Thursday, January 26, 2012

"What is this? A new teaching with authority."

In this Sunday's Readings, January 29, 2011, the Gospel finds Jesus going to the synagogue in Capernaum with four of his disciples where people are astonished that He teaches with such authority. And then he casts out a demon from a possessed person. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

Jesus - The Holy One of God

What is particularly interesting in the Gospel account is the demon’s reaction to the presence of Jesus. While this is undoubtedly a great miracle of healing, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS makes the important point that Jesus is recognized by the demon as the Holy One of God. Now it is not just Jesus’ teaching authority that is recognized but his true spiritual stature.

Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. says the cure of the demoniac represents the beginning of the messianic age. Jesus enters a world in which Satan reigns, teaches with the authority of God, and with compassion casts out evil spirits that hold people in bondage and fear.

Liberation From Our Own Demons

The possessed man was tormented by an unclean spirit which causes uncontrollable outbursts. Most of us also have that kind of experience during some stage of our lives. We may not identify it as an “unclean spirit,” but we find ourselves in the thrall of some power which seems beyond our control. Fr. Phil Bloom tells us that Jesus can also liberate you – and me.

This Sunday, Fr. John Foley, S. J. explains, we are asked to hear with our hearts the word of God, not to get distracted by interesting facts or anything else distracting. Fr. Ron Rolheiser says it is good to be humble, admit our struggle, and to go to those places that can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We must see the moral life as a magnificent vision of transformation in Christ. We must see it, Msgr. Charles Pope explains, as a portrait of a soul set on fire with love. The love of God is something we receive, not something achieved.

Preaching with Authority

The Readings also remind us that Jesus gives the people listening in the synagogue -- and us -- something besides commentary and quotes about the Scripture. Jesus not only spoke with authority. Fr. John J. Ludvik says Jesus lived what He spoke. The authority of His teaching extended to the authority of His actions. Our Saviour didn't call us just to do some of the things He did. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino points out to us that Jesus called us to be His presence for others. We are called to destroy evil in our world. We cannot do this unless we are determined to be Christlike.

And this, according to Fr. James Gilhooley, is what St. Mark is saying to us, "If you want to measure what kind of a Christian you are, count up what you did for the crippled man today. You are either a Bible or a libel." This means each one of us should be God's letter of introduction to a despairing world.

But we should not just contribute to an already very wordy world with worldly words. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. highlights the fact that if religion penetrates the head only, it will only serve to divide people from one another. It becomes simple theology without spirituality and it tends to be unrelated to the lives of peoples. Everything that Jesus did is used to teach, to provoke and to re-examine our behavior and ways.

The HHS Ruling and & Faithful Citizenship

First posted on the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, this video response to the Obama administration move to mandate contraceptive coverage in benefit plans across the board was released by the body's president, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York. What the Obama Administrations Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has done is an attack, which is why Catholics need to be well-informed about what is going on so that they can tell their neighbors about it. So, here are the facts as presented by Omar F. A. Gutierrez.

E. Christian Brugger offers a parallel albeit different take on the issue. As easy as it is to blame the liberals for this appalling state of affairs, he thinks the problem to a certain degree is that none of us any longer believe in truth. The enemy is partially us.

Archbishop Charles Chaput reminds us that personal witness is always the best proof of what we claim to believe. And this year, like every other year, with or without an election, we need to apply the idea of Catholic witness in a special way to our public life as citizens. We might find it useful to remember 10 simple points as we move toward November.

Promoting Christian Unity

Calling for conversion at the personal and community levels, Pope Benedict this week said the path to Christian unity requires more than being nice to each other and cooperating. Full and visible unity will require transformation and being conformed to the image of Christ.

Last week we brought to your attention the viral video by a young man who said he loved Jesus but hated Religion. In a video response, Fr. Robert Barron explains that "Jesus Didn't Come to Abolish Religion; He Came to Fulfill It." Nevertheless, the overwhelming response to this young man's video proves that religion as it stands isn't serving the needs of a bunch of people. And the dozens of response videos shows that this is a conversation people are eager to have.

And so we bring back this Burning Question: Is it better to believe in God or believe in the Church?

The Youth are Turning to God

Sociologists haven't identified a conservative shift among Catholic youth as a whole, but those who work in Catholic youth ministries say that the style of devotion is changing for many of the most committed Roman Catholic youth. In some ways, that style resembles their grandparents' piety more than their parents'. As we mentioned last week, Pro-Life is becoming mainstream. Younger voters - especially women - are embracing a Pro-Life position in surprising numbers and in sharp contrast to attitudes that held sway 15 years ago. Even Generation-Y youth are now determinedly more Pro-Life. Are we at a tipping point?

