Steve’s Columns

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 …

7th Sunday of Easter – 13 May 2018

I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. (Jn 17:14-16) In our Gospel reading for this 7th Sunday in Easter, Jesus declares that the word of God makes its disciples strangers to the world. Jesus does not mince words. He does not say that his followers …

6th Sunday of Easter – 6 May 2018

You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. (Jn 15:14-15) How many friends do you think you would keep if you told them today that they could be your friends under the condition that they do what you command? Probably not many which is a shame, because friendship is based on trust, and so the best friend is the one you can command …

5th Sunday of Easter – 29 April 2018

The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers. (Acts 9:31) What Catholic today does not desire a united and peaceful Church? If he does not desire it, he should. After all, Jesus desired it (Jn 14:27 & Jn 17:22-23). In today’s first reading for this 5th Sunday in Easter we get a true sense of the peace and unity of the early Church; for it “was at peace”, “built up in the …