Occasionally something that begins with a purely practical purpose will, over time, take on a spiritual significance and become part of the Church’s tradition. One good example of this is the church bell. Bells are so much a part of our tradition that the most basic iconic representation of a Church is a square building with a steeple or bell tower. It is thought by … Continue reading Bells
On November 30th, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI published his second encyclical letter, “Spe Salvi,” or “Saved by Hope.” His first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” was a reflection on the nature of love. But you may be wondering, what exactly is an encyclical letter anyway? In the ancient Christian Church, a encyclical letter was one sent to the bishops of a particular area. The name comes … Continue reading Encyclicals
Several months ago, one of my parishioners challenged me when I spoke about the Church’s support for a new minimum wage law. She was arguing that Catholic social teaching should simply follow and reinforce economic market forces. But the principle of Economic Justice that underlies much of the Church’s social teaching begins at a different point. We presume that economic systems should serve people, and … Continue reading Economic Justice
It’s no secret that to be a Christian is to have an obligation to care for the poor. This obligation comes directly from the teachings of Jesus, who said, “whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” And so, throughout our history, the Church has cared for the poor, and exhorted her members to do the same. But the perennial question … Continue reading Charity and Justice
On September 29th of each year, the Church celebrates the feast of the Archangels. Although angels have been theologically out of fashion in recent years, they continue to play in important part in popular piety and spirituality. So what is an angel? There is so much misinformation and fanciful speculation about angels that a look at the Catholic understanding of these creatures might be … Continue reading Angels
Like many people, today I’m celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the premier of Star Trek. I’ve been reflecting lately on why this particular cultural phenomenon has had such a grip on me for so long. I started watching when I was about 11 years old— only two years after Star Trek ended its three-year run on NBC, and long before its many movies and subsequent … Continue reading Happy 50th Anniversary, Star Trek!
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” John 1:45-46 There’s something about seeing– experiencing– a thing first-hand that is more compelling than having someone tell you … Continue reading Why You Should Come & See
NRVC: Can your career fit into religious life? I’m often asked by inquirers if their career– either the one they’re currently working, or the one they’re in school for– can fit into religious life and the Paulist Mission. It’s a complicated question, and one that really has to be answered on an individual basis. For someone who has a career and skills that the … Continue reading What about my career?
Why is it so hard for us to do the right thing? Sure, there are occasionally situations where we’re faced with some moral ambiguity, but most of the time, we make it harder than it is. If you ever listen to those founts of all modern wisdom, Dr. Laura Schlesinger on the radio or Judge Judy on TV, you know what I mean. Dr. Laura … Continue reading Homily for the 15th Sunday, July 14, 2013
Homily 12th Sunday C – 96 Because I lived in Washington, DC for 15 years, I would often go to those mass demonstrations on the national mall. Pro-life marches annually from 1990 – 2001, marches for housing and employment in 1996, the Million Man March in 1995, even the Promise Keepers in 1997. I was something of an equal-opportunity marcher, although truth be told I … Continue reading Homily 12th Sunday. June 23, 2013