Posts Tagged ‘Scripture’

Calibrating Your Life Successfully

In 07 Observations on 2016/10/07 at 12:00 AM

I wear this Fitbit and it tells me how many steps I take in a day. It also tells me how many flights of steps I take and how many calories I burn in a day and my heart rate. It also tells me about how I slept during the night. How long, was it restless, how many times did I wake up. A friend asked me if it showed that I had problems sleeping. I told him that I don’t have a problem sleeping. I have problems waking up.

When I first wake up I’m usually groggy and don’t really have my wits about me. I think usually when we wake up it’s pretty slow and we want to go back to sleep. Other times we awaken very quickly and alert. For me this was when I had teenagers in the house and the phone rang at 12:30 and the first words I heard were “I’m OK but”.

Today’s readings really are that call in the night that should wake us up with a start and have us be completely alert. This is no time to be groggy.

The reading starts with a parable about a man who will be fired because he doesn’t do his job well. He is alert and knows that his future is in doubt. He isn’t sure how he’ll take care of himself after he loses his job. He comes up with a clever but dishonest scheme to help his future.

He reduces the amount that people owe his boss. His thinking is that if he gives them a break, they’ll look out for him when he’s out of work. This is clever in that he has devised a way to provide for himself, but it’s dishonest in that he’s giving away what belongs to his boss. No wonder he was being fired.

Here’s the odd part. The boss commended that dishonest steward for acting to secure his own future. Is this reading saying that it’s OK to do something that’s wrong and dishonest to provide for ourselves? Of course not. We always know that you can’t do something evil even if it’s for a good end.

So what’s the point of commending this servant? This man saw that his future well being was in danger. If he did nothing he would be in trouble. This was his 12:30 phone call. He’s alert and has all his wits about him.

The parable goes on to say that the children of this world (like the servant) are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light (hopefully that’s us). This is our 12:30 phone call.

Are we thinking about our future or do we just give a poor effort like the servant did in his job? Of course we’re talking about our eternal future. Are we going through the motions just hoping that the worst won’t happen?

The reading goes on to say that you can’t serve both God and money. This is telling us that we should use the same kind of practical wisdom to ensure our eternal future as we would in matters of our earthly future. Look at the efforts we usually put into our earthly affairs. We prepare for retirement. We monitor how much money we spend to make sure that it fits with our income. We research cars to make sure that we get a good one. These are efforts that we all make to hopefully not wind up in a bad position. I’m not saying that we’re not supposed to deal with things in this world because that is where we live now. But it’s not where we will live forever.

How can we be alert about our eternal future? The first is to really come to grips with the reality that we have an eternal future. It’s easy for us to put off what is unseen. If you have a disease it’s easy to ignore it until the symptoms let you know that this is reality. Then it has your attention. All of us have an eternal future that is beyond our time on this earth. Even if we don’t see the symptoms of that reality some day it will have our attention.

The second is to provide for that future. The servant in the gospel didn’t do what was needed and his future was in doubt. How do we provide for our future? First it’s to come to a real understanding that God is God and we are his creation. This is the proper order and we need to know that God greatly desires that our eternal future will be with him. He has paved the way.

Will we spend the time knowing, loving, and serving the Lord? Will we be alert and not get so caught up in the affairs of our present life here and now?

Here are some practical tips. Pray every day even if only for a few minutes and get a good habit going. You can use regular prayers like in this small book or you can simply have a conversation with God. If you miss a day or two don’t be defeated just start again.

Try reading the scriptures. I would suggest the readings for each day’s Mass as they don’t take very long and are easily available on the internet or in a daily missal like this one. When we read scripture we’ll know more about God and that’s how we grow any relationship.

Brothers and Sisters, it’s 12:30 and the phone is ringing. Let’s be alert and know that we have an eternal future. God greatly desires that we spend eternity with him. Let’s not be like the servant was in the beginning not doing what he was supposed to. Let’s be like the servant when he realized his future could be in jeopardy and he took the steps to have a future that he would want and not be in torment.

You and I are called to be saints spending all of the ages with God. Let’s not be groggy but alert and prepare to be saints. Let’s be in that number when the saints go marching in.

