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.

September 1, 2016

I want to go home to my Father" is the cry of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time. That is also the deepest cry of us as sinners.

The first reading reveals how depraved God's chosen people have become. God, depicted in human terms, precedes His threat to wipe out His people by first saying, "Let me alone...." Even in His threat of punishment, He makes Himself "vulnerable" by inviting Moses to bargain with...

September 1, 2016

All of us probably have a Bible somewhere at home. It sits, quietly calling us whenever we see it or think to pick it up and to read its Good News.

Before reading it, examine it to make sure it is a Catholic Bible. If it isn't, some books might be missing that the Catholic Church accepts but other denominations of Christianity don't.

Also, you might want to look at which translation it is. The New American Bible is close to what...

August 25, 2016

Hablemos acerca de las votaciones.

Jesús no es candidato para las elecciónes de este año. Ni lo es su madre. Esto significa que podemos dejar de buscar el candidato perfecto. Desde la perspectiva de la fe católica, el candidato perfecto no existe.

Esto también significa que no les voy a decir como votar — no porque lo prohíban los códigos de impuesto del IRS, sino porque la fe no lo requiere. Yo solo intento escribir acerca de lo...

August 25, 2016

Let's talk about voting.

Jesus isn't running for public office this year. Neither is His mother. That means we can stop looking for the perfect candidate. From the perspective of the Catholic faith, the perfect candidate isn't out there.

It also means I'm not going to tell you how to vote — not because IRS tax codes prohibit it but because faith doesn't require it. I only intend to write about what faith requires — to look at iss...

August 25, 2016

The readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time demonstrate that to know and act upon God's will for our lives, we need all the help we can get from Him.

The first reading asks the question: "Who can know God's counsel or who can conceive what the Lord intends?" It takes very little experience to realize that when it comes to understanding our own inconsistent complexities and how these relate to God's will, we humans are clueless....

August 25, 2016

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary to three young children at Fatima, Portugal. While 100 years is a long time, the significance of an event shouldn't be judged solely on the time since it occurred. Indeed, the core message of Our Lady of Fatima is still fresh and relevant today.

At Fatima, Mary diagnosed the problems in the world as arising from sin. In 1917, the effects of sin were seen in the cruel w...

August 18, 2016

We begin a cycle of readings from St. Paul this week. It takes us from Aug. 22 to Sept. 17 — when election season will be in full swing.

St. Paul's life as a preacher taught him valuable lessons. He explains one with precision this week in the First Letter to the Corinthians. Perhaps this letter will guide us as we approach the elections.

When Paul began preaching — in Acts 17 — he started with profound human eloquence. He was in...

August 18, 2016

For the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, the second reading from Hebrews captures a vivid snapshot of the deepest longing of our hearts, a life of eternal glory with God, in the midst of all the angels and saints. The first and third reading reveal humility is a necessary virtue to get there.

The author of Hebrews describes the giving of the first covenant on Mount Sinai as a fearful and dreadful experience, with "blazing fire and gloomy d...

August 18, 2016

On May 13, 1917, three young children received an apparition of Our Lady near Fatima, Portugal. She urged the children to pray the Rosary for an end to World War I. She also urged them to pray for sinners and the conversion of Russia, which slipped into a revolution, bringing the rise of a communist government. For six months, Mary visited these children on the 13th of each month, entrusting them with three secrets and a request to the Holy Fa...

August 11, 2016

Q ué significa para nosotros la Asunción de María, que celebramos el 15 de agosto?

En la segunda lectura para la festividad, San Pablo escribe: "Así como en Adán todos mueren, así también en Cristo todos volveremos a la vida, pero cada uno en el orden correcto". Esto explica la lógica de la festividad. María siguió a Jesús más cercanamente que nadie más en la tierra, de la misma manera María siguió a Jesús al cielo más rápidamente que t...

August 11, 2016

What does Mary's Assumption, which we celebrate Aug. 15, mean for us?

In the second reading for the feast, St. Paul writes: "For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order." This explains the logic of the feast. Mary followed Jesus more closely than anyone else on earth, so Mary followed Jesus more quickly than anyone else into heaven. Christ goes first, Mary next — that's the pr...

August 11, 2016

God is the initiator of all salvation and He sends His invitation to everyone. What we do with that invitation affects God's glory. If we receive and live it, we bring God's glory to others; if we reject it, we diminish God's glory and rob Him of the opportunity to glorify us.

The first reading is rather unusual because it proclaims that God will bring various nations into the Promised Land to see His glory. Some of those who come will...

August 4, 2016

Conozco a alguien que ama a los santos. Cuando ella aprende acerca de un nuevo santo — a través de un libro, una biografía o una película — dice, "Conocí a un nuevo amigo"

Los santos pueden haber muerto hace muchos años, pero están más vivos ahora que cuando estaban en la tierra. Son un regalo del cielo para nosotros. ¿Por qué no podríamos ser sus amigos?

Esta semana está llena de días de santos. El lunes tenemos a Santo Domingo;...

August 4, 2016

I know someone who loves the saints. When she learns about a new one — through a book, a biography or a movie — she says, "I met a new friend."

The saints may have died long ago, but they're more alive now than they were on earth. They're present to us from heaven. Why shouldn't we make friends with them?

This week is full of saints' days. We have St. Dominic on Monday; he told his Dominicans to pray and share with others the fru...

August 4, 2016

The readings for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time demonstrate that God's love is a purifying fire to prepare us for eternal glory with Him, because ours is a jealous God who wants us for Himself.

In the first reading, Jeremiah has been put into a cistern and lowered into the mud to be killed. God used Jeremiah to speak a word of repentance to the people of Judah, but they refused to listen. Now the Babylonian army is ready to capture th...

July 28, 2016

La situación se pone peor antes de comenzar a mejorar.

Este es uno de los mensajes centrales de esta lectura — y quizás una buena lección para nosotros.

Comenzaremos con el profeta Jeremías, en el año 597 AC después de la primera oleada del Exilio Babilónico. El falso profeta Ananías dice: En dos años Dios romperá el yugo del rey de Babilonia, y Jerusalén será restablecida. En resumen, está diciendo: "Las cosas están cerca de mej...

July 28, 2016

It's going to get worse before it gets better.

That's one of the central messages of readings this week — and maybe a good lesson for us.

We start with the prophet Jeremiah, after the first wave of the Babylonian Exile in 597 BC. The false prophet Hananiah says: Within two years God will break the yoke of the king of Babylon, and Jerusalem will be restored. In short, he's saying: "Things are about to get better."

But God s...

July 28, 2016

God is always leading us from the familiar to the unfamiliar, from the known and trusted to the unknown and, therefore, to the fearful. If we knew the way to heaven, we would not need God to show us the way.

The reading from the Book of Wisdom begins to develop this theme. The author of the Book of Wisdom wrote, "The night of the Passover was known beforehand to our fathers." However, where did that knowledge come from? It came from God...