Monday, December 02, 2019

The Jesse Tree and John the Baptist (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video is now out for the 2nd Sunday of Advent.  Check it out and subscribe today to the new expanded version of The Mass Readings Explained if you'd like to see more.


Friday, November 29, 2019

Staying Awake: Readings for 1st Sunday of Advent


Happy New Year, everyone!  The Church Year begins this Sunday with the First Sunday of Advent, and we are back to reading cycle A in Church Year 2020. 

There is a very ancient tradition in the Church of reading the Book of Isaiah during Advent.  In antiquity, both Jews and Christians considered the Book of Isaiah to be one extended prophesy of the “age to come,” the “latter days” when the Anointed One (Heb. “Meshiach,” =”Messiah”) would arrive.  The First Readings for Sunday Mass and for weekday masses, as well as the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours, are dominated by Isaiah during this liturgical season.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Two Men in a Field: One is Taken, One is Left (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video is now out for The Mass Readings Explained where we cover both the track of the Gospel/Old Testament and Psalm, as well as St. Paul's famous concept of putting on the "Armor of Light" (Romans 13).



Friday, November 22, 2019

The End is Here! Feast of Christ the King




Here in Steubenville one of my co-workers has a clever bumper sticker that reads: “I’m a Monarchist.  And I Vote.”

The day after the surprising election of 2016, then-President Obama took the high road by reminding us, “We’re not Democrats first, we're not Republicans first, we are Americans first. We're patriots first.”  In the political sphere, that’s true.  But there is a first that comes before that first.  We are Christians first, ‘monarchists’ who are loyal to Jesus Christ the King.  And better Americans for being so.

The Church year comes to an end this Sunday with the Solemnity of Christ the King, one of my favorite feast days.  The Readings focus heavily on the theme of the kingdom of Christ, which was typified or foreshadowed by the Kingdom of David in the Old Testament.

1.  The First Reading is 2 Samuel 5:1-3:

Monday, November 18, 2019

Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (The Mass Readings Explained)

The last week's video is now out for this liturgical year.  Check that out below.

Also, there's less than 7 days before the 1st video of the expanded edition of The Mass Readings Explained is released, where we will be going through the 2nd readings at Mass, with a particular focus on Paul and the Moral and Spiritual Life.

Learn more and join us by clicking here.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

The End is Near! 33rd Sunday of OT


Some years ago I was driving through the back hills of Ohio with my son, and we passed a billboard in a farmer’s field that read: “God has a Judgment Day coming!” 

My son asked me if the farmer who had placed the billboard in his field was Catholic or Protestant.  I suggested he probably was a Protestant.  My son asked why Catholics didn’t put up billboards like that.  I theorized that perhaps fewer Catholics owned farms close to the highway, or maybe they were less convinced that announcing the coming judgment was really an effective means of evangelism. 

Billboards announcing judgment day are not a part of American Catholic culture.  Nonetheless, the Readings for this coming Sunday affirm the truth of that well-meaning farmer’s sign.  God does have a day of judgment coming.  Is that good news or bad news?  It would depend, I suppose, on whether we have suffered injustice or committed it.

1.  Our First Reading Malachi 3:19-20a:

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Destruction of the Temple and the Tribulation (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video is now out for The Mass Readings Explained.

Check out the clip below, and be sure to check out this series, as we're going to begin the "expanded" edition in just a few weeks.

Thanks!


Tuesday, November 05, 2019

The Revolutionary Belief in Resurrection: 32nd Sunday of OT


We are advancing in the “unofficial liturgical season” of November, and the Mass Readings turn toward meditation on the Last Things.  This Sunday we are directed especially to the consideration of the resurrection of the dead.  

The resurrection of the dead is controversial.  It is a traditional belief in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, but Eastern religions have no necessary commitment to it.  Indeed, bodily resurrection makes no sense in Buddhism.  Likewise, ancient Greek philosophy had little use for the body in general, and it was often regarded as a prison for the soul.  Western secularism espouses materialism; therefore, there is nothing to a human person except his material body.  Resurrection is impossible, unless it be through some technology.  

Christian faith, following Jesus Christ, proclaims the goodness of the body, and affirms that God will one day restore and transform our bodies, similar to the transformation we witness in the accounts of Jesus’ post-resurrection physical appearances.

1. Our First Reading is 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-1:

Monday, November 04, 2019

Will There Be Marriage in the Resurrection (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video for The Mass Readings Explained is now out.

Check out a free clip below, and you can subscribe to get your 14 day free trial before the new liturgical year begins with the 1st Sunday of Advent (Dec. 1), when we will start covering the 2nd reading from the Sunday Masses, primarily focused on the letters of Paul.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Making Things Right: The Biblical Basis of Reparation (31st Sun. OT)


We are in November, the month that constitutes its own unofficial liturgical season, focused on the Last Things.  We begin the month with All Saints and round it out with the Feast of Christ the King.  This Sunday’s Readings introduce themes that will be developed throughout the finale of the liturgical year: repentance, the Kingdom of God, and final judgment.  In particular, the Gospel Reading urges us not merely to repent while we still have time, but also to make right the wrongs we have done to others, that is, to make reparation.  Some non-Catholic theologies deny the need for reparation, but it is a biblical concept that has within it the power of healing and reconciliation.

1. Our First Reading is Wisdom 11:22-12:2:

Monday, October 28, 2019

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Mass Readings Explained...Expanded

I am pleased to announce that I will be producing another set of videos with Catholic Productions, going through the 3-year cycle of the 2nd reading at Mass (typically, though not exclusively, from the Letters of St. Paul).

If you've ever wanted to get a grasp of St. Paul as the Church presents his Letters to us through the Liturgy, then be sure to check out the expanded version of this series, which starts with the 1st week of Advent (December 1).

Thanks and God bless.


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Pride and Poverty: The 30th Sunday of OT


Several years ago, Christians around the world were shocked and saddened by the execution of twenty-one Egyptian Christian men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and fell under the power of ISIS.  This martyrdom is just one of the more dramatic examples of abuse and oppression that seems so prevalent in the contemporary world.  Where is God in all this?  Does he pay attention to poor and the oppressed?  The Readings for this Sunday dwell on these and related issues.

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Pharisee and the Tax-Collector (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video is now out for The Mass Readings Explained.  Check out the excerpt below and you can subscribe today for a 14-day free trial for the access to all of the The Mass Readings Explained.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Prayer as Warfare: The 29th Sunday in OT


Usually we think of men of prayer and men of war as complete opposites.  A monk in a habit—such as St. Francis—is a man dedicated to peace, a total contrast to one clad in armor brandishing weapons.  Yet the Readings for this Sunday combine the imagery of war and prayer in interesting ways that provoke our thoughts about the nature and reality of supplicating God.

1.  Our First Reading is Exodus 17:8-13:

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Culture of Gratitude: Readings for 28th Week of OT


The Thanksgiving holiday is coming upon us in a little over a month, and this season of the year always makes me think, How do you give thanks if you don’t believe there’s anyone there to thank?  Thanksgiving is not a holiday that ever could have arisen in an atheist culture. 

The themes of the Readings for this Sunday focus on the gratitude for God’s salvation.  Gratitude is an important psychological and spiritual disposition.  Dr. Daniel G. Amen, the popular brain researcher and public health spokesman, identifies gratitude as a key character quality of persons with physiologically healthy brains.  That’s right: gratitude affects your physical health, including the shape and functioning of your brain.  This Sunday’s Readings focus particularly on gratitude to God, and how it should be expressed.

1.  Our First Reading is 2 Kgs 5:14-17: