live now |

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.”

August 19, 2015 – Defending the Indissolubility of Marriage

Following its popularity in the world today, some within the Church believe that a couple who is divorced and civilly remarried should be admitted to Holy Communion. This opposes Church teaching that marriage is indissoluble. To make a change in her teaching, the Church would have to reconcile explicit teachings from Our Lord in Sacred Scripture. Advocates of the change would also have to answer why the early Church Fathers clearly taught indissolubility. One argument put forth for change is so to offer merciful love. Beautifully, however, Our Lord models loving mercy with the woman caught in the act of adultery. She is not only defended by Jesus, he shows great love. She is not condemned. But Jesus also tells her to “go and sin no more”, loving her so much that he calls her to draw closer to him!

August 12, 2015 – Israel: Prepared for the Eucharist & Its Power Over Darkness

We face many extra-ordinary challenges in our world today. Yet, our hope is in the Lord and we should not be afraid. We are invited to turn to him in all things. But from where does our confidence come in the Holy Eucharist? We have many marvelous examples in Scripture. God not only prepared Israel to understand the power of the Eucharistic presence of Jesus, but Jesus reminds his listeners that the Manna, symbolizing the Eucharist, sustained our ancestors, and that it was given by his Father from heaven.

July 29, 2015 – Reflecting on the Good of Marriage

July 08, 2015 – Abraham: Waiting for the Credits to Roll!

Has anyone ever been tempted to leave a movie with only 10 minutes remaining, so confident were we of the ending?  Not often, I suspect.  When God calls Abraham to sacrifice his dearly beloved son for whom he so long waited, he responds as if refusing to anticipate the outcome, even waiting for the credits to begin rolling, so certain is he that “God will provide”.
Similarly, with the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay unions and redefine marriage, we too must hope.  Our Lady herself hoped amidst great trials between Good Friday and Easter Morning.  In recent weeks, it is reported at Medjugorje that Our Lady has invited us to make “acts of truth” with works of love and to share our faith in love with “those who do not believe, who do not know, who do not want to know”.
May we accept this invitation with the heart that Abraham had.

July 01, 2015 – Abraham Intercedes… and So Can We!!

Is the Supreme Court’s decision to re-define marriage serious?  Dawn Stefanowicz, a Canadian woman raised by gay parents, thinks it is a grave matter, citing also Canada’s experience.  Abraham, however, shows us the power of prayer to save souls, and the alleged message from Mary on June 2 to Mirjana in Medjugorje guides us in how to make the most effective prayers.

June 24, 2015 – Abraham, Our Dreams, and God’s Promises

God promised and Abram believed.  Was that the end of the story?  Not at all!  Abram had many occasions to seek reassurance from God.  Wonderfully, God provided them.  Nevertheless, Sarai was tempted to help God fulfill his promise to bring them an heir.  This had, and sometimes does for us too, undesirable consequences.  Sarai and Hagar her slave had a serious falling-out.  Yet, despite the near-tragic consequences, God again brings peace, and most remarkably, despite the human frailties involved!

June 17, 2015 – Abraham, Faith in Action: Body, Mind and Heart!

Abram’s example is exemplary.  After rescuing Lot, he returns to celebrate, and a priest of God facilitates this with bread and wine.  They also offer praise and thanks to God!  Yet, Abram is still anxious about God’s promises.  Where is his heir?  Amazingly, Abram looks to the heavens and offers Melchizedek one tenth of all he owns!  God responds lavishing him with even more reassurances, and is present to Abram in a way he also wants to be present to us.

June 10, 2015 – Abraham Returns from Egypt and More

Abram returns to the land God called him to.  In a way, he is returning his heart to God.  We are also invited to return to Our Lord and leave behind less-than-holy decisions we once made.
With regard to current day attacks on the family, Scripture shows us that the evil one’s motivations are deadly.  This is not simply mischief or nuisance, but cunning.  Pope Benedict XVI explains in his Christmas Eve homily 2012.  Details referenced in today’s program include work by France’s Chief Rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, “Gay Marriage, Parenthood and Adoption: What We Often Forget To Say”, and Benedict’s full homily at:  http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2012/december/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20121221_auguri-curia.html.

June 03, 2015 – Abraham: Faith Tested is Faith Strengthen!