Maybe the answer can be found in this "Why am I Catholic?" video we found on YouTube. It was prepared for a Confirmation retreat and offers six reasons for being Catholic: the Eucharist, the Church, the Sacraments, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Marriage (actual and spiritual), and the Communion of Saints. Enjoy this wonderful Confirmation retreat video.

And here's a question asked by a young reader: "I have been asked this by several of my friends and don't really know how to answer it: why is it a sin for non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist at a Catholic Mass?" Father J responds. Check it out.

God’s Plan Is Bigger Than Your Mistakes

Some of you may say, “I’ve messed up. I’ve missed God’s best plans for my life.” Bo Sanchez says No. Believe that the best is yet to come. And always remember, God’s plan is bigger than all your mistakes put together.

And why should we pray the rosary? Here's the most beautiful explanation ever from Father Gabriel Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican: "When you pray Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now..., the Blessed Mother comes instantly to your side to pray with you. And she does not come alone. Choirs of angels come with her. And she and Jesus are joined at the heart and cannot be separated so she brings Jesus with her. And Jesus cannot be separated from the Trinity so He brings the Father and the Holy Spirit with Him. And where the Holy Trinity is, all of creation is, and you are surrounded by such beauty and light as you cannot imagine in this life."

Diabetes, Coffee, Fried Food & Heart Attacks

Two interesting health related articles came up this week. The first is good news for coffee drinkers. Scientists have long known that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but researchers out of China may have figured out why. The second relates to the health risks of frying food. tephen Adams reports that it is a "myth" that regularly eating fried foods causes heart attacks, researchers have found, as long as you use olive oil or sunflower oil.

So throw out the vegetable oil and stock up on olive oil. And enjoy your coffee. It not only perks you up, it also keeps you healthy.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief BURNING QUESTION: Believe in God or to believe in the Church?
FEATURED BLOG: Going to confession after many years
PASTORAL HISPANA: El mensaje de Jesus nos manifiesta su autoridad

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."

This Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012 , 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, we have the call of the first Apostles. Mark gets down to business fast, here in only verse sixteen of his Gospel we find Jesus calling Simon and his brother Andrew and then having gone on a little further He calls the sons of Zebedee, James and John. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

"This is the time of fulfillment."

Mark wastes no time in pointing out the implications of the public mission of Jesus in Galilee. All the hopes and dreams of Israel are about to be realized. Jesus proclaims: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand."

To live in the expectation of that fulfillment is to live in the bittersweet world of promise. What we hope for is still awaited, and that is painful. But, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. assures us, we also live in joyful expectation of what will be, and that is comforting beyond words. When it comes to the kingdom of God, “Now is the time”, Jesus tells us. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS says that means Discipleship, the following of Jesus, and reconciliation is here and now.

A Call to Repentance

This Sunday's readings speak about repentance, explains Fr. Phil Bloom. We hear Jonah calling the Assyrians to repentance. And Jesus begins his public ministry with similar urgency.

So what does Jesus Christ demand of us today? Repentance, conversion. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says our Saviour demands a turning away from our own ideas about how God's Kingdom should operate and a turning toward belief in Christ's teaching and example about God's Kingdom that is among us here and now. And Father Cusick says it is in His Church where we meet Christ as Redeemer.

A Call to Discipleship

In both the First Reading and the Gospel, people are given a direct invitation to do God’s will. Fr. John Foley, S. J. points out that when Jesus called Simon and Andrew, James and John, he also calls you and me. He did not call us to do something. He called us to be something. He called us to be disciples. God wants us to go on a further journey. And just like those first Apostles, Fr. Alex McAllister, SDS says we want to respond and immediately follow the Lord on this new deeper journey even though we might not know where it will lead.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser reminds us how we often struggle to have a personal relationship with Jesus, to pray to him, and to have him as our confidant. Do do we run away from Jesus or towards Him? Either way you will have suffering, explains Fr. John Foley, S. J.. But he assures us that either way God will keep after us, pulling us out from fishy entrails, pushing us, pulling us over and over, to learn in our flesh what love is really about.

Thus like diamonds, we are transformed from being children of darkness to children of the light. And this, Fr. John J. Ludvik says, is the reality of every human journey. We need to be transformed to radiate the light of Christ to others. This way, God’s call will have a profound effect not just upon us, but upon others.

