Friday, May 09, 2008


I was pressed for time before mass and didn't pay too much attention to the first reading today. I figured I'd focus on the gospel reading which was the tripartite confession of faith by Peter...

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

There's a tremendous amount of fodder for reflection here. But then I heard the beginning fo the first reading...

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea
on a visit to Festus.
Since they spent several days there,
Festus referred Paul’s case to the king, saying,
“There is a man here left in custody by Felix."

...and I wished that I had done the research. I could hear the questions coming.

Who is Agrippa?
Who is Bernice?
Who is Festus? Wasn't he on the Adams Family?
And who is Felix?

Not to mention all the questions about the readings. I think I did a decent job of explaining them all from my former studies. But, it's a testimony of how important doing the research is before the mass begins.

The week is ended. Go in peace.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

It's fun to see moving long as you aren't behind the wheel.

My life as a priest is seasonal. Around this time of year, I'm ready for the college students to leave. I'm tired of meeting them at all hours of the day and night because something tragic happened in their life and they need to talk to someone about it. I'm tired of meetings and long days and weeks without a day off. I'm tired of noise outside of my bedroom door all through the night as they pass to and from the bars. I need a break.

And it's coming.

This is finals week and tomorrow is the last day. Then everyone leaves for a little while, even the folks taking summer classes, and things quiet down. I get vacation in a little over a week. I spend some "quality time" outside of the office reading some of the stuff that has piled up.

Admittedly, that is odd this year. I am taking summer classes so that means I will have to work pretty hard this summer but, in the end, I think it will make me a better priest. But I'm going to enjoy my time in the interim.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New Bishop of Des Moines

Bishop Richard Pates, formerly an auxiliary bishop of the Twin Cities, has been appointed the new bishop of the Des Moines Diocese. When you google his name, you may find this article he wrote to address the stem cell research debate in Minnesota. I found this quote particularly interesting...

Our principles surrounding the inherent dignity of human life, and our conviction that deliberately destroying human life for research purposes regardless of a human’s development is morally wrong are not only held by religious adherents but by a wide spectrum of Minnesotans. Since you and I are the same persons at every stage of development, any direct intervention to end life at any point means a particular person no longer exists. We should not be forced by our state government to pay for the direct killing of innocent human persons with our tax dollars. To ask us to do so is to ask us to violate our core principles - the very foundation of our beings.

Bishop Pates understands that, if we are to be successful in warding off all threats to human life, we have to do so in language that is not intrinsically religious. Sure, it's a part of our faith but it is also the first principle of the list of human rights of the constitution along with liberty and the persuit of happiness. We have to listen to the wisdom of men like Bishop Pates in order to win the hearts and minds of our pro abortion opponents.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Don't let your mormon neice know when your grandparents were baptized

I read, with interest, this correspondence from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. If I am understanding it correctly, when you convert to Mormonism, you can ask that your ancestors also be "posthumously baptized" so that you won't be lonely in heaven. Of course, since the Church of Latter Day Saints has basically abandoned the Gospel, there isn't much of a chance for salvation for the members of this church. I mean, it's not that everyone is damned. It's just so clear that salvation is much harder when your conception of God and Jesus Christ is screwed up. But, why should we care about what they do with baptismal records? They don't understand God. Why are we surprised that their conceptions of God's sacraments is wrong? And if that's wrong, nothing that they say or do matters, right?

I wonder if this has something to do with it. We believe that the you salvation is not entirely time dependent. In other words, it is possible to affect someone's eternal salvation after they have died. If a good catholic kid becomes an apostate to the Mormons, could that nullify the person's chance for salvation? I'm not sure. I think there may be a better reason but this sounded possible in my mind.

Monday, May 05, 2008

We hope for the resurrection from the dead

I preached about how hard it is to find the personal significance of the Resurrection. The theological significance is easy to see but the personal significance, the reason we need to live this reality. I explicated the theology of resurrection. I then said that, between the first reading and the gospel is that, in the first reading, it's possible to get the idea that we should just stand around waiting for Jesus to return. The angels said he was going to come back in the same way that he left. Why not wait around. But the gospel is clear that we need to go forth for other people's salvation. "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."

The resurrection is not just our guarantee of eternal life. It's also our summons to evangelize so that all the world may have eternal life.