In fear, Abram told Pharaoh that Sarai was his sister.  Is fear sometimes a motivation for decisions we make?  Abram’s experience is not unique and trials play a role in God’s plan.  We, for example, are similarly tested – tempted not trust God’s promises.  God’s purpose is to prepare us to ‘play on his championship team’, and even in the championship game!  For this game, he strengthens us.  He also sends his holy Mother to coach us!

May 27, 2015 – Abraham & I: Called by God!

God invites Abraham to follow him and makes to him remarkable promises.  What about us?  Has God invited us to follow him in a similar way?  There can be many obstacles that keep us from responding fully.  We must recognize that this happened to Abraham, and can also happen to us.  Let us consider how to respond more fully to God’s call!

May 20, 2015 – Abraham Reveals to Us God’s Call and Our Response

In the Bible, story after story show’s God taking the initiative to reach man.  These are signs of his love and can be a source for our encouragement today.  Our responses to his initiative, however, can be varied.   Sometimes we are afraid to end up like God’s Son on the cross, or in a situation, say witnessing to non-believing friends, that is uncomfortable.  As with Abraham and others, God’s calling often leads us through a desert.  Wonderfully, it is the desert that brings peace to our hearts.  St. Paul notes this in Rom 12: 1-2.  We can cooperate with God’s plan for our peace when we forgo things we prefer.  Not necessarily fasting on bread and water, try offering today less salt on your food or less time with the television or going to bed on schedule.  You may discover an oasis of internal peace!

May 13, 2015 – Abraham: a Sure Guide for Our Journey of Faith

Abraham did not begin as the pillar of faith that we honor him for today.  Before God called him, his life may have been much like our own!  Yet, his response to God’s call is remarkable, just as ours can also be.  Here we consider various challenges that Abraham faced.  We consider as well that is springs from God’s initiative and promises.

April 22, 2015 – The Power of the Truth; the Power to be Free!

One of the greatest joys on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje is the powerful testimonies of the young men in Comunita Cenacolo.  These young men tell of the unhappiness that came from pursuing life’s temptations.  In fact, they are each recovered addicts of one type or another.  Yet, the light and joy and freedom that can be seen in their eyes and faces, witnesses to the good things that God’s ways lead each one of us to enjoy.  It all begins by admitting we are not happy when we engage in things not of God.  From this truth, and others we are reluctant to reveal about ourselves, we become free to pursue better ways, ways of true happiness.  The joy these young men experience can be ours too and found by each of us in their examples of living.  More information about Comunita Cenacolo can be found at:  http://www.comunitacenacolo.org/index.php.

April 15, 2015 – Three Pilgrims in Medjugorje

Interviews with three pilgrims in Medjugorje.  Why did they come?  What has their experience been like?  Join us!

April 01, 2015 – The Washing of the Disciples’ Hearts!

John tells us: ““Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” (Jn 13: 8).  Yet, what is this washing?  Pope Benedict XVI said it is faith that cleanses the heart.  By being open to the truth, we can perceive greater things, things that naturally displace lesser things our hearts have previously clung to.  C. S. Lewis suggests that these greater things are nothing less than kingship and queenship over God’s creation!  “Fill the earth, and subdue”, says our God.  These are among the great promises Our Lord makes when we turn our hearts to him.

March 11, 2015 – ‘Eyes, Ever Upon the Lord’… Despite the Snare!

Lent can help us move outside our “comfort zone”.  The occasion presents itself whenever we pray:  ‘God help me to want what you want for me!’  Often we focus on the snare we are caught in and not on Our Lord (Ps 25: 15).  Peter did this when he stepped out of the boat onto the sea (Mt 14: 29).  In Jacques Phillippe’s work “In the School of the Holy Spirit”, he paints a big “X” on the stage of life, making it easy for us to find our proper place amidst any anxieties.  Indeed, we all want God’s inspirations, Jacque’s work helps us to receive them most readily !!

March 04, 2015 – Rainbows and ‘Pots of Gold’ in Scripture!

God lavishes us with the most astounding promises, if we will follow him.  Indeed, God asks us to be near him to receive even more of his help.  Both Abraham and Jeremiah clearly show this.  However, are there steps we can take to better hear his inspirations?  In Jacques Phillippe’s “In the School of the Holy Spirit”, a 5-star work according to Amazon, he suggests we begin by praising and thanking God for blessings he is already giving us!  He also exhorts us to resolve to refuse God nothing so that we remain open to new inspirations!!  Can you imagine doing that?

February 25, 2015 – Driven by the Spirit into the Desert!

