When Life Imitates Art – A Cautionary Tale

The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman at age forty-six from a heroin overdose early last month (Feb. 2) has sent the usual shock waves through the highly publicized stage and screen worlds of Hollywood and New York.  And while it was hardly the first time a life was lost to heroin addiction among the glitterati, it happened this time around to someone singularly gifted in the performing arts.  Here was a star whose nimbus clearly outshone all the others.

“What have we been robbed of, by his death?” asked Anthony Lane in a glowing remembrance in The New Yorker (Feb. 17 & 24).  “Not so much a movie star, I think, as somebody who took our dramatic taxonomy … and threw it away.  Leading man, character actor, supporting player: really, who gives a damn?  Either you hold an audience, so tight that it feels lashed to the seats, or you don’t.”

Read more at Crisis Magazine

The Ukrainian Struggle: Freedom with Dignity Over Corruption and Power

By Dr. Alexander R. Sich

In 1998 my family returned to the U.S. from our first home leave overseas, for what eventually ended up being twelve years living and working in Ukraine—including experiencing first-hand Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. News reports in recent days have rekindled memories of our Ukrainian experiences. My own personal recollections lead me to believe that what Ukraine is experiencing now is not, as some outsiders might think, merely a new chapter in an old Cold War struggle between East and West. The protestors are fighting for more than freedom for freedom’s sake, but a freedom with dignity that has been out of reach for far too long.

Read more at Crisis magazine

The Supreme Court: Activism and Abdication

Serious Catholics and political conservatives since the 1950s have strongly criticized the Supreme Court for making public policy and acting as a kind of “super-legislature” to further a leftist socio-political agenda, instead of interpreting the law and judging. We have seen such judicial lawmaking on pornography, abortion, legislative reapportionment, sodomy laws, and the list could go on. While this has certainly been a valid and much-deserved ongoing criticism of the Court, cases in each of its last three terms indicate a new, contrary problem: over-deference to the political branches on both the federal and state levels.

In 2011, the Court decided the companion cases of Camreta v. Greene and Alford v. Greene, which concerned whether a child protective system (CPS) operative and a law enforcement official who backed him up could be sued under federal civil rights laws for an aggressive interrogation of a nine-year-old girl—which under international norms possibly constituted psychological torture—to get her to say that her father abused her. Along with many other organizations, the Society of Catholic Social Scientists filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the girl’s claim (I drafted the brief), mostly because we wanted to focus the Court’s attention—as we tried to do over a decade before in the important parental rights case of Troxel v. Granville—on the CPS’s systemic misconduct that in one article I called “a grave threat to the family.”

Read more at Crisis Magazine

Is Anyone Grateful? The 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The themes of the Readings for this Sunday focus on the gratitude for God’s salvation.  Gratitude is an important psychological and spiritual disposition.  Dr. Daniel G. Amen, the popular brain researcher and public health spokesman, identifies gratitude as a key character quality of persons with physiologically healthy brains.  That’s right: gratitude affects your physical health, including the shape and functioning of your brain.  This Sunday’s Readings focus particularly on gratitude to God, and how it should be expressed. Continue Reading

Life By Faith: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Habakkuk 1:2-3;2:2-4 Psalm 95:1-2,6-9 2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14 Luke 17:5-10

Because of his faith, the just man shall live. We hear in today’s First Reading the original prophetic line made so central by St. Paul (see Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).

We are to live by faith in Christ who loved us and gave himself on the Cross for us (see Galatians 2:20). Continue Reading

A Great Chasm: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Amos 6:1, 4-7 Psalm 146:7-10 1 Timothy 6:11-16 Luke 16:19-31

The rich and powerful are visited with woe and exile in today’s Liturgy – not for their wealth but for their refusal to share it; not for their power but for their indifference to the suffering at their door.

The complacent leaders in today’s First Reading feast on fine foods and wines, reveling while the house of Joseph, the kingdom of Israel (see Amos 5:6), collapses around them. Continue Reading

Does it Matter How We Treat Others? The 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Does it matter how we treat others?  What does my neighbor’s suffering have to do with me?  Can I continue living in comfort while bypassing those around me who are in misery?

These are questions that the Readings for this Sunday raise, and to which they provide uncomfortable answers.  Let’s read and let the Holy Spirit move us outside our comfort zone. Continue Reading

Prudent Stewards: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Amos 8:4-7 Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8 1 Timothy 2:1-8 Luke 16:1-13

The steward in today’s Gospel confronts the reality that he can’t go on living the way he has been. He is under judgment, must give account for what he has done.

