Thursday, May 26, 2016

After reading John's commentary on the Mass readings for this Sunday, check out my video.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Satisfying Hunger for God: The Feast of Corpus Christi

I love the early summer liturgical “trifecta” of Pentecost, Trinity, and Corpus Christi, forming a kind of “encore” to the joyful Easter Season focusing in succession on three fundamental realities of the Christian life: the Holy Spirit in the Church, the Triune Godhead, and the Eucharist.  This “trifecta” comes to an end this week with the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Readings for this Solemnity obviously focus on types and descriptions of the Eucharist, but there is a notably priestly theme that also runs through them.  In this way, we observe the connection between priesthood and Eucharist.  This connection first dawned on me personally in the fall of 1999, when I was first exposed to the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.  Coming across St. Ignatius of Antioch's famous passage concerning the Eucharist in his Letter to the Smyrneans (ch. 7), I suddenly realized that the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was—and is—the constant belief of the Church from apostolic times to the present day:

My Latest Release with Catholic Productions Just Became Available

My latest set where I go through my book - chapter by chapter - is now available through Catholic Productions.  Check it out...

...And please Like and Share!  Thank you!

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Case for Jesus: Jesus and the Kingdom of God (Part 5 of 5)

My fifth and final intro video on the 12 hour set Catholic Productions is releasing tomorrow is now available.  
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Friday, May 20, 2016

The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity

(Scroll down for Dr. Pitre's vlog on the readings)
Pentecost is not supposed to mark a spiritual highpoint, from which we then regress and go back to being our slovenly selves. 
Rather, Pentecost should be a dramatic infusion of spiritual energy climaxing a period of formation that has been ongoing since the first week of Advent.  Pentecost propels us, like a shot out of a cannon, into the “world” of Ordinary Time, in order to do effective combat with sin, death, and the Devil.

This Sunday marks approximately the half-way point in the liturgical year, and at this temporal center, we pause to reflect on the central mystery of our Faith, the Most Holy Trinity.  This seems appropriate on the heels of Pentecost, because it is through the Holy Spirit that the whole Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—dwells within our soul.

The Word of God and the Family

"The word of God is the source of life and spirituality for the family. All pastoral work on behalf of the family must allow people to be interiorly fashioned and formed as members of the domestic church through the Church’s prayerful reading of sacred Scripture. The word of God is not only good news in a person’s private life but also a criterion of judgement and a light in discerning the various challenges that married couples and families encounter."— Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia §227, quoting the final relatio, §34.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Mystery of the Trinity: The Mass Readings Explained (The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity)

Improve your active participation in Mass this sunday by better understanding the Mass readings.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Gift of the Spirit: Readings for Pentecost

This post picks up from themes discussed in the post below on the Readings for the Vigil of Pentecost.  For that post, scroll down; and below that is Dr. Pitre's excellent video explaining the Pentecost Readings.

For Pentecost Sunday, Mass during the Day, the First Reading is, finally, the account of Pentecost itself, from Acts 2:1-11:

Gathering the Human Family: The Readings for the Vigil of Pentecost


(Next post down is Dr. Pitre's excellent video on the Pentecost Readings)

Welcome to Pentecost!  This is such an important Feast Day in the life of the Church, we should celebrate it with just as much joy and enthusiasm as Christmas and Easter.  This the day of the Spirit, and if we have understood Jesus' teachings clearly, we understand that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is not an epilogue or denouement to the story of salvation, but its climactic finale that ushers in a new age!  This is the high point of our liturgical journey that began in Advent with anticipation of the coming of the Messiah!  

The Church recognizes the importance of Pentecost in her liturgy, and graces this Solemnity with its own vigil, complete with four different options for the First Reading.  All of them are important for understanding the meaning of this feast:

Pentecost and the Holy Spirit: The Lectionary Readings Explained (Pentecost Sunday)

Check out my latest video on this Sunday's Mass Readings. Please Like and Share!  Thank you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Case for Jesus: Jesus and the Rich Young Man (Part 4 of 5)

Here is introduction 4/5 of a series Catholic Productions is releasing on my latest book, The Case For Jesus
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Friday, May 06, 2016

The 7th Sunday of Easter, for those who have one!

Here is a commentary on the Readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, and let me begin by saying, if you have a Seventh Sunday of Easter, you are indeed blessed!  This is an important Sunday: it is climactic, the last Sunday before Pentecost in the Easter Season.  The architects of the Vatican II Lectionary saved very important readings for this date, notably the High Priestly Prayer of John 17.  This magnificent prayer is the longest of Jesus’ prayers recorded in Scripture, and it is the climax of the Last Supper Discourse (John 13-17), the longest discourse of Jesus recorded in Scripture.  In this prayer, Our Lord reveals his deepest desires for himself, his Apostles, and the whole Church.  It is hard to overestimate its significance to Christian theology.  In the Liturgy, we have been, as it were, sitting with the Apostles in the Upper Room with Jesus before the Passion, listening to him teach about the Holy Spirit for the past several Sundays of Easter.  Now, on the Seventh Sunday, we come to the climax of Jesus’ teaching, in which he sums up everything with a prayer for the Church to imitate externally and internally the intimate unity of the Trinity itself.  