Did Our Lord really need to be ‘driven” by the Spirit into the desert?  This is hard to imagine.  Perhaps St. Mark wishes to identify with our need to be “pushed” to leave behind our comforts, as well as our less-than-virtuous habits during Lent.  In our desert, we are tested through temptations and fears whether to see whether or not we will decide for God.  God’s angels, Our Lord and his Mother, minister to us as well.  Last month, Our Lady in Medjugorje, it is reported, warned us to be on guard for the heightening hateful actions of the evil one, and to counter this through prayer.

February 18, 2015 – Lent: Detaching from this World and Attaching to Our Lord’s

Venerable Fulton Sheen once said:  “Fasting detaches you from this world.  Prayer re-attaches you to the next world.”  Is this not a simple synopsis of our efforts this Lenten season?  Let us begin this effort, however, with the aid of Christ’s “super substantial bread’, the Holy Eucharist, and the other sacraments, as well as the example of the Desert Fathers.  Nourished in this way, we can then best intercede for others who do not yet know the love of God.

February 04, 2015 – To You, Lord, be the Glory for Our Talents!

Bruce Jenner, the remarkable decathlon gold medalist, has shocked the world by announcing he is becoming a woman.  His decision and decisions that we also make arise from many contributing factors.  One significant factor, however, is based on a misunderstanding that God is not the source of our talents and attributes.  If we do not believe God is at the root of them and acknowledge him, we create for ourselves unstable footing.  Then, jostled by the enemies of God, we more easily fall.  We see this in the story of Goliath too.  By contrast, the coming of God’s Spirit on David, and his acknowledgement of God’s presence, produces in him good fruits that last from generation to generation.

January 21, 2015 – Embracing God’s Gift of Life

As our nation recounts the fateful Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, many groups rise in protest to defend the life of the unborn child.  The 41st annual March for Life in Washington DC is expecting as many as 500,000 people this year, where 50 percent attending are estimated, by one source, to be under the age of 30!
God has a plan for our salvation and young people can sense this.  Furthermore, we are unique in God’s plan, and just like a star football player’s absence is sorely felt by his team, so would our absence be felt if we were not born!  Our unborn brothers and sisters may be the future popes, presidents, star athletes, business people, teachers, great scientists and artists that our world needs!

January 14, 2015 – God’s Strength & Encouragement for Us in Scripture

Do we not sometimes have prayer intentions that go beyond human proportion?  These may be requests for friends in great need or our own needs.  Scripture offers many remarkable stories where faithful people facing impossible situations, prayed to God for delivery.  We will consider here stories about Judas Maccabeus, David, and Elijah.  Reference is also made to the Manna for the desert of our day, the “super-essential” bread described in the Our Father, the Holy Eucharist.

January 7, 2015 – Through Surrender, Jacob Gives Rise to Israel

Jacob begins life as the “supplanter”. However, he ends it as the root of the great nation of Israel. After “stealing” the blessing prepared for his brother Esau, Jacob goes into exile. This leads to an encounter with God. God then accompanies Jacob and blesses him, and Jacob increasingly opens his heart to God. The decisive confrontations with his uncle Laban and Esau, reveal a greatly changed Jacob. In a final moment of surrender, when wrestling with God, Jacob becomes a new man. This new man God names Israel and the nation is born. Are we still withholding our surrender?

December 31, 2014 – The Nativity, Peace & the Glory of God

God came as a child, inviting us to draw close to him. St. Francis, whose joy over the Nativity of Our Lord, brought us the idea of re-creating that beautiful birth-scene in our homes and churches. Witnesses to Christ’s birth include: Mary & Joseph, Shepherds, Kings, angels and animals. But which witness might we be in this celebration? Also, what is the connection between the angel’s promise of peace and our world today? The Sacred Scriptures will be the basis for our reflection.

December 24, 2014 – Prophecies of Jesus’ Birth

December 17, 2014 – Jacob’s Life After Encountering God

Encountering God is an experience that none of us forgets.  Not a vision, necessarily, but rather His unmistakable presence.  It begins with God’s initiative and our openness.  For Jacob, his openness followed a great hardship in his life.  After the encounter, Jacob’s life is markedly changed – both seen by Jacob’s change of heart and Our Lord’s blessing.  God’s promise to “be with you always”, the promise he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is a promise he makes to the baptized as well.  Let us make room for him to come into our lives!

