Thursday, May 22, 2014

"He will give you another Advocate to be with you always"

This Sunday, May 25, 2014, is the last Sunday of Easter. We are being prepared for the Ascension of Jesus, which comes next week. He has risen from death and now he is ready to be human in another way, that is, to go to up to heaven, as we hope we will too. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with family, friends and church groups.

This week, the Readings move us forward in our consideration of the Easter Mystery. We move from the contemplation of Christ's appearances after the resurrection over the last few Sundays to a meditation on the continued presence of Christ in the Church through the Holy Spirit.

A Comforting Promise

Christ Jesus had to return to heaven so that our salvation might be complete. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. tells us that Our Lord did this not to complicate things, but to comfort us. In fact, in our text we find that Jesus gives a comforting promise. He promises to care for us, and He promises to be with us always. He said "If you love me you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever" (John 14:15). Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB  says Jesus identifies the new Advocate as the Spirit of truth, unknown to the world but an abiding presence within the disciples. This then is the foundation of our trust in the guidance of the Spirit.

Fr. Phil Bloom explains to us why we do not fear the dark. We experience life as a mysterious adventure. And we are convinced that - because of Jesus - the adventure will not end with death. That is the reason for our hope. And that is what college student Stephen Chanderbhan is sharing with us when he offers his personal testimony to the message Jesus speaks: God is with us always. God never leaves those who love Him, and will even surprise us if we are open to it!

Jesus does not leave us at all. God has given us His Spirit, but His Spirit does not dominate our lives. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS explains how the Holy Spirit is there in a very gentle way prompting our actions, keeping us faithful, helping us to hang on in there even though God seems so far away. God does this so that we can grow in love, so that it can be stretched to its limits.

The Holy Spirit - The Paraclete

Here's a common thinking among Christians. God the Father–we can get a glimpse of His tenderness and strength, thanks to Michelangelo’s magnificent Sistine ceiling. And baby Jesus in the manger, the savior hanging on the Cross–these are images we can easily visualize. But Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost? Somehow, we can’t feel quite the same way about a dove as we do about a child on its mother’s lap. And then what does this “Spirit” do? The Father creates, the Son saves, but the Spirit?

Fr. James Gilhooley uses Daniel Durkin to summarize the Parakletos in these lyrical words: Eternally the Holy Spirit is love between the Father and the Son but historically the Holy Spirit is love between God and the world. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio adds that the Holy Spirit is the real thing. He does not just come and go. He is with us always. We must grow into it, this Spirit within us. Or better, we must allow it to grow within us. Fr. John Foley, S. J. reminds us that we must learn to allow Jesus’ real presence to come into us at communion, for instance, and to love and forgive in daily life. We need Jesus to remain actually present in this world, and therefore we need the Holy Spirit.

Real love comes only from God

Everybody needs love. And, Father Cusick points out, 100% genuine real love comes only from God. The commandments protect us from falling for the counterfeits, the shams and the lies that often pass for love in our world. To love Jesus means to trust him.

Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says that means that we trust his radical teaching about an ideal of unselfish loving. The most important consequence of this presence of Jesus in our lives is the profound conviction, given to us by the Spirit, that we are embraced by the heavenly Father's love, just as Jesus was embraced by that love. And that is why we Christians are truly eternal optimists. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino talks about how we may be dying of cancer, we may be in difficult family situations, strained relationships, financially hurting, what have you, but no matter what the situation, we know that if we are true to Christ, He will always be the source of our joy.

However, Fr. Ron Rolheiser cautions us that right truth and right morals don’t necessarily make us disciples of Jesus. What makes us genuine disciples of Jesus is living inside His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and this is not something abstract and vague. St. Paul tells us that we can live according to either the spirit of the flesh or the Holy Spirit. We live for the Lord. We die for the Lord. That is authentic Christian life.

Conversion, Vocations & More

With ordination season now in full swing, some great vocation stories are emerging. And this one, shared by Deacon Greg Kandra, is just one of them. Inside the burning Twin Towers on 9/11, Paul Carris took an injured stranger's hand - Judith Toppin's - and promised to lead her to safety down 71 flights of stairs. They were among the last to escape. Almost 10 years later, Carris says, he tapped into the trauma of that lifesaving experience to “save my own life” — and became a Roman Catholic deacon.

