Sixth graders from Catholic schools around western Oregon can spend a day learning more about and meeting priests, brothers and sisters. Many of the state’s religious communities are expected to participate in vocations rallies set for next month.
St. Blaise has nothing in his history about fiery blazes but don’t tell that to generations of students at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. There, the Feast of St. Blaise has been an opportunity for hundreds to enjoy a giant bonfire fueled with discarded Christmas trees — after getting their throats blessed by the Benedictine monk-priests from the campus ministry team.
In this catechesis on the nature of marriage we have been considering what marriage is as revealed by God and as written in the very nature of the human person, created as male and female. Most recently we have seen that Jesus Christ has taken the natural institution of marriage and elevated it to the dignity of a sacrament between baptized spouses. We saw that this sacramental bond is a sign of Christ’s nuptial bond with his Bride, the Church.
In my last column we continued our exploration of the Church’s teaching regarding marriage by introducing what we mean when we call marriage between two baptized persons a “sacrament.” It might serve well to review that previous column. Here I would like to reflect more deeply on the Sacrament of Marriage.
There is a pithy saying that is used to help biblical theologians: “A text taken out of context is not a proof text but a pretext.” It means that when we are reading things and making judgments we need to make sure that we are aware of the big picture; prudence and right judgment exhort us to understand individual threads in the context of the whole tapestry.
The British writer, actor, and comedian Stephen Fry is featured in a YouTube video which has gone viral: more than 5 million views as of this moment. As you may know, Fry is, like his British counterparts Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, a fairly ferocious atheist, who has made a name for himself in recent years as a very public debunker of all things religious. In the video in question, he articulates precisely what he would say to God if, upon arriving at the pearly gates, he discovered that he was mistaken in his atheism.
Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 First Sunday of Lent In all three cycles, the Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent is always about Jesus being led into the desert by the Spirit. In Cycle A (Matthew) and C (Luke) the Gospel seems far more demanding than the one we hear today. The reading from Mark, though, is clearly good news. It is very clear that Jesus is led to the desert by the same Spirit that came upon him at his baptism in the Jordan. The Gospel that begins with John emerging from the desert continues with that same desert theme. Jesus enters the desert to prepare for his mission. His temptations clarify Jesus’ mission and our own place in it. During these 40 days, we are invited to enter the desert with Jesus and evaluate our lives in light of his.