Bartolomeo , Tom
94 Articles at Lifeissues.net

I was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois in 2006 at the age 69. After graduating Saint John’s University, New York, B.A. ( 1965) and M.A. (1967) in English I taught a year of high school and a few years of college at Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton, Virginia and Kansas State University where I pursued, but did not complete, a doctoral program in English. In 1972 I returned to New York where I entered business and held various managerial responsibilities over several years, marketing, public relations and retail sales and began my own small retail business. During these years I dabbled in theater and politics, worked for a Congressional campaign ( 1974) and later for my own candidacy for New York State Senate in 1978 and lost. I began studies for the priesthood at Holy Apostles Seminary, Cromwell, Connecticut where I received an M.S. in Divinity (2005), was ordained and moved to Rockford, Illinois. I am in a continuing process of life advocacy, writing, teaching, speaking and family counseling. I reside in Saint James Parish, 535 Caswell Street, Belvidere, Illinois 61008.

Contact: tom.bartolomeo@gmail.com

Articles

New! The way of the cross: atonement

The gospel passage of Jesus' arrest and crucifixion - for his followers before his resurrection - is inconclusive. Jesus' Apostles, disciples and our lives are suspended for days, weeks and years without some direction, meaning and fulfillment. It is the condition of everyone before death.

Date posted: 2014-04-12

New! The way of the cross: live or die

Our culture of death is an affront to God's creative work in the world. The 'becoming' or the loss of human life we can no more explain by our empirical sciences than we can manufacture life, spirit and truth. Anyone who destroys human life at any stage of inception strikes at the goodness of the Creator. Ninety-eight percent of us during our child bearing years have used contraceptives or have sterilized ourselves! We have made the 'modern' world into a mortuary for the living dead incapable of procreation for our sins against humanity.

Date posted: 2014-04-10

New! The way of the cross: none are more blessed

Irreconcilable differences - who is to blame? Perhaps we have been involved in such personal differences: husband and wife, father and son, mother and daughter, appellant and complainant, employer and employee.

Date posted: 2014-04-05

The way of the cross: passage to conversion

When good things happen unexpectedly accept them without question. All the woman at the well needed was someone to acknowledge the hypocrisy of her life inviting her to change her ways and accept "a spring of water welling up to eternal life". Jesus deals with issues we avoid - never shying away from the truth no matter how shameful while respecting a person's basic human dignity. All God requires is our honesty.

Date posted: 2014-03-27

The way of the cross: repentance

Jesus expects from us the same faith and courage which Abram and his son Isaac demonstrated - a father ready to offer his obedient son's life to God. It is not so unusual. Many men have resolved to sacrifice themselves for the lives of others, soldiers and others. Jesus, the Son of God, was ready and told his followers multiple times that "the Son of Man would be handed over to the chief priests and scribes . . . to be mocked . . . flogged . . . crucified and raised on the third day". They were perplexed. They could not comprehend how Jesus who the Apostle Peter declared was the "Son of God" would agree with his Father's wishes and chose to die.

Date posted: 2014-03-20

Remember you are dust and to dust you will return

Even for the atheist there is no denying, "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3: 19) when "the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it". (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

Date posted: 2014-03-05

Becoming Jesus living the commandments of God

The seat of either virtue or vice resides not in the visible body but in the secret chambers of a person's heart, in his mind and free will. Invisible festering anger, Jesus taught, leads to murder or it brings 'death by a thousand cuts' especially to the one who harbors anger. Adultery, Jesus taught, infects first the heart, one of the deadliest of sins affecting both husband and wife and their relationship with their children. Today that would include contraception and abortion. Destroy God's gift of life in our bodies and destroy his gift of love in a heart growing cold.

Date posted: 2014-03-04

Becoming Jesus rebuilding the church

The difficulty Jesus faced dealing with his followers continues today. From the beginning what matters in our relationship with God are not our usual protocols but our genuine relationship with God as his children and disciples. It was not the "dust of the earth" from which we were made which distinguished us at creation but the life God breathed into our flesh. (Genesis 2: 7-8).

Date posted: 2014-02-25

Becoming Jesus out in the world

Jesus' teaching alone would not convince the Apostles. They had to see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears the 'good works' of Jesus as we do to be convinced that Jesus is among us. Who among us are Jesus? Who among us are our saints to follow? If all else fails we can become Jesus for others to follow. Parents who truly love their children as God does and raise saints in their homes - whose children in turn become models of sanctity for their parents which is exactly what Jesus did. Like father like son, like son like father. Like mother like daughter, like daughter like mother.

