Dangerous Times

pharisees-n-scribesA popular line of anti-Catholic apologetics centers on our gospel reading. The argument is this: “you Catholics have lost your way. You rely on human traditions and ignore the commandments of God.” Their usual list of Catholic errors includes the veneration of Mary, her Immaculate Conception, and her bodily Assumption into Heaven. There is also transubstantiation, praying to saints, the confessional, penance, purgatory, and more. We might take great offense at their assertions – but it is a reminder that we should always be mindful about losing our way on the journey to God. We do in fact have our Traditions and our traditions.  Lots of Catholics confuse the two. One can easily lose one’s way. Continue reading

Opponents but never enemies

During the school dances, the slow ballads would arrive and wooohooo! You got to slow dance… real close. The sisters would literally come over with a 12-inch ruler, but it between you and your dance partner, gently smile, and say “Leave room for the Holy Spirit.”

That is good advice in life, especially these days when something wicked this way comes. It is called anger and we Christians are specifically warned about it in the first reading from today’s Mass: “everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the [anger] of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20). Continue reading

Woe to us if we lose our way

One of the axioms of life in my family is that we are convinced our mother understood the deep and true nature of Thanksgiving turkey stuffing.  All other efforts to match my mother’s culinary masterpiece are vain attempts at best and heretically sacrilegious at worst. And it is not just questions about stuffing that vex us – think about the local, never-ending debates here in Tampa about what constitutes a Cuban sandwich – and that is before we even get to the question of which one is the best. We might be willing to compromise our positions on turkey stuffing and Cuban sandwiches – but what about religion? Religion and what constitutes right and true religion is as troubling a question – and that is before we consider what that religion demands of us. And woe to us if we lose our way on the question of Religion. Continue reading