The exploiters of the poor in today’s First Reading are also about to be pulled down, thrust from their stations (see Isaiah 22:19). Servants of mammon or money, they’re so in love with wealth that they reduce the poor to objects, despise the new moons and sabbaths – the observances and holy days of God (see Leviticus 23:24; Exodus 20:8). Continue Reading

God and Mammon: The 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

As Jesus continues his “death march” to Jerusalem in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 9–19), he challenges us this Sunday to choose, in a clear and conscious way, our goal in life: God or money.  The First Reading reminds us that wealth was a seductive trap for the people of God throughout salvation history. Continue Reading

Seeking the Lost: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14 Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-10

The episode in today’s First Reading has been called “Israel’s original sin.” Freed from bondage, born as a people of God in the covenant at Sinai, Israel turned aside from His ways, fell to worshipping a golden calf.

Moses implores God’s mercy, as Jesus will later intercede for the whole human race, as He still pleads for sinners at God’s right hand and through the ministry of the Church. Continue Reading

Prodigal Son Sunday: 24th Sunday in OT

This upcoming Sunday marks one of only two times in the main Lectionary cycle that we hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son proclaimed (the other being the 4th Sunday of Lent [C]).  The Readings are marked by the theme of repentance and forgiveness.  Continue Reading

The Cost of Discipleship: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

One of the most famous German opponents of Adolf Hitler and Nazism was the Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whom the Nazis executed by hanging in April 1945 for his involvement in a plot against Hitler himself.  Bonhoeffer’s most famous work was a meditation on the Sermon on the Mount entitled (in English) The Cost of Discipleship.  In it, Bonhoeffer parted ways with a Protestantism that understood “salvation by faith alone” as some kind of easy road to heaven.  Bonhoeffer criticized “easy-believism” as “cheap grace”: Continue Reading

Counting the Cost: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 9:13-18
Psalm 90:3-6, 12-17
Philemon 1:9-10, 12-17
Luke 14:25-33

Like a king making ready for battle or a contractor about to build a tower, we have to count the cost as we set out to follow Jesus.

Our Lord today is telling us upfront the sacrifice it will take. His words aren’t addressed to His chosen few, the Twelve, but rather to the “great crowds” – to “anyone,” to “whoever” wishes to be His disciple. Continue Reading

Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner? The 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

In 2005, a quasi-remake of the famous 1967 movie “Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner” was released.  Entitled “Guess Who?” it starred Bernie Mac as an African-American father who struggled to deal with his daughter’s Caucasian fiancé (played by Ashton Kutcher).  Much of the comedy of the film revolved around the clash of cultures at the dinner table.  Usually we only share meals with people like us, family members or friends from our own “circle.”  When someone from “outside” comes in, it upsets the our balance.  Continue Reading

To Go Up Higher: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Psalm 68:4-7,10-11
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24
Luke 14:1, 7-14

We come to the wedding banquet of heaven by way of humility and charity. This is the fatherly instruction we hear in today’s First Reading, and the message of today’s Gospel.

Jesus is not talking simply about good table manners. He is revealing the way of the kingdom, in which the one who would be greatest would be the servant of all (see Luke 22:24-27). Continue Reading

“Family Values”: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In recent decades, the term “family values” has almost become a code word for “Christian culture” in American society.  Influential Christian organizations have adopted names like “Focus on the Family” and the “Family Research Council,” and on the Catholic side of things we have “Catholic Family Land” or The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, better known as “C-FAM.”  The natural family unit—based on a husband and wife who have made an exclusive, permanent, public commitment to share a common life and raise children together—has been under such political and social pressure that at times we almost identify Christianity as a social movement to promote family life. Continue Reading

Faith of Our Fathers: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 18:6-9
Psalm 33:1,12,18-22
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
Luke 12:35-40

We are born of the faith of our fathers, descending from a great cloud of witnesses whose faith is attested to on every page of Scripture (see Hebrews 12:1). We have been made His people, chosen for His own inheritance, as we sing in this Sunday’s Psalm. Continue Reading

Church of the Poor: The 18th Week of OT

“How I long for a poor Church for the poor!”

 

These were some of the first words of Pope Francis’ pontificate, and the Readings this week seem providentially to support our new pontiff’s emphasis on the spiritual value of poverty.  Texts from the Old and New Testaments remind us that human happiness is not to be found in the accumulation of material goods.  Riches are fleeting and empty.  We are called instead to “store up treasure in heaven, where neither rust nor moth destroy, where thieves cannot break in and steal.” Continue Reading

The Fool’s Vanity: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Luke 12:13-21

Trust in God – as the Rock of our salvation, as the Lord who made us His chosen people, as our shepherd and guide. This should be the mark of our following of Jesus. Continue Reading

Bargaining With God: The 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

With the Bible Conference going on at Franciscan this week, I have to offer a shorter reflection on the Readings:
Who has the guts to bargain with the Divinity?  Abraham, our Father in , does.  In the Readings for this Sunday, we find united several themes: persistence in prayer, the justice and mercy of God, the generosity of God. Continue Reading

