first with a warning about our fate based on how we treat others, especially the poor.  Not only will the Lord remember how we treat the poor, but in our Gospel he reminded us that we must be honest stewards, both of others and the message of the Gospel.  This week our readings give us a warning of what will become of us should we not heed the cry of those in need:

The Word for the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time Amos 6:1a, 4-7
Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Luke 16:19-31

We open with another passage from Amos, our fiery Southern prophet giving a warning to those who have become complacent.  The imagery Amos uses speaks of excessive wealth, and while taking a jab at David, foretells of what will happen (and did happen) if they don’t change their ways.  It is a stinging indictment that is very much relevant today as we see an increasing disparity between rich and poor in our contemporary world.

Blast from the past... but still all to relevant...

Three years ago, while preparing for our Adult Formation session on the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time, I stumbled across this article that was published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram:  Long Beach Private Jet Firm Fields Strange Requests from High Flying Clients

Take a moment and read this article... then come back here...

After reading this article, the spirit of Amos so seized me that I was compelled to write the following supplemental commentary.  I wanted to share it with you here because I fear we're still not listening to the warnings of this important prophet:

Originally sent 24 Sep 2016:

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

At the heart of the Mosaic Law is this idea that we, the people of God, need to protect those who are in need:  The poor.  Widows.  Orphans.  Foreigners.  Those individuals who traditionally have no rights under the Law because they have no property.  God not only taught that we needed to love our neighbor, but that we need to go out of our way to make sure even those who have the least are loved and protected.

The Word for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time Amos 8:4-7
Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Luke 16:1-13 (or 16:10-13)

We open with a reading from the prophet Amos… and if there ever were an example of fiery prophetic rage and divine justice, it’s Amos.  A Southern prophet during the height of the Jewish kingdoms (some 150 years before the Exile), Amos is a shepherd by trade but was called, somewhat reluctantly by God, to the life of a prophet to rail against the injustice and hypocrisy he saw all around him.  Our passage this week is thick with meaning, and if not …

Summer Leftovers... Life isn't black and white

On our Facebook page, one of my colleagues referenced an article they found from the Catholic News Service:

Life isn't black and white – teach priests to discern the gray, Pope says

Needless to say, I was thrilled to read this article.  I love it when the Pope listens to me!  Allow me to explain...

For the many years I've been involved in adult catechesis and the RCIA, one of the running themes through our process is this concept of "navigating the gray."  We have a good understanding of right and wrong, but the reality of our lives is that not everything is black and white.  My job as a catechist is to give you the tools to help you navigate the gray areas.

When it comes to issues of sin and morality, the Church teaches that we must have "an informed conscience."  In other words, we need to understand what's right or wrong so that we can make the right decision.  After all, the key elements of sin include "grave matter," that is, knowing that …

Summer Leftovers... Noah's Ark

Back in early July I stumbled across this article from AOL news:

It's a story about how a Creationist group in Kentucky built what they consider to be a replica of Noah's Ark.  A fascinating story, so much so that I was compelled to post some comments on our Facebook page.  In looking back at this story, I thought I should also share those thoughts here on our blog:

File this under "are you kidding me?"

Apparently a creationist group has built what they consider to be a replica of Noah's Ark in Williamstown Kentucky. They claim it was built according to Biblical dimensions (which can be found in Genesis 6:14-16).

While we do get some details as to the overall size of the ark, including that it should have 3 main decks, an upper deck, and a door on the side, we don't get much else. We're told it should be made …