And here's an "Open Letter" from an evangelical pastor to all his fellow Protestant brothers and sisters. His brother is a Roman Catholic seminarian whom he visited him during the latter's acolyte installation ceremonies before hopefully being ordained a priest. After immersing himself into the spiritual environment of the seminarians, the pastor offered this observation: "Men, what a blessing you were to me! I have news for you. Heaven will be just like this! If these men are any indication of the kinds of people who will emerge as the priests and leaders of the Catholic Church in this new century, there are great days ahead for them, and more and more people are going to experience the Gospel in real, tangible ways." Amen.

Eight years ago this week, Taylor Marshall exchanged his Anglican clerical collar for a layman's necktie. He said it was the best decision that he has ever made. He, his wife and their children were received into the one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. It's been a blessing to be a Catholic. His only regret is that they did not become Catholic earlier. Taylor's story is a validation for Michael Coren who was getting challenged by his non-Catholic friends when he titled his new book: Why Catholics Are Right. To the mass of uninformed critics, he says he is often driven to say, "Think and agree, think and disagree, think whatever you like. But in the name of God and the Church He left us, please think!"

This challenge applies to us practicing Catholics as well. Judith Costello uses First Communion as her drawing board. She notes how our young first communicants are so excited on their special day as they feel the glow of love for Jesus. However, the sad reality is that some of the young people who receive the Eucharist for the first time, won’t receive Jesus again for a long time. Too many families see First Communion as the beginning and the end of their obligation for faith formation.

High School Graduations & Looking to College

"Don't believe your report Cards!" Talking about the true and hidden lessons we learned in High School, Dr. Antonio Miguel Dans delivered this message in 2001 to the graduating high school class of the top Jesuit school in the Philippines.  We share this with you because it's a wonderful reflection on the hidden lessons that we all walk away with from high school.

And here's a supposedly true story that happened at the University of Maryland.  We have no way of verifying it's authenticity. But it was simply too good and too inspiring not to pass on. It's about a graduating class who could not pray during the commencements----not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it. The last of the speakers at the ceremonies, a solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened. All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly sneezed!  The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said, "God bless you, each and every one of you!"

And to all our high school seniors, here's our Freshman Send Off. This fall over 1.5 million students of you will start your freshman year of college. Some of you will hit the ground running and never look back. For others their freshman year, especially the first few months, will be more of a challenge. Thirty percent of you will actually drop out during their first year. If you’re one of that 1.5 million and don’t want to be part of the 30%, check out our Freshman Survival Guide. It's the "17 Things College Freshman Should Know Before Classes Start."

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: What does the Holy Spirit do in your life?
FEATURED BLOG: Why Catholics Are Right
PASTORAL HISPANA: Por nuestros frutos seremos conocidos

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

"I am the way and the truth and the life."

In the Gospel for this Fifth Sunday in Easter, Jesus invites us to let go and trust in Him. He declares that He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with family, friends and church groups.

This Sunday's Gospel text is taken from St. John's account of the Last Supper. That the Church gives us this Last Supper discourse of Jesus for an Easter Season Eucharist is illuminative. These words are spoken to us now by the Risen Lord, truly alive and present in our midst. In this gospel we find things that Jesus taught before his death beautifully combined with John's inspired interpretation of these teachings, written in full confidence of guidance by the Spirit of Jesus (Jn 16:13).

Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life

The life implication of this gospel is profound because it touches upon the fear of death, that pervasive fear which can take the life out of life. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. tells us that to hear the words of Jesus "Do not let your hearts be troubled" is the liberating good news that we can live and work in a fragile and violent world and not be overcome.

Fr. Phil Bloom reminds us that Jesus is inviting us to let go and trust in Him. In this Sunday's Gospel He tells his disciples that He is “the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father."