Date posted: 2014-02-24

Becoming Jesus, in the desert

The Apostles had much to learn before they would become Jesus in the world as many Catholics who cling to their fears and passing unfulfilled lives in the world. Jesus would not relent, however. This would be his greatest challenge, not dying on the cross but softening the fearful hearts of his Apostles. Jesus did not relent, and in the end his Apostles' hearts were moved. They faced death without fear and passed through this world to happily gain everlasting life through him and with him and in him.

Date posted: 2014-02-23

Becoming Jesus, in the beginning

Jesus shared these last sentiments of gratitude with his disciples on the evening before his arrest and death. He became their savior as he and his Father had intended and he would find in the finality of his earthly life the peace he sought for us which he would give freely to all others who become Jesus in their own lives.

Date posted: 2014-02-22

Unsafe at any 'choice'

Nothing much man-made achieves perfectly it's intended purpose neither automobiles or contraceptives.

Date posted: 2014-02-20

So what do we do now?

Christmas and New Year's Day are over. The tree and the outdoor lights have been taken down or should be, and now we deal with bloated balances on our credit cards after our Christmas purchases. We are now gathered at church on the second week of "Ordinary Time" with thirty-two more weeks of "ordinary time" ahead of us when we start the cycle all over again. So what do we do in between time as we fall back into our ordinary lives?

Date posted: 2014-02-18

Happy eternity without the expiration date

The drama of man's salvation was set in motion by Jesus' baptism, "to fulfill all righteousness" as Jesus explained. John the Baptist was the first of many players in God's drama whose playscript was read in our hearing today: the intervention of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit on the banks of the Jordan River with the first man, the renewed Adam, Jesus.

Date posted: 2014-01-12

An Offering of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

Our religion by its very origin is counter-cultural. We are all here in a passing world on pilgrimage with a specific and conscious goal in mind and heart - God and his world. The Wise Men left their homeland to find the Christ while we have more to know and love of God than they could obtain. The wise men did not fit in the culture of Jerusalem and left.

Date posted: 2014-01-05

The Problem with Mary

The problem with Mary, she was out of place in this world. Even before receiving the invitation from Gabriel Mary had vowed to a life of virginity dedicated to the Lord. I don't think we are capable of fully appreciating Mary's dilemma "full of grace" with all its attendant personal blessings, having chosen a life of virginity for the sake of the kingdom of God then to be thrust into the public life of her Son. She had chosen a life comparable to the lives of a religious women who take the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Mary also prized the gift of silence.

Date posted: 2014-01-01

Red Poinsettias

There is no other human institution where fidelity in more important than in marriage, in the relationships of spouses and their children. Children know this instinctively. Even in nature any complex relationship of mother and father - the fidelity of male and female in their joined parenting - affects their offspring's health and survival, no less than the human family and human society.

Date posted: 2013-12-31

Becoming Jesus

The only real obstacle to our union with God is our stubbornness and pretense that we are full without him. This is the good news God sent angels to announce to humble shepherds in a field near a stable in Bethlehem.

Date posted: 2013-12-24

The Pregnant Season, Part Three

There is nothing alive more dependent on its kind than humankind. By comparison nearly all other living things at birth function well on their own although they may require for a short time the protective care of their parents.

Date posted: 2013-12-22

The Pregnant Season, Part Two

Families don't work well without both parents, fathers and mothers, in raising children. Contrary to popular belief people in general don't work well even on their own no matter how self-sufficient they think they may be.

Date posted: 2013-12-14

The Pregnant Season, Part One

Jesus taught us in parables from his own experiences. How else did he learn the parables? Perhaps the easiest parable to understand but the most difficult to practice is the parable of little children, "Unless you become as little children you can not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:13). It has been famously said that "the child is father to the man", and I would add, that the child is mother to the woman. These are the important things parents and children should learn and share together.

Date posted: 2013-12-10

Where does the time go?

If ever we have lost our place of time in the world it is - now. Perhaps it can be rediscovered - now. The holy season of Advent, the first coming of Christ, is now. It is a time we begin to prepare once more for Jesus' second and final coming of which we know neither the time or the hour. For the world this time it is just one big secular holiday from Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year's Day when the world resets its calendar.

Date posted: 2013-12-01

A King's Problem

Do we know the work Christ the King has sent us to do, each of us, in this world? He is a king who will not compel us to follow him unlike others in this world who compel us for their interests, often to do what is futile or wrong. Doing freely his work in this world is our only passport to God's world and none other.

Date posted: 2013-11-29

Try to remember

Busyness induces forgetfulness. We can literally lose our minds not only our good intentions pursuing every "gimme" enticement. The evil one counts on this. He is too clever to get us to sin outright. He plans our downfall by filling our minds with vanities and trivialities convincing us that they are important or he convinces us to spend all our good will and effort with more than we can carry leaving us nothing in reserve to remember the last things, death, judgement, heaven and hell.

