Today is the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (the Feast Day of the birth of John the Baptist). To say John the Baptist and Jesus were closely related and connected is an understatement.
Both were foretold by prophets, especially Isaiah. The only record of the birth of John the Baptist appears in the Gospel of Luke and it is at the heart of our Gospel Reading today. A key player in this event is, of course, John the Baptist’s father Zechariah. Zechariah was a Jewish priest, but when the Archangel Gabriel revealed to him that he would father a child, Zechariah refused to believe it. As a result, he was rendered speechless until John was born.READ MORE
You could buy a meal for a person who is hungry or for a person who just ate a feast. You could spend time with a lonely person or with someone who has more friends than you. You could step forward to join a parish committee that your experience and knowledge can help, or you can join a ministry where you will constantly struggle to figure out what to do. All of the above actions involve you giving and sharing yourself and your gifts. But not all of these actions will bear good fruit.READ MORE
In today’s First Reading from the Book of Genesis we hear the story of Adam and Eve and their sins, defying God. However, when God was present in the garden, the man and woman hid themselves. Adam responds to God’s question why in part by saying “I was afraid… so I hid myself.” Did he, do any of us really think he could hide from God?READ MORE
We have had three consecutive weeks of significant Solemnities -Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and now the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, better known by the name of Corpus Christi which translates from the Latin as the “Body of Christ.”
Clearly, this is a celebration which brings our focus on the Eucharist, which is at the absolute center of our liturgy, and at the core of our Catholic faith. We have mentioned many times that all revolves around the Eucharist when we receive the real Body and Blood of the Lord.READ MORE
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