God is in Jesus and Jesus is in the world and He sends His Spirit to show us the Way, Fr. John Foley, S. J. explains. God’s love has been incarnated. It can never leave us. And so when Jesus reminds the apostles, "You have faith in God; have faith also in me," He is also telling us to trust the Holy Spirit to do in us what we cannot do ourselves. And that, Fr. Orlando Sapuay, MS points out, is what "Living in the Holy Spirit" is all about.

Living Cornerstones of the Church

The second reading from the First Letter of Peter contains some of the most reassuring verses in Scripture. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says in this reading, we are called living cornerstones of the Church, we are the royal priesthood, the people whom God has chosen to bring light to all who live in darkness. We are the Church.

But are there not many paths to God, many truths? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reminds us how many times we've heard people say that there are different paths up the same mountain, but they all lead to the peak? It’s politically correct. Tolerant. Reasonable. But it’s wrong. Jesus would not have supported the smorgasbord Gospel, pick-and-choose Catholicism which is popular among us today. Fr. James Gilhooley notes that if you're a cafeteria Catholic, you've just started your own religion. The Church is not simply one choice among others, Father Cusick highlights for us. It is not a way to Christ, but the way to Christ.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, however, offers a few words of wisdom for our discipleship. In our spiritual journey, there is an important time to be conservative, just as there is an important time to be liberal. We are not meant to pick one of these over the other.

Birth of the Deaconate

In the first reading this Sunday from the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that a clear perception of the diversity of offices and duties in the first apostolic community arose very quickly. The essential function of the Twelve is the "service of the word," including development of the kerygma by formulation of the teachings of Jesus.

In Verse 2 we read: "It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table." At the Apostles' invitation the disciples chose seven men led by St. Stephen. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains that our tradition sees in this group the origins of the future ministry of "deacons." The Deaconate has thrived through the ages. And today we Catholics in the USA are see a surge in its membership numbers.

Rapture, True Orthodoxy and the Eucharist

Over the years, some evangelical Christian denominations who believe the world will end have predicted its end date. If you remember the last famous predicted date was three years ago on May 21, 2011. Fans of the "Left behind" movie series have come to know this event as the Rapture. But what exactly is the Catholic teaching on the Rapture? There is none, explains Michael D. Guinan, O.F.M., Ph.D., a professor at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, California. He clarifies in detail that there is no traditional Christian teaching on the Rapture. A concept developed in the late 1800s, he says it is a late, and rather suspect, arrival on the scene.

In the book "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist," Brant Pitre does a fantastic job of showing how various things from the Old Testament point to Christ. Joe Heschmeyer went on a similar journey and wrote this piece that shows five different ways the Eucharist is prefigured in the Old Testament, and what each of those things shows us about the Eucharist.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, one of our featured weekly Sunday homilists,. is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. In an article he penned a few years back for San Francisco’s archdiocesan newspaper, he answered the question “What makes for a healthy, balanced, orthodox faith?” He said, “Purity of dogma alone doesn't make us disciples of Jesus." Check out his sharp narrative on true orthodoxy.

Marriage & the Sanctity of Life

Msgr. Charles Pope talks about one of the more beautiful passages in the Old Testament: the 12th Chapter of Ecclesiastes. It is a melancholy but soulful meditation on old age. He presents it here in totality and presents his own commentaries.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan explains Marriage is the core of every civilization. He clarified again the definition of marriage that is hardwired into our human reason. It it is a lifelong union of love and fidelity leading to children, between one man and one woman. History, Natural Law, the Bible, the religions of the world, human experience, and just plain gumption tell us this is so.

And speaking of marriages, the Census Bureau reports an encouraging trend. Americans may be postponing marriage, and fewer are wedding at all. But what about the people who do get married? They’re staying together longer than they have in years. Statistics show that the number of long-lasting marriages in U.S. has risen in recent years. We'll take every bit of good news, no matter how small.

We can't help but share this wonderful wedding proposal with you. THIS is a marriage proposal that gets 4 stars in our book. It's one of the best we've ever seen. But we will let the video speak for itself. Enjoy.

Mary and the Month of May

As we celebrate this month of May, walking in a particular way with Mary, the Mother of God, Sr. Lisa Marie Doty lists 10 of the most popular pious Marian practices of the faithful as recommended by the Magisterium.

