In this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church — for which, often enough, men on both sides were to blame. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 817)
Some of us don't think much about this issue of division in the visible Body of Christ. I didn't used to think much about it. Truthfully, I was so accustomed to the idea that Christianity existed in a fragmented state, that it didn't bother me. Like kids growing up in a broken home, at first it may seem impossible that Dad doesn't live with us any more, but after a while it seems perfectly natural.READ MORE
If you were a member of the parish 3 years ago, I encouraged you to read the book Forming Intentional Disciples. One of the points that book made was that many Catholics are sacramentalized but not evangelized. What exactly does that mean? Well, what I want to do in today’s homily is to evangelize you, which simply means sharing the Good News of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You could also say that I am sharing the Kerygma (the Good News of God). I do so first to help you and I grow in living the Good News of knowing and following Jesus Christ as our Lord and God. But also because I am convinced that many of our loved ones who have fallen away from God or His Church have done so because they do not know why following God as a disciple is so relevant for our lives. What I am sharing is not new…. Or what I developed myself. Most likely you have heard these points throughout your journey in faith, but perhaps you haven’t heard them connected in a formula that can be used as talking points. The Good News or Kerygma can be remembered in 4 simple points:READ MORE
In our first installment of this series, we asked the question, “What was the Reformation?”
We argued with Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc that at its heart the Reformation was not so much a dispute over one or two or more particular doctrines of the Church but over the very question of how doctrinal disputes within the Church would be settled. It was a dispute over the issue of where authority is to be found in the Church. This is what tore at the heart of Christianity in the early 16th century.
Indeed, I believe one of the most useful ways to think about the violent fracturing that took place at that time and the separation of Christians into “Catholic” and “Protestant,” is to think of it as a bitter divorce between those who continued to embrace the spiritual authority of the Catholic Church and those who rejected that authority to take their stand on the authority of Scripture alone: sola Scriptura. This is the essence of what took place at the time of the Reformation.READ MORE
In our Gospel today we are given three parables that present pictures of the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us reflect on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. One way to think of the parable is as the mixture of good and evil growing together side by side in our world and even within the Church where we experience the growth of healthy, vigorous wheat alongside unhealthy, destructive weeds. And second we can see in ourselves both good and evil, wheat and weeds, present in our hearts, our thoughts and our actions. As we explore this further let us consider two questions: 1) How do I view the Catholic Church and its purpose? And (2) How am I doing at living out my Catholic faith? Am I a healthy wheat or possibly more of a weed in God’s Kingdom?READ MORE
Before becoming Catholic, I was an evangelical Protestant for about twenty years, an ordained Protestant minister for more than eleven.
My conversion was hard. I broke a lot of glass coming into the Church. Because of my background and situation, becoming Catholic wasn’t something done quickly. It was the result of intensive thought and prayer over the course of some four years. It involved a rethinking of my entire worldview as a Christian — including the teaching of Scripture and the history of the Church.
Given this experience, I can’t talk about Catholicism and Protestantism without instinctively making the case for the one and against the other. At the same time, I can’t talk about Protestantism without deep affection for those I still consider my brothers and sisters in Christ.READ MORE
The end of our Gospel is probably a familiar verse to us- “Come to me, all you who are labor and burdened, and I will give you rest”. Don’t we all want to experience that rest? Well, in order to learn how to find that rest, we need to understand the 1st part of the Gospel. The first part of our Gospel is a prayer of Jesus to God the Father, and the second part is Jesus’ invitation to each of us. So to experience that rest, we need to understand and appreciate the context of and Jesus’ prayer to the Father.READ MORE
The opening phrase on the document signaled the importance of the commission that was being conferred: "According to the faculty granted to us by the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments on March 31, 1971…" The document remains an important reminder of this humble servant's first commission as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. The pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Cold Spring, Kentucky, Father Charles Hoffer, had nominated a dozen men to become what is now known as an EM – Extraordinary Minister. I was one of the first men in the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky to receive this faculty to administer Holy Communion to our congregation. It was also about the same time that I received my first commission to be a "Special Minister of God's Word," commonly known today as a Lector.READ MORE
Many years ago, when I was still a young woman living at home, I asked my father, who did not belong to the Church, why he did not become a Catholic. He said with a sweet smile on his face, “Maybe someday when I die.” From that moment on, I started saying a daily Hail Mary for his conversion.
About 25 years later, my husband and I with our six children, were living in Tempe, Arizona. One morning, about the middle of August, we were awakened by the telephone ringing. It was my mother calling with the sad news that my father had just passed away. She was at the hospital with their parish priest. My father had woken up that morning with a terrible pain and told my mother to call the paramedics and then said, “Call the priest.” He died minutes later.READ MORE
Raise your hand if you consider yourself a Disciple- as one who follows Jesus? OK, now let us see if we will still say that after we reflect on our Gospel today- in which Jesus tells the 12 disciples what the cost is, what the conditions are to be His follower. As it was demanding for these first disciples, so it is for us.
Jesus begins by telling the 12 apostles several challenging statements to live by if they are to be “worthy of Him”- to be worthy of Jesus means to be one with Jesus in Heaven. For certainly, everyone who is or wants to be worthy of Heaven will be purified to meet these conditions, so now let us look at what Jesus says are the conditions to truly follow Him as his disciple.READ MORE