It's March For Life Monday

On January 22, 1974, the first March for Life was held on the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol. An estimated 20,000 committed pro-life Americans rallied that day on behalf of our preborn brothers and sisters. Thirty years later, abortion remains a scourge in our society. Planned Parenthood reports that its operations alone was responsible for 329,455 abortions in the last 12 months. They received $487.4 million in tax dollars over the same twelve-month period.

As sad as these staggering numbers portray, America's sentiment today is markedly more pro-life than the generation that came before. The March For Life event scheduled for Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, in every major city across the country is expected to draw millions. Liberal mainstream media is spinning this event as a non-event. By reporting that events like Walk For Life don’t change minds, columnist Gibbons J. Cooney say the mainstream media is ignoring the history of pro-life converts. One who such marcher will be housewife Barbara Curtis. She explains in her blog post how she's "grown up and changed".

A new study reports that younger voters, especially women, are embracing a pro-life position in surprising numbers and in sharp contrast to attitudes that held sway just 15 years ago. Opinion polls likewise show a shift in the views of Generation Y. This group -- the 60 million people born between the late ’70s and the late ’90s -- affirms that our country has become more pro-life than “pro-choice.” And what could be fueling this turn-around? The internet and the new media has been playing a key role in turning the tide against the culture of death. Even the Vatican says the presence of Catholics online is ‘essential’ to the Church.

"Respect Life" Challenges for Catholic Families

Sexting, drugs, alcohol, cyber-bullying, teen suicide, rampant materialism, technology addiction, and me-first mindsets – the list of challenges to young people today can seem overwhelming. How do you raise independent Catholic kids in an age of conformity? Randy Hain and his wife are on the front lines of a never-ending war for the very souls of their children. They share their story.

The challenges to the traditional family are just as daunting. Fathers are specifically being challenged by the Church to lead their families in Godly Fatherhood. Especially in the face of recent news that only 51% of people over the age of 18 in the United States are married. Single parenthood, single households and cohabitation have become more popular.

Catholic blogger Crescat is one such single parent. Her advise to women who may find themselves debating abortion? Being a single mother is not the worst thing out there. God's love is for everyone. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf says even for those couples living together ‘married’ without an annulment of a previous marriage. He explains why the Pope says they are “not excluded from the love of the Church or from the love of Christ.”

Spiritual But Not Religious

Many Catholics think that provided they aren’t going against the 10 Commandments that they are in the clear. But there are a number of ways to participate in someone else’s sin. In fact, there are nine ways that a person can participate in another’s sin. We list them and relate them to Abortion for more emphasis.

Which brings us to a viral video that has been circulating on YouTube called “I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus Christ.” Spiritual but not Religious. Father Longenecker calls this "claptrap." He writes that saying you're spiritual but not religious is like saying you love food, but hate cooking. Taking itake it further, he says, "You love food but hate cooking? That means you can't be bothered to learn to cook." Can a person really be one and not the other? Sr. Margaret J. Obrovac, FSP offers her thoughts as welll in her blog.

Here's one from a reader asking about a neighbor's Bible Study. He writes: "Our 8 year old daughter has been invited to a Bible Study (non denomination; ie., non Catholic) put on by a neighbor (husband & wife team) every Thursday. Should I let my daugfhter go?" Mark Shea offers sound advice may of you will find very enlightening and useful.

And this one could be the "Don't Miss Video of the Year." Seriously. We tend to forget that others are broken, in need of love, vulnerable, and searching. The pain, fear, and experiences that the people in this video share, is perfectly put together, in the midst of walking down a school hall and forgetting that all of us are human. We need one another and I for one take others for granted too often. It was created by a class of Alabama middle school students.

In closing, we ask you to help our ministry. Please support our Help-A-Parish Catholic Appeal. We are giving away 100 free Catholic websites to financially-strapped parishes in the U.S. But we can make this happen only if you, our readers, help us. Please prayerfully consider a donation to our charity drive.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief
BURNING QUESTION: Sanctity of Life - "Protection of Life or Celebration of Life?"
FEATURED BLOG: Spiritual but Not Religious
PASTORAL HISPANA: Cuando Dios nos llama implica compromiso

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

“What are you looking for?”