She also talked about how she learned to pray from the examples set by the Blessed Virgin Mary, through our blessed Mother's disposition towards the things of God especially through her example as a woman of deep prayer.

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: How Catholic are you? Take the Quiz
FEATURED BLOG: Five Keys to Encouraging Conversion
PASTORAL HISPANA: Respuestas de Cristo Resucitado al hombre moderno

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

"I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved."

In the Catholic tradition this Fourth Sunday after Easter is called Good Shepherd Sunday. It is also kept as a Special Day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood and the Religious Life. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with family, friends and church groups.

The Good Shepherd Discourse

God's image as Shepherd did not originate with Jesus. One finds the figure of speech strewn throughout the Old Testament like a common pebble. You will discover it in the Books of Zechariah, Isaiah, Ezechiel, and Jeremiah for openers. And don't forget the celebrated 23rd Psalm which is our Responsorial Psalm today: "The Lord is my shepherd." Matthew and Luke as well as this Sunday's John applied it often to their Leader.

But this Gospel of John opens very differently than the other Gospels. Fr. Ron Rolheiser explains how there are no infancy narratives. Right at the beginning we already meet the adult Christ and the first words he speaks are a question: “What are you searching for?” John’s whole Gospel tries to answer that, but the full answer is given only at the very end, by Jesus himself. Christ showed us the way by living God’s way.

Jesus is the faithful follower of the Father’s will to the end. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S points out that Christ alone is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. Fr. Alex McAllister says our Lord is telling us that it is only His teaching of unselfish love that will lead us to true life and happiness. And He is not content to see us barely survive.

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says Jesus wants us to thrive. So He spreads out a true feast before us. Imagine his surprise when most of his sheep walk right by the oasis with its succulent grass and instead insist on munching the dried weeds at the edge of the desert. But that’s what most Catholics appear to do. Prayers and rituals and fervor are wonderful and necessary. But when they don't lead to real conversion from selfish tendencies to genuine concern for others, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. warns us, we ignore Christ's feast.

On Hearing The Voice That Soothes

Most of us do not like to think of ourselves as followers. But sheep are followers. The voice of the one they know, of the one they recognize, they will follow. Through Jesus, God knows each and every one of us better than we know ourselves. Fr. James Gilhooley asks us to imagine our name on the lips of God Himself in His role as the Shepherd as He calls to us. The name that our Lord confirms for each of us, Fr. John Foley, S. J. reminds us, finds its way down to the deepest interior of our souls. Through it He calls us to be most truly who we are, in our own self and in God.

We may misunderstand the voice of God, the shepherd, ignore it, resist it, button our ears to it, but in our moments of sane and solitary wholeness—or maybe in our times of trouble—our spirits pulse to the rhythm of that voice. It resounds within us. If we are going to be anybody's sheep, then let it be Christ's.

Jesus is the Sheep Gate

There is a door through which all of us must pass: the door of death which leads beyond this earthly life. Father Cusick says Jesus Christ has gone through this door. Having died according to the flesh, He has revealed that death has no power over Him because He is Lord of life. For those who love Him and surrender to His lordship, Christ is the gate of the sheepfold. As Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB reminds us, Jesus is the entrance into the loving security of God -- into the protection of the good shepherd.

No one comes to the Father except through him. So, let us open the door of our hearts to Jesus, Fr. Phil Bloom asks us. Repent for our sins, receive the Sacraments and put ourselves at the service of others.

May 11 is World Day of Prayer for Vocations

The Vatican has called for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations to be observed this Sunday, May 11, the fourth Sunday of Easter, commonly known as Good Shepherd Sunday. The USCCB offers many web resources to develop a vocation culture. Among these resources is the USCCB's list of "10 ways to promote religious vocations" in our parishes.

So how is parish stacking up in your efforts to develop priestly vocations? Allow us to share the stories of two parishes where the Holy Spirit is working overtime. The first one talks about how the pastoral and school staff at St. Mary Help of Christians Church worked to develop theirs into a vocations-aware parish in Aiken, S.C. The second parish success story comes from the Archdiocese of Atlanta where a simple seminarian "adoption" program sparked active discernment among parish young people.

