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May, We Celebrate

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. ~ Philippians 4:4
I think the month of May was given to us by God for celebrations. Star Wars fans begin the month wishing well to one another, saying “May the fourth be with you.” Mexicans celebrate a victory in their struggle for independence a day later on Cinco de Mayo. A few weeks later we celebrate Mother’s Day. Finally, on the month’s last Monday we memorialize all those who have died defending the United States of America. That is just the societal celebrations, we haven’t mentioned high school and college graduations and proms or those who receive the Sacraments of Initiation. It goes without saying there are many reasons to celebrate this month.

As the weather gets warmer, these events and occasions give us reason to gather with family and friends to share in some silliness like Star Wars day, give thanks to our mothers for blessing us with the gift of life, celebrate the accomplishments of loved ones and honor those w…

Pete Sampras Mad at His Neighbors vs. Easter

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; in Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the Church; He is the beginning, the first-born of the dead, that in everything He might be pre-eminent  ~ Colossians 1:15-18 It was an early spring Friday afternoon, my little brother and I got off the school bus and walked the familiar two blocks home. As we approached our house we could hear the sound of chainsaws and soon noticed a crew of so-called “landscaping professionals” just about finishing the removal of our neighbor's apple tree. While the roots of this particular tree were definitively on our neighbor's property, the branches hung over a fence by our vegetable garden providing some shade and blocked the view to an ugl…

The Successful Failure

Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize Jesus Christ is in you? - unless, of course, you fail the test. I hope you will discover we have not failed. ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5-6“Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here” were the words of command module pilot John Swigert aboard the space shuttle Apollo 13when an oxygen tank exploded during their mission to the moon on April 13, 1970. The in-flight explosion resulted in abandoning the planned trip to the moon and instead getting home alive. In the minutes, hours and days that followed, the circumstance of relying on a spaceship for life-support that was on life-support itself tested, challenged and demonstrated the ingenuity and perseverance of a team determined not to be defeated by the disaster. If you’ve watched the popular 1995 film you’ve got an idea about how NASA engineers and scientists helped the trio of astronauts beat the odds and make it home safely, albeit with a little creat…

Pull up a Chair

Today, February 22nd the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair. Some of you are probably thinking “that has got to be one expensive piece of furniture, to have its own feast day!” While there is a physical chair, traditionally attributed to the first pope in St. Peter’s Basilica; the wooden chair, now housed in an ornamented bronze enclosure, actually dates back to the year 875 A.D and is a gift from Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Bald to Pope John VIII. So it is a real longshot that the Apostle himself ever used the chair, but still I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for the Vatican to list it on eBay if you are in the market for second-hand apartment d├ęcor.
Long before a bald emperor was assembling his latest Ikea purchase, the Church was venerating the Chair of St. Peter, as a symbol of the unbroken succession of the Papal authority and Christian unity. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI spoke of this significance during a papal audience on February 22, 2006. So, wha…

A Heart for Life

January is Respect Life Month in the Catholic Church; this is due in large part to the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade that legalized on-demand abortion in the United States. That decision made by the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973 declared war on innocent humans in the most vulnerable stages of our development. It’s hard to believe that for the past forty-four years the sanctuary of the womb has become a warzone. The ongoing conflict between the pro-life and abortion rights movement has been fought on many different battlefields; legislative, economic, social, cultural and religious. These are important battlefronts for us to remain engaged, but most importantly we must capture the heart to transform our society from a culture of death into a culture of life.

Sometimes pro-life supporters and advocates (including myself) forget that those in the abortion rights movement have a heart and that we can appeal to it. Often we talk to and about our opponents as heartless monsters. I’m not …

The Light of Hope

“In Him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” ~ John 1:4-5
Each hour of sunlight is precious in December and as the days get shorter we seem to treasure those hours we are able to walk in the light. We eagerly await the advent of the longer days that begin after the winter solstice. It is during these darkest days on the calendar that we celebrate the solemn arrival of the Lord’s incarnation. Simply, a cold winter night provides the perfect backdrop for the arrival of the Light of the World. Nightfall in Bethlehem will be the canvas in which Christ paints the light of His love upon a world clothed in darkness. Soon, the King of Kings will hold court in a manger, clothed in rags surrounded by shepherds and wise men; His arrival like the dawn of a new day is filled with a fresh hope.
The imminent messiah’s arrival brings hope to us and generation after generation of God’s chosen people but what amounts to over…

O Come Let Us Adore Him

During the Advent season there are many people, events, causes and activities that demand our attention. Amidst the many distractions, we mostly spend our time and money this season in a worthwhile way. We tolerate the long lines, big crowds and an abundance of junk email in an effort to find something special that demonstrates our affection and love to those closest to us. Many of us also seek out ways brighten and warm the hearts of the poor, hungry and lonely as the days grow darker and colder by donating our time and resources to bring souls in need joy.
Although our schedules become increasingly hectic, we are in some ways living with more purpose and direction as we prepare to welcome friends and family into our homes and show our love. Throughout this time of preparation, we grow both in joy and grace as we anticipate the coming celebrations and gatherings. While it is very important to enjoy these special moments with family, friends and serve the poor, they should not be pl…