Daily Reflection: 6 April 2017

Today’s readings can be found here.

At the ordination of priests the Psalm typically sung at the Mass is Psalm 110, which reminds us, “You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek.” That is to say that we believe that once a man is ordained, he remains a priest forever, for eternity. The Catechism, citing the Council of Trent and Vatican II, reminds us that the sacrament of Holy Orders, leaves an, “indelible spiritual character and cannot be repeated or conferred temporarily.” (CCC 1582).

While one’s ordination is eternal, every year, throughout the entire world, priests gather with their bishop to celebrate the Chrism Mass, in which they publicly renew their priestly commitment to serve to the people of God. It is in this way that the priests can particularly live out the command found in today’s first reading, “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”

In our diocese, the Diocese of Jefferson City, the Chrism Mass is tonight at 5:30 at the Cathedral, all are invited to come and join us. If you live elsewhere, “check your local listings.”

Wherever you may be, please pray for us priests, God knows we need all the help and support we can get. Thank you for all that you do.


The Eucharist: Adult Ed Resources – 10 April 2017

Since next week is Holy Week, I had to make some adjustments to the class schedule. In my conversations with those attending the class, also because it is Holy Week, we decided it would be appropriate to spend the class speaking about the Mass and the Eucharist.

Therefore the class on the Eucharist will be: Monday April 10, 2017 at 7:00 PM in the Sacred Heart Activity Building.

In past weeks I’ve compiled various texts from throughout the history of the Church on the various topics. Thankfully, the Church has also done this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you read the Catechism carefully, you will note that the majority of it is not original material, but rather a compilation of many sources from the earliest days of the Church all the way through Vatican II and beyond. I do not believe that I can do this any better than the Church has already done. Therefore this week the readings all come from the Catechism. The Catechism dedicates paragraphs 1322-1419 to the Eucharist. I have selected the paragraphs listed below to focus on for our class:

If you own your own copy of the Catechism, then you can look the paragraphs up yourselves. If you don’t own a copy, then you can click on the links above to navigate directly to the relevant paragraphs as published on the Vatican web site.

The reason I did not compile the texts into a .pdf has to do with the formatting of all the sources and the amount of time this would take.

I look forward to seeing you all on Monday evening.

Reminder there is NO CLASS this Thursday, April 6, 2017, due to the Chrism Mass, which of course you are all invited to attend.

Lastly, if you want a little preview of Monday’s class, here’s a homily I gave on the topic a few years ago.

Daily Reflection: 5 April 2017

Today’s readings can be found here.


I very vividly remember my mother telling me not to touch the hot plate because I would burn my hand, but still I reached out and touched the hot plate. Sure enough, I burned my hand. I imagine most of us had such an experience growing up as children, we have to learn for ourselves, even if it means getting burnt. Of course, I too, just like many of you immediately pulled my hand back. It’s an instinct we’ve all learned.

That’s why when I read stories such as today’s 1st reading, or the martyrdom of St. Lawrence, I am so amazed. These individuals were willing to forego that instinct and endure great pains for the faith. Yet when we touch fire, we pull back. So while we are not at risk of being literally burned for our faith, perhaps we would do well to reflect upon what is it in our spiritual life or faith that is causing us to pull back? What about our spiritual journey or faith scares us so much that we instinctually pull away from it as if it were a hot plate? Are we willing to follow the example of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, St. Lawrence and so many others by not pulling away from our fears? Are we willing to endure some difficulty so that we might grow and even in doing so become a witness of the faith to others?

(P.S. – St. Lawrence is the inspiration for my BBQ team name, “Turn me Over Now”)


March 30, 2017 Presentation Slides – Priesthood

Smaller crowd last night with the college students off on spring break, but still a quality discussion nonetheless. The topic was about the Priesthood, we also talked about married and women priests as well. For those that couldn’t make it, the readings can be found here. The presentation slides are below.

March 30, 2017 Presentation Slides

There will be no class next week due to the Chrism Mass. Our next class will be on Monday, April 10, 2017.