December 10, 2014

December 03, 2014

November 26, 2014 – Esau, Jacob, and God:  Choices We Make

God’s love for us is great, and so is his tenderness.  Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well is a beautiful example.  Similarly, God answers the prayers of Jacob’s own parents when they could not conceive children.  At times, however, we make choices that trade-off our birthright and God’s love for a bowl of “lentils”.  God invites us to reconsider these choices and to seek him again. 

November 19, 2014 – Jacob: A Life for Our Encouragement

Jacob’s well is the scene of a life-changing encounter for the Samaritan woman.  Why here, and why does the Samaritan woman believe Jacob to be a great man?  Jacob’s early life was marked by contention with his brother Esau.  Indeed, at one point after deceiving his father, Jacob has to flee for his life.  However, this unexpected consequence becomes an opportunity for reflection.  Jacob begins drawing closer to Our Lord and who responds beautifully.  “Jacob: A Life for Our Encouragement” is a series of talks reflecting on Jacob and his path toward God, a path that we can also take.  

November 12, 2014 – Awaiting a Prophet “Like Moses”…

Unlike all other Old Testament promises, Deuteronomy promises a “prophet like Moses”.*  Today, like at other times, we want to glimpse what lies ahead for ourselves.  God seems to anticipate this and so sent his prophets throughout history.  Yet, Deuteronomy suggests that a new Moses is coming who will bring an even “more radical exodus”.  God calls us in this Scripture to more closely glimpse what he is doing and to be inspired by it.

*”Jesus of Nazareth”, Pope Benedict XVI, Pg 3.

November 05, 2014 – “Thinking Erroneously is an Occasion for Thinking Correctly”*

Family and friends can sometimes ask us the most troubling questions.  How, for example if God is love, is it loving to deny the Holy Eucharist to divorced persons or to persons engaging in homosexual behavior?  These questions may fluster us, or worse.  We may become angry or silent or doubtful or …  Yet, these questions may be opportunities to share the reasons for what we believe.  Have you considered why Pope Francis’ invites debate on fundamental Church teachings?  It may be to bridge groups of people who have essentially stopped talking.  “They” remain on the outside, and “we” remain on the inside without much positive movement. 

With our friends, to help us respond graciously and with understanding, we have available many resources.  This includes Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other information at our parishes.  Perhaps like medical doctors who must aid the ailing according the Hippocratic Oath, do we as Christians, and particularly as Catholics, not have a responsibility to bring our extra-ordinary gifts of faith and reason to aid our challenged world?  Let us adore Our Lord and strive to say our prayers with the heart.

*
“On Being Roman Catholic”, Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., Oct 30, 2014, http://thomasaquinas.edu/father-schall

October 29, 2014 – Do not let your hearts be troubled; believe in God

In difficult circumstances, do we ask enough questions of Our Lord? In John 14, three of his Apostles ask for greater clarification. We also may do this in our challenging circumstances. However, the peace that Our Lord wishes to bring to our hearts may more substantially come from our belief in God. To better encourage us, Jesus in John 14 gives us several assurances. He reminds us that “in my Father’s house there are many rooms”, that “I will come again and will take you to myself”, and that “if you ask anything in my name, I will do it”. This is all in the same chapter that begins “Do not let your hearts be troubled”. By believing ever more firmly in God, we may find that when things do not work out the way we want them to, we can count on God to bring some greater good.

October 22, 2014 – Fatima Prophecies: Heavenly Invitations

Prophecy has been a part of our spiritual heritage since Adam and Eve. Our Lady’s messages given at Fatima are no exception. In them, we are encouraged to draw strength from praying the rosary, making reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary , and interceding for people who are in danger of not reaching heaven, the worst of all possible sufferings. The long-anticipated “Third Secret” of Fatima goes even further. It promotes penance as a means to grow in holiness. With even small sacrifices we can discern more clearly the many difficult choices that confront us each day.

October 08, 2014 – Letters to the 7 Churches; Letters to Us!

The letter to the church of Thyatira encourages us by affirming the good we are doing.  Jesus sees our efforts on his behalf.  However, like a good teacher, we are also offered ideas and insights that can help us.  We are told not to tolerate the various “Jezebels” in our lives, for example, temptations to seek our happiness in the things of this world.  What is surprising, however, is that after we deny ourselves worldly things, Our Lord promises to give us “power over the nations”.  He gives us responsibility for what no longer has control over us, for what we can now see more objectively, for what we had wanted in the first place! 