Date posted: 2013-11-28

In death as in life only one thing remains

In death as in life only one thing remains. Nothing changes - except we will know there is no turning back like an plane at lift-off without a return flight. The memory of where we have been will fade quickly as we anticipate the place of our arrival. The persons we were before we passed through the gates of the terminal will be the same persons we are after de-boarding the flight on our arrival like people passing from one room to another. Except for the sorrow of those we leave behind our lives will remain the same forever.

Date posted: 2013-11-11

Is God with us or not?

Is the story of Moses and the Jews in the desert by Saint Paul's account, "useful for teaching" [us], for refuting us, for correcting us, and for training us in holiness, "so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work" or not?

Date posted: 2013-10-21

Hit or Miss: The Good Life

"Signs of the Time", literally - passing by a billboard on a highway outside of Chicago was displayed "Hit or Miss" in bold letters. The line above it read, "the Good Life", the line below read, "the Illinois Lottery." So life's a blind gamble?You want to know how the world thinks?

Date posted: 2013-10-06

Who do people say we are?

Jesus repeatedly decried the proud and the wealthy. Actually, the terms intersect in the "pride of life" the Apostle John wrote about in his first Letter, how much we are prone to take pride in our possessions, all the things of this world which can consume us. We are in fact, the premier consumers in the world. We Americans are five percent of the world's population and we consume nearly fifty percent of the world's goods and services.

Date posted: 2013-10-01

Blue skies, nothing but blue skies do I see

We humans live our lives in bits and pieces, a puzzle of sorts. The puzzle like our lives may eventually be taken apart and packed up for another day for completion. Maybe. We could take the pieces of the puzzle and throw them on a table and God would instantaneously know not only where all the pieces go but why.

Date posted: 2013-09-27

Now wait a minute. Why did I come here?

"Now wait a minute. Why did I come here? Let me think." Have you ever gone somewhere, to another room or to another place and have forgotten why you came to where you are? Perhaps, you are following some ingrained routine and are so preoccupied with something that you lose your way. More than likely this happens when we are "busy" or so we say. So busy that the days of our lives sift through our fingers like sand.

Date posted: 2013-09-14

"The corruptible body burdens the soul"

Our union with God is not in our blood lines, our "corruptible" sin-prone bodies - which are doomed to decay "unto dust we shall return". Our relationship with God resides in his grace only. We should hate what severs our relationship with God including our biological relationships with mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and siblings. There is no heaven in "the desires of the flesh" in the world. Saint Paul knew this well. At one point, he was so exasperated with his conflict of body and soul that he declared, "would someone rid me of this body of death in me."

Date posted: 2013-09-08

The power of a humble life

We should be amazed or ashamed of ourselves when we forget or deny the truth that everything we have received including our lives comes from our heavenly Father. When we are tempted to be prideful we should answer the sobering question Saint Paul asked, "What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?" (1 Corinthians 4:7).

Date posted: 2013-09-06

If only I knew

We should realize that the words "discipline" and "disciple" share the same meaning, that strength comes from endurance not avoidance. Who has not had trials and tribulations, illness, disappointment, insult and any unfair treatment, and who has not complained? We can not include Jesus with those who complain, Jesus who accepted his Father's discipline for our encouragement in becoming real disciples of Jesus Christ.

Date posted: 2013-08-26

Jesus Christ, the Firebrand

The problem today we will do nearly anything to avoid a confrontation or argument. 'Play nice', we are told, like small children, compromise, negotiate and keep the peace at any cost sacrificing even the Gospel. We become so accustomed to evil it hardly moves us. Is religious liberty more important, for example, than religion, a right relationship with our government rather than a right relationship with God?

Date posted: 2013-08-19

"Faith is the realization of what is hoped for

In the "Apostles' Creed" we proclaim our belief in a "communion of saints". Are they only individuals formally canonized by the Church? The Apostle Paul in his letters referred to his people thirty nine times as "saints", brothers and sisters in the faith who were made holy as God is holy. People who live in virtue of faith, hope and charity are not bricks or rafters in a church but "living stones" as Saint Peter described, people who live their lives consciously in a communion of saints within a Church of living stones. (1 Peter 2,5).

Date posted: 2013-08-11

The only thing that lasts is our relationship with God

Glory in death is not vain, everything else is. At death we leave everything behind, our homes, spouses, children, friends and enemies, our money and debt, our achievements and failures, our plans and disappointments. Jesus rose from the dead with his injuries glorified.

