Holy Scripture, the Word of God, is filled with so much meaning for us each and every week, if we only listen carefully and absorb what we are being told. In the last verse of today’s First Reading we hear, “Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” It is speaking of Sts. Peter and John who traveled to Samaria to more or less confirm those who had been baptized there.
In fact, most historians believe that the laying on of hands in the New Testament is the origin of the Sacrament of Confirmation. In the Apostolic Constitution on the Sacrament of Confirmation Pope Paul VI affirmed that laying on of hands in the sacrament of confirmation continues the grace of Pentecost (on Sunday, June 4 this year).READ MORE
The word “church” finds its roots in the Greek word “ecclesia”. However, a correct translation of that word is actually “an assembly of people, called out of their homes into a public meeting place.” Thus, the Church is really the people who make it up; the use of the term in relation to a building has developed through time, but we must never forget that it is we who are indeed the Church.
That is a basic part of something St. Peter writes in our Second Reading. Peter says, “… like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house,” in reference to the members. He is saying in effect that we are called to build a church with living stones, namely ourselves. We all also understand that for a structure to be most effective, every element is needed to keep it strong.READ MORE
Shepherds and sheep were so much a part of life for Jesus and those from Galilee. Galilee was, after all, largely a rural area and raising sheep and shepherding was an intricate part of their lives. That is why the image of a shepherd with his sheep was so often used during biblical times. It was a connection with which people could identify.
It is equally important for us today to understand this important cultural connection for them. Shepherding was all about feeding the lambs and the sheep (recall that Jesus tells Peter “Feed my sheep.”), bringing them to good pasture lands and water (“The Lord is my shepherd…He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters; he restores my soul.”); going after lost lambs (“Does he not leave the ninety -nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”); and protects the sheep in the field and the fold (“The watchman opens the gate, and the sheep listen to his voice.”).
Our Gospel reading today comes from St. John 10: 1- 10. In St. John 10: 11, the next verse, Christ declares “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” As Catholics and Christians, we, too, are called to be Good Shepherds to all those with whom we come in contact. It may be from another culture than ours, but we should understand full well the implications of that.
"Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him." The disciples on the road to Emmaus had already heard reports about Jesus' resurrection. It was at the forefront of their minds, but in spite of this, they did not recognize Jesus when he stood right before them.
Why not? Perhaps because they weren't looking for him. Maybe they didn't really believe that he was alive. Or it could be that his appearance was not the same as it had been before. Whatever the case, it's very interesting to learn that it was actually while celebrating the Eucharist that these men finally realized who was right there with them! "He was made known to them in the breaking of bread."READ MORE
Can you believe Lent is here already? It seems like not that long ago I was decorating a Christmas tree! Time waits for no one and that is why it is important to make a mindful commitment now to not let this Lenten season pass you by. It is a great time to focus on growing as an everyday steward. The temptations are always there to procrastinate or to give in to spiritual laziness, but the Church's observation of Lent offers us so many tools to help us get on track. Increased devotions such as Stations of the Cross, various parish missions, or Lenten-focused literature are all gifts that your parish may be offering to assist you in this season.READ MORE
We often say in the Church that stewardship is about the three Ts, time, talent, and treasure, but really, stewardship is about the big "E," which is everything. We are made up of more than just our time, talent, and treasure, and the gifts that come from God are overwhelming. All that we have, from the obvious to the not so obvious, is a gift from God. We are called to cultivate them all and offer them back to God with increase.READ MORE
All the readings on this Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time seem to address from one perspective or another the idea of “free will” as it goes hand in hand with “God’s wisdom.” St. Paul speaks to this ongoing philosophy and discussion of “free will” more than anyone else in Holy Scripture. However, as he points out in our Second Reading from his First Letter to the Corinthians, “We speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory.”READ MORE
Stewardship is putting our faith in action through the use of the gifts given to us by God. It is becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ. The Lord did not want us to be passive in our approach to living. He wants more from us than just being quietly holy.READ MORE