October 01, 2014 – Surrender and the Power of God in His Church

In Revelation 1, John surrenders to God the exile he suffers on Patmos.  This surrender is extraordinary considering Patmos is a Roman penal colony and not simply some “other country”.  Yet, in surrendering he finds himself uniquely encountering Our Lord, even in ecstasy.   He sees God, perhaps even more clearly than he did before, and is overcome.  Our Lord however, lays his right hand upon him, the one holding the “seven stars”, and gives him strength.

How convinced are we that God is really in his Church as St. John saw him?  These are the churches just up the street from where we live.  Do we go there with our “Patmos” experiences and surrender them to him?  He waits for our visit to restore us to life with all that he holds in his hands (Rev 1: 16, 18)!  For those interested in further reading on the “son of man” referenced here, see commentary by Dr. Brant Pitre at:  http://www.thesacredpage.com/2007/02/son-of-man-and-wonders-of-lectionary.html.

September 24, 2014 – Surrender & the Power of God in His Church

In Revelation 1, John surrenders to God the exile he suffers on Patmos.  This surrender is extraordinary considering Patmos is a Roman penal colony and not simply some “other country”.  Yet, in surrendering he finds himself uniquely encountering Our Lord, even in ecstasy.   He sees God, perhaps even more clearly than he did before, and is overcome.  Our Lord however, lays his right hand upon him, the one holding the “seven stars”, and gives him strength.

How convinced are we that God is really in his Church as St. John saw him?  These are the churches just up the street from where we live.  Do we go there with our “Patmos” experiences and surrender them to him?  He waits for our visit to restore us to life with all that he holds in his hands (Rev 1: 16, 18)!  For those interested in further reading on the “son of man” referenced here, see commentary by Dr. Brant Pitre at:  http://www.thesacredpage.com/2007/02/son-of-man-and-wonders-of-lectionary.html.

September 17, 2014 – Sinking Deeper Roots through Judaic-Inspired Prayer

The “magic” of praying by blessing and praising God is that it puts us in right relationship with God.  We recognize God as almighty.  We thank and praise him for his many blessings to us.  Then, by more deeply appreciating who he is, we recognize better who we are.  This sets up the perfect disposition in our hearts to make known to him our prayer intentions.  The Judaic heritage is rich with examples of their frequent, daily prayer, from which the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours is inspired.  In addition, after glimpsing the presence of the Lord within our churches, as seen in the Book of Revelation, our confidence in God can grow stronger still!  Listeners are invited to help evangelize those who may not be as close to Our Lord by making contributions to Radio Maria, helping to keep us on the air! 

September 10, 2014 – Powerful Prayer, Jewish Prayer:  an Aid to Christian Prayer!

How often do we see kids modeling behavior after one of their sports heroes to TV?  Possibly everyday if we look.  Yet, when it comes to prayer, who are our heroes?  Truly, the saints offer us many beautiful examples.  But are you aware that our Jewish brothers and sisters have perfected a key aspect of prayer that is often overlooked by Christians?  The praise of God may be unfamiliar to our personal styles of prayer.  However, when we begin by praising God, we can enter into an even deeper communion with him.  This is indeed a reason behind the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours!

September 03, 2014 – History & Science Support the Holy Shroud

Did you know that there are 145 points of congruence between the Shroud of Turin and the image of Our Lord engraved on the 7th century Roman coin known as the Solidus of Justinian II? Are you aware that at the Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai that there is an 6th century image of King Abgar V of Edessa holding a cloth on which is imprinted the face of Jesus? Remarkably, two centuries earlier, Church historian St. Eusebius recorded that King Abgar had been healed of leprosy when he touched this cloth! Is this evidence that the Shroud of Turin could have existed from the earliest centuries? It may be, but there is still more. There is also scientific evidence that defies explanation and it pertains to the image on the Shroud itself!

Information presented here is based on the 2014 exposition “La Sabana Santa”, Diocesan Museum, Zaragoza, Spain.

August 27, 2014 – History Supports the Holy Shroud, Part 2

Several revered religious icons, dating from the earliest centuries, depict a similar image of Our Lord. We consider reasons for these similarities. Could these offer additional reasons to believe the Holy Shroud of Turin may have been the burial cloth covering Jesus? There is also significant evidence that suggests the Templar Knights of France were once keepers of the Holy Shroud, but how did they come into possession of it? Finally, recent scientific investigations, based on analysis of pollens found on the Shroud, suggest it may indeed have traveled from Jerusalem to Edessa, from Edessa to Constantinople, from Constantinople to France, and from France to Italy. What wonders God has wrought!

