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August 09 2017 The Closeness of the Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan is none other than Our Lord. He comes into our lives when no one else will. Though we may be half-dead, he bandages us, carries us to safety and even pays for our recovery. This is how much he loves us. In the people of the Old Testament, we find men and women with stories perhaps not unlike our own. There is suffering, to be sure. However, to each person, God is present. Remarkably, he then ‘draws straight with crooked lines’. Scripture echoes this. Rom 8: 28 – “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”

 

August 02 2017 The Goodness of Saying “Yes” to God

Franciscan University offers some of the world’s best youth conferences each summer. Young people begin on Friday night, like so many we know and love, yet uncertain about their faith, or struggling how to engage. Then, by Saturday night, they can hardly believe what they had been missing! They sense God’s presence and are filled with great joy! Joining me are two young witnesses from a recent conference.

July 26 2017 Healing to Ascend God’s Heights

God invites us to be like him and live with him in heaven.  There is nothing greater.  Yet, we can be encumbered in responding to his invitation because of wounds we sometimes have experienced.  As the woman in Scripture with the hemorrhage, we too can be healed through contact with Our Lord.  And what then?  Let us rejoice and be the more animated in our ascent!  We might, for example, respond to Our Lady.  Allegedly in Medjugorje (2July2017), she invited us to “pray for those who do not know my Son.”  The reason?  So that “through prayer and the love which comes through prayer, they may become better; that the goodness in them could win; that souls could be saved and have eternal life.”

July 19 2017 Be Open! …to the Action of the Holy Spirit!

It is said that Ivan in Medjugorje was told by Our Lady (23Jun’17) to “be open”. Through him, Mary invites us to be open to the strength and grace coming from her Son.  God wants us to intercede for others who are far from his Son and we need strength and grace for this.  Our Lady says: “[Pray] that the goodness in them could win” (Mirjana 2Jul’17).  We sometimes have obstacles in our hearts that block the action of the Holy Spirit.  To clear them, we must pray for the grace we need to be healed.

July 12 2017 Jesus: Prayerful, Passionate

We may be familiar with the key events in Jesus’ life.  But, are we as familiar with his life of prayer, or better yet, that his whole life was a prayer?  We can glimpse it in key moments, for example:  his baptism; the calling of the Twelve Apostles;  the Transfiguration; His death on the Cross; and elsewhere.  These were moments of passionate prayer as we can see at the Transfiguration and reading the Psalms he prays during his Crucifixion.  For us, those of us desiring to draw closer to Jesus and better experience his love, we need the help of the Holy Spirit to clear the obstacles in our hearts, to make more room for him and to ask his help to pray passionately!

June 05 2017

June 28 2017 Underestimating God’s Love and Mercy?

Would we not be horrified if our 5-year old son or daughter, uncertain about our ability to help, went instead to ask a friend?  Truly, we are blessed with friends, but they are not the same as a mother or father.  God the Father, it seems, sent St. Faustina to remind his older children, you and me, about this very thing!
God’s mercy, his love for us knows no bounds!  Yet, sometimes we do not even ask for it.  My special guest is Maria Vargo.  She discovered the depth of Our Lord’s love in just this way.  Today, she is a talented actress and singer for Our Lord, and intimately familiar with St. Faustina, God’s “Messenger of Divine Mercy”.
Maria Vargo and her music may be found at:  mariavargo@hotmail.com, 1-310-699-4697, as well as on iTunes and Facebook.
Acting as St. Faustina, Maria’s performance, Faustina:  Messenger of Divine Mercy, will soon be available on DVD.  For more information, please visit: www.stlukeproductions.com, or call 1-360-687-8029.

June 21 2017 Healing Our Internal Bleeding

In Mark’s Gospel, the woman was healed of her hemorrhaging by touching the cloak of Jesus.  For 12 years she sought healing, but found none.  In a similar way, we can long suffer internal bleeding, in our hearts.  We bleed inside when we harbor anger or resentment for injuries received.  Worse still, our hearts bleed when we do not forgive the wrongs committed against us, often at the hands of those closest to us.  Yet, if we approach Jesus honestly, admitting that we may not even desire to forgive, he will give us that grace.  He will heal us.  It takes faith to approach Jesus in this way.

June 14 2017 Touching the Fringe…

The woman who had suffered internal bleeding for 12 years, thought that if she simply touched the fringe of Jesus’ garment, she might be healed.  And she was!  Jesus also desires our own healing, and will give it.  Sometimes it can be physical, but do not forget the healing that he also brings to our hearts.  Jesus invites our participation.  He calls us to remain faithful amidst our challenges and to ask him for the grace we need.  The healing of our souls, we see in John 5: 14, is his greatest desire for us.