Date posted: 2013-08-04

A retrospective: the 45th anniversary, Of Human Life

Pope Paul VI drew his conclusions "of human life" from the work of nature and her laws imbedded in our persons, expressed in Sacred Scripture and in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Today we have many who claim a "freedom of choice" concerning human life as if their choices would not alter the consequences of their actions, that license to deny or abort life would ultimately negate all human freedom by embracing death. Our choices always have consequences, good or bad. The important matter is knowing what is good or bad, true or false, and living with the consequences of our choices. Only the truth can "set us free" as Jesus taught.

Date posted: 2013-07-30

In the fullness of time

A student recently emailed me and complained, how "crazy busy" he was. I emailed that he should think through the important matters of his life and avoid any 'craziness' like Martha had in the gospel story. Why should we ever be so "busy", so compulsive in what we do that we lose our way. Pope Benedict XVI had once written that there is no "compulsion in religion." We "have ears to hear" as Jesus said unless we are "too busy."

Date posted: 2013-07-21

Do we really get it?

Let's put ourselves for a moment in Moses', Paul's and Jesus' place in this world when we ask the question, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18, 18).

Date posted: 2013-07-14

"Double, double toil and trouble"

Why did Saint Paul say, "from now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body." I can only surmise from my own experience that a priest of Jesus Christ like Paul wants to live his life as an Apostle, one sent to spread the Word and labor in the harvest for souls and not be troubled by less important matters in the parish which may distract the priest from his vocation.

Date posted: 2013-07-07

Heaven is not a place to vacation

Many well meaning people consider heaven a worthy destination like some place to vacation with brochure in hand and not really understanding how radically those who enter heaven must first change while here, a transformation which must begin here like immigrants who put behind themselves their homeland to become citizens of another country and society.

Date posted: 2013-06-30

We should all have regrets

We are children of Adam and Eve infected by their contact with Satan. When Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer he was the only completely innocent man who ever prayed "Our Father". Jesus did not pray, 'My Father' but "Our Father." Christ thereby personally accepted punishment for our sins as his own? We have as well another problem with the Lord's Prayer. We should know, with our pledge to God,"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" may be the key for many which opens the door to heaven. How could we live in Jesus' company in the kingdom of heaven without first forgiving the sins of others in heaven who have forgiven us?

Date posted: 2013-06-25

Keeping the Sabbath Holy

The Sabbath, our Sunday, God willed to be our weekly day of rest and reflection so important that he made it a commandment, "Keep holy the Sabbath", that we not ignore its benefits strengthening our relationship with God and his Son's relationship with us. If your mother or father has told you and your children, "Don't be a stranger", you know what I mean. What regrets do we carry with us after our mothers and fathers have passed away? Are your children on that same glide path to a dead end? It is for all these reasons that you are here to maintain your relationship with your eternal Father, His Son and your Brother and His Holy Spirit.

Date posted: 2013-06-16

In a world of "whatever"

"Whatever." How many times have we heard or said, "whatever". Play it safe. Go along , get along, and do "whatever". So much of our conduct is influenced by the conduct of others. Has our sense of reverence for God and for each other fallen into such indifference or "whatever"?

Date posted: 2013-06-13

One in the Body of Christ

There is much more to reverence in Church than some rules of etiquette. Reverence should spring from the dignity we hold within and extend to some one else, some place or occasion and should also reflect our own personal sense of dignity and worth we have in the presence of God in Church.

Date posted: 2013-06-02

If pigs could fly and fish could walk

If pigs could fly and fish could walk. Our lives are more surreal than we realize. Why do we dream unless there is another reality? Do we sleep so we can dream? We know that without sleep - we would die in 72 hours. In our unconscious dream-state we sort out all kinds of things, real and imagined. We could not, however, imagine, awake or dreaming, the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Date posted: 2013-05-26

The Spirit resides in a dying body

How pesky our eyes, ears, feelings and emotions can be. They dominate so much of people's lives when God is calling us to live in the spirit. This was the central admonition the Apostle Paul gave his parishioners: "If Christ is in you the body is dead because of sin, while the spirit lives because of justice. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will bring your mortal bodies to life also, through his Spirit dwelling in you."

Date posted: 2013-05-18

It takes more than a hope and a prayer

Generally speaking many people, when asked, would say that at their death they would hope and pray to go to heaven and many, perhaps some here, may not really know what that entails. A reward for living a good life however one see it? If that is true then there are these concerns we should have about Jesus' instructions. "No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven" to which Jesus added, "the Son of Man, who is in heaven."(John 3, 13). I am tempted to stop here and let you figure that out.

Date posted: 2013-05-11

Everything has context

Context is everything. Everyone one else has context, other things defining them. For example, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy . . . Mom!" You may smile knowing what the mother will say before she actually says, "What!" You suspect that the mother may be physically present but her mind may be off in the clouds somewhere until her daughter or son breaks the spell with "Mommy . . . Mom!" All you moms experienced that in one variation or another. You put it in context.

