Church & State: Adult Ed Resources – 25 May 2017

This week we change gears significantly and enter the final section of this series of Catholic adult faith formation titled, “The Church in the Modern World.

This final section of the class will focus on the relationship between the Church and the State. This week we will begin with the foundation of the relationship between Church and State. In the coming weeks we will address a series of specific topics.

This week’s readings can be found below. They come from the Catechism and Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Deus Caritas Est.

Reading Packet: Church and State

The paragraphs from the Catechism are as follows:

CCC 1880, 1883, 18971912, 2372, 2431, 2498-2499

Daily Reflection: 11 May 2017

Today’s readings can be found here.

Reflection:

In today’s readings from Acts of the Apostles we once again here of their travels. As schools finish up the year around the country, a lot of us turn our attention towards planning our summer vacations.

Rest and relaxation are very important elements to a well balanced Catholic Christian life. However, it’s also important to remember that just because we are on vacation doesn’t mean we get a break from our vocation to holiness.

One thing that strikes me is that we will check a dozen web sites so we can end up saving $10 on a hotel room, but do we even bother to check one for Mass times?

We would never think of leaving the house without at least checking (and probably buying tickets) flight times, but we forget to look up Mass times.

I have found in my travels that attending Mass in a foreign country, language or culture can actually be a great grace and growth in our relationship with God thriugh the universality of the Church.

Daily Reflection: 10 May 2017

Sorry folks. I guess these daily posts are kind of like working out, I miss one day and then the next thing I know it’s been a week. This is why I haven’t been campaigning for people to sign up to receive these posts until I can fully develop the daily habit.

Today’s readings can be found here.

Reflection:

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that he did not come to condemn, and that he did come to bring light to the darkness. In the United States we also celebrate a special saint today, St. Damien de Veuster of Molokai. He was a Belgian priest who spent his life, and eventually gave his life, serving a leper colony in Hawaii.

In this way St. Damien becomes a model for us of how we too are called to imitate Christ. For St. Damien did not go to Hawaii to condemn the lepers, he went there to love them, and care for their souls. He did not leave them in the darkness of isolation, but brought Christ and the Gospel to them through the Word and Sacraments.

Where is the Molokai of our life? Who are the lepers in our life?

LGBT Response: Adult Ed Resources – 11 May 2017

Due to the sensitivity of this week’s topic, I wanted to take a little bit more time in selecting the texts, it was indeed a very difficult task. This is because one one hand, the Church has said quite a bit on these topics, and there’s lots of material to scour, and on the other hand, how to distill them down in a way which still manages to touch on the many aspects of these complex issues.

With that being said here is my introductory reading packet on this topic:

Reading Packet: LGBT Response

You will note the readings come from a variety of Popes, as well as the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and more locally, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

I highly recommend taking the time to read the entirety of the two documents from the CDF and USCCB. Direct links can be found here:

I also highly recommend reviewing the foundational material from Theology of the Body.

Contraception & NFP: Adult Ed Resources – 4 May 2017

After discussing the broad principles of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in our last class, this week we begin to focus on one specific application of that teaching.

This week we will discuss both the Church’s stance on artificial contraceptives and conversely, Natural Family Planning. Here are the readings for this week:

Reading Packet: Contraception & NFP

The bulk come from Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae.

Furthermore there are two other documents from John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio and Gratissimam Sane.  I highly recommend reading all of these documents in their entirety, for the sake of brevity, I have selected a few passages from each to compose the reading packet.

See you on May 4th at 7:00 PM at the Activity Building at Sacred Heart in Columbia.

For past topics, click here.

Daily Reflection: 3 May 2017

Today’s readings can be found here.

Reflection:

Today the Church celebrates the feast day of two Apostles, Saints Philip and James. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus poses a question to Philip, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip?” How true that question is for all of us. For no matter how much we study, how much time we spend in prayer, Lectio Divina, how many times we receive the sacraments, we will still have so much more to learn about Jesus.

So if you think you still have so much more to learn about Jesus, the Scriptures or the Catholic Church, fear not! We all are in the same boat together. Let us not be inhibited by or fears or perceived inadequacies, rather, may we be inspired by the example of Sts. Phillip and James to continue everyday to grow in our knowledge and love of God.

Daily Reflection: 2 May 2017

Today’s readings can be found here.

Reflection:

As has been the theme throughout these recent days, the Eucharist is at the heart of our Gospel today. Today the people ask Jesus to, “give us this bread always.” If only that could become our own prayer, “Lord, give me this bread always.” The good news is that he does! Today, as I was preaching to school kids who had just made their 1st Communion, I told them to take these words to heart, “give us this bread always.” That their 1st Communion not be their last communion.

We have to eat everyday, and we try (though fail), to eat a healthy, balanced diet. We know that we cannot survive by saying, “well I had my veggies yesterday on May 1st, now I’m good for the month.” We have to continue to nourish ourselves physically. So it is even more true spiritually. This is why we go to Mass and received the Eucharist every Sunday. Pope Pius X even encouraged the practice of receiving the Eucharist on a daily basis. We don’t go to Mass to be entertained, we go to be nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ. If that is our intent, then we will never be bored, but we will always find ourselves crying out, “give us this bread always.”

Daily Reflection: 1 May 2017

Today’s readings can be found here.

Reflection:

It is no secret that a part of following Christ is that at times we will face criticisms for our beliefs. While we must remain steadfast in our fidelity to what has been revealed to us through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, we should also try to avoid the temptation of thinking we are the only ones to ever suffer such attacks. This has been going on since the dawn of Christianity, as we hear in today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles. So what can we learn from today’s reading?

To smile. The reading ends by noting his radiant face. If we want to defend the Church or to be able to articulately explain her beliefs, it’s important we do so with a smile. Not to get angry or frustrated, nor to seem sad or depressed about the Church’s teachings. To proclaim the gospel with joy, not arrogance or smugness, but with joy, and a smile on our face.

Daily Reflection: 30 April 2017

Today’s readings can be found here.

Reflection:

The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is quite rich. So much could be said about different elements of the story. The other day I focused on doubt, today I’d like to shift to a different line.

“Stay with us…” the disciples ask Jesus. On one hand we can see just how he has fullfilled this request throughout the history of the Church. This is accompanied with our cooperation, following the example of the saints.

On a more personal note, we see how his has fulfilled this request through his presence in the Eucharist. Even to this day he stays with us, in Tabernacles all around the world. He stays with us, do we want to stay with him? How often do we make a visit to our local parish and spend time with our Lord? It isn’t necessary that the parish offers Adoration, you can still pay Jesus a visit, present in the Tabernacle.

Daily Reflection: 29 April 2017

Today’s readings can be found here.

Reflection:

As I mentioned yesterday, the men and women who make up the Church have not always, nor will we never be perfect, it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the Church continues. It is however, our job to cooperate with that same Spirit. At times, to take an image from today’s gospel, we can see the storms all around and even inside the Church. In fact the image of the Church as a boat has its origins in Apostolic era. When we see those storms we can become nervous and afraid, like the Apostles in today’s gospel. It can be tempting to want to jump ship, or completely change the ship. To reform it from the outside.

Today’s saint, St. Catherine of Siena, becomes another witness to today’s gospel teaching us that if we desire a proper reform and purification of the Church, it must come from within. She didn’t seek to start her own Church, but rather to call her to greater fidelity to the Apostolic mission she received from Christ.

Recently a young man was giving a talk in one of my parishes and he noted, “the Church doesn’t need me, it doesn’t need you. I need the Church, you need the Church.” How are we cooperating with the Holy Spirit which sustains the Church on Earth?