June 07 2017 Tobit: Revealing God’s Action in Our Lives

Tobit was simply trying to remain faithful.  Perhaps he was like you or me.  Yet, he suffered such that he hoped for death.  In prayer, however, God heard him and sent help through the archangel Raphael.  Tobit’s beautiful prayer finds God near and ready to help him.  In a similar way, Our Lady, allegedly coming to Medjugorje today, invites us to pray, to be ready, and to intercede for those who do not yet know her Son.  We have Tobit’s faithful example to follow and to grow confident in God.

May 03 2017 Regaining a Diminishing Faith

Jeremiah was a great prophet in ancient Israel.  He brought before the people’s eyes how they, as God’s children, were going astray.  Jeremiah called them to return.  Today, it is alleged that the Queen of Prophets is coming to Medjugorje.  There, she is inviting us to draw closer her Son.  Recently, she invited us “to pray, not to ask but to offer sacrifice – sacrificing [ourselves].”  She sees the faith in our hearts “diminishing” and comes to bring us help!

April 26 2017

April 19 2017 Knowing Scripture; Knowing God

What does one say in mixed company when the question of God’s existence comes up?  Scripture offers us many examples.  People came to believe by hearing the stories of what God had done.  We can offer the same!  Consider Pharaoh and the Israelites in Egypt.  They witnessed not 1, but 10 plagues before believing.  The non-God-fearing Jethro in Midian likewise heard about the plagues and the Exodus miracles, and praised God!  And Rahab, also hearing about the wonders God had done, likewise came to believe and follow the Lord.  Through prayer, and by sharing the events of salvation history from Scripture, people in our lives will also come to believe.

April 12 2017 – Knowing Scripture; Knowing God

What does one say in mixed company when the question of God’s existence comes up? Scripture offers us many examples. People came to believe by hearing the stories of what God had done. We can offer the same! Consider Pharaoh and the Israelites in Egypt. They witnessed not 1, but 10 plagues before believing. The non-God-fearing Jethro in Midian likewise heard about the plagues and the Exodus miracles, and praised God! And Rahab, also hearing about the wonders God had done, likewise came to believe and follow the Lord. Through prayer, and by sharing the events of salvation history from Scripture, people in our lives will also come to believe.

March 29 2017

March 08 2017 Peace in the Midst of Turmoil

Interesting and challenging times such as these require a return to the basics of faith.  Keep it simple, but pray.  “Implore the Most High to strengthen your faith”, and live it “profoundly”, Our Lady has allegedly exhorted.  It also helps to recall how the gift of God’s Spirit was promised to ancient Israel and fulfilled by Jesus.  Today, we receive this gift through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.  With it, out of our hearts will “flow rivers of living water”, water for the good of those who do not yet know the love of God.

February 15 2017 Day 7 Sets Man Apart for Life in God!

In creating everything that exists, all being, God had a method that culminated in the creation of man.  Giving him dominion over the rest of creation, God did not stop there.  In addition to endowing man with “natural law” upon which moral law is built, God blesses man with “divine law” and so creates the Sabbath on Day 7.  This shows us that God intends man be with him, by grace, throughout eternity.  The Sabbath is for worshipping God and adoring him, so that we may live with him.  Here is the greatest self-image we could ever conceive!

February 08 2017 – Our Lady’s Antidote to Turmoil

We live is tumultuous times. Whether it be the US President, the Church or other parts of the world, there is much unrest. While we could forever debate why these challenges exist and never come to a satisfactory answer, Our Lady comes to tell us what to do about them. This is beautiful. This can bring us peace. “[Y]ou who are striving to offer every day of your life to my Son, you who are trying to live with Him, you who are praying and sacrificing – you are hope in this peaceless world”

February 01 2017 – Acknowledge God and Pray for Peace!

We have a beautiful example in Jonah. He had turned away from God’s calling, but when a storm threatened, he recognized his error and confessed it. As a result, God had mercy. Better still, when the Ninevites also repented of their waywardness, God relented. In our world without peace today, unsettled by man’s plans for happiness apart from God’s plan, let us continue to raise our game and follow God more closely. Then find ways to help for those who do not yet know the love of God.

January 25 2017 5 Stones Against Our Goliaths!

