Steve’s Columns

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 15 July 2018

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out… “Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance.  (Mk 6:7;11-12) Christians are ambassadors of Christ and therefore envoys of reconciliation to God (2 Cor 5:20). All reconciliation to God comes about through contrition or man’s repentance. This is certainly why Jesus sent out his Apostles to preach repentance (the forgiveness of sins) to all the nations. Further, Jesus does not tolerate those who treat his ambassadors with discourtesy, obstinacy, …

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 8 July 2018

Jesus… came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples… When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this…”  And they took offense at him.  (Mk 6:1-2;3) The ancient Jews were always demanding signs from their prophets (1 Cor 1:22). Sometimes signs were given even when not asked for (Is 7:14). But just as often as the “stiff-necked” people required signs, they frequently rejected the admonitions and counsels of God’s prophets. Israelite prophets were not like oracles of the Greek cult to …

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 1 July 2018

“God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living”… “For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.” (Wis 1:13; 2:23) Modern man views death as something natural.  There are three reasons for this.  First, common sense indicates that no one lives forever and that human persons become old and die.  Second, science proves the cellular and physical breakdown of the body over time indicating that mortality is natural.  Lastly, pagan thought, still prominent in man, proposes death and life as a cyclical process such that life …

Nativity of St. John the Baptist – 24 June 2018

When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” (Lk 1:57-61) The naming of a newborn is a very intimate activity. Expectant parents will often rummage over the meanings of names in order to select what they will call their child for the rest of its life. Others find the selection easier by using names of grandparents or other loved ones …

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 17 June 2018

Therefore, we aspire to please [God]… For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Cor 5:9-10) At least since the Protestant Reformation, there has been much debate over what response to God is necessary for salvation. Protestants declare that faith alone is necessary for salvation, while it is said of Catholics that we hold both faith “and good works” to be necessary. What Catholics actually say is much more comprehensive. We speak of salvation, justification, and judgment such …

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 10 June 2018

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. (Mk 3:23-25) Discord and division, if not remedied, will be the diminution or death of any institution. Business partnerships, friendships, and as Jesus points out, even kingdoms, will not thrive or survive if they are deeply divided. The same can be said about democracies whose political parties come to mutual hate, and whose owners and workers come to …

Corpus Christi – 3 June 2018

“Christ… entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls… can sanctify those who are defiled how much more will the blood of Christ…” (Heb 9:11-14) While every Sunday Mass is a blessed participation in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 10:16) the Church sets aside one special day in its calendar to honor the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist as the gracious and precious gift beyond all imagining. On this …

Corpus Christi (A Poem)

The Word of God came forth to nest, Within the womb of Virgin Blessed, And there secured the very form, With which He dwelt upon the earth To scrutinize the world forlorn.   In Sion’s midst, He did survey. His parents feared He went astray, They sought his frame for all the day, Once lost, now found.  In rugged youth, In Father’s house, he’d gone to pray.   On last return, he looked again, Upon the hill, Jerusalem, In sadness deep, divine regret, He spoke the fall of Temple tall, Downfall foretold, He sorely wept.   He fixed his tears …

Most Holy Trinity – 27 May 2018

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. (Rom 8:16-17) The most famous paintings of the Holy Trinity theme depict Jesus Christ crucified or recently lowered from the cross. Botticelli, Durer, Castagno, etc. portray Jesus in the passion of His crucifixion flanked by the Father shown as an older bearded man. Rubens and El Greco paint Jesus just taken down from the Cross – and dead …

Pentecost – 20 May 2018

Jesus came and stood in their midst… he showed them his hands and his side. Jesus said to them… As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (Jn 20:19-22) For our reflection on sacred scripture this Pentecost we have chosen a segmented quotation from the Gospel reading for Sunday Mass. Here we meet Jesus visiting his Apostles on the evening of the same day He rose from the dead. St. John the Apostle and Evangelist tells us of how Jesus …