On this Sunday, the week after Pentecost, we celebrate The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity in the Church. We have celebrated this particular weekend in the Church for more than 700 years. Depending on your age, you may recall St. Pope John XXIII who organized and oversaw Vatican II. Interestingly, it was Pope John XXII (1316-1364) who made this celebration official in the Church.READ MORE
Today is Pentecost Sunday, the 50th day after Easter (counting both Easter Sunday and today). Pentecost is often called “the birthday of the Church.” As we hear in Holy Scripture, today is the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus’ followers, and with that Jesus’ mission on earth was completed.READ MORE
The First Reading from Acts begins with Cornelius falling at Peter’s feet. Peter lifts him up and says, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”Cornelius was likely the inspiration for that statement. St. Cornelius is a significant person in the Acts of the Apostles. A documented centurion in the Cohors Italia, he is considered by most Bible researchers as being one of the first Gentiles converted to Christianity.READ MORE
St. John captures the essence of what kind of love is expected from us toward our neighbor and those in need as he opens our Second Reading with “Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” Jesus made that point several times in His own teachings. It follows the old adage that “Actions speak louder than words.”
We have pointed out numerous times that being a good steward requires action. It may be easy for us come to an understanding of what it means to love one another; and additionally, we may speak of doing it; but the true measure is what we do, how we live our lives.READ MORE
“He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.” This is St Peter preaching again in the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles. However, in this instance, he is speaking at his own trial. He and St. John had been imprisoned.
What a different man Peter is compared to the man who denied Jesus in fear! Peter is no longer intimidated by the authorities; keep in mind that this is in effect the same court which condemned Christ to crucifixion. Earlier in Acts we witness Peter and the other disciples being filled with the Holy Spirit. This is not a one-time event, but something ongoing throughout their lives.READ MORE
The final line of the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles is, “Repent, therefore, that your sins may be wiped away.” This is part of a message which Peter evidently often stated as he evangelized and spread the word about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Penance, repentance, is an important part of our Catholic faith. One of our seven Sacraments, there is much in Church doctrine about the importance of this sacrament. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1424) it states, “It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element. In a profound sense it is also a “confession” - acknowledgment and praise - of the holiness of God and of His mercy toward sinful men and women.”READ MORE
On this Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, what we hear in the Word of the Lord enforces what we need to believe. It has a lot to do with the idea of stewardship. Some of what we hear is often misinterpreted.
The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles points out about the early Christian community: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his or her possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” This is a sign of unity, the kind of unity we as a faith community are striving to achieve. The bottom line is that those in the community regarded people more important than things. Is that not what Christ expects of us?READ MORE
In his letter to the Philippians, our Second Reading on this Palm Sunday, St. Paul writes, “…he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Everything we hear today and during Holy Week relates to this statement.READ MORE
Easter Sunday is but two weeks away (April 1). In our First Reading from the prophet Jeremiah, we hear God tell us, “I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.” To affirm that forgiveness, St. Paul has this to say in the Second Reading: “He (Jesus) became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” There is a connection between these two statements which present forgiveness as the way to salvation.READ MORE
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” Do we really need a more powerful reminder of the importance of Lent and Easter than that?
That verse (from John 3:16) has become very popular in modern culture, to the point that we see it often at athletic events. When the University of Florida played for the national college football championship in 2009, quarterback Tim Tebow did not wear the regular eye black under his eyes. Under his right eye it said “John” and under his left eye it said “3:16.” God sends us messages all the time, if we listen and are attentive.READ MORE
Our First Reading from the Old Testament Book of Exodus presents the Ten Commandments, as God gave them to Moses. The Commandments also appear in the Book of Deuteronomy (Chapter 5; verses 6-21). The Commandments are reaffirmed in the New Testament by Jesus Himself and especially in the Gospel of John.
The Ten Commandments are also called the “Decalogue,” which means literally “ten words.” According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2056) “God revealed these ‘ten words’ to His people on the holy mountain. They were written ‘with the finger of God.’ They are pre-eminently the words of God”READ MORE