 

God is good.  He is so good that even against impossible odds, he enables us to prevail.  Consider David when he faced Goliath.  Goliath was almost 10 feet tall and a great warrior.  David was a youth and a shepherd.  In Medjugorje Our Lady has allegedly given us “5 stones” for battle against our “Goliaths”.  Let us take-up these stones and wield them with David’s confidence in God, and pray for peace as Our Lady asks!

January 11 2017 Opening Our Hearts to Peace

In difficult or urgent times, it is much easier to respond well if we have a plan.  This is what pilots do when flying.  If they encounter difficulties, they follow a procedure that is known to work and they practice it.  It is the same when safe-guarding peace within our hearts and families.  We too can follow a procedure.  The best plan is to consider what Our Lady has allegedly given in Medjugorje.  In Medjugorje she invites us to open our hearts to her Son so that we may have peace.  But how do we do this?  By God’s grace, Mary tells us how to do this as well!

January 04 2016 God’s Sacred Family Bond with Us

We are familiar with contracts.  Two people promise to exchange material goods or services in an agreed manner.  A covenant is very different however.  Material is not exchanged, but persons are!  Covenants are different from contracts in that they are intended to form a family bond, and a bond that is sacred.  Think of it like marriage.  Two individuals beforehand become a family afterwards!  Why does this matter?  Because it is through God’s covenants with us, beginning with Adam and Eve, that he calls us to share in his divinity.  This is a family we WANT to be part of!!

December 21 2016 God is Blessing You. Have You Noticed?

In our busy lives, we sometimes rush right past our waiting Lord.  However, to better sense him in our hearts, we might consider together a couple verses from Sacred Scripture.  In the prophecies of Balaam, we can begin to glimpse the tenderness of Our Lord towards us.  The king of Moab is asking Balaam to curse Israel.  Yet, despite himself, Balaam is only able to pour upon Israel the most sublime blessings.

December 14 2016 Prophecy is Key to Readying Our Hearts

From Adam and Eve, through many prophets, the coming of the Messiah is foretold.  In addition to the existence of prophecy itself, something only God can do, what is more remarkable still is how Jesus fulfills it.  Isaiah foretold the 10 Northern Tribes, Israel, going into exile.  Jeremiah warned the 2 Southern Tribes, “Judah”, that they would suffer a similar fate.  But Jesus fulfills these prophecies and others, even the promise of a new kingdom without end.  Where do we see this particularly?  He begins at “Zebulun and Naphtali”, the place where the first two tribes were taken into exile.  And how does he do it?  By working through people who become his “fishers” as mentioned by Jeremiah, the means by which he will call “all nations”.

December 07 2016 Got Pearls?!

Matthew opens his Gospel with these powerful words:  “…Jesus Christ, Son of David…”   In order to harvest the pearls contained here, we must look for our “shucking knife” and open these words together with the Hebrew Scriptures.  Did you know, for example, Jesus and Joshua are the same name in Aramaic and Greek?  They are.  For Matthew’s audience this offers penetrating insight into Jesus.  We can know a lot about Joshua.  And what about David?  David was promised to be the father a son whose kingdom would not end.  If Jesus is David’s son, this is a radical claim being made by Matthew.  It sets into motion his entire Gospel!

November 30 2016 Prophecy Persuades!

Did you know that our Jewish brothers, who do not yet recognize Jesus as the Messiah, still hold dear the same prophecies that Christians embrace?  This wonder gives witness to the fact that Old Testament prophecies are true.  After all, Christians could not have added them after the event, and Jews certainly would not have added them for the sake of Christian faith!  Of the many Messianic prophets, Daniel stands alone however, in that he gives the time when the Messiah would appear…  500 years in advance!

November 23 2016 Prophecy as Proof Messiah has Come

David was promised an heir whose kingdom would not end.  Isaiah foretells of a Messiah who will be a “Mighty God” and yet also a “shoot from the stump of Jesse”, that is, David’s father.  Jeremiah concurs with Isaiah and adds that the Messiah will call for “fishers” to catch the Tribes of Israel from where they have been scattered.  Does Jesus fulfill these?  He does and does so unmistakably, for those familiar with prophecy, on the lake shore of Galilee when he begins calling his Apostles!

November 09 2016 The Election? Whether Despairing or Elating: Pray!

Our nation is spiritually dry.  We have lost the sense of God’s friendship.  Scripture can help rekindle the warmth of that friendship.  If we read it closely, we can even see how God has time and again sent prophets to guide us.  He continues to do so even today.  Consider Lepanto, Guadalupe, Lourdes or Fatima.  This is Our Lord offering us guidance through His Mother.  Today, we also have the alleged apparitions of Mary in Medjugorje.  She may be coming to offer us the guidance for our times!  Let us pray!

November 02 2016 Pray and Return to Fasting for Peace!

Our Lady in Medjugorje has allegedly invited us to pray for peace.  But why, you ask?  Could peace be sought because our hearts are deeply troubled by our political leadership and the choices before us?  We can glimpse the difficulties that followed ancient Israel under King Solomon.  Great was his splendor, but far did he fall when he pursued other gods.  Our Lady comes to give us the grace follow a better Way!

October 26 2016 Does Separating Church & State Produce the Results We Seek?

The man who behaves decently at home, but abhorrently away, loses ability to provide for his family.  He loses a part of himself in his un-God-like behaviors.  So too when our political leaders justify their weak thinking, claiming there is a necessary separation between Church and State.  This is a so-called Enlightenment idea that is based on misunderstanding and error.  It will not produce the results we desire.  We, therefore, are invited to vote for the candidate who will do the best for us morally, or who will inflict the least amount of moral harm.  By design, we have a capacity to receive God.  Let us cooperate with all the good he showers upon us!

October 19 2016

October 12 2016 What is the Good News, Really?

It is easy to believe in God when everyone around us also believes.  But what about when those around us have less faith than we or no faith at all?  Our confidence in God can suffer.  Antidotes for this condition can be found by reflecting on two truths:  Jesus is unlike any other great religious leader (he is the only one who was prophesied!).  And Scripture is unlike any other great religious writing.  It is divinely inspired and completely inerrant!  We will consider here the reasons for these claims.

September 28 2016 God Rescued Israel; Is He Rescuing Us?

In days gone by, we may be familiar with how God rescued Israel from Egypt.  There, God called Moses to be his instrument and through him God delivered the 10 Plagues.  What about today?  Do we not have extraordinary challenges we are facing?  Are we tempted to ask whether God is acting in our lives or not?  I invite listeners to consider not only how Our Lord gave us his Mother to be our Mother, there at the Cross on Calvary, but also how he sent her to Fatima.  Also, with over 50 million Holy Communions served in Medjugorje since the alleged apparitions began in 1981, is she coming to guide us through the special challenges of our days?

September 21 2016 Steps Along the Way toward Today’s Challenges and Grace

It is good that in the beginning God existed.  If that were not so, how would we or anything else exist?  The has to be a first cause.  God created us and did so in his image and likeness, but first he began by creating a place for us.  This place was earth and the fertile regions of the Near East.  It was here that man’s relationship with God began.  Unfortunately, we fell from grace early-on [and hurt our relationship with God] by choices Adam and Eve made.  The difficult part is that we have inherited a susceptibility to sin.  This brings us our own challenges.  Yet, we will see how next to us in these challenges, God is always there giving us his grace.

September 14 2016 Chosen from Out of Obscurity

God is endearing in his methods and wins us to himself in all ways beautiful!  Perhaps one of the most beautiful ways is how he comes to us individually and invites us to follow him.  The fact that he seeks us, specifically, is remarkable enough, but there is more.  He invites us to participate in making the introduction to others!  It is as if he calls us to be a spiritual mother or father who, if willing, bring his life to a new spiritual son or daughter, someone who may come to believe.
We see this action, God’s action, in ancient Israel, his “Chosen People”.  They were chosen from the midst of a world that existed long before them and from amongst peoples far more prominent than they.  Yet, God’s plans are not hindered by this.  This too reflects his glory.  Rather, his plans become the more exciting, because he invites our real participation!!

September 7 2016 God has been Blessing Us from the Beginning!

Do we sometimes lose contact with friends only to reacquaint later and realize how dear they are to us?  This can happen between us and God too. Stories of God’s help in ages past, however, remind us that God works to bless us and, through people he calls, win us back.  Not only that, but for those willing to follow Him, God establishes a covenant, a special bond and relationship that comes with special promises.  He has done this ever since the time of our first parents!

August 24 2016 Hope: Same-Day-Delivery?!

Amidst our trials and concerns, do we find the hope we desire?  In John’s Gospel, Philip approaches Nathanael and makes one of the world’s most remarkable claims:  “we have found the one about whom Moses wrote”!  Then, invited to “come and see”, Nathanael has a sublime encounter with Our Lord:  “before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree”.  What did he see?  It must have been Nathanael’s heart beating for God!  Jesus sees our hearts beating and desires the same intimate encounter with us.