The Ascension of Jesus and His Sacrifice “Once for All”: The Lectionary Readings Explained (The Seventh Sunday of Easter)

After reading John's commentary below, check out my latest video on this Sunday's Mass Readings. Please Like and Share!  Thank you.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The Case for Jesus: The Transfiguration of Jesus on the Mountain (Part 3 of 5)

Here is introduction 3/5 of a series Catholic Productions is releasing on my latest book, The Case For Jesus

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Tuesday, May 03, 2016

King of Heaven and Earth: Ascension Day!

Ascension Day, unfortunately, is not observed in a uniform manner across the United States.  Catholics in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, and New England will observe it on Thursday, May 5; the rest of the country observes it this Sunday, May 8. 

The First Reading and Psalm for this Solemnity are always Acts 1:1-11 and Psalm 47.   In Year C has the option to employ Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23 instead of Eph 4:17-23 as the Second Reading (both are discussed below), and proclaims Luke 24:46-53 as the Gospel.

Is Jesus Divine in the Synoptic Gospels? (Part 2 of 5)

Here is introduction 2/5 of a series Catholic Productions is releasing on my latest book, The Case For Jesus

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Kingdom of Peace: 6th Sunday of Easter

Edward Hicks, "Peaceable Kingdom," 1833
(Scroll down for Dr. Pitre's video on these readings)

We have arrived at the Sixth Week of Easter, and continue to bask in the glow of the story of the growth of the early Church in Acts, the vision of heaven from the Book of Revelation, and the consolation of Jesus’ words to the Apostles in the Upper Room from John.  It’s a trifecta of glory in these Readings.

If last Sunday we noted a “kingdom of love” theme, this week we notice an emphasis on the idea of the “kingdom of peace.”  In Acts (1st Reading) we see the measures that were necessary to keep peace in the early Church.  In Revelation (2nd Reading) we see the peace of Eden restored in the heavenly New Jerusalem.  In the Gospel we see Jesus bestowing his supernatural peace on the disciples.

1. The First Reading is Acts 15:1-2, 22-29.  Because this reading skips Acts 15:3-21, which I think is very important for understanding the significance of the passage, I have spliced in the missing text below, to aid our understanding:

Monday, April 25, 2016

C. S. Lewis & Bart Ehrman: Liar, Lord, Lunatic, or Legend? (Part 1 of 5)

Catholic Productions is releasing a 5 part introduction to a 12-hour series I did on my latest book, The Case For Jesus.  Here is part 1:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The New Commandment and the New Creation: The Lectionary Readings Explained (The Fifth Sunday of Easter)

After reading John's commentary below, check out the latest video I did on this Sunday's Mass Readings.

Kingdom of Love: The Fifth Sunday of Easter

The Easter Season is passing quickly.  Already it is more than half over, as we progress toward the great Feasts of Ascension and Pentecost.  We want the Season to slow down, so that we may savor the joy and consolation of these readings from Acts and John that dominate the Easter Cycle, but tempus fugit.
The Readings for this Fifth Sunday of Easter describe the growth of the Kingdom of God, which is manifested on earth as the Church.  The first two readings and the psalm are tied together with Kingdom images, and the Gospel reminds us that this Kingdom is characterized by God’s love.

1. The First Reading is Acts 14:21-27:

Friday, April 15, 2016

Readings for Good Shepherd Sunday

(Scroll down for Dr. Pitre's video commentary on the Readings)

This upcoming Lord’s Day is often known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” since each year the Gospel reading is taken from John 10, the “Good Shepherd Discourse.”  It’s also often observed as a day of prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, since priests and religious are visible manifestations to us of Christ in his role as the Good Shepherd.

Most of the Readings are tied together by a shepherding theme.

1.  The First Reading continues the traditional Christian practice of reading Acts during the season of Easter.  We are up to Acts 13, the point in Acts where St. Luke begins to follow the career of St. Paul in a particular way.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Jesus, the Good Shepherd: The Lectionary Readings Explained (Fourth Sunday of Easter)

My latest video explaining this Sunday's Lectionary Readings is now available to watch.  I hope it helps you, in some way, to better prepare for Mass.  And, be sure to check out Dr. Bergsma's amazing commentary coming out later in the week! 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Do you love me? Do you really love me? 3rd Sunday of Easter

(Scroll down for Dr. Pitre's videos on the readings)

This week is the Third Sunday of Easter, and our readings highlight the primacy of Peter among the Apostles, and the primacy of love in following Jesus.  

Just a few comments on the preliminary readings before we concentrate on the Gospel.  During the seven weeks of the Easter Season, the Lectionary reads semi-continuously through Acts in the First Reading (showing the birth of the Church on earth) and through Revelation in the Second (showing the final state of the Church in heaven).