Asked and Answered: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Genesis 18:20-32
Psalm 138:1-3, 6-8
Colossians 2:12-14
Luke 11:1-13

Though we be “but dust and ashes,” we can presume to draw near and speak boldly to our Lord, as Abraham dares in this week’s First Reading. Continue Reading

Entertaining God: The 16th Sunday of OT

This Sunday, as we continue to accompany Jesus on his fateful journey to Jerusalem in the Gospel of Luke, we are confronted with a pair of Readings in which human beings host a meal for God: Abraham for the LORD in the First Reading; Martha and Mary for Jesus in the Gospel.  But is it really possible for us to “do God a favor” by giving him a nice meal?  We are going to discover that, while God graciously accepts our services, it’s really about what God does for us, not what we can do for him. Continue Reading

A Turn Toward the Passion: The 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

As the Church reads through the Gospel of Luke this year, we reach a transition point in this Sunday’s text (Luke 9:18-24) where the focus of the Gospel begins to shift toward Christ’s coming passion and death.  Sorrowful though his suffering will be, ironically it shall serve as the source of the life-giving “water” about which the other Readings speak. Continue Reading

Children of the Promise: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Zech 12:10-11; 13:1
Ps 62:2-6. 8-9 r. 2
Gal 3:26-29
Luke 9:18-24

In this Sunday’s readings we hear the voice of the Prophet Zechariah as he delivers difficult oracles from God. The people have returned from exile. Now back in Jerusalem, they face the arduous work of rebuilding the Temple. Zechariah acknowledges their hardships and foresees more obstacles.

But their grief has a purpose. It is a remedy, a penance to heal them—“a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness.” Continue Reading

Many Sins, Great Love: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Samuel 12: 7–10, 13
Psalm 32: 1–2, 5,7,11
Galatians 2:16, 19–21
Luke 7:36–50

In this Sunday’s readings we are like the fallen king, David, and the woman who weeps at Jesus’ feet.

Like David, the Lord has rescued us from sin and death, anointed us with His Spirit in baptism and in confirmation. He has made us heirs of His promise to the children of Israel. Continue Reading

Faith, Love, and Forgiveness: The 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time C

The Readings for this Sunday revolve around a constellation of fundamental issues in our relationship with God: sin, repentance, forgiveness, faith, and love.  Two of the passages used in this liturgy have been battlegrounds in the theological polemic between Protestants and Catholics, but ought not to be so. Continue Reading

Restored to Life: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
1 Kings 17:17-24
Psalms 30: 2,4-6,11-13
Gal 1:11-19
Luke 7:11-17

Jesus in today’s Gospel meets a funeral procession coming out of the gates of the town of Nain.  Unlike when he raised Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5) or Lazarus (John 11), no one requests his assistance.  Moved by compassion for the widow who had lost her only son, Jesus steps forward and, laying his hand on the bier, commands him to arise. Continue Reading

Blessed and Given: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Genesis 14:18-20
Psalm 110:1-4
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Luke 9:11-17

At the dawn of salvation history, God revealed our future in figures. That’s what’s going on in today’s First Reading: A king and high priest comes from Jerusalem (see Psalm 76:3), offering bread and wine to celebrate the victory of God’s beloved servant, Abram, over his foes. Continue Reading

A Mighty Wind: Scott Hahn Reflects on Pentecost

Acts 2:1-11
Psalm 104:1,24,29-31,34
1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13
John 20:19-23

The giving of the Spirit to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history. Continue Reading

Readings for Pentecost Sunday

Let’s take a look at the Readings for Pentecost Sunday Mass during the Day.

Hearing the Call: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Ascension of the Lord

Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47:2-3. 6-9
Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23
Luke 24:46-53

In today’s first reading, St. Luke gives the surprising news that there is more of the story to be told. The story did not end with the empty tomb, or with Jesus’ appearances to the Apostles over the course of forty days. Jesus’ saving work will have a liturgical consummation. He is the great high priest, and he has still to ascend to the heavenly Jerusalem, there to celebrate the feast in the true Holy of Holies. Continue Reading

Ascension Day Readings

In the Northeast and Nebraska, today is Ascension Day.  In the Diocese of Steubenville, as well as in most of the USA, Ascension Day is observed this Sunday.  I wish the traditional observance on Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter was retained, but reality is what it is. Continue Reading

Kingdom of Peace: 6th Sunday of Easter

We have arrived at the Sixth Week of Easter, and continue to bask in the glow of the story of the growth of the early Church in Acts, the vision of heaven from the Book of Revelation, and the consolation of Jesus’ words to the Apostles in the Upper Room from John.  It’s a trifecta of glory in these Readings. Continue Reading