August 17 2016 Strength to Enter the Narrow Gate!

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” (Lk 13: 24)   Strength?!  What does strength have to do with entering heaven?  It is a spiritual strength, and for this reason, Our Lady comes to encourage us, to instruct us, to guide us!  At Fatima, Our Lady invited us to pray for sinners who have no one to pray for them.  At Medjugorje, Our Lady has allegedly said she has come to complete what she began at Fatima (Aug 25, 1991).  Recently, she has also promised to intercede for our “concerns and trials”, and invites us to pray and draw strength from her Son in the Holy Eucharist!

August 10 2016 Invited to Play in God’s Championship Game!

We are familiar with great athletes.  They impress us every time we turn on the television!  Are we aware, however, that God invites us to participate in, to be a player in an even bigger game?  Not shoulder-to-shoulder with Michael Phelps or Peyton Manning, but catching a touchdown pass from super saints like St. Maximillian Kolbe or St. John Paul II !  This is Our Lord’s “Big Game”, his championship.  We are invited to make a difference in peoples lives…  to help save souls!  Furthermore, God gives us the grace to participate!  We have the Sacraments, prayer, and coaching… even from God’s own Mother!  Let us play!!

August 3, 2016 – Drawing Close to Our Lord

Did Our Lord treat the Canaanite woman brusquely when he said: “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs”? (Mt 15: 6) We would be well advised to consider the whole story. For example, we see how through her conversation with Jesus this woman is moved from soliciting his help to accepting him as her master, her Lord. It is an important transition and it is at this moment that her daughter is healed. It is at moments like this that we are healed too.

July 27 2016 – The Grace to be at Peace

Does it seem likely that God would exhort us to peace, but not give us the grace to practice it? God gives us that grace through his Church, the Sacraments and Scripture. In the Book of Revelation, God invites us through St. John to enter heaven with him and there look at how God sees things. This is a great grace for us.

God also sends us his Holy Mother. It is through her that Our Lord came to us the first time. It is through her, according to St. Louis de Montfort in True Devotion to Mary, that Christ will come again! Pope St. John Paul II attributes this work as being a “decisive turning point” in his life.

July 20 2016 – Trying Times? Try This!

We live in uncertain and troubling times. Just look at the news! Yet, God offers us encouragement and invites us to reach out to others. In taking this action, we can find our peace! Here we will consider Jeremiah’s reluctance to be a prophet, complaining that he was “too young”. Yet, God equipped him for the work. God also equips us to respond well to our own challenges and to help others in these times.

June 29 2016 – Philosophy, Theology and the European Union

Two days after a globally-historic decision, EU Parliament member, Nigel Farage, explained why Great Britain was leaving the European Union. He said the EU had failed, and failed through its practice of “stealth and deception”. These are hard words to hear. If true, what might we learn from them? Bearing on this, Dr. Peter Kreeft shows that through the sciences of philosophy and theology, man can understand the ultimate causes of things. Is it not reasonable, then, in order to achieve the best possible outcome, that we consider ultimate causes?

Dr. Kreeft’s article may be found at: cardinalnewmansociety.org

June 22, 2016 – The Truth Can Be Known!

Among young people today there is a rise in the rate of suicide. One school campus I am familiar with offers a class on “Living Skills”. The syllabus, however, works against the class objective. If sex is seen simply as a decision between any two people, does this explanation offer sufficient understanding for young people to be happy?

Truth matters anytime we are concerned to address root causes. The challenge today for people young and old, is the false belief that only science produces truth. Everything else is opinion, it is popular to believe. We must overcome this thinking in ourselves by asking basic questions about experiences that we all share and consider in them whether or not there is real, objective truth outside of science.

June 15 2016 – “Will you Offer Yourself to God for Sinners?”

At this time in our world when peace seems absent, we can be reminded of Our Lady at Fatima. We celebrate this year the 100th anniversary of the Angel’s visit, one year prior to Our Lady’s. It was he who taught the 3 children to begin making reparation. Later, at Our Lady first appearance, she asked them: “Will you offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He sends you?”

BL Jacinta offered herself most zealously, offering many sacrifices for the conversion of poor sinners. We too can offer our many trials for those in our world who do not yet know the love of God.

June 08 2016 – Peace, Joy & Enlightenment Thinking

We are proud today of what we received from the Enlightenment. This includes great faith in science and its empirical evidence, hard data needed to believe in things. We are proud too thinking how an earlier era had been intellectually dim or without reason – an ignorance we would be embarrassed to repeat.