Osama Bin Laden, Mercy & True Spirituality

Allison's husband escaped from the 68th floor of Tower One before the building collapsed on 9/11. As she contemplated the death of the man who tried to murder her beloved, she also considered Osama Bin Laden's destiny, which now is in God's hands. She took a look at Pope John Paul II's life, which mirrored Christ's in so many ways, and she learned that mercy is greater than justice. Paul Dion, STL echoed the same sentiments on the bin Laden killing in his blog, "Are you sure that you are pro-Life?"

These lead us into more soul-searching reflection. In Psalm 81, God is anxious for us to allow Him to take care of us. Sadly, we are inclined to give up too easily on God and trust in our own ability to control our situations. If we are being honest, would we admit that our faith and trust in God is primarily intellectual? Anthony Buono leads the discussion.

Last Easter, many were received into our Catholic Church. It is best we remind ourselves that it is just the beginning of their journey. Msgr. Charles Pope talks about the challenging need to more clearly instruct Catechumens and those being received into the Church about spiritual attack. Plain and simple, the devil wants to destroy the faith of those who have newly entered the Church. And we need to be sober about this.

And here's a reflection from someone who, while attending Mass this past Sunday, experienced so many distractions that it inspired this post. As she reflected on what she saw and heard, she soon realized that at some point in the past, she also has been guilty of partaking in every single one of the distractions she points out..

Catholic News

Here's a gem from Pope Benedict a few years back. In this discourse, he reminded us all that the Bible’s truth is found in its totality. He said one cannot take individual biblical quotes or passages and say each one is literally true. Pope Benedict XVI said. “It is possible to perceive the Sacred Scriptures as the word of God” only by looking at the Bible as a whole, “a totality in which the individual elements enlighten each other and open the way to understanding.” He also spoke about the Liturgy, pointing out that it lives from a constant relationship between tradition and progress. He clarified that not infrequently tradition and progress are clumsily opposed. "In reality," he added, "the two concepts are integrated: tradition is a living reality, which because of this includes in itself the principle of development, of progress."

Mary, the Month of May & the Rosary

May is the month devoted to Mary and to praying the rosary. “Love our Lady…” This was the message Deacon Greg Kandra gleaned while working his way through St. Josemaria Escriva’s “The Way.” He said this is what jumped out at him one morning: “Love our Lady. And she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle. And the enemy will gain nothing by those perversities that seem to boil up continually within you, trying to engulf in their fragrant corruption the high ideals, those sublime commands that Christ himself has placed in your heart. Serviam! — ‘I will serve!’”

Catholic Businessmen, Smile s and Mothers Day

A few years ago, Dawn Carpenter had an interesting conversation with one of our country’s most respected business leaders about Catholic business ethics. Intrigued, he wanted the “elevator pitch” version of what Faith could do to inform business, beyond its admonishment about the rich man’s difficulties getting into heaven. Here’s what she told him — the five things that every Catholic businessperson must know.

How about making a stranger smile? Don’t wait for people to smile. Show them how. We offer you 88 ways to do it.

Fr. Phil Bloom uses this Sunday's celebration of Mothers Day and his homily as good moment to address a difficult issue: the decline in reverence for motherhood - and fatherhood. "Behold your Mother" is a wonderful Mothers Day reflection by Cheryl Dickow. While Susan Hines-Brigger asks "Mother's Day: What Does It Really Mean?" And we bring you the story of Chastity Brown who is "Happy to be celebrating my first Mother's Day." Finally just in case you haven't lifted a finger in preparation for Sunday's celebration, "Planning ahead for Mother’s Day" offers to help make the occasion delightful, fun and relaxing. 

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Happy Mothers Day to all mothers. I love you, mom!

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: Should Christians perform the sign of the cross?
FEATURED BLOG: Five Things Every Catholic Businessperson Must Know
PASTORAL HISPANA: Escuchar la voz del Buen Pastor

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

“Were not our hearts burning within us"

Last Sunday's Gospel was the Gospel of Doubting Thomas. This Sunday's Gospel is the Gospel of the Confused Disciples. Luke's story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus focuses on the interpretation of scripture by the risen Jesus and the recognition of him in the breaking of the bread. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with family, friends and church groups.