Council of Jerusalem: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 6th Sunday of Easter

Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8
Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
John 14:23-29

The first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem we hear about in today’s First Reading, decided the shape of the Church as we know it. Continue Reading

New For All Ages: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 5th Sunday of Easter

Acts 14:21-27
Psalm 145:8-13
Revelation 21:1-5
John 13:31-35

By God’s goodness and compassion, the doors of His kingdom have been opened to all who have faith, Jew or Gentile. Continue Reading

Both “Lamb” and “Shepherd”?: The Fourth Sunday of Easter

This upcoming Lord’s Day is often known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” since each year the Gospel reading is taken from John 10, the “Good Shepherd Discourse.”  It’s also often observed as a day of prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, since priests and religious are visible manifestations to us of Christ in his role as the Good Shepherd. Continue Reading

Shepherd and the Lamb: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 4th Sunday of Easter

Acts 13:14, 43-52
Psalm 100:1-3, 5
Revelation 7:9,14-17
John 10:27-30

Israel’s mission – to be God’s instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth (see Isaiah 49:6) – is fulfilled in the Church. Continue Reading

The Primacy of Peter and the Primacy of Love: 3rd Sunday of Easter

This week is the Third Sunday of Easter, and our readings highlight the primacy of Peter among the Apostles, and the primacy of love in following Jesus.

Just a few comments on the preliminary readings before we concentrate on the Gospel.  During the seven weeks of the Easter Season, the Lectionary reads semi-continuously through Acts in the First Reading (showing the birth of the Church on earth) and through Revelation in the Second (showing the final state of the Church in heaven).  Continue Reading

Fire of Love: Scott Hahn reflects on the 3rd Sunday of Easter

Acts 5:27-32,40-41
Psalm 30:2,4-6,11-13
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19

There are two places in Scripture where the curious detail of a “charcoal fire” is mentioned. Continue Reading

Divine Mercy Sunday: The Readings

This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday of the Octave of Easter, also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday.”  The theme of God’s mercy runs through the readings. Continue Reading

Breath of New Life: Scott Hahn Reflects on Divine Mercy Sunday

Acts 5:12-16
Psalm 118:2-4,13-15, 22-24
Revelation 1:9-13,17-19
John 20:19-31

The prophet Daniel in a vision saw “One like the Son of Man” receive everlasting kingship (see Daniel 7:9-14). John is taken to heaven in today’s Second Reading where He sees Daniel’s prophecy fulfilled in Jesus, who appears as “One like a Son of Man.” Continue Reading

The New Evangelization

Join host Michael Hernon and panelists Dr. Ralph Martin and Dr. Scott Hahn as they discuss the importance of their upcoming series “The New Evangelization,” airing on EWTN beginning March 3rd. Continue Reading

Passion Sunday: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Passion of the Christ

Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
Philippians 2:6-11
Luke 22:14-23:56

“What is written about Me is coming to fulfillment,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Luke 22:37).

Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled. Continue Reading

Something New: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 5th Sunday of Lent

Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalms 126:1-6
Philippians 3:8-14
John 8:1-11

The Liturgy this Lent has shown us the God of the Exodus. He is a mighty and gracious God, Who out of faithfulness to His covenant has done “great things” for His people, as today’s Psalm puts it.
But the “things of long ago,” Isaiah tells us in today’s First Reading, are nothing compared to the “something new” that He will do in the future. Continue Reading

The New Evangelization

The New Evangelization

Join Host Michael Hernon and panelists Dr. Ralph Martin and Dr. Scott Hahn as they discuss the importance of their upcoming series “The New Evangelization”, airing on EWTN beginning March 3rd. Continue Reading

A Whole New World: The Readings for Laetare Sunday

A whole new world  
A new fantastic point of view … Continue Reading

Found Alive Again: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 4th Sunday of Lent

Joshua 5:9-12
Psalms 34:2-7
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

In today’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land, Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s first-born son (see Joshua 5:6-7; Exodus 4:22; 12:12-13). Continue Reading

The Revelation of the Divine Name: The 3rd Sunday of Lent

In this third week of our spiritual journey through Lent, the Scripture readings remind us of what we might call the  “Moses stage” of salvation history, and also drive home the theme of repentance during this holy season. Continue Reading

Fruits of the Fig: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 3rd Sunday of Lent

Exodus 3:1-8,13-15
Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11
1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Luke 13:1-9

In the Church, we are made children of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the God who makes known His name and His ways to Moses in today’s First Reading. Continue Reading

The Second Sunday of Lent: The Beginning of the New Exodus

Slavery is not a good thing.

God’s liberation of the people of Israel from the condition of slavery—an event we call “the Exodus,” literally, “the road out”—is one of the most important events and motifs in the the whole Bible. Continue Reading

1 2 3