Date posted: 2013-05-11

Love is heroic

Unrequited love did not deter Christ nor his disciples in The Acts of the Apostles. All those conversions came with a price, often with persecution and bloodshed. "You are deceived" we are told by St. Jerome, "if you think that Christians can live without persecutions." Or let me put it another way, quoting a famous 20th century convert, C. S. Lewis, "If you want a religion that is really comfortable, I don't recommend Christianity."

Date posted: 2013-04-27

I hear voices. Don't we all.

"My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me." Of course, Jesus wasn't talking about sheep herding. He was saying that once we truly know him then we will follow him. But then there are other voices which lie and drown out his voice. Chief among these are the personal lies we justify.

Date posted: 2013-04-21

The Problem of Fear and Death

Most do not see death the same way. Many live lives in fear of one thing or another which explains why so few face this evil world with courage and hope either afraid of reprisal or afraid of offending anyone - the 'mind my own business' Catholic who 'goes along to get along' who is not Apostolic to his relatives, neighbors and associates the way the Apostles were. They can always 'go fishing', I suppose.

Date posted: 2013-04-18

Our family album: the Acts of the Apostles

The Apostles found both support and suffered opposition from their own and from strangers, the help and the persecutions they endured, the hatred and the love they received from friends and enemies, the imprisonment and exoneration they received from various courts of law, the plots they avoided, the amazing interventions of the Holy Spirit in their conversions.

Date posted: 2013-04-08

Peace be with you. My peace be with you.

We must first recognize the fact that our disordered, diseased natures are conflicted, a kind of schizophrenia, a body in control of mind and will or a spirit (soul) in control. Left to our own devices - without God's - we devolve sadly into a lower nature, lonely and 'misunderstood', we think, never really happy, satisfied or at peace.

Date posted: 2013-03-31

Good Afternoon. Good Day. Good Friday

There are times when some of us who have survived some painful injury are reminded of the experience in the visible scar tissue which remains.

Date posted: 2013-03-29

"Living is Christ and dying is gain"

To this day at nearly every funeral service I have conducted I have meet many who are confounded by issues of life and death not grasping Jesus' teaching, "unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life." (John 12, 24-25) (Italics mine). Where is our treasure: "in this world" or in the world to come . . . without Christ or with Christ?

Date posted: 2013-03-28

Here I am! Here I am!

What is there not to love as did Blessed Theresa of Calcutta who embraced Christ daily in the flesh of a men or women dying in the gutters of streets in India or Pope Francis who will celebrate Holy Thursday washing the feet of adolescents in prison. All saints, canonized or only known by God, live the lives they profess, "Christian and Catholic".

Date posted: 2013-03-23

A God of second chances only for the repentant

It may seem that the prodical son, his forgiving father and the "woman caught in adultery" were the only people in both stories who saved their souls. Some would say, "Father, you are being a little too harsh, aren't you? If we mean well that should count for something". And whose parts in these gospel dramas would we be playing were we today found in their circumstances? How many self-righteous Catholics who refuse to accept Jesus suffering in his Church today expect to rise into heaven someday while disavowing the teachings of Christ and his Church?

Date posted: 2013-03-16

I want . . . I want . . . I wait . . . .

How the parable ends for the older son we do not know. We have good reason to believe that the repentant younger son did return to work on his father's estate alongside his older brother and confess his sinfulness to his older brother as well. I think the father is counting on that outcome and the conversion of his older son besides. The father waits.

Date posted: 2013-03-09

The Greater Peril: The Loss of Religious Freedom or the Loss of Religion? (Part 4)

Today, traditional Catholic values have been so much compromised that many Americans including Catholics view same sex marriage and homosexuality as morally acceptable. Many may quietly acknowledge the immorality of homosexuality while disproportionately sympathizing with the 'rights' of the homosexual, a matter which is not lost on the public.

Date posted: 2013-03-03

Pope Benedict XVI, A Pilgrim's Progress - A Personal Tribute

As I began to prepare for this Sunday's liturgy, the 3rd Sunday of Lent, a labor we bear together in living out the Word of God at Mass my thoughts turned to the momentous events of last week, the retirement of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. The readings for the Mass and the Pope's final words and farewell melded as one in my reflections.

Date posted: 2013-03-03

"There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of"

For those whose "citizenship is in heaven" - they will endure as Saint Paul would have them - "eagerly wait for our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ . . . . Therefore, my brothers and sisters," he tells us, "whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord." (Philippians 3: 19-21-4: 1). Shall we be among the "descendants" of Abraham, among the stars Abraham gazed upon?