Deacon Jack Staub

St. Matthew Catholic Church

Charlotte, NC


Digitalization of Ancient Manuscripts

In 13 History on 2015/12/11 at 12:00 AM

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The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library) have joined efforts in a landmark digitization project with the aim of opening up their repositories of ancient texts. Over the course of the next four years, 1.5 million pages from their remarkable collections will be made freely available online to researchers and to the general public.

The initiative has been made possible by a £2 million award from the Polonsky Foundation. Dr Leonard Polonsky, who is committed to democratizing access to information, sees the increase of digital access to these two library collections — among the greatest in the world — as a significant step in sharing intellectual resources on a global scale.

Dr Polonsky said: ‘Twenty-first-century technology provides the opportunity for collaborations between cultural institutions in the way they manage, disseminate and make available for research the information, knowledge and expertise they hold. I am pleased to support this exciting new project where the Bodleian Libraries and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana will make important collections accessible to scholars and the general public worldwide.’

The digitization project will focus on three main groups of texts: Hebrew manuscripts, Greek manuscripts, and incunabula, or 15th-century printed books. These groups have been chosen for their scholarly importance and for the strength of their collections in both libraries, and they will include both religious and secular texts. For the launch of the project, however, the two libraries have focused on bringing to light a smaller group of Bibles and biblical commentaries, each of which has been chosen for its particular historical importance.

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In the Footsteps of St. Paul

In 15 Audio on 2015/10/16 at 12:00 AM

Please click on this link to access programshttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=6101&T1=Pacwa

In the Footsteps of St. Paul…This is a twelve part series by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.

Note: Fr. Mitchell “Mitch” Pacwa , S.J., is bi-ritual; he can celebrate liturgy in both the Roman and  Maronite rites.

Fr. Pacwa earned his Ph.D. in Old Testament from  Vanderbuilt University.  His Master of Divinity and S.T.B are from the School of Theology at Loyola University. A master linguist, Fr. Pawca speaks the ancient languages of  Latin, Koine Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Ugaritic.   He is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, German, Polish, Spanish, Italian, French,

Preservation of Catholic Heritage

In 13 History on 2014/11/07 at 12:00 AM

The Apostolic and Nicean Fathers preserved the original teachings of Jesus Christ which he gave to the Apostles and are abiding witnesses to this teaching, also referred to as “Sacred Tradition.”  Together, Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are primary and foundational to Christian Doctrine.  Both flow from the same source: Christ.

Sacred Tradition predates the Church Fathers; the Fathers did not invent Sacred Tradition, but are simply “timely witnesses” to Sacred Tradition which comes from Christ Himself.  To know the Church Fathers is to know Truth. The Fathers teach with authority and are witnesses to the unbroken continuity of Church teaching.

It’s interesting to note that the early Church Fathers did not include their own writings in the canon of Sacred Scripture.  Rather, they included only the writings of Christ’s apostles up to the writings of John.

What the Apostles and Church Fathers warned the Early Church of still holds true today.  Paul warned that heretical teachers would pervert Scripture.  Augustine explained that heresies would arise through Scripture being misunderstood properly.  Essentially, heresy is stressing certain passages of Scripture more or to the exclusion of other passages, interpreting Scripture at will and losing sight of the unity that exists in Scripture.  In short, heresy can occur when Scripture is interpreted or misinterpreted out of context of the cannon of Scripture in its entirety.

John Henry Newman wrote of  ideas or concepts that begot heresies in his day and which still spawn heresies now:

1. That truth and falsehood in religion are but a matter of opinion;

2. That one doctrine is as good as another;

3. That God does not intend we should gain the truth;

4. That there is no truth;

5. That we are not more acceptable to God by believing one thing than by believing another;

6. That no one is answerable for his opinions;

7. That they are a matter of necessity or accident;

8. That it is enough if we sincerely hold what we profess;

9. That our merit lies in seeking not possessing;

10. That it is a duty to follow what seems to us true, without a fear lest it should not be true;

11. That it may be a gain to succeed, and can be no harm or fail;

12. That we may take up and lay down opinions at pleasure;

13. That belief belongs to the mere intellect, not to the heart and will also; and

14. That we may safely trust to ourselves in matters of Faith, and need no other guide.

Unfortunately, Luther and Calvin originally cited the Church Fathers in justifying their interpretations, but, by emphasizing the doctrine of “Scripture alone,” they explicitly excluded the teachings of the Fathers of the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins summed it up in a formula: “The Truth is what has been taught everywhere, always, and by all.   Blessed John Henry Newman, described the nature of their testimony more analytically: “The Fathers  do not say, ‘This is true because we see it in Scripture’ – about which there might be differences in judgment- but, “this is true because in matters of fact it is held, and has ever been held, by all the churches down to our times, without interruption, ever since the Apostles.” Newman maintained that “the Church teaches that the ‘common doctrine of the Fathers’ may not be opposed.”  He further wrote that this “consensus of the Fathers” is best discerned by the living Magisterium of the Church.

The First Vatican Council (1869-70) confirmed the decision of the Council of Trent (1545-63) saying that “it is not permissible for anyone to interpret Holy Scripture in a sense contrary to this, or indeed against the unanimous consent of the Fathers.”  Newman was cited consistently in discussions during Vatican II discussions.

It was after reading the writings of the Church Fathers that Newman himself, Oxford’s famous Anglican divine, became a Catholic.  In his “Apologia Pro Vita Sua”, he states: “I looked into the mirror, and I saw myself an Arian.”

Researching the writings of the Church Fathers may also lead you to a new home, a new Church.

“Here I am, for you have called me”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/09/26 at 12:00 AM

The day of salvation, of eternity, has come for us. Once again the call of the Divine Shepherd can be heard, those affectionate words: Vocavi te nomine tuo – I have called you by your name. Just like our mother, he calls us by our name, by the name we’re fondly called at home, by our nickname. There, in the depths of our soul, he calls us and we just have to answer: Ecce ego quia vocasti me here I am, for you have called me, and this time I’m determined not to let time flow by like water over the pebbly bed of a stream, leaving no trace behind. (The Forge, 7)

Open your own hearts to Jesus and tell him your story. I don’t want to generalize. But one day perhaps an ordinary Christian, just like you, opened your eyes to horizons both deep and new, yet as old as the Gospel. He suggested to you the prospect of following Christ earnestly, seriously, of becoming an apostle of apostles. Perhaps you lost your balance then and didn’t recover it. Your complacency wasn’t quite replaced by true peace until you freely said “yes” to God, because you wanted to, which is the most supernatural of reasons. And in its wake came a strong, constant joy, which disappears only when you abandon him.

I don’t like to speak of someone being singled out to be part of a privileged elect. But it is Christ who speaks, who chooses. It is the language of holy Scripture: “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy,” St Paul tells us [1]. I know that such thoughts don’t fill you with pride nor lead you to think yourself better than other men. That choice, the root of our vocation, should be the basis of our humility. Do we build monuments to an artist’s paintbrush? Granted the brush had a part in creating masterpieces, but we give credit only to the painter. We Christians are nothing more than instruments in the hands of the creator of the world, of the redeemer of all men. (Christ is passing by, 1)

[1] Eph 1:4:

Jews and Catholics face the challenges of religion in contemporary society

In Uncategorized on 2014/08/22 at 12:00 AM

Vatican City (VIS) – The International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee (ILC), the official forum for ongoing dialogue between the Holy See´s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), held its 22nd meeting in Madrid, Spain, from 13-16 October, 2013. The meeting was co-chaired by Betty Ehrenberg, chair of IJCIC and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. The theme of the meeting was “Challenges for Religion in Contemporary Society”, and at the end the participants published a joint declaration that touched upon several important points:“1. Our Shared HeritageJews and Christians share the heritage of the biblical testimony of God’s relationship with the human family throughout history. Our Scriptures bear witness to both individuals and the people as a whole being called, taught, guided and protected by Divine Providence. In light of this sacred history, Catholic and Jewish participants in the meeting responded to emerging opportunities and difficulties facing religious belief and practice in today’s world.

