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.

June 8, 2017

We have a rare treat this week: we read from Psalm 119.

Why is that such a big deal? Because we don't get to do it often, and because of the nature of Psalm 119. It is — by far — the longest Psalm: 176 verses divided into 22 sections, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each section is 8 verses long, and begins with the same Hebrew letter. Each verse contains a word that somehow designates God's Law.

Father Laurence Krieg...

June 8, 2017

The poet John Ciardi once said, "I love to hang around words and listen to what they mean." Catholics might aptly paraphrase that by saying, "We Catholics love to hang around Christ's words as He reveals to us the meaning of the Holy Eucharist."

In the Gospel for the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Jesus says, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life...

June 2, 2017

The Blessed Trinity is the central mystery of our faith (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 234), the mystery of who God is Himself. Since it's at the heart of our faith, it's essential that children begin to understand the Trinity, so that they may know who God is and relate to Him better.

The trouble with trying to explain and to understand the Blessed Trinity is that the Trinity is a mystery. This doesn't mean that we don't know anyth...

June 1, 2017

Alguna vez ha tenido el deseo de tomar una semana entera para estudiar un capítulo de la biblia — saboreando los matices, pensando en cómo podría aplicarse a su vida? Si es así, esta es su semana. Las lecturas del evangelio de esta semana cubren el capítulo 12 del evangelio según San Marcos.

Toda la semana, Jesús está en confrontación con los poderes de la época. Su forma de lidear con ellos es instructiva para nosotros.

...

June 1, 2017

Have you ever wished you could take an entire week to go through one chapter of the Bible — savoring the nuances, thinking about how it might apply to your life? If so, this is your week. The Gospel readings this week cover all of chapter 12 of the Gospel of Mark.

All week, Jesus is in confrontation with the powers that be. His approach to those confrontations is instructive for us.

The Pharisees ask Him a trick question:...

June 1, 2017

My favorite image of the Holy Trinity is in the large dome in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. It depicts the crucifixion, with the Father on His throne behind the crucifix, His arms outstretched and His hands holding Christ's hands to the cross. On the right side is a depiction of a dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

In a nutshell, this image conveys the simple message: The Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit conspire to sa...

May 25, 2017

Actualmente nos encontramos en el calendario litúrgico entre la Ascensión y Pentecostés. Así como nos preparamos para celebrar la venida del Espíritu Santo desde hace algún tiempo, y rogamos por una efusión más profunda del Espíritu Santo, es importante que nos hagamos la siguiente pregunta: ¿Cómo luce esto?

¿Por qué es una pregunta importante?

Porque muchas veces no especificamos lo suficiente. Por ejemplo: noso...

May 25, 2017

We're currently in between Ascension and Pentecost on the liturgical calendar. As we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit long ago, and pray for a deeper outpouring of the Spirit now, an important question to ask is: What does that look like?

Why is that an important question?

Because sometimes we don't get specific enough. For example: we say we want to grow in holiness. But often we don't take the...

May 25, 2017

Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, started off with great fireworks. These fireworks are much needed in our weary world today. We need to give back to God His power over our lives, so that He renews the face of the earth. He has the power, but He doesn't have our permission.

It all started with Jesus on Easter Sunday night when He appeared to the frightened apostles and disciples in the upper room. He said, "Peace be with you. As th...

May 25, 2017

Where can I find the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament? 

We first find the Holy Spirit's presence in the Old Testament, and throughout the Bible, in His inspiration of the sacred authors of the text. The Spirit inspires the prophecies of the Old Testament, sees their fulfillment in Christ and confirms the Church in the truth of Christ through the writings of the New Testament. While He inspires the biblical authors,...

May 18, 2017

Nuestro deber con el octavo mandamiento — No mentirás — es fascinante. El primer nivel es obvio, aunque no siempre es fácil: debemos hablar con la verdad. Sin embargo, las lecturas de esta semana nos iluminan a un nivel más profundo.

Fijemos nuestra reflexión en el discurso de San Pablo en el Areópago, el cual oiremos el miércoles.

El Areópago era un lugar para la discusión y el debate público. Pablo dio un mensaje sofisticado, b...

May 18, 2017

Our duty to the Eighth Commandment — Thou shalt not lie — is fascinating. The first level is obvious, even if it isn't always easy: our speaking must be truthful. But deeper levels are illuminated by the readings this week.

Let's anchor our reflection in St. Paul's speech at the Areopagus, which we hear on Wednesday.

The Areopagus was a place for public discussion and debate. Paul gave a sophisticated, well-reasoned, inculturated...

May 18, 2017

The feast of the Ascension of Our Lord marks the transition between Jesus' earthly ministry and the early Church's ministry.

When the time came to depart this earth, Jesus turned over the ministry to the apostles, who were to be filled with the Holy Spirit on the coming feast of Pentecost.

God had given "all power in heaven and on earth" to the Crucified One, and Jesus in turn passes this authority to the apostles: "Go, therefore...

May 18, 2017

Before His ascension, Jesus told His apostles, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). While these words were meant for the whole Church, the apostles were the first to embrace them. They traveled, sometimes great distances, to preach the Gospel. All but one of the apostles were martyred for their belief in Christ and proclaiming Him to others.

With that, let us look at what the apostles did aft...

May 11, 2017

Un sacerdote de la Florida que conozco regresó recientemente de un viaje a un país extranjero. Al pasar por la aduana le preguntaron si tenía algo que declarar. Con un brillo en sus ojos y una sonrisa en su cara respondió: "Si, ¡Jesucristo es el Señor!"

Esta no era la respuesta que ellos esperaban; pero, aun así, su declaración produjo varios "Amén" de parte de los agentes de aduana.

Esta historia simple (¡y cierta!) resalta uno...

May 11, 2017

A priest I know from Florida was recently returning from a foreign country. When he went through customs they asked him if he had anything to declare. With a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face, he responded: "Yes. Jesus Christ is Lord!"

It wasn't the response they were expecting; still, his declaration elicited several "Amens" from the customs agents.

This simple (and true!) story highlights one of the main themes from t...

May 11, 2017

Jesus' words in the Gospel reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, which were spoken before Pentecost, help us to understand the first readings, which took place after Pentecost.

Jesus tells His disciples, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows Him."

By definition, an advocate is a person who publ...

May 11, 2017

Thank you for asking this difficult question. It's a question that I believe is on the heart of many after a funeral. Unfortunately, it isn't brought up very often. After all, we don't want to say or think anything negative about our loved one, nor do we want to doubt the power of God's merciful love for anyone. This question remains something nagging our mind that we rarely address.

Bring this concern now forward in your mind. As you f...