Date posted: 2013-02-23

The Greater Peril: The Loss of Religious Freedom or the Loss of Religion? (Part 3)

Some Catholic Church leaders have publically stated that they would rather risk jail than cooperate with the administration's mandate. But time is on the administration's side the closer the first of August approaches. The administration's tactics all along have been to stall and confuse while the Church appears indecisive. The bishops need to respond definitively sooner rather than later. It may take the action of just one bishop and one diocese to spell out its civil actions as recommended here for others to follow suit.

Date posted: 2013-02-17

We are too weak to gain heaven on our own

We are told that Jesus "emptied himself" to become man, had no more human advantage than us. All his miraculous works were accomplished for our sake, not his. Who among us has ever sweated blood fighting temptation? Our greatest temptation is presumption, an insidious sin.

Date posted: 2013-02-17

Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return

I can still remember as a small child receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday. I couldn't really comprehend the meaning of it, but I innately knew that it was important, and I was careful to keep some of my ashes on my forehead through the day. The next morning when I checked in the mirror the smudge was gone. How did I lose it, I thought.

Date posted: 2013-02-14

The Greater Peril: The Loss of Religious Freedom or the Loss of Religion? (Part 2)

Many of the unexpected consequences brought on by the pill and other contraceptives have now become more apparent since Pope Paul VI in 1968 foresaw in the Encyclical, "Of Human Life", the grave moral and social disorders which contraception would usher into our lives.

Date posted: 2013-02-10

"You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear" (Romans 8,15)

Our day of reckoning is coming, actually began last January first and will take another turn on this August first. I am speaking about the implementation of the federal government's Health and Human Services mandate that we all pay and provide for contraceptives, abortions and sterilizations - free of charge to all takers. That's how far we have come in this nation, a mandate for health insurance so a girl as young as twelve can get some contraceptive pill or have an abortion without her parents' knowledge or consent. Think about it. It's the law, The Affordable Health Care Act at work because we did not speak up loudly enough. The problem is this law is being inserted into our lives a little at a time–enacted over a span of four years so we wouldn't feel the impact all at once or comprehend the depth of its perversity.

Date posted: 2013-02-08

The Greater Peril: the Loss of Religious Liberty or the Loss of Religion? (Part 1)

Acceding to any accommodation which does not include all Catholics, lay men and women, business people, medical practitioners, teachers, truckers and ordinary church goers would gravely weaken the unity of the Church.

Date posted: 2013-02-02

Consumer mentality affecting many in the Church

We all bring to church and to Mass our biases, often unconsciously our consumer mentalities, a consideration of what we gain in exchange for our patronage. Can we accept that Jesus came among us to serve our real needs not the ones we seek? And what advantage exactly does Jesus and his Church exact from us? Before his departure and victory over sin and after his resurrection He gave his Apostles the authority to forgive sins. He actually trusted the absolution of sins to those who had grievously sinned against him when they had abandoned him at his arrest and crucifixion. Certainly, with such generosity he proved his desire to forgive us our sins.

Date posted: 2013-02-02

Starting a new conversation in the culture of life

We need to start and carry forward a new "conversation" of life where so many have been mislead by the culture of death which sacrifices life for pleasure and life alone and which, we all know, is so fleeting--while a child lives forever as does his father and mother. How deceived and short-sighted we can be worrying about the burden or expense of having children although it did not prevent our parents from bearing us. The association of adults and children in life can reveal so much about ourselves, often opportunities to revisit our own childhood mysteries and improving our own lives. This is the gift of life children give their parents and all of us.

Date posted: 2013-01-26

The Secret Growth of the Kingdom of God

I don't want to disappoint, shock or scandalize you, but you should know that Jesus can do just so much in this world. The fullness of his power and grace and glory is in heaven, not here. That was always the case when he was born, lived and died here--clothed in the flesh and blood of fallen man. In strictly human terms Jesus Christ failed here. It was his resurrection from the dead that changed that, that will change our failures at death, too - if we choose to accept God' power and grace and glory now and hereafter.

Date posted: 2013-01-19

Why did Jesus begin his career as Savior of the world in such a humble and meek manner?

Heaven is not a welfare state of being, a state where we simply consume happiness. We have to lay up a treasure of good works in heaven to draw from before He receives us. The gospel and the Bible is our play-book and our play-script to be followed which I hope we all have in our homes and consult regularly. Without reading its stage directions and performing our assigned parts we will have no place in the company. Actors call it method acting, literally living the character you have been cast for by the director.