However, is this perspective sufficient? If a 14 year-old “borrows” his father’s car, taking advantage of being home alone, or thinking ‘What could possibly go wrong?’, is that child’s understanding enough to be truly happy? Is there not more to consider than the simple “availability” of the car? The young person should consider more, and so should we in our Enlightened Age.

May 25 2016 – A Fire Enkindled

Martin Luther sets into motion rejection of legitimate authority in the church. Yes, there were abuses, and Luther may not have intended all that followed, but very soon Zwingli would reject not only the church, but any authority Luther expected to have. To the city council of Zurich Zwingli turned. Likewise, Calvin, not united with the church, Luther or Zwingli, would find support for his reformation in the city council of Geneva. Similarly, Knox found support for his plans in the Scottish Parliament and the Tudors for theirs in the British Parliament. If everyone can be right at the same time, who can tell us whether Jesus is truly and substantially present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Holy Eucharist as St. Paul testified to 1 Cor 11: 24-27 or the early Church Fathers wrote about? Let us consider here what is reasonable to believe.

May 18 2016 – Legitimate Anger; Unintended Losses

We know how in a family legitimate angers can escalate and, if unchecked, lead to greater hurting relationships and even to there loss. Inside God’s family it is no different. Legitimate concern raised by Luther was like a camp fire, lighted with purpose, that then spread into the forest. There, fueled by the trees of political interests and individualist philosophy, much was lost. The losses include not only a separated Christian family, but the understanding that the sacraments are physical realities actually conveying God’s grace and are not merely symbolic. We know this because God has always chosen to save his people physically. Through the ages he called his children to the task. Think Moses, Abraham, Joseph, the prophets… Mary, Peter… the boy with the 5 loaves, and your parish priest. Yet, by understanding Luther’s concerns and the consequences that followed, listeners are invited to recognize the separation and seek reconciliation with their brothers and sisters in Christ.

May 11 2016 – Contributing Factors to the Reformation

Although it is not sufficient to blame the corruption within the Church as the cause for the Reformation, it was a factor. The political and philosophical factors were even more important, however. In the end, Christian brothers and sisters separated themselves from one another. A problem that persists in God’s family even today. Listeners are invited to consider the causes as a way to understand God’s presence in our world and the richness of the inheritance he invites us to receive into our lives.

May 04 2016

April 27 2016 – “Church History Informs Us about Jesus”

Relationships work well when truth is shared, that is when we share the truth about who we are and what we have experienced. Our Lord is no different. He too wishes to share with us the truth about himself so that we may draw into a deeper relationship with him. It is for this reason that a better understanding of the church history, Our Lord’s church, comes to our aid. If we receive that history recognizing that it is his church, and that he is still guiding that church – as he promised he would – we can be amazed! Here we look at the period of time from the Apostles through the 6th Century.

April 13, 2016

March 30 2016 – The Scalpel of Church History

Pope Benedict XVI once remarked how the paradox of Peter, being both the denier of Christ and the Rock and foundation of the church, is a “divine dispensation that shames [our] pride again and again.” This sublime truth can remind us that it is Our Lord who preserves his Church. Let there be no mistake about it! Looking at Church history is a great way to be reminded most poignantly about this fact. We consider here the four, early Christological Councils: Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. These councils were called at moments of crisis, when the faithful were in danger of losing their treasure.

March 16 2016 – A Debt of Gratitude Owed Church Fathers

We might imagine that the Church we see today has always existed. Yet, in the period of time after the Apostles died and after the bloody persecutions of the Church ended with Constantine, many questions were raised about who Christ is. These questions had to be answered with compelling arguments if the compelling doubters were to be persuaded. The Church Fathers and the four Christological Councils guided the early church to its beautiful understandings still bearing fruit today.

March 02, 2016 – “To Be Deep in History is to Become Catholic”

Blessed John Henry Newman exclaims that the vitality of our faith depends, in part, on knowing about our Christian family’s history. Our Jewish ancestors were unique and distinguished themselves by particular beliefs. Jesus and the apostles were also Jews. The early Church saw themselves as the New Israel. Naturally, therefore, we might expect to see development of the faith in Christ and his church as it had developed for centuries, namely: through God’s personal presence and guidance, and accomplished through leaders chosen by him!

