I was inspired by the second reading of the Office of Readings from Thursday, September 20 . It's from the final exhortation of Saint Andrew Kim Taegŏn, priest and martyr (Pro Corea Documenta, ed. Mission Catholique Séoul, Séoul/Paris, 1938, vol. 1, 74-75):
My brothers and sisters, my dearest friends, think again and again on this: God has ruled over all things in heaven and on earth from the beginning of time: then reflect on why and for what purpose he chose each one of us to be created in his own image and likeness.READ MORE
My brothers and sisters, Jesus in our Gospel speaks of a place called Gehenna, which is Greek for Hell. In today’s day and time, Hell is not a topic that anyone wants to think about or even believe that it exists. And we certainly don’t want to think that anyone might be sent there for all eternity. However, Gehenna is based on a real place. The root of it- ‘Ge’ means land, and ‘henna’ comes from Hinnom- so Gehenna literally means the Land of Hinnom. The land of Hinnom is a real place, East and Southeast of Jerusalem. Jeremiah chapter 7 talks describes the Land of Hinnom as the place in which there were horrific sacrifices and occult activities, the worship of pagan deities, and even human sacrifice. It was the place where the pagan people actually offered their own sons and daughters as holocausts to the wretched god, Molech. Can you imagine such a place- a place of occult worship filled with unquenchable fires from the holocausts of their own children? Gehenna or Hell truly is a demonic place. If you are appalled that such a place exists, you should be. If you think that I am trying to scare Hell out of you, you are right!READ MORE
My brothers and sisters, in last week’s Gospel we heard Jesus’ first prediction that He would be handed over to the authorities, suffer greatly, die, and will rise from the dead on the third day. In my homily last week, I answered why Jesus suffered, as well as why we are called to suffer and pick up our Crosses and follow Him. I talked about the tremendous value there is in uniting our suffering to Christ’s, and how doing so helps us to see from God’s perspective and allows God’s will to be done through it. This week we hear Jesus’ 2nd prediction telling his disciples what He would go through to save us. What I want to do in my homily this week is kind of a sequel to my homily from last week. Several people told me that they found my homily last week on the purpose and value of suffering beneficial, so I encourage you to read it. You can find it on our website under homilies. This week we are called to learn from how Jesus suffered, and learn how to unite our suffering to His.READ MORE
Last week, the Church celebrated Catechetical Sunday onSeptember 16 with the theme “Enlisting Witnesses for JesusChrist.” Every year, Catechetical Sunday provides a wonderfulopportunity to reflect on the role that each of us plays, by virtueof our Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to theGospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicatethemselves to this mission as a community of faith.READ MORE
Why do we suffer? Where does suffering come from? Why do bad things happen to good people? These questions are some that every person asks, and which I want to try to answer today.
First of all, we need to remember that originally, suffering was not in the plan of God, but is the result of the Fall, a result of the sin of Adam and Eve. For example, because of the fall one of the consequences is that there is pain in childbirth- sorry Ladies, but thank you, you can blame Adam and Eve for that! But originally, there was not suffering in the world, and all suffering is a result of sin.READ MORE
Three weeks ago, I preached at all the Masses about the current scandal in the Church. Several times in that homily (which you can read on the website), I called out those bishops and priests who tried to hide the truth, to call a sin a sin. Now, in reaction to the complacency and silence, the truth is coming out, thanks be to God. Though it is difficult to face, it will set us free and the Church will be healed when we stand for the truth.READ MORE
My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus does a couple things that are little peculiar in our Gospel today, but the reason is of the utmost importance not only for this man, but for us too. So, let us begin our reflection.
Our Gospel begins by saying, “Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis”. What is peculiar about the areas of Tyre and Sidon, and also of the Decapolis is that they were predominantly Greek cities where Gentiles lived, places most Jews never wanted to go. Therefore, can you imagine what would be in the mind of the disciples accompanying Jesus into these unclean Gentile regions, unsure of what Jesus was doing or why. I assume they were feeling both apprehensive and uncomfortable. Already by this point, they saw Jesus cast out a demon and perform several miracles, but the healing of this man in today’s Gospel was especially telling. For by this healing the disciples learn that Jesus is not just an ordinary prophet but might just truly be the Messiah they’ve been waiting for. But He was not only going to save the Jewish people, but wanted to save every person, even Gentiles.READ MORE
Kenneth Hensley, Online Resource & Pastoral Care Coordinator, The Coming Home Network, www.chnetwork.org - August 2018 CHNewsletter
In Part 1, I described how I came to see that the unanimous testimony of the early Church thoroughly supported a Catholic and sacramental view of Baptism. But what about sacred Scripture?
In his Emergence of the Catholic Tradition, the great Church historian Jaroslav Pelikan summarizes the early Church's view of what occurs in Baptism. The early Church believed, Pelikan explains, that Baptism effects "the remission of sins, deliverance from death, regeneration, and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit."READ MORE
Kenneth Hensley, Online Resource & Pastoral Care Coordinator, The Coming Home Network, www.chnetwork.org - July 2018 CHNewsletter
As a "Bible Christian," I would have said I loved the writings of the Fathers. Of course, what I would have meant is that I loved to read Luther and Calvin and the other heroes of the Reformation. What Christians believed in the early centuries of the Christian era didn't matter too much to me.
