Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2017

Nuns and Nones... continued...

On 6-24-2016 I wrote a brief commentary on what we call the "nones"... that is, those people who check the box that says "none" when asked about their religious affiliation.  That commentary was based on an address by my former high school's principal at their 2016 graduation address.  But this topic of the "nones" returned to my attention with this article posted on our daily Angelus News email from the e-magazine Crux:

Notre Dame debuts digital platform to reach young Catholics, ‘nones’
Please take a moment to read it... 

Of particular interest is the increasing number of "nones," those people who claim no religious affiliation. I first heard this term a few years back from one of the speakers at our LA Religious Education Congress. The term itself grew out of a 2012 Pew Research study that showed this rising trend. Working as I do with the RCIA and Adult Faith Formation, this was a known issue, but the Pew study validated what ma…

1st Sunday of Advent

With the 1st Sunday of Advent we welcome a new Liturgical Year, but unlike our secular celebration of the new year, we don’t do it with champagne and noisemakers.  Instead the Church begins her new year with a season of solemn reflection and preparation for the coming of Jesus.  Not his coming as an infant… that moment has past… but for his coming again in glory.  His second coming.  But this is not something to fear, it is something to rejoice!  Just as we rejoice in the memory of his first coming during the Christmas season.  Advent is our opportunity to look how well we are following through with our mission to follow Christ, and ask ourselves if we are ready for his return.

The Word for the 1st Sunday of Advent Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7
Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:33-37

The beginning of the new Liturgical Year also brings a new Lectionary cycle.  Last year, Cycle A, we spent with the Gospel of Matthew, but now we transition to Cycle B with a f…

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

In the Nicene Creed we state that we believe Jesus “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end."  This belief didn’t originate in the Creed, these words have their origins in the scriptures.  This Sunday's Gospel reminds us that God alone determines our fate after death, but that fate is also determined by our own choices in life... our free will to follow a path of righteousness or selfishness.  In one of Jesus' final sermons to his Apostles (a continuation from last week's Gospel), Jesus gives us concrete examples to follow.

The Word for Christ the King Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
Psalm 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Matthew 25:31-46

Our first reading comes Ezekiel, the exiled priest who found his prophetic voice in Babylon.  At a time where the exiled Jewish community is feeling abandoned by God, Ezekiel is called to bring a message of hope.  He speaks of God as a shepherd who seeks to bring back his l…

Reclaiming Thanksgiving... an article and an observation...

A very interesting article was posted to our daily Angelus News today. Everyone should read this one... Reclaiming Thanksgiving by Dr. Barbara Golder, MD, JD
As Catholics the idea of Thanksgiving is in our DNA... it is an integral part of the Mass, and it calls to how we celebrate everything... with a Mass followed by a feast!
I have to admit, however, that I've got some mixed feelings on this article. Dr. Golder is quite correct in stating that "modern secular society would like to expunge the very notion of religion from our history," but she does continue to recognize that "the fabric of American life is tied up with religious life, thought and expression." How do we reconcile these two seemingly competing ideals?
It is true that secular society goes out of its way to sanitize God and religiosity from our common experience, particularly with holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas who's roots are religious. Not only that, secular society has always be…

The Christmas Season? How about reclaiming Advent!

It's only been a couple weeks since we celebrated Halloween, and we still have a week to go before Thanksgiving, but by all other measures of secular society, we're on a fast train to the Christmas season.  KOST 103.5 FM has already begun their non-stop barrage of Christmas music, and all the retailers are gearing up for "black Friday,"  Which for many of these stores starts on Thanksgiving Thursday.  The frenzy of the Holidays is upon us, complete with the first house I saw last night on Clark Ave with their Christmas lights already up.  While I enjoy the holiday season just as much as anyone else, I still can't get past the fact that our secularized celebration of the season has it all wrong.

Allow me to explain... For us Catholics, we're nowhere near the Christmas season yet.  For the moment, we're still celebrating Ordinary Time.  We've put All Saints Day and All Souls Day behind us, and as Church in the United States we're preparing for Thank…

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

God the Father has endowed us with many gifts.  Not only does scripture recommend that we give thanks for these (as in our readings from Proverbs and Psalms), but it recommends that these gifts must be put to use for the greater good and the love of God.

The Word for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Matthew 25:14-30

We open with a reading from the book of Proverbs.  This book falls within the category of “wisdom literature” in the Bible.  Like it’s other wisdom book counterparts, it is a collection of wise sayings used as a type of “catechism” to teach right living in the eyes of God.  Proverbs is thought to originate during the period of the Monarchy, but doesn’t reach its final form until the post-exilic period.  Our passage for this coming Sunday gives us the example of the value of a “worthy wife,” and how we should honor that value.  “Wisdom” in this period is considered more practical than theolo…

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

With Halloween behind us, it seems the secular world is ready to push us into the Christmas season.  But hold on, I say.  Not only do we still have Thanksgiving to attend to, but the entire season of Advent is still before us.  So a little patience.  There's no need to get sucked up into the frenzy that is secular Christmas... at least not until you're ready.  For there is plenty else in front of us for which we need to prepare.  And preparedness, patience, and persistence are topics we'll be facing in this week's readings...

Be prepared.  Our world is full of uncertainty.  Anything could happen at any time that can affect our lives, either personally, locally, or globally.  As Southern Californians, we live with the constant threat of the next big earthquake (in between all the fires, flash-floods, and traffic accidents), and we’re taught regularly what we need to do in the case of a disaster.  But what of our spiritual lives?  Are we prepared for the nex…