August 20, 2014 – History Supports the Holy Shroud, Part 1

In 1350, the French knight, Geoffroi de Charny from Lirey, claimed to be in possession of the shroud that wrapped Jesus’ body after his death. This is a fascinating fact, but is there information that supports this claim? One of the most amazing pieces is found in the discovery of 1898: the image on the Shroud is actually a giant negative! The Shroud appears to have acted as photographic film for some mysterious light source! In addition, the history of religious art and iconography portraying the face of Jesus also positively refutes the already questionable Carbon 14 dating test conducted in 1988. This is the first part in a series of talks based on the 2014 exposition, “La Sabana Santa” in the Diocesan Museum, Zaragoza, Spain.

August 13, 2014 – Lucia in August at Fatima

We can romanticize about the young visionaries at Fatima in August 1917. What’s not to enjoy? Our Lady is coming to see you on the 13th! Yet, Maria is only 8 years old and her world is being rocked to the very bottom. Not only does she suffer the crush of the curious and faithful crowds, who make demands as if she too were an adult, but her family does not believe her. They offer no support during the cruel interrogations by the civil authorities. Into this little person’s world comes Rev Dr. Manuel Formigao. He exhorts her to virtue. And how does Lucia respond? With a greater love for Our Lord!

We also discuss in this program the inscription posted over Jesus when he is on the Cross. What wonders are wrought by God even among the unwilling!

August 06, 2014 – Our Crosses Amidst Pilate, the Jews and Jesus

Jesus remains at peace despite his trial and pending death. When we face our trials, what is our state of mind? If we lose, say, some of our ability to think clearly or our confidence, we can draw strength from Jesus’ example. In the trial before Pilate, Jesus is mindful of his mission (Jn 18: 37). This provides meaning, and from meaning, strength. During our trials, we can invite Our Lord to be with us, to help us carry our crosses to make them redemptive. Pilate recognizes this inner strength in Jesus when he presents him to the crowd, saying “Behold, the man!”.

July 30, 2014 – The Grace to Act Despite Our Feelings

Both in the Garden of Gethsemane and again while being interrogated by Caiaphas and Pilot, Jesus remains the master of his circumstances. By grace, we too can overcome our feelings that may rush upon us during important moments, or may have plagued us for years. Our feelings can prevent us from giving better witness to Christ with our lives. At times, we are not unlike Peter, both for better and for worse. However, we can see how in John 18 Jesus and Peter respond to their difficult circumstances. We can learn from this and draw the grace we need from Our Lord.

July 23, 2014

July 16, 2014 – Sharing in John’s Intimacy with Jesus

During our life challenges, do we not sometimes wonder where is Jesus? Have we ever asked: ‘how is it that St. John could recline against Our Lord’s breast at the Last Supper? Does Our Lord not know that I want that life-giving closeness also?!’ In this program we contrast the choices at the Last Supper made by John and Judas in response to Our Lord’s love and trust in them. We consider some of those things that cloud Judas’ spiritual understanding and so greatly clear them for St. John.

July 09, 2014 – Keys to the Upper Room, Accessing the Last Supper

Jesus invites us to consider him more closely in his actions during the Last Supper. We consider his actions toward all of the disciples and, in particular, with John and Judas. There are four keys to understanding Our Lord more closely in this scene and we can witness the effects. We are invited to imitate Our Lord and offer the same good to those around us.

June 25, 2014 – Bearing Much Fruit, Gospel of St. John

Does the story of the grain of wheat dying (Jn 12: 24), make you wonder what choice it really had? Can we imagine it resisting nature and deciding to live?! Yet, I wonder whether we sometimes attempt this sort of thing, acting against our spiritual natures. Is there some of this in our holding to certain ideas, to our pride, or anger? St. John in his Gospel invites us to “bear much fruit”, and to do so by loving our brothers “to the end”, especially when it is difficult. This is quite an opportunity for anyone who has ever prayed for a loved one’s change of heart! In addition to the promise of “much fruitfulness”, our dying-to-self also opens our hearts to a special closeness with Our Lord. We see this particularly in John and his Gospel.

June 18, 2014 – Time to Reconsider the Merits of a Catholic Education?