Date posted: 2013-01-13

Epiphany - the meaning is pervasive

The story of the Christ-Savior, as God chose, would still have unwound from a wood cradle to a crucifixion tree. Christ, the light of the world and author of life itself came to conquer the darkness by his death. The Magi came to enlighten us, to seek Him, too, not hide from God's law but defend his truth whatever danger we face as sojourners in this world. Each of our epiphanies will be linked to the Magi's dangerous journey, believe me. The Magi, the three wise men, came to instruct us about this.

Date posted: 2013-01-05

Swords and hearts united

Men, what divorced or single mother's boy in your extended family needs the companionship of a man? And ladies, what girl? What boy or girl in the Big Brother Big Sister's program needs an adult mentor to spend afternoons with? You will find a Big Brothers Big Sister office in Rockford on Y Boulevard. My young boy at Big Brothers would stare at the door waiting for me, his mother told me, until I arrived. In three weeks we were fast friends. Without healthy Catholic normalcy in their lives besides their mothers your niece, nephew, or neighbor's child will, statistically speaking, fail at marriage themselves or avoid marriage and cohabitation without first encountering a positive adult man or woman' leadership. Would you want a New Year's Resolution which may save a child's life? I have just given you a great one.

Date posted: 2013-01-01

If all else fails turn to God and Family

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is the model God set in our world for us to emulate, the mutual support of mother, father and child facing the adversity of world which is not our permanent home. Why would anyone think that children are a burden? Where we once a burden to our parents?

Date posted: 2012-12-29

The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

John, the last Apostle of Jesus Christ, survived long enough in this world to live until the second century after the birth of Christ recorded the future of mankind in the Book of the Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible. It may seem fanciful, speaking of Christ as the light, but where else do we have "all that is good" but in God, the source of our life and light, of Truth and Justice. Light was the first act of creation and the first measure of the Son of God as Man in John's gospel - the first and the last light which shines in the world which the darkness will not overcome - waiting for the future in the Book of Revelation where the Lamb of God illumines heaven "who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

Date posted: 2012-12-24

A parent is never alone

Too many parents have traded away their personal responsibility of their children to hired surrogates. "Dinner's in the fridge. I have a meeting to go to. See you kids later." Leave the work of raising children to daycare, to schools and, yes, to church. Nature, however, rebels against such accommodations in our relations to God and family. In greeting his own family and neighbors Jesus pointed to each of us our responsibility: And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother", Mark 10, 49-50.

Date posted: 2012-12-22

The search for heaven is an acquired taste

Everyone wants to be happy, yearns for happiness. Who does not wish to be happy? I've never met a man who complained about being too happy. Here and there we get a taste of it, not often enough, but a taste of happiness nonetheless. Think of those happy personal experiences we've had. How one way or the other they involve others, and if they do not how we will search out others to share our happiness. Even the little "thank you's" we share with each other are signs of gratitude, happiness and heaven. Imagine a world without 'thank you's'. We know we have acquired this taste for heaven - "not as the world gives" -- Jesus told us, but in the "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you always. ... Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful", John 14:27. This love, this peace, this taste for heaven, operates in all circumstances including sorrow and pain, the first gift of heaven we may experience here.

Date posted: 2012-12-17

Every man and woman conceived as a father and a mother

Why would anyone then choose contraception and forfeit the blessings by our Blessed Mother who dispenses the graces of child bearing and family to other mothers and fathers? Should we forfeit these gifts of life as mothers and fathers because of fear or the cost of raising children or the inconvenience of earning less and sacrifice family for a job or more possessions?

Date posted: 2012-12-13

The voices of children in the wilderness

In the spiritual order a child may grow apart from his parents' faith for various reasons. It is not determined instinctively as in physical nature. We decide freely how we grow as children--in God's grace or not. Regardless, our children remain our children and God's, like marriage 'for better or for worse'. But by necessity of nature and by God's decree we complete his plan and purpose as fathers and mothers ordained long before Creation. Note in the creation story of Genesis, God said "it is not good for man to be alone" after he had first created man. Was God remiss in his remark, "it is not good for man to be alone", or was God drawing our attention to the two, male and female, becoming one in order to bear children.

Date posted: 2012-12-10

Too Good a Story not to be True

Wives and husbands, you are donors of new lives in a new heaven and new earth for the family of God. The stakes for you and your own can not be greater than they were for our Blessed Mother when at Jesus' Presentation in the Temple at the hands of the priest Simeon Christ shed his blood for the first time at his circumcision and Simeon declared: "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed - and a sword will pierce even your own soul - to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed, Luke 2:33-35. May the love of our Savior pierce your hearts, and you be converted and know the love of our Lord.