And why should it? After all, when it came to determining Christian doctrine, all that really counted was, "What saith the Scriptures?"READ MORE
My brothers and sisters, during these past couple of weeks, as information about the failures of some priests and bishops has been revealed, my mind and heart as a Catholic has been a whirlwind of emotions, perhaps it has been for you also. But for me also as a priest, the devastating news has taken some time to process what I’ve been feeling in light of this renewed and new scandal in the Church. Today’s readings help to shed light on what emotions and thoughts I have had, maybe they will be of some help and encouragement to you.READ MORE
This week, we celebrate the feast days of St. Monica on August 27 and her son,St. Augustine on August 28. St. Monica’s persistent prayers are credited for theconversion of her pagan husband and St. Augustine to the Catholic faith. To helpfoster a devotion to St. Monica in asking her intercession for loved ones who havefallen away from the faith, Fr. Chad has commissioned a statue of her that will beplaced in the vestibule of the church. The statue will depict St. Monica holding a Biblethat will have a slot for people to deposit the names of their loved ones on slips ofpaper.READ MORE
As I have shared the past 3 weeks, the Church has given us this series of 5 weeks to work our way through the great chapter of Eucharistic teaching, John chapter 6, today is the 4th of 5 weeks. For those who didn’t hear my homily, in the 1st week, which was 3 weeks ago, I talked about how at Mass we gather as community, as God’s people to worship Him, and what God brings about in us who are in the state of grace to receive Communion. The following week, 2 weeks ago, my homily reflected on how the Eucharist, which is the New Manna, is not a mere metaphor, as some non-Catholics can believe it to mean. And last week I shared that even though it can be hard to believe in the Eucharist, how in a time in Adoration, the Lord showed me that my own, and every person’s personal faith and understanding in the Eucharist is intrinsically tied to the Incarnation. Now, if you are now thinking that you missed out, and wish you were there, don’t worry, because I write out my homilies, all of my homilies are on our website, free of charge.READ MORE
Make no mistake about it, God wants you to be happy. Yes, that's right. And, not just some kind of superficial and fleeting happiness, but a deep and abiding happiness; an inner peace. This is the kind of happiness that is meant to fill that void in your life; to lift you up into that place of all meaning and purpose in your life. So, what does this void-filling happiness look like?
Fr. Robert Spitzer has done extensive research in this area. Fr. Spitzer writes,
"The Greek Philosopher Aristotle (394-322 B.C.) observed that no person deliberately chooses to be unhappy. The purpose and end of man, Aristotle argued, was happiness - for happiness is self-evidently what all men seek and strive for ... it is what he directs all his powers towards. So, this universal quest for happiness defines humanness. 'Happiness,' Aristotle pointed out, 'is the only thing willed by man for its own sake. Everything else is willed for the sake of happiness.'"
This article was taken from the July-August 1996 issue of Catholic Heritage and provided courtesy of Eternal Word Television Network at www.ewtn.com/library/answers/aofmary.htm.
The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated.
Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). By then it had been a pagan city for two centuries, ever since Emperor Hadrian (76-138) had leveled it around the year 135 and rebuilt it as <Aelia Capitolina> in honor of Jupiter.
For 200 years, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples.READ MORE
In high school, I was active in my Catholic faith, I went to Mass every Sunday and was involved in the youth group. And I had heard many times and knew that the Church taught the Eucharist is not ordinary bread but the bread and wine is actually transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. I knew what the Church taught, but I didn’t really understand how, and I wanted to have a deeper understanding. What about you, raise your hand if you too have known what the Church teaches about the Eucharist, but at some time in your life have wondered how, or had a hard time accepting or believing it?READ MORE
Today we continue with week 2 of 5 on the great Eucharistic chapter, John 6. You may know that there are 2 main interpretations of these such important verses of John 6. One, like many Protestants do, can interpret them as metaphoric- so that the ‘bread of life’ is symbolic for belief or faith in Jesus. In this view, Jesus means the term ‘bread of life’ to be a metaphor like how Jesus says that He is the Gate, or He is the vine, you are the branches. Or the second way to interpret these verses in John 6, is as Catholics do, can interpret them as sacramental- meaning that it is not a metaphor, but that Jesus actually and literally means what he says and that what he says is truly what it is. After reading our Gospel from today, and from my own experience and faith, I have to admit that the metaphoric interpretation is right! …READ MORE
The sacrament that you receive is effected by the words of Christ.
We see that grace can accomplish more than nature, yet so far we have been considering instances of what grace can do through a prophet's blessing. If the blessing of a human being had power even to change nature, what do we say of God's action in the consecration itself, in which the very words of the Lord and Savior are effective? If the words of Elijah had power even to bring down fire from heaven, will not the words of Christ have power to change the natures of the elements? You have read that in the creation of the whole world he spoke and they came to be; he commanded and they were created. If Christ could by speaking create out of nothing what did not yet exist, can we say that his words are unable to change existing things into something they previously were not? It is no lesser feat to create new natures for things than to change their existing natures.READ MORE