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Epiphany: The Word made flesh made known to the world


“We three kings of Orient are bearing gifts we traverse afar.”

It’s in the beautiful hymn “We Three Kings” that most people glean their understanding of the holy day we call “Epiphany.” However, if our only understanding of Epiphany is from that hymn, we are left with an incomplete knowledge of the significance of Epiphany.

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The Word became flesh

December 22nd, 2011 Posted in Catechetical Corner, Featured Tags: ,


“Et Verbum caro factum est.” (“And the Word became flesh.”) For the better part of 800 years, this statement from the Gospel of St. John was read at the end of Masses as part of what was called “the Last Gospel.” When these words were spoken, the congregation would go from standing to genuflecting. “And the Word became flesh” is a reference to the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, becoming man and dwelling among us. It refers to the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. The word that encapsulates this moment of God becoming man is “incarnation.” This article presents what the church and its tradition puts forth as its understanding of Jesus Christ being God incarnate.

The term “incarnation” carries a specific meaning that can be found in the root of the word itself. “Caro” is the Latin term for “flesh” or “meat.” From this word we get “carnivorous,” which describes an eater of meat. We also get the word “carne” as in “chili con carne” – chili with meat. So, when we say “incarnation” we mean “in the flesh.” It is our faith that Jesus Christ, born to our Blessed Mother Mary, was and is God in the flesh – he is the Word (God, the Son) incarnate. We express this in the Nicene Creed we pray each Sunday at Mass:  “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.”

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Advent: Awaiting the savior


For The Dialog

The season of Advent has arrived, and for the church this is a very special season that prepares us spiritually, eschatologically and logistically for Christ. Spiritually, it focuses us on God coming into world in the flesh (incarnate) at Christmas in the person of Jesus Christ. Eschatologically (meaning looking toward the end-times), it prepares us for the Second Coming of Christ, when he will come not as Savior of mankind, but as its judge. Logistically, it revs up the engine of the new church year during which we worship and celebrate our savior, Jesus Christ. The first Sunday of Advent is our New Year’s Day.

The word Advent is from the Latin “adventus” for “coming” and is the name of the four-week period of preparation leading up to the birth of the Lord on Christmas. Advent always begins on the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30) and it continues through four consecutive Sundays until the start of the first Mass of Christmas celebrated in the evening on Dec. 24.

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Priest’s ministry makes us want to know God better


Catholic News Service columnist

Thank God for Father Robert Barron. He has revitalized our adult education program for two years in a row.

Last year, he taught us about the seven deadly sins and the seven saving virtues. This year, he is reacquainting us with the history and magnificence of Catholicism.

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Readings for Sunday, Dec. 25 (Mass at Midnight)

December 5th, 2011 Posted in Catechetical Corner


Isaiah 9: 1-6; Timothy 2: 11-14; Luke 2:1-14

Meeting Jesus

Consider for a moment the truth of God becoming man. What image does that bring to mind? At Mass during the day we hear in the Gospel of John, “And the Word became flesh.” That proclamation overflows with profound mystery and resonates with the power of God. I have witnessed Catholics of a certain age bow their heads in reverence at the mere utterance of those words from Scripture. Read more »

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Readings for December 18

December 5th, 2011 Posted in Catechetical Corner


2 Samuel 7:l-5, 8b-12, 14a,16; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

During Advent I have been listening to Handel’s Messiah. The solemn words and glorious music express the wonder of the coming into our world of the Lord, the Son of God.

The word-picture of Gabriel’s announcement to Mary and her response, as we hear them in the Gospel of Luke, are incredible in their meaning, but very low-key as they are expressed. No trumpets, no chorus, no Hallelujahs. Read more »

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Learn to pray more deeply during Advent

December 2nd, 2011 Posted in Catechetical Corner


In our more reflective moments we sense the importance of prayer; yet, we struggle to pray. Sustained, deep prayer doesn’t come easy for us. Why?

First of all, we struggle to make time for prayer. Prayer doesn’t accomplish anything practical for us, it’s a waste of time in terms of tending to the pressures and tasks of daily life, and so we hesitate to go there. Coupled with this, we find it hard to trust that prayer actually works and brings about something real in our lives. Beyond that, we struggle to concentrate when we try to pray. Once we do settle in to pray, we soon feel ourselves overwhelmed by daydreams, unfinished conversations, half-forgotten melodies, heartaches, agendas, and the impending tasks that face us as soon as we get up from our place of prayer. Read more »

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Readings for December 11

December 1st, 2011 Posted in Catechetical Corner


Third Sunday in Advent

1 Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11; 1 Thesalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

Advent is the season of hope. How often have you heard this statement and what exactly does it mean for you? Hope is defined as the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. However there is a difference between this secular definition and the virtue of hope because hope, as with all virtues, arises from the will. It goes beyond an emotional state to utilize our freedom of choice. Read more »

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Scripture commentary for Sunday, Dec. 4


Readings for December 4

Second Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; 2 Peter 3:8-14;  Mark 1:1-8

Today’s Gospel describes the ministry of St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ. Jesus will later describe John as a “light, which burned brightly.” Jesus Christ is himself the light of the world, which the darkness can never overcome. While there are many things to be concerned about in our modern world, Advent is a season of hope, as we prepare for the birth of the savior, the source of all our hope. This hope is not blind optimism, but something much deeper and stronger, the theological virtue of hope.

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Vatican Letter: Pope’s critique of global economic system resurfaces in Africa

November 23rd, 2011 Posted in Catechetical Corner


Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — A few minutes after landing in Africa, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a stern warning against the “unconditional surrender to the law of the market or that of finance” in Africa and throughout the global economic system.

His words were immediately seized upon by those wondering where the German pope stood on a recent Vatican document that proposed the creation of a world political authority to regulate financial markets and rein in the “inequalities and distortions of capitalist development.”

In short, it seemed the pope was speaking the same language as the document’s authors. Read more »

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