Church teaching articles and columns

Below are the latest columns from the St. Louis Review. Click on a title or the 'Continue Reading' link to read the whole story.

November 17, 2016

The responsorial psalm captures and simplifies the theme of the readings for the first week of Advent. We're called to walk in the "light of the Lord."

Isaiah states: "In the days to come, the mountains of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills." This doesn't mean Mount Zion is physically the highest mountain, rather God chose this mountain as His special dwelling place.

"All nati...

November 17, 2016

Instructing the early Christians on death, St. Paul reminded them that to be with the Lord, we must die here on earth (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). After receiving recompense for what we did in this life, we wait with the Lord for the end of the world. Then, as St. Paul stated, we will receive our bodies back from the Lord incorruptible so that we may dwell with Him in the new heavens and new earth forever (1 Corinthians 15:50-55; Revelation 21:1-8)...

November 10, 2016

La elección ya pasó. El día de Acción de Gracias es la próxima semana. El Adviento comienza el domingo después del día de Acción de Gracias. Las lecturas de la escritura para esta semana están providencialmente ubicadas para este preciso momento. ¿Qué nos dicen estas lecturas? Este es el momento de que caigan las barreras.

En el primer evangelio de la semana, Jesús se aproxima a Jericó — la ciudad del Antiguo Testamento, donde los israe...

November 10, 2016

The election is over. Thanksgiving is next week. Advent begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The Scripture readings for this week are providentially arranged for this precise moment. What do they tell us? That it's time for the walls to come down.

In the first Gospel of the week, Jesus approaches Jericho — the famous Old Testament city, where the Israelites cooperated with the power of God and the walls of the city came tumbling down....

November 10, 2016

On Nov. 20, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The most powerful image in the universe isn't a national flag or a coin or a monument. The most powerful image in the universe is the crucifix of Jesus Christ, the image of power over the entire created universe.

All three readings for this Sunday give a glimpse of what that power really is. In the first reading, it's the image of King David being ano...

November 10, 2016

Devotion to the Infant King of Heaven and Earth is a beautiful, Scripture-based devotion. Origins of such a devotion can be found in Isaiah's prophecy of a new shoot coming forth from the stump of David's father, Jesse. The Spirit of the Lord, it is prophesied, will come to rest upon this new ruler (Isaiah 11:1-2). This prophecy comes true in Jesus, whom the Angels declare to the shepherds on the night of His birth as Messiah and Lord (Luke 2:...

November 3, 2016

Bueno, votaremos esta semana. ¿Las lecturas de esta semana nos ofrecen alguna guía final? Yo pienso que sí.

Primero, en anticipación del final del año litúrgico, las lecturas se dirigen a la consideración de los últimos tiempos. ¿Por qué esto importa? Porque así es como debemos aproximarnos a la mesa de votación — con la convicción que nuestro voto importa ahora y en la eternidad. Como votemos es una de las cosas por las cuales tendremo...

November 3, 2016

Well, we vote this week. Do this week's readings offer us any final guidance? I think they do.

First, in anticipation of the end of the liturgical year, the readings are turning toward a consideration of the end times. Why does that matter? Because that's how we should approach the voting booth — with the conviction that our vote matters now and in eternity. How we vote is one of the things for which we'll have to give an account to God...

November 3, 2016

The first and third readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time tell about the incredible future that awaits beyond our troubled times.

Malachi is a prophet, not a Dale Carnegie. He tells how it is, not how we would like to perceive it. His imagery is frank, direct and even brutal. "Lo the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leavin...

November 3, 2016

Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be." — St. Monica, as recorded in the "Confessions" of St. Augustine

St. Monica's words to St. Augustine reveal a reversal of the priorities we normally associate when someone passes away. Today, many want their loved one to be buried nearby so that they may visit them frequen...

October 27, 2016

Imagine that our life is like a book. When we die, Jesus hands us the book and reads it to us. When He's done reading, He hands us the book and says: "Would you like to edit any parts of that? I'd be glad to help."

What if we had the chance — not to change the past, but to make things better?

That's an image of purgatory. Like all images, it's imperfect. But I suspect there are few of us who wouldn't jump at the chance to repair...

October 27, 2016

The theme of the three readings for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time are pieced together with this theme from the responsorial psalm: "But I in justice shall behold your face; on waking I shall be content in your presence." These readings pierce our ordinary lives on earth with the brilliant hope of resurrected life.

In the first reading from Maccabees, this hope shines so beautifully in the lives of the brothers who were arrested and t...

October 27, 2016

Before the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, nearly every Mass had only two readings as part of the Mass. The first reading was known as the epistle, as the lectionary tended to draw more from the letters of the New Testament than from the books of the Old Testament. After the psalm and Gospel acclamation would come the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit moved the Second Vatican Council to emphasize afresh the Scriptures. In particular, the cou...

October 20, 2016

For the past two weeks, we've heard readings from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians. This is his concluding advice to the Ephesians and to us.

"Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil ... stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to q...

October 20, 2016

The readings for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time are as amazing as they are incomprehensible. God is as infinite in power as He is in mercy and love.

The Book of Wisdom states: "Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth." On my family's farm, we had a balance scale to weigh items to be sold, and I can assure you that if a grain of wheat fell from the scale, we woul...

October 20, 2016

Saints are primarily mentioned in two Eucharistic Prayers.

The first is the First Eucharistic Prayer, or the Roman Canon. It's the oldest Eucharistic Prayer, because it was developed by St. Peter while he was in Rome. After him, popes have added to the prayer and changed it until Pope St. Gregory the Great (who died in 604) put it into its final form. Since then, it has rarely changed, for the Church holds this prayer as part of our tra...

October 13, 2016

This week we celebrate the Feast of the North American Martyrs — eight Jesuit missionaries who were killed between 1642 and 1649. Theirs is a great story of faith and courage as they lived and shared the Gospel in the United States and Canada.

One of the things we know about the North American Martyrs is that they faced their deaths with eyes wide open. St. Isaac Jogues had been beaten almost to death before he escaped from his captors...

October 13, 2016

This week we celebrate the Feast of the North American Martyrs — eight Jesuit missionaries who were killed between 1642 and 1649. Theirs is a great story of faith and courage as they lived and shared the Gospel in the United States and Canada.

One of the things we know about the North American Martyrs is that they faced their deaths with eyes wide open. St. Isaac Jogues had been beaten almost to death before he escaped from his captors...