“For whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” –Mt 16:25
There is a stereotypical scene of the seeker climbing a mountain to reach the wisest man in the world. When he arrives, tired and out of breath, the guru asks him, “What is it you seek, my son?” The man answers him, “the meaning of life.” This indeed is the question that lurks in every person’s heart. It is often suppressed by busyness or distraction. It is the question that all the religions of the world attempt to address, and the pursuit of the great philosophers. Only Christ (and Christianity) has the complete answer. Read more
As Catholics, many of our liturgical traditions and actions are rooted in ancient Jewish liturgical practice. Within many of the sacraments and other liturgical rituals, the Church uses “earthly,” ordinary elements to signify and symbolize the Sacred and Divine. In this article, I would to reflect upon the use of the Holy Oils in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church.
Throughout the Old Testament, we see that the gesture and action of anointing with oil was a sacred action, often associated with the selection and consecration of priests, prophets, and kings. If you had the opportunity to attend one of the two annual Chrism Masses held in the Diocese a few weeks ago, you probably have a better understanding of the role and nature of the three oils used in the sacraments. Read more
“… You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” –Jn 8:32
Recently, the head basketball coach at Rutgers University was dismissed because of abusive behavior toward his players. The behavior was reported last year in a newspaper article and not much was made of it; that is, until video of the behavior surfaced and people could see it. It quickly became the lead story on television and the Internet. As long as the story was relegated to words it did not have power. Pictures have power. Read more
Most of us probably have our “favorite” chair in our homes in which we find comfort and relaxation. Over time, the chair almost becomes molded to fit us. For many families, there seems to be “designated” seating at the dinner table or in the TV/family room. This reminds me of a television show from the 1970s which some of you may remember entitled “All In The Family.” If you remember this weekly sitcom, one of the main characters, the infamous Archie Bunker, had his chair in which no one else dared to sit unless you were a special guest or received permission and/or an invitation from Archie. You probably remember the “look” or the scolding Archie would give if you were an uninvited guest sitting in his chair. Read more
The Gospels are inspired portraits of Jesus, painted by four evangelists. We’ve already looked at Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which are called the Synoptic Gospels because of their many similarities. The Gospel of John is unique. It was written after the others, and reflects a longer period of meditation on the meaning of Christ’s life, death, and Resurrection. It shows Jesus as the glorified Lord living among his people, sharing their sufferings, and speaking as their representative. Read more
The following talk was presented at the St. Louis Prayer Breakfast held May 24, 2012 by Most Rev. James V. Johnston, Jr., DD, JCL, Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.
I am honored to have been invited by Abp. [Robert] Carlson and Legatus to address you this morning. I thank all of you for the love you have for Christ and his Church.
You may know that before I ventured off to seminary, I worked for several years as an engineer. One of my sisters, who works in marketing for Alcoa, sent me this little story several years ago: Read more
“Mature disciples make a conscious, firm decision, carried out in action, to be followers of Jesus Christ no matter the cost to themselves.” –“Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response,” US bishops, 1992.
Financial report: our stewardship
The quote above from the US bishops’ pastoral on stewardship clearly indicates that a Christian steward is a disciple of Jesus who captures the vision of Jesus in every aspect of life. Christian stewards share in Jesus’ mission: in their relationships, words, and actions. In doing so, they help to extend God’s kingdom. As disciples practicing stewardship, we are each called to receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them out of love with others, and return them with increase to the Lord. Read more
I would like to offer some thoughts and principles relating to sacred music in our Catholic worship. As I have mentioned in an earlier article, music has always played an important role in the liturgical life of the Church. The role of music and its centrality in the Sacred Liturgy should not be ignored or discounted as it is meant to inspire us and help lift our minds and hearts to God. I would like to offer some suggestions and recommendations regarding the selection of music/hymns for sacred celebrations.
Very often, hymns are selected and chosen in order to reflect the Gospel reading or other Scriptural readings given for a particular liturgy. Many contemporary hymns are more rooted in the Scriptures and are certainly appropriate when that particular Scripture passage is proclaimed at Mass. Many hymns are also composed based on the liturgical seasons, feasts, and solemnities of the Church year. These hymns better reflect the nature and message of a particular liturgical season or feast. In the “extended” seasons of the Church year (e.g. Easter), it is often the practice in some parishes to sing Easter hymns perhaps the first two weeks and then after that, begin singing hymns which can more appropriately be sung during Ordinary Time. It is the intention of the Church that hymns which are composed for a particular liturgical season be sung throughout the entirety of that season. Read more
For those of us who are parents, providing for our children’s needs is our absolute highest priority in this life. What could be more important than ensuring that your two-year-old has enough food to eat, clothing to keep warm, shelter from the elements, and is kept safe from harm or violence? And how would you feel as a father or mother if you could not provide these things for your children? What would you do to make sure your sick nine-year-old son gets to a doctor or your 13-year-old daughter does not end up a prostitute or being trafficked for sex? Would you do whatever it took, including crossing a line drawn on a map by politicians long ago? Would you emigrate to look for work to support your family, even if it meant breaking the law?
Does every person seeking to come to the US face such dire circumstances? No, but many of the people who make the drastic decision to leave their native land and go to another country with a different language and customs do so with a compelling reason. According to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), many of those reasons include, “poverty, armed conflict, social strife, political turmoil, environmental degradation, and a lack of development in their home country.” Read more
“The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings.” –Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 651
The significance of the Resurrection
As we begin the Easter Season, it is good for us to prayerfully ponder the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Many do not give enough attention to the Resurrection, perhaps because it is an event that is so foreign to our own lives and time. We do have experiences of witnessing people’s deaths, enabling us to identify more easily with Jesus’ Passion and death: But the Resurrection? Even Jesus’ apostles struggled with this. Read more