In this Sunday's Readings - Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (2B), January 15, 2012 - John the Baptist looks hard at Jesus and says, ‘Look there is the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples with him immediately follow Jesus. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

Behold the Lamb of God

At the beginning of Advent we received a beautiful gift: the new English translation of the Roman Missal. One of the parts I particularly like is the invitation to Communion. The priest holds up the Host and says, "Behold the Lamb of God..." We hear these same words in Sunday's Gospel. John the Baptist sees Jesus and exclaims to Andrew, "Behold the Lamb of God."

When John called Jesus the Lamb of God, he was saying a lot. Jesus is gentle and like a lamb, submissive to the will of his Father. He would make a sacrifice so complete, Fr. Phil Bloom explains, that it would not need repitition. As the letter to the Hebrews says, it would be "once and for all."

“What are you looking for?”

Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila in the Philippines, once made a most significant intervention. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB relates how speaking about about the disposition of listening to God's Word that leads people to true life, the archbishop said: "Listening is a serious matter. The Church must form hearers of the Word. But listening is not transmitted only by teaching but more by a milieu of listening."

In the Gospel, Jesus is going to call two men to be disciples. He waits for them to notice him and get interested. They start to follow him. Jesus turns and says bluntly, “What are you looking for?”

The plain meaning of the question is, “Why are you following me?” But with an eye to the archbishop's statement above, what is the deeper meaning of our Lord's question? Fr. John Foley, S. J. says it is the same question from God that finally shook Samuel loose: “What is your hunger? Is there something about Me that answers the deep desire of your heart?” And just where will we find that which would satisfy our restless hearts? Fr. Ron Rolheiser says in purity of heart, in removing those things inside of us that block our connection to the author of all the persons, places, beauty, love, color, and energies for which we ache.

There is a call within the call. There is the call which brings us into the fold of the Church. But there is a  second call, the call within the call. And that, Fr. Alex McAllister, SDS points out to us, is to follow Jesus completely and to dedicate one’s entire life to following Him wholeheartedly. Father Cusick reminds us that the Church teaches that the faithful cannot be silenced, that the impulse to spread the Gospel, to proclaim Christ as Messiah, is not an option, but rather an obligation. The Church is not "catholic", not universal, if the Church is not also missionary.

Morality & Sexuality

As in most of the year, the Second Reading this Sunday does not follow the same theme of the First Reading and the Gospel Reading. They are about the call of the Lord. The second reading however from 1 Corinthians 6 is about morality, specifically sexual morality. Yes, we’re called to purity. But that’s not because God and the Catholic Church have some prudish disdain for the body and bodily pleasure, explains Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio.

Bo Sanchez relates how he once disturbed 6000+ people attending one of his Evangelization conferences with a simple question: "Are You Sexually Pure?" It is a topic we all often try to avoid because it hits too close to home. We all struggle with it, but then again, just like each one of us, we are all also human. In this week’s readings,  Samuel, Paul, and John give us the key to making sense of biblical morality.

To be in communion with Christ means to pray, always and everywhere. The Second Reading of today's Mass shows us that a disciple's personal union with Christ through His Spirit is the foundation of choices about moral behavior. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler talks about this in detail. Quoting Blessed Pope John Paul II's lectures in his about the Theology of the Body, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino also explains that human happiness depends on self giving, not self assertion. And that is the difference between love and lust. For us sexual morality is the mastery of the desire that allows us to give ourselves to another in a way that affirms the other. And married love is the human reality that best images the commitment.

Marriage, Single Parenthood & Life

As is tradition on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, Benedict XVI baptized a group of infants on Sunday. In the service, the Pope told the parents that God knows their child better than they do and exhorted them to understand prayer as the first step in educating their children.

Lately, marriage has been getting a bad rap. It seems like many people these days feel marriage is some archaic arrangement that holds people back from realizing their full potential. Even if people aren’t particularly anti-marriage, they will avoid getting hitched for as long as they can. Here's an article addressed specifically to men - but it works just as well for women - that presents the many benefits to getting married. This ties in perfectly to the discussion by the new director of the Theology of the Body Institute and its work. Damon Owens talks about the difficulties facing those who promote Blessed John Paul's message on sexuality.

To single parents, a Catholic blogger named Crescat, has this message for you: "Being a single parent isn’t so bad. There are worse things." Of course she isn't advocating single parent households over the traditional model of family, which she knows to be superior. But she does want women who may find themselves debating abortion because they have no support from the father to know that being a single mother is not the worst thing out there.