February 24, 2016 – The Passion of St. Perpetua: Distinctly Catholic Faith

St. Perpetua is often mentioned at Mass, but who is she? She was a 22 year old mother, martyred during one of the Roman persecutions in 203. Her story, written by Perpetual herself, is moving. It not only describes her great faith, but also her courage. Perpetua’s account also gives witness to several, uniquely Catholic beliefs. This includes purgatory, the communion of saints, and intercessory prayer for those who have died. For those who may be interested in the complete account, find: “St. Perpetua: The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity 203”.

February 03, 2016 – Aiding Disconnected Man

Amidst relativistic thinking and many distractions from truth, man is losing himself.  He knows less well who he is.  It is similar to someone who knows himself only by looking into a carnival’s “fun-house” mirror.  Man’s self-image is becoming distorted.  Losing ourself in this way makes us susceptible to danger.  Our points of reference are not available to compare new perspectives against.  One danger to be avoided is the belief that man is no more than a highly evolved organism, that we do not have a dignified and noble heritage, an ancestry stemming from God’s deliberate plan to create us in his image and likeness.

January 27, 2016 – Mercy, Divorce and Remarriage

Following the Synod on the Family, some continue to advocate that it is merciful to admit people to Holy Communion who have been divorced and civilly remarried.  This sounds good, but is it good?  What we do not often consider is that before one can be merciful, there is first an objective value or universal truth that has been transgressed.  Mercy is beautifully and powerfully shown when Jesus says to the woman:  “Neither do I condemn you.  Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”  – Jn 8: 11

January 20, 2016

January 13, 2016 – Without a Priest, There Can Be “No Balance in the Force”

Star Wars adherents know that without the Jedi, there can be “no balance in the Force.”  Do Christians, however, understand that without a priest we are equally imperiled?  Like the Jedi, priests are formed to overcome the “dark forces” in our world.  Further, they nurture and restore the grace to live holy lives. Priests are deeply trained in the arts of philosophy and theology so that we might rightly call them our spiritual father.  In fact, priests are so powerful in fighting evil that the devil told St. John Vianney that if there were just three priests like him in all of France, he (the devil) would not be able to enter there!

December 30, 2015

December 23, 2015 – Connecting with the Birth of Our Savior

Amidst the many traditions we enjoy during Advent and Christmas, do we need connect more closely with what it means to have a savior born to us?  In ancient Israel, there were specific occasions when, as with Mary, angels were sent to announce the good news that Israel would be relieved of their oppressors.  I refer to Samson’s birth, as well as John the Baptist’s.  These instruments of Our Lord’s plan are tangible examples that better connect us with the birth of Our Savior!

December 16, 2015 – Our Lady at Guadalupe: Guidance from God

Our Lady of Guadalupe came to troubled Mexico in 1531 just as the prophets did to ancient Israel.  God sent the prophets and now sends Our Lady, to guide us.  This happens at critical junctures on our path toward salvation.  In this program we will consider the circumstances of early Mexico, Our Lady’s guidance there and the relevance for us and our times.  Deacon Dominic Peloso, an expert on Our Lady of Guadalupe is my guest.

November 25, 2015 – Rich with Prophecy, Not Just Israel, but also the Church!

We may readily recognize the presence and workings of the prophets in the Old Testament, but are there prophets today?  If we are uncertain, do we have reason to suppose that God has changed this way of relating to us?  Church history shows that God continues to send us encouragements and guidance through the Queen of Prophets, his holy Mother.  We are invited to put ourselves and our families into her care to be guided through the challenges we face.

November 18, 2015 – Aiding Discernment

We all hope for clear guidance from God.  This is a given.  Are we aware, however, of the various aids available to help us hear him better?  Here we consider ways to close the separation distance that sometimes comes between us and God.  In addition, we do well to be aware that both the Holy Spirit and fallen angels attempt to help us and hinder us, respectively, and to use techniques that can aid our decision making.

November 11, 2015 – Virginal Conception, Yes, but Birth Too?

The Church has always taught that Mary was a virgin before, during and after the birth of Our Lord.  What are some of the ways we can glimpse how the Church knows this to be true?  Are there reliable sources available to us, and how do we know they are reliable?  The result from considering these questions is to grow more deeply in our love of God and all that he is doing in his Church!

November 04, 2015 – Was the Tomb Empty or Not?!

We see that the controversy over admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion continues after the Synod, but why? It continues because there is much at stake. It also continues because our relationship with Christ can sometimes be more in our heads than in our hearts. Thomas Stark, a prominent philosopher at the Univ of St Polten in Austria, much like a coach who knows athletes, credibly explains* why some educated people persist in contradicting solid thinking and Church teaching. We also see this phenomenon present in the scribes at the healing of the paralytic (Mark 2: 1 – 12).