C.S. Lewis shows the danger of relativism in education. Once a person is formed in it, he suffers the loss of “will, of strength and of creativity” (1). With regard to subjects such as math, science and language arts, we know how vital they are to a professional career. However, do we recognize that there are other subjects which make possible a life that is fulfilling and satisfying? Are not these characteristics more important than having the best job? A Catholic education is not just about forming students in math, science and the language arts, but also about learning to appreciate truth, beauty and goodness. Pope Francis in his encyclical “Evangelii Gaudium” encourages this type of education to offset the fallout from growing secularism.

(1) The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis, Chptr 1.

June 11, 2014 – Common Core & Global Uniformity Need Foundations on Rock

We are assured in Luke 6: 46 that the person who ‘listens to Our Lord’s words and acts upon them’, lays his foundation on rock. By contrast, it is proposed by powerful organizations such as the United Nations, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that a “globalist vision” is the necessary way toward world peace, sustainability and economic stability.

Who are we to believe?

Surely, the globalist ideals are laudable, but can they be achieved? What we know about foundations and Our Lord suggest otherwise. Yet, this is being proposed through radical educational reform such as the Common Core. In this scheme, traditional values will be embraced only to the extent they can be adapted to a multi-cultural, world view. Otherwise they will be jettisoned for the “harmony” of the “world community”.

Nevertheless, as during the Middle Ages, the Church can come to our aid. It can share not only the philosophical truths that bring right reason to bear, but also the good that comes through Christ’s Church founded upon Peter. Peter and those Popes following him were not the first instruments of God to propose a more solid foundation. Centuries earlier we hear Moses say:

“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers is giving you… Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations…” – Deuteronomy 4: 1, 6-8.

May 28, 2014 – David, An Inspiration for Our Life

David did not have an easy life. He was not born into great wealth or high social stature. His greatest inheritance was his faith in God. Throughout his trials, including serious threats to his life, he trusts in God to deliver him. Later, after he becomes king, he continues trusting God. David regularly asks God what he thinks he ought to do. Today, through the Church, we can draw close to God and so also enjoy a closeness with God as David did. We have the sacraments and prayers and the saints to strengthen us.

May 21, 2014 – Cure for the Common Core

With mounting concern over the Common Core State Standards, what are parents and teachers to do? Consider God’s providence. God founded his Church on Peter (Mt 16: 18) to aid our journey through life to heaven. In the 12th Century, the Church was instrumental in fostering education, and through its essential support, the university system was developed from what began as “Cathedral schools” (1). Paris and Bologna were the first two. Today, there are great alternatives to Common Core. These include a classical curriculum and a [non-Common Core] Christian education. What comprises a classical curriculum? How is this curriculum in harmony with Christian formation? These questions are discussed and draw from “What is a Classical Education”, by Peter Kreeft, and published in “The Classical Teacher” magazine, Spring 2009. For the complete article, see: www.memoriapress.com.

Note:
(1) “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization”, Thomas E. Wood, Jr., Chptr 4.

May 14, 2014 – Cures for the Common Core

In the wake of the 2008 recession, States were offered $53 billion in “Stimulus” money if they would commit to “Four Assurances”. One of these included adopting what is now called Common Core (CCSI), a privately developed standard. According to sources noted, it comes to us without input from teachers and parents, and distances children from the good, the true and the beautiful. Missouri, one of the states using CCSI since 2009, already shows a decline in math and English language arts readiness (http://missourieducationwatchdog.com/). Daunting? Yes! But what can we do? First, consider examples in Sacred Scripture. We have seen how our plans unravel when God is not included. Second, consider the encouragements coming from Our Lady. Mary invites us to Pray. To receive the Eucharist. To go to confession. To read Scripture and to Fast. How beautiful!
Sources:
1. St. Joseph Radio Presents, “Common Core Panel”, Catholic Home School Conference, 04/11/14. saintjosephradio.net.
2. Univ of Notre Dame’s Law Professor, plus 132 scholars’ letter to Catholic Bishops.
www.washingtonpost.com.
3. EWTN’s Barbara McGuigon & guest Mary Jo Anderson, Mar 29, ’14. www.ewtn.com.
4. Documentary on the Common Core: “Building the Machine”. commoncoremovie.com.
5. Summary of 10 major concerns. maryjoanderson.net.

Subtle Common Core Philosophy

Curious About Common Core

May 07, 2014 – Curious about Common Core?

