Sunday, March 12, 2017
Catholics and the majority of Protestants agree that the end result of salvation is eternity in the presence of the Holy Trinity. However, our beliefs regarding the path to salvation could not be more different.
It would first help to understand why Protestants and Catholics - who both believe in Jesus Christ, His Redemptive Sacrifice and His written word, the Bible - have very different doctrines. The reason for the disagreement in doctrine comes down to authority. Catholics look to the Magesterium - the Pope and Bishops - for their teaching authority. The only authority outside of themselves that Protestants will listen to is the Bible.
But there is a big problem with the Protestant approach to the Bible because Protestants basically believe that each man is his own authority when it comes to Biblical interpretation. Protestants would never understand the Ethiopian described in Acts 8. The Ethiopian was reading scripture when the evangelist Philip said to him "Do you understand what you are reading?" The Ethiopian replied, "How can I unless someone explains it to me?"
Saturday, February 25, 2017
We are about to enter into the holiest time of the Catholic year: Lent. But what makes it such a holy time?
Most people view Lent as basically a time to give up something that you really like, such as chocolate or alcohol. The Internet abounds with ideas for Lent, some pretty silly, and other more serious ideas. There is even a website entitled, whattogiveupforlent.com. It has some interesting ideas on what to give up for Lent, e.g.:
- Television (or certain shows)
- The radio (all the time, certain time of day, etc.)
- Favorite foods (pizza, ice cream, etc.)
- Eating out
- Soft drinks/caffeine/coffee
- Debt (using credit cards)
- Certain books/magazines (read ones that will help you grow spiritually)
- Social Media sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.)
- Computer use/blogging
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Today, as I write this, is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. At the Mass I attended today, it would seem the presiding priest did not want to celebrate this feast day. He wore green, when he should have worn white, he did not say the Gloria, he did not say any of the prayers or the Preface assigned to this Feast Day. His homily was about all of us proclaiming Christ as Peter did, and nothing about giving the Keys of the Kingdom to Peter.
I asked the priest about his actions after Mass, and he kind of gave me a go around with no real answer. I wonder how many other Catholics reject this day. It seems a sizeable number of Catholics today refuse to accept the meaning of this feast day in which we celebrate the fact that Christ chose St. Peter and his successors to sit in His place as the earthly leader of the Church, embodied in that famous pronouncement, "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 18:18).
Saturday, January 28, 2017
President Trump’s executive order on immigration quickly reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday, slamming the border shut for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio, among countless others.
Around the nation, security officers at major international gateways had new rules to follow. Humanitarian organizations scrambled to cancel long-planned programs, delivering the bad news to families who were about to travel. Refugees who were airborne on flights when the order was signed were detained at airports.This is a complete nightmare. The United States, a country founded by immigrants, has closed its doors to those who need us most. Almost everyday I see the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor on my way to work, welcoming those who come to our shores. Now I feel that Donald Trump has, in essence, destroyed this beautiful statue, rendering her completely meaningless.
Reports rapidly surfaced Saturday morning of students attending American universities who were blocked from getting back into the United States from visits abroad. One student said in a Twitter post that he would be unable to study at Yale. Another who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was refused permission to board a plane. Stanford University was reportedly working to help a Sudanese student return to California.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. It is a miracle any time a sinner turns away from his sins and accepts the grace and salvation of Jesus Christ. But one of the greatest conversion stories in history - and probably the greatest conversion story of all - is that of Saul of Tarsus a/k/a St. Paul. It is so great that Holy Mother Church has actually made a feast day commemorating Paul's conversion.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Saturday, January 21, 2017
We are made to be social creatures. We all want to belong, we all want to be regarded highly by other people. We all want to be "cool". When I was a child in the 1960's, it was "cool" to be counterculture, to reject the values of our parents and society in general and find our "own way", and "do our own thing", which actually boiled down to throwing off all moral constraint. But "doing your own thing" really meant following everyone around you. We tried to pretend we didn't need others, but in reality, we could not reject our own need for social acceptance.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Jesus Christ came to this earth with a message of compassion, love and mercy. Many say that the Gospel of Love does away with the law, but that is not what Our Lord said, He told us he came to fulfill the law (Mt. 5:17). How did our Lord accomplish this? Today's readings give us a vivid illustration of this great message.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
I don't know if I will be successful at this, but I would like to try to do a small meditation on each day's readings. I am doing it much more for myself than anyone else, but if others can benefit - either from agreeing or disagreeing with me - then so much the better.