2. Religious Freedom

Encouraged in our work by Pope Francis’ expressions of his concern for the universal welfare of all, particularly the poor and the oppressed, we share the belief in the God-given dignity of every individual. This requires that each person be accorded full freedom of conscience and freedom of religious expression individually and institutionally, privately and publicly. We deplore the abuse of religion, the use of religion for political ends. Both Jews and Catholics condemn persecution on religious grounds.

3. Persecution of Christians

The ILC recommends to the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and IJCIC to work together on situations involving the persecution of Christian minorities worldwide as they arise; to call attention to these problems and to support efforts to guarantee full citizenship to all citizens regardless of religious or ethnic identity in the Middle East and beyond. Further, we encourage efforts to promote the well-being of minority Christian and Jewish communities throughout the Middle East.

4. The Rise of Anti-Semitism

As Pope Francis has repeatedly said, ‘a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite’. We encourage all religious leaders to continue to be a strong voice against this sin. The celebration of the 50th anniversary of ‘Nostra Aetate’ in 2015 is a privileged moment in which to reaffirm its condemnation of anti-Semitism. We urge that anti-Semitic teachings be eliminated from preaching and textbooks everywhere in the world. Similarly, any expression of anti-Christian sentiment is equally unacceptable.

5. Education

We recommend that all Jewish and Catholic seminaries include instruction about “Nostra Aetate” and the subsequent documents of the Holy See implementing the Council’s Declaration in their curricula. As a new generation of Jewish and Catholic leaders arises, we underscore the profound ways that ‘Nostra Aetate’ changed the relationship between Jews and Catholics. It is imperative that the next generation embrace these teachings and ensure that they reach every corner of the world.

In the face of these challenges, we Catholics and Jews renew our commitment to educate our own respective communities in the knowledge of and respect for each other”.

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Help Wanted: Spiritual Direction

In 04 Fr. John McCloskey on 2014/08/15 at 12:00 AM

The only question truly worth asking is that of the rich young man of the Gospel: “What must I do to gain eternal life?” This question naturally leads to others, such as “How can I achieve holiness in this life?” or “What is God’s will for me?” God answers these questions for us in many ways.

Simply following the Ten Commandments is a good start, as Jesus himself advised the rich young man. We can also look to God’s Revelation to us through Sacred Scripture and Tradition – the guidance of the Church through its teaching authority and sacraments. We can then consider our present state in life and our past life experiences for good clues as to what God wants for us in any present moment.

Beyond these useful strategies, however, the best way for Catholics to find trustworthy answers to the crucial questions is to have a spiritual director. As Saint Josemaria Escriva put it, “You wouldn’t think of building a good house to live in here on earth without an architect. How can you ever hope, without a director, to build the castle of your sanctification in order to live forever in heaven?” This is true for everybody, whether simple or uneducated, or complacently successful.

During his pontificate, Benedict XVI several times urged faithful Catholics who desired to pursue holiness and grow closer to God to make use of a spiritual director: “We always need a guide, dialogue, to go to the Lord… We cannot do it with our reflections alone. And this is also the meaning of the ecclesiality of our faith, of finding this guide.” By this means, he explained, we can avoid being limited by our own subjectivist interpretations of God and what he might be calling us to do, as well as benefiting from our guide’s “own supply of knowledge and experiences in following Jesus.”

Continue reading…

The Way to Follow Jesus: The Gospel of Mark

In 15 Audio on 2014/06/27 at 12:00 AM

Host – Dr. Tim Gray

Dr. Tim Gray is the quintessential college professor: he knows and loves his subject, and is committed to passing on what he has learned to his students. His enthusiasm for the truths contained in the Gospel of Mark is catching, as evidenced by these round-table seminars with college students. This is one course you are guaranteed not to sleep through, and the wisdom gleaned will redound to you eternal credit.

The Way to Follow Jesus: The Gospel of Mark

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Audio File Name – Click to download


Introduction to the Gospel 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



The Good News of the Gospel 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



The Good News of the Kingdom, part 2 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



Demise of the Demons 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



Fear and Faith 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



Problem of Parables 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



Miracles of the Bread 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



The Blind Shall See 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



How Long Will They Not Believe? 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



I Come to Serve, Not Be Served 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



Jesus’ Royal Entry into Jerusalem 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



Widow’s Offering in the Temple 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray



Discipleship during the Passion and Crucifixion 

Host – Dr. Tim Gray


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St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians

In 15 Audio on 2014/04/25 at 12:00 AM

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.

Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. goes through the Epistle to the Ephesians, explaining the significance of each verse to Christians today.

St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians

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Program Name

Audio File Name – Click to download


Ephesians 1:1-1:9 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 1:11-1:23 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 1:21-2:10 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 2:11-2:20 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 3:1-3:13 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 3:14-3:21 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 4:1-4:16 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 4:17-4:24 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 4:25-5:2 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 5:3-5:14 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 5:15-6:4 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 6:5-6:13 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.



Ephesians 6:13-6:24 

Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.


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The Question of Authority in the Church

In 14 Book Corner on 2013/10/24 at 12:00 AM


Note: If you click on the above link, it will take you directly to the source of this article where you can HEAR LIVE what is written below.

Mark Shea

Fr. Robert Barron on Protestantism and Authority

Readers familiar with me will know that I think the world of Fr. Robert Barron’s creative and intelligent witness to the Faith.  Here he is addressing the problem of the Protestant approach to authority as it is articulated by one of its smartest representatives, Alister McGrath:

It will not come as a shock to know that I agree with Fr. Barron on the problems inherent in sola scripture and, in fact, have had more than a little to say about that myself:

But beyond the common and extremely-hard-to-deny point being made about the need for an umpire or referee in the “game” of the Christan faith (the core point made by apologists for the Catholic Faith like Yr. Obdt. Svt.) I think Fr. Barron makes an interesting and thought-provoking point when he notes that, while an umpire is essential to the game,  the game is not about the umpire.  It’s about the game.  The point of the Catholic faith is not about ecclesial politics or the minutiae of what the Pope and bishops are doing today.  It’s about the relationship of Jesus Christ and the human person.  The gospel is not a mere set of moral precepts.  You can get that from any religion and from a dozen philosophies. It’s not a mere collection of liturgical practices or religious rites (again, you can find these in most religions).  It’s not about authority for the sake of authority (you can find that, not only in many religions and political ideologies, but in chemical purity in totalitarian states).  All these things are found in human society apart from the gospel.  They can be, when exercised reasonably, good things. But in our idolatrous fallenness, all of them are latched on to by human beings as possible means of salvation in and of themselves and invariably become evils when this happens.  Apart from Jesus Christ, they are all idols and cannot occupy the throne in which he alone can sit.  All of them, separated from him, are just one more grab at some form of money, pleasure, power, and/or honor as the perennial substitutes for God.

This is, I think, one of the reasons that Pope Francis is confusing so many people: they have lost sight of the fact that the game is not about the umpire.  His emphasis, over and over, is on the game itself: on directing us back to the relationship between Jesus Christ and each human person.  But lots of us want him to be about an idol: power. They imagine that the faith is about something other than Jesus Christ crucified for our transgressions and raised to life for our justification.  It matters little what.  For some, it’s the attempt to reduce the faith to economic justice.  For others, it’s the attempt to reduce the faith to the proposition “Opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the world”.  Both are examples of idolatry: of putting some good creature in the place of God. A,lot of people want the Umpire to kick out of the game anybody who fails to make their idol the goal of the game.  But Francis is not primarily about exercising power and throwing players out of the game (though that will occasionally enter into his duties). More than that, he is not about the worship of idols. Instead, he’s directing our attention to the game itself: to Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, who goes out into the highways and byways and calls in the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind–including people we might feel are too spiritually blind to be allowed into the game.  And so the cry goes up that “The Ump is blind!” when it is we who are blind to the fact that, well, we are not the Ump and our idol is not the object of the game.  Jesus is the object of the game.

That doesn’t make every call the pope will make infallible.  But here’s the thing: it doesn’t make every call we make infallible either–including the ones we make about his prudential and pastoral judgments.  And the most fallible call we can make is to assume we are the Ump or that the point of the game is the Umpire or our favorite idol.  The point of the game is our relationship with Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, and the love of God and neighbor.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea/fr.-robert-barron-on-protestantism-and-authority#ixzz2iI8cfbOl