The Common Core State Standard that is coming to our nation deserves close attention. Its aim is to raise the level of education across the United States, a goal some believe is necessary to better compete globally. However, by many assessments, Common Core is a low standard. Even its major proponent admit it will not be sufficient for students who desire selective colleges or majors in science, technology, engineering and math. There is a greater challenge, however. Common Core pursues a gravely deficient philosophy. It does not embrace forming children in the good, the true and the beautiful.

What is the impact of this philosophy? C.S. Lewis explains that the consequence is to suffer the loss of strength, of will, of creativity. For additional information, please see these links at: “Curious about Common Core?”, and also “Subtle Common Core Philosophy”.

Curious About Common Core

Subtle Common Core Philosophy

April 16, 2014 – Does Happiness Require Self-Assertion?

Jesus, and many others in Sacred Scripture suggest that our greater good, joy and happiness comes from being obedient to the Father. When we are in harmony with the person God created us to be, and when we draw closer to our Creator, we closely connect with our greatest source of happiness. Able’s brother Cain was not happy at God’s disregard for his half-hearted offering. Jacob’s son Joseph was happy obeying, even when it was not easy for him. Samson, under pressure, separated himself from God. After significant suffering, he later repents and God’s strength returns to him. Jesus prays for strength and chooses His Father’s will over his own in the Garden of Gethsemane, then saves all the world. We are invited to unite our crosses to Our Lord’s and to pray for the strength to return to him in ways great and small.

April 9, 2014 – Truth and “Technological Prometheanism”

During his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI offered the term “technological prometheanism”. By it, he warns that as the mythical Greek Prometheus gravely suffered after seeking a good for mankind, though without regard for moral or ethical truths, so could many suffer from certain ideologies present today. This includes ideas such as “gender freedom” where men and women supposedly are free to “choose” their gender. There is also risk of a reductionism whereby being a person is reducible only to matter, that a person is not both soul and matter. This means, for example, that our mind, as subtle and marvelous as it can be, is merely a brain with cells and firing synapses! God’s image and likeness is not present.

Pope Benedict is concerned that with a materialistic view of man, together with the great development of technology, that man becomes “deprived of his soul” and his personal relationship with the Creator is lost. Then, “what is technically possible becomes licit, each experiment is acceptable, any population policy permitted, any manipulation legitimized.”

April 02, 2014 – Answering Pontius Pilot’s Question

When Pilot asks Jesus “What is truth?”, Pilot reveals an emptiness unfilled by not holding to objective values. Today, adrift in a sea of digitally-altered imagery and popular opinions pushed as “new truths”, it is difficult to know what is really solid, valuable or true. There is a “widespread lack of confidence in the truth” we are told in Fides et Ratio (#5). However, into this confusion steps BL. Pope John Paul II and his encyclical “The Splendor of Truth”. He makes two remarkable promises that fill us with hope and bring us joy. This great work may also be a source for the solutions sought to overcome the many extraordinary and complex challenges our world faces today.

March 26, 2014 – Our Lady of Sorrows

The Church has honored Our Lady of Sorrows since the 13th century. What may we learn from this devotion? In short, not only may we come to understand that the Mother of God suffered during her life, but that our own suffering can have great merit. We become more like Christ and draw closer to his embrace when we “deny ourselves and take up our crosses” (Luke 9: 23). My guest, Deacon Dominic Peloso from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, shares the origin of this devotion, insights into Our Lady’s life, and the opportunities suffering can bring each of us. He also makes a connection with Our Lady’s apparitions in Kibeho, Rwanda in the 1980s. There, as in Fatima, Our Lady encourages us to pray the holy Rosary for the graces we need during our trials.

March 19, 2014

March 12, 2014 – Lent: An Opportunity to Magnify the Wonders of Life

Man is always searching for meaning, including the meaning of life. Our particular orientation to life can raise different questions. If we hold to life evolving without God, right and wrong become dependent on passing things and so can change. Alternatively, for those who believe in God, we have a history that reveals God as the source of morality and in whom is goodness itself. BL John Paul II writes in The Splendor of Truth, how the rich young man asks Jesus about the good he must do to have eternal life. This beloved pope shows us that we too have these same questions about what is right and wrong, and that we somehow know they are connected with our eternal life. Lent, through its various disciplines and through the Church, presents us an opportunity to see more clearly the wonders God wishes to share.