Scared and Confused

Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. explains the the heart of the scared disciples' confusion. Cleopas and his companion thought Jesus' death had brought an end to the redemption of Israel. As far as they were concerned, the shame and death of the cross was not compatible with their understanding of Israel's Redeemer. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS clarifies the fact that they were headed to Emmaus because they were actually walking away.

Just like these disciples, we may also not know why things have happened, or even what things have happened. We may not know the best course for us to take in this or that situation. But Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says we do know that if we stay united to the Lord in Word and Sacrament, we will never go wrong. We can be at peace because we have our anchor, Sacred Scripture, and our joy, the Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. Fr. John Foley, S. J. says Jesus is telling us in this story that there actually is a way for the human heart to say Yes to God and mean it.

In Light of Scriptures and the Eucharist

The stranger on the road to Emmaus takes the skepticism and curiosity of the disciples and weaves them into the fabric of the Scripture. Jesus challenges them to reinterpret the events of the past days in light of the Scriptures. During the meal He recreated the Last Supper. He took bread, blessed it and gave it to them. And they recognized Him in the breaking of the break, the first Christian name for the Eucharist.

Understanding the resurrection therefore implies a two-fold process of knowing the message of the Scriptures and experiencing the one about whom they all speak: Jesus the Lord, through the breaking and sharing of bread with the community of believers. The Eucharist is therefore the Easter Sacrament. Father Cusick tells in that in the Eucharist we meet, know and possess God incarnate, our Lord Jesus Christ. And to be an Easter people means to be a Eucharistic people. Marcellino D'Ambrosio points out that Jesus did not just rise from the dead 2000 years ago. He is risen, and He still is Emmanuel, God with us.

The Transmission of Faith Is a Communal, Ecclesial Event

This gospel of the encounter of the two disciples with Jesus on the road to Emmaus and in the breaking of the bread is a story of friendship. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B explains how Luke describes an intimate, personal encounter marked by tenderness and hospitality. Fr. James Gilhooley says Luke is also telling us that the Resurrection is news that must be told immediately to everyone. So, when people stop you today and ask what's new, advise them Jesus has risen just as He said.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB points out that understanding the Resurrection therefore implies a two-fold process of knowing the message of the Scriptures and experiencing the one about whom they all speak: Jesus the Lord, through the breaking and sharing of bread with the community of believers. This community today is our local parish, a cell of the Body of Christ. We have the same DNA, the same identity, as every other part of Jesus' Body - and our health boosts the health of the entire Body. Fr. Phil Bloom explains that we see that in today's Readings.

The Biblical Mass, the Church & the Crusades

Many Catholics might not realize just how much an hour at church on Sunday mornings puts them in contact with the Bible. The author of "Finding Scripture in the New Translation" explains that in addition to the readings and psalm, "practically everything in the liturgy has some roots in Scripture.” His scholarly book point out these connections as a biblical walk through the Mass.

Then we bring you two interesting piece about the Church history. The first is about the Crusades, typically depicted in modern discussion as a deplorably violent episode in which thuggish Westerners trundled off, unprovoked, to murder and pillage peace-loving, sophisticated Muslims. But what everyone “knows” about the Crusades may not, in fact, be true. From the many popular notions about the crusades, we pick four and see if they bear close examination. Then Catholic blogger and historian answers the basic question why he is Catholic. And he says it's "Because of Church History, Not In Spite of It."

Prayer & Technology

More on prayer, Mary Beth Bonacci talks about how she hates to admit her life-long struggle with praying the Rosary. Lately, however, she says she has fallen in love with the Rosary again. And she says it's all about "getting lost with Mary." Read her explanation so your rosary prayer devotion might also be rekindled.  Judith Costello blogs about how our society has made technology into a god and how this makes us susceptible to the violation of the First Commandment.
Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: Is the Mass a Eucharistic Banquet or a Holy Sacrifice?
FEATURED BLOG: I have fallen in love with the Rosary again
PASTORAL HISPANA: El camino de Emaus

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