Liturgy, Bad Homilies & More

The New Mass Translation has been in place since Advent. And Fr. Robert Barron notes in this video (and I agree) that it deliberately uses a more courtly language. A reader argues that this is not a good thing. Mark Shea frames a proper response supporting Fr. Barron's comments.

We also note that the second Gospel, that written by St. Mark, will be the primary Gospel used in the Church’s Liturgy this year. Fr. Ryan Erlenbush explains that all the Gospels are founded upon the authority of one or other of the apostles: Sts. Matthew and John were themselves among the Twelve, while St. Luke wrote with the authority of St. Paul. St. Mark, then, not an apostle himself, writes what he heard preached by St. Peter. The Gospel according to St. Mark is therefore very much the Gospel of St. Peter.

Which brings us to Homilies. Like most things, sometimes, they get to you and sometimes they don't. If your pastor delivers a homerun of a homily and moves your spirit, are you one who is inclined to give him a round of applause? Do you clap after the homily? If you do, can you share your reasons in our Burning Question for the week? But every once in a while, you get a real clunker, one that isn’t just theologically weak, but turns what should be a feast into over microwaved junk. What is the proper response to a bad homily? Fr. John Zuhlsdorf says get down on your knees and pray for the priest who gave it.

Intelligent Catholicism & the Symphony of Truth

There are as many reasons for “converting” as there are converts. And throughout history, prominent intellectuals and thinkers have been among the many Catholic converts. George Weigel points out a common thread running through these diverse conversions -- that men and women of intellect, culture and accomplishment have found in Catholicism what Blessed John Paul II called the “symphony of truth.”

And there is much truth in his words. As Fr. Robert Barron also famously said in this video commentary, "If faith forces you to sacrifice intelligence, than that is not true faith." The Catholic Church mandates the faithful to speak the truth. And sometimes when we the faithful do, we become not conciliatory. Dr. Jeff Mirus tells us how we’ve come to expect a low level of social discourse in political discussion, led by political advertising and the verbal maneuvering of televised debates. But there is something wrong—something spiritually wrong—when the same problem afflicts religious discussions.

And what about those who lose heart in the Church? Like this college student who writes: "I just started college, and slowly I am turning away from the Church. I know I shouldn't and I try to still live a holy life, but my heart isn't into it. Can you offer any advice that can help me get my heart in the right place?" Fr. J. of took this question to task and offers great advice.

And if you're one of those who are also looking for that one spark you need to get your spiritual life back on track, we suggest some quiet time. Judy McDonald says, "Turn off your phone and talk to God."

Support our 2012 Help-A-Parish Charity Appeal

Please help us provide 100 free Catholic Websites for needy Catholic parishes nationwide. In 2011 every single parish we've spoken with tell us of the struggle they face with dwindling weekly collections and rising overhead costs. So for 2012, we initiated the ParishWorld HELP-A-PARISH Charity Drive to assist them. We will give away - at no charge - ParishWorld Catholic websites to needy parishes who otherwise could not afford one. Please help us out with a small contribution. Click here to see the details and to help out. If your parish would like to receive a free Catholic website, please email us at

Finally, here are some home truths about high blood pressure. Four years ago, Mark Honigsbaum was told he had high blood pressure. He isn't overweight, doesn't smoke and eats healthily – so what brought it on? He explores the facts and figures surrounding one of the western world's biggest killers.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief
BURNING QUESTION: Do you applaud after the homily?
FEATURED BLOG: My heart isn't into Church anymore. What now?

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Where is the newborn king of the Jews?"

The Epiphany gospel this Sunday, Jan. 8, 2011, is a continuation of the Christmas story in Matthew's prologue to his gospel. This story is is portrayed by the coming of the Three Wise Men from the East to do Him homage. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.

The Greek word “epiphaneia” means “appearance” and in the western churches Epiphany commemorates the appearance (or revelation) to the Gentiles of Jesus as Savior. It is an ancient feast. It is known to have been observed earlier than 194 AD, and is therefore older than the celebration of Christmas.

Let's start with a question many are asking. Is Epiphany - Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 - a Holy Day of Obligation? Fr. John Zuhlsdorf explains in very clear terms.

Manifestation of Christ to the World

We celebrate this Sunday the Epiphany of the Lord —by which we mean the Manifestation of Christ to the World. But just who were the Three Kings? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reveals just who they really were.