Date posted: 2012-12-07

The bet you don't want to make

As we begin Advent I would suggest a new frame of mind for this season of promise, a simplified sense of time in the manner of Jesus Christ. As many of us Jesus also had much on his mind, the imminent tribulation he endured before his final entry into Jerusalem and his crucifixion, but still managed to instruct his disciples that "the Light is with you" [referring to himself] "for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you ... while you have the light, believe in the light", John 12, 35-36. Peter, his Apostle, described the Light like a "lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rise in your hearts", 1 Peter 1, 35. Compared to eternity our lives can truly be understood as one day, "a little while", waiting for the night to pass and the rising of "the morning star" before dawn and the final Advent of Jesus Christ.

Date posted: 2012-12-02

Inside the world of the walking dead

Summary: "What is truth" - real truth? He is Jesus Christ, "the way, the truth and the life." Only his "truth . . . will free us" from this world or the world of the walking dead, John 8, 32. Pilgrim, we celebrate his kingdom at his death and God willing at our own deaths for this reason. Anyone here believe he will live forever? So why do so many act as if they were going to live here forever? That would be hell. Pilgrim, were you born for his kingdom? Then follow his way, truth and life. He is the only truth which will free us from the world outside.

Date posted: 2012-11-25

The Signs of Our Times

Do we recognize the signs of tribulation' in our time - rampant obesity, coronary angina, diabetes, sexually transmitted viruses and AIDS? We treat their symptoms - infection, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and acid reflux - with drugs and medications rather than their possibly underlying vices, gluttony, lust and sloth? Greed, pride, envy and anger, what are their symptoms? Is anyone angry at me for mentioning this?

Date posted: 2012-11-17

Our lives are in rehearsal for Christ's second coming

Jesus calls all of us, would cast all of us in his eternal peace and glory. Our lives are in rehearsal for Christ's second coming. Lord, may we all be ready. For "many are called but few are chosen". Lord, help our unbelief.

Date posted: 2012-11-10

Let the child, poor, meek, comforting, honest, merciful, pure, peaceful and joyful be your guide.

All we have to do is carefully observe small children and learn again who we once were: innocent at first, sullied then by worldly interests and finally scandalized by the behavior of adults eroding away our simplicity and innocence. Then they, our children, became us. The gift of children returns to every generation a child who is father to the man and mother to the woman - if we choose to be more like our children, unattached from soulless possessions, sympathetic to the needs of others, comforting, merciful, peaceful and courageous witnesses to the Faith.

Date posted: 2012-11-03

Be Happy, Don't Worry

Give the Beatitudes a try. They may make you happier with fewer worries and anxieties.

Date posted: 2012-11-01

Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing

The outcome of our national elections does not decide our salvation. Our opposition to intrinsic evil does, particularly upholding traditional marriage, the dignity of human conception and the protection of the life of the unborn child. Evil of such magnitude trumps and far outweighs any and all other considerations. We can not be so blind to the truth and not "cry out and say . . . with courage" as did Bartimaeus: Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me . . . I want to see.

Date posted: 2012-10-28

Service in the Rule of Life

God could give us a free pass, but why would he? No value, no glory in that. Besides, we would be 'uneasy' among so many who made sacrifices for others and out of place in heaven. Easy come, easy go. Whatever our relationships, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins, employers, employees, friends, neighbors and strangers - our glory is serving others, not ourselves, both as benefactors and beneficiaries, all in one, in the sacrifices we make.

Date posted: 2012-10-27

Oh, the good life full of fun, seems to be the ideal

We return to Jesus' question, "Why do you call me good?" Why?

Date posted: 2012-10-13

The Rule of Life

As the human body needs to replace its aging cells for the physical health of the body the human soul needs to replenish its pro-creative male or female powers for the spiritual growth and health of the whole person. These powers continuously enhance and renew themselves in a variety of pro-creative activities not only as fathers and mothers but as teachers and students, doctors and patients, priests and laity - as benefactors and beneficiaries bound together. In the mercy and Spirit of Christ it may be the recovery of God in man and man in God.

Date posted: 2012-10-08

A mighty deed for "the little ones"

Parents can find help raising their children in the faith outside the usual sources. All it takes is determination and faith.

Date posted: 2012-10-06

A Moment of Respite (homily)

Then there is a moment of respite in the story of conflict between good and evil and our sinful passions which reap a whirlwind of death and disease. You would think that divorce, Aids, sexually transmitted diseases and the psychological wounds of contraception, abortion and sterilization would be enough to dissuade us from such conduct. But in that moment, Jesus takes "a child . . . places it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, 'Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me'."

Date posted: 2012-09-25

Who do we say that Jesus is?

We are challenged daily to think like God, live in the presence of God especially in difficult and distracting circumstances and consider the finality of our lives.

Date posted: 2012-09-24