October 28, 2015 – “To Receive Mercy, One Has to Break with Sin”

The Synod question about whether divorced and remarried persons ought to be admitted to Holy Communion, is still being debated today. When Inside the Vatican recently interviewed Cardinal Robert Sarah he said that “in order to receive mercy, one has to break with sin.” The familiar story of the Prodigal Son support this. There is also a story about St. Padre Pio who, after battling with the devil one night, complained to his guardian angel that he was not helping Pio during the battle! The angel responded that had he helped then, St. Pio would not have reached the higher place in heaven available to him. As with the prohibition against communion for the divorced and re-married, our crosses in life are opportunities for holiness.

October 21, 2015 – Is Jesus the Smartest Man in the World?

In the article titled, “Jesus the Logician” *, we are invited to consider Jesus as the most intelligent man who ever lived.  Yet, when we are looking for an expert, say, in our professional lives, does his name come to mind?  In Scripture we see that even Jesus’ well-prepared attackers are amazed by his answers.  Whether we are business professionals, teachers, athletes or artists, we too might be amazed by his answers.  Scripture also shows us that Jesus’ actions are sublime and they touch our hearts!
* Christian Scholar’s Review, 1999, Vol XXVII, #4, 605-614.

October 14, 2015 – As Synod Tensions Rise, Our Lady Offers Hope

Many news reports suggest that the Synod on the Family is marked by three varying purposes: first, many bishops desire to emphasize the beauty of marriage and to assist families in their needs. Second, some bishops want the Church’s doctrine to admit divorced and civilly re-married couples to the Eucharist. And third, a few bishops support the idea that the Church should recognize the times and accept gay unions as “marriage”.

Tensions are high among those following the Synod because of the dangerous fallout possible to doctrine and faith. Into this moment of trial for the world comes an example of Our Lady’s power to intercede on behalf of her children. It is the familiar story about Judith.

October 07, 2015 – The Beauty of Marriage

Amidst the postings, publishings and professions of the mass media, it can be lost upon us how profoundly beautiful marriage is. Scripture reveals this beauty to us. Pope St. John Paul II gives deep expression to these teachings in Scriptures in his Theology of the Body.

Additionally, let us be encouraged by the efforts of so many bishops who defend marriage!

September 30, 2015 – Israel’s Desert Experience Emphasizes God’s Presence

In a world today that widely lacks confidence in the truth, according to St. John Paul II, we have the story about ancient Israel in the desert. They complained about the manna God was providing, and lamented the “good” they had received in Egypt. In this story from the distant past we find a particularly proximate insight into our own life’s challenges. It is an opportunity to remember Who we are following, to trust that he is still with us, and to ask for the grace to grow in confidence and faith as we face our own crosses.

September 23, 2015 – Reason Helps Reveal the Splendor of Truth

“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth;” said Pope John Paul II. Reason, therefore, is intimately connected with faith, and faith is intimately connected with reasoned things like science. Unlike popular opinion today, both faith and reason are necessary to understand truth.

One of our greatest challenges is the “widespread lack of confidence in truth”. Many people believe that only things which can be measured are true and that everything else is opinion or superstition. Reason, however, allows us to see the great order in the universe and know there must be mind that created it so. Truth exists beyond science, and God also exists.

September 02, 2015

August 26, 2015 – Gnosticism, Gay Marriage & Our Lady

Eric Voegelin, political philosopher, says that “all gnostic movements are involved in the project of abolishing the constitution of being…” and that they produce “counter principles to the principles of existence”. This means that gnostics imagine an alternate reality. So that it might be condoned, they attempt to force their view, their counter principles, upon everyone. Robert R. Reilly, Christian writer, proposes that the efforts behind legalizing gay unions are a new form of gnosticism.

King Ahaz attempted the same re-definition of reality in ancient Israel by zealously serving other gods. Amazingly, God with great love and mercy reached out to Ahaz through Isaiah. He offered him help in his time of need. Isaiah also prophesied to Ahaz the coming of Emmanuel through a Virgin (Is 7: 14). An alleged apparition of Our Lady in Medjugorje on Aug 25, 2015 offers us our timely encouragement: “May prayer be for you the wings for an encounter with God. The world is in a moment of trial, because it forgot and abandoned God. Therefore you, little children, be those who seek and love God above all.”