Fr. Alex McAllister SDS explains how Matthew in his Gospel presents us with two contrasting approaches. God reveals himself through the Scriptures and in the words of the Prophets to the People of Israel but He also reveals himself through natural phenomena such as the star the wise men followed. So the good news of Epiphany, Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. points out, is that Jesus is the revelation of God as one who offers Himself to us in love. Jesus is the epiphany of the invisible God in all the events of His life: as a helpless child lying in a manger, as a young man dying on the cross -- the ultimate revelation that God's glory is love.

But if we read the story carefully, we realize that far from being a children's tale, it is a tragic adult story. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says the battle lines are drawn and the forces are being marshaled. A child is born at the same time as a death-dealing power rules. It is a classic story about innocence in the midst of evil, innocence betrayed by those who should have cared. And Fr. John Foley, S. J. elaborates more.

Bearing and Accepting Gifts

The Magi Kings met the baby Jesus. And then they gave Him their greatest gifts. Fr. Phil Bloom reflects the significance of the bearing and giving of these gifts. Paul Dion, STL explains further that by giving gifts, they came to know His reason for being better. He gets the intuition that this is a way that God has of revealing Himself to us. By giving gifts, they came to know Him better.

Fr. James Gilhooley reminds us that we too owe Jesus a gift. But what gifts? Fr. John J. Ludvik suggests the gift of love to honor the King. Or why not adopt this platform - find the lost, the hungry, the broken, and the sorrowful? Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says Jesus may be in our caring for a sick spouse or relative. He may be in the outcast who reach out for us. He is in all these and countless more places. If we are wise, we will spend our lives seeking Him out, wherever He is.

Living the Epiphany Story

Epiphany is about power and what power we worship. There is the power of the word of God. There is the power of kingdoms, territories and comfort zones. There is the power of the child of the Star who comes to liberate and free. There is the power of worship and pilgrimage in search of the truth. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS challenges us with this question: What powers do we serve?

This was not lost among the early Christians. The ancient "way" of Christian life is repentance and belief in the Gospel, practically and profoundly realized in the sacramental life. Father Cusick emphasizes that the sacraments are the "Epiphany" or manifestation of the Lord for every human being. In the sacraments the whole "glory" of Christ "shines out" so that all nations may fall down in praise before the Lord.

And now that that the Feast of the Epiphany has closed the season of Christmastide, Benedict Rimando, M.J. reminds us all that it is time to put it into practice the message brought to us by Jesus in His expression of mission. The holidays are over! The work of Christmas begins. We end several weeks of holidays, vacation and feasting. Daniel Bean asks the question: How's your transition going?

Personal "Epiphany" Moments

Many times in our lives, we get a thud in our head, a stirring in our heart, an unexpected "Aha!" moment. We call them epiphanies. We share three such stories like that this week. First Marion Fernandez-Cueto relates how opening your hands can open your heart. She shares this in "What I Learned at the Stoplight." Then Bo Sanchez talks about the blessed moment when he learned this important lesson: "Stop Trying To Fix People."

And third, we bring you the story of actor Gary Graham. He had been a participant in three abortions in his life - even paying for their costs - until his own Epiphany moment. Now he condemns what he calls a woman’s “Right to Choose…to Kill Her Baby.” And he did this despite knowing that by writing about his personal experience and rejection of abortion, he would be incurring the ire of not a few among the Hollywood elite.

Mystery, Conversion, Sabbath and Praying to Saints

In the secular world a “mystery” is something which baffles or eludes understanding, something which lies undisclosed. And the usual attitude of the world toward mystery is to resolve it, get to the bottom of, or uncover it. Msgr. Charles Pope explains that in the Christian and especially the Catholic world, “mystery” is something a bit different.

From the Washington Post, we get the conversion story of columnist Bob Arscott. Before he converted to Catholicism, he believed his life was the way it was supposed to be. Converting to Catholicism, he explains here, was a challenging but rewarding decision.

And Taylor Marshall answers two Catrechetical question. First is a question from a Protestant reader who asks why Catholics have to ask saints to pray for them. He offers his usual solid defense from perspective of both the Bible and Traditions. Next is a question: "May Catholics work on Sundays?" Great Catechesis can be found here.

In closing, here's an intereasting look at the most common grocery labels: Enriched and Fortified, Gluten Free, Local, Trans Fat, Zero Calories, etc. We tell you what they mean and when they matter.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: Why don't we invoke saints from the Old Testament?
FEATURED BLOG: Why Do We Ask Saints to Pray for Us?
PASTORAL HISPANA: La Epifania es la fiesta que nos hace orgullosos de ser Catolicos

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