Priesthood: Adult Ed Resources – 30 March 2017

Due to various scheduling issues, especially spring break for the college students, this week we will be shifting gears from talking about faith & science, and we will talk about the priesthood. On the balloting, I listed two different topics; the priesthood, and “married/women priests.” This week I will combine both into the one session.

Here are the readings for this week, you will note that I have listed the paragraph numbers in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The reason for only listing them instead of adding them here has to do with the formatting and citations. Frankly, it would take me quite a bit of time. So if you have a hard copy of the Catechism you can crack it open, or you can go to this link on the Vatican web site.

Priesthood: Reading Packet

The readings this week come from:

  • The Council of Nicaea I (325)
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)
  • Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994)
  • Homily of Pope Francis (2013)

For past week’s topics and resources visit the main class page.

For any questions, comments or concerns, contact me.

Adult Education Programming Update

First of all let me say how pleased I have been with the quality of conversation taking place every Thursday night at, “The Church in the Modern World” Adult Education class that I’ve been offering for about a month now here in Columbia, Mo.

One of the best things has been to see men and women from college age all the way through retirees gather in one place and seek to learn and dialogue together about their Catholic faith. Certainly, there are an abundance of professional and academic fields represented in the group, such a variety of experiences both presents it’s challenges but also enriches the experience. Personally, on a philosophical and pedagogical level, I enjoy the challenge of trying to weave the group together. I ask patience and forgiveness for any failures in that regard.

After conducting some balloting in the first few sessions, last week, when discussing revelation etc., I announced the upcoming topics. I failed to connect a few dots regarding the timing of spring break for the college students as well as Holy Week. After further discussion last night, I have decided on the following schedule for the upcoming weeks. I wanted to post an update so that all can have it written down and avoid confusion.

Thursday, March 30 (Spring Break) – Priesthood

Monday, April 10 (Holy Week) – The Mass & the Eucharist

Thursday, April 20 – Sexuality & Theology of the Body

Thursday, April 27 – Contraception

Thursday, May 4 – LGBT Issues & the Church’s Response

Thursday, May 11 – Reconciliation

Stay tuned for further updates.

If you are looking for information from past topics, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

March 23, 2017 Presentation Slides – Faith & Science

Another night and another great conversation about our Catholic faith and how we as a Church need to understand our philosophical foundations and then apply them as we engage with the world.

The key to last night’s conversation between can be summed up by one of the attendees in the struggle between perceived and real differences. That is to say that we must work to break down and get past perceived differences while also at the same time finding a way to not deny the real differences and seek a way to work together for the benefit of theology, science and the entire world.

Here are the presentation slides from last night:

March 23, 2017 Presentation Slides

For the readings provided for this week’s class click here.

All resources for previous weeks and topics can be found here.

Faith & Science: Adult Ed Resources – 23 March 2017

After treating Faith & Reason in the first weeks and then Revelation last week, we now turn towards the relationship between faith and science. As in the past weeks, this will continue to be more of a foundational topic, albeit more concrete than the previous weeks.

We will continue a foundational approach as it should be fairly obvious that any discussion on faith and science could lead to a discussion on a wide variety of concrete issues. Certainly we will discuss some of those applications in class on Thursday, though the aim will be more philosophical.

For this week, instead of a collection of excerpts, I have selected a single letter composed by St. John Paul II in 1988 to the then director of the Vatican Observatory.

To review the letter before class on Thursday, click the link below.

Faith & Science: Reading Packet

To view previous week’s resources click here.

March 16, 2017 Presentation Slides – Revelation & more

Last night we had another great turnout as we worked our way through the topics of Revelation, Scripture & Tradition and finally, the Origins of Sacred Scripture. They are all interwoven, to talk about one is to have to talk about the others.

As usual, I took excerpts from the full texts available here, and turned them into presentation slides highlighting particularly important points within the texts.

March 16, 2017 Presentation Slides

For previous week’s slides, theological texts and more click here.