Archive for the ‘Fatherly Advice’ Category

Sep 18 – Homily: Simplicity and Humility

The Gospel for today’s Mass underscores simplicity and humility, the two outstanding virtues of St. Joseph of Cupertino. This holy 17th century friar showed an aptitude for neither his studies…
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Sep 18 – Homily: Simple, Humble, and Absorbed in God

Sep 18 – Homily: Simple, Humble, and Absorbed in God

St. Joseph of Cupertino was well known for often being lifted up in the air in ecstasy, but more importantly, his mind was detached from the things of the world and absorbed in God. Ave Maria!…

Order the Third Way DVD’s and Study Guides!

I’m very happy to announce that “The Third Way” is now available via DVD, and there are also study guides and teacher’s edition study guides available as well. Click HERE to go to the order pageThanks for all the support that people have given to Black…

1 Cor 12:31-13:13 Loving like a Christian

Wednesday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

“When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.”


This passage of Corinthians probably ranks among the most well-known in Bible; it is certainly the most famous words Paul ever wrote. Christians and non-Christian can recognize these words since nearly every wedding ceremony includes them. As they hear it read, the groom and bride can look at one another, meditate over the meaning of love and apply it to their own relationship: their love is patient, kind, humble, trusting, hopeful, strong. Although context of the passage frames love in a theological sense, not necessarily a nuptial sense, the newly weds will insist on treating Paul’s love as a worthy description of the love they have for each other. While this may aptly serve the occasion of a wedding, understanding Paul’s words as some schmaltzy ode to love ultimately cheapens its meaning.


First, one must consider Paul’s audience. He writes this chapter on love in his letter to the Corinthians, a group of believers having problems working together because of their passions and jealousies. Far from exalting passions or the married life, Paul actually hopes to quell the passions and caution against married life (see 1 Corinthians Ch. 7). He reprimands the Corinthians for having cliques and division among themselves and for mishandling the Eucharist. Thus, when he speaks about love, he means love in the Church, between members, and love for God, which should unite all members. Marriage applies to this passage insofar as the couple intends to serve the Church together, raise their children in the faith, and have their relationship reflect Christ and His Church.


In order to make his logic of love apparent, Paul couples his discussion of love with his discussion of maturity. His mention of putting “aside childish things” sounds nice on its own, but it does not make as much sense when coupled with his discussion of love. Paul wants to make the point that children grow out of their ignorance, their silliness, and their overall helplessness; in other words, the “partial” life of a child passes away and the completeness of an adult sets in. In the same fashion, a person may know God partially as a child partially knows the world, yet he will eventually mature into a complete knowledge of God. Paul himself admits to knowing God only somewhat:  “At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.”


This still does not resolve the question of why Paul juxtaposes these two ideas, love and knowing God, until we realize that love helps us to know God because God is love. Love serves as the foundation of the other two theological virtues, faith and hope, because love “believes all things” (faith) and “hopes all things” (hope). This love finally enables one “to endure all things” like sin, hardship, and even death so that one can finally experience God “face to face.” At the point that we experience God in heaven, hope and faith become unnecessary: we see the God we trusted and believed in, and we finally join with the God we always hoped for.


Until we love as Paul explains so eloquently, we remain children, ignorant and self-indulgent.  Love helps people mature out of their childish notions of God to a much richer and more resilient understanding of God. Jesus compares his generation to “children who sit in the marketplace” who complain that the world does not meet their expectations and, what is worse, does not even pay attention to them. They do not love the messiah or his prophet, but choose rather to contradict them out of pride. As a result, they never learn to love, but only to desire—which they mistakenly regard as “love.” Needless to say, this selfish love, that prevailed in the Roman empire as it does today, does not endure but fades into irrationality. Like a child, the man who loves falsely cannot recognize himself, let alone God and His Son.


Therefore, let us love as Paul tells us to love. It will not only make us strong and happy, but it will make us wise. In love, we may come to know ourselves,  our neighbors, and the Holy Trinity. With such knowledge, our lives will finally be complete and Heaven will have arrived.


Sep 17 – Homily: Stigmata of St. Francis

Sep 17 – Homily: Stigmata of St. Francis

God gave St. Francis this visible miracle because of the example of his life which was so filled with the love of Christ and conformed to Jesus Crucified. Ave Maria! Mass: Stigmata of St. Francis…

Sep 17 – Homily: Stigmata of St. Francis, Seal of Devotion

Fr. Joachim gives an account of how St. Francis received the Stigmata, the visible wounds of Christ Crucified imprinted on his flesh. He then explains that this miraculous event is God’s way…
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LK 7:11-17 An Opportunity for Surprise

Memorial of Sts. Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs

 The other day a saw a story online where a woman in a Starbucks drive-thru line paid for the person behind her. Then the next person did the same. Then the next. Then the next. Apparently this went on for 10 hours. Did those people know it had been going on that long? Did they realize they were part of something so big? As the hours went on I’m sure some did, but many probably did not.
Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
In today’s gospel Jesus continues to do His thing. The crowd that accompanied him likely varied from true believers to skeptics waiting to see something happen. Well, they hit the jackpot.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
Also in today’s gospel, a funeral is happening. The crowdthere likely varied from close friends to sympathetic acquaintances. They were not waiting for anything to happen. In fact they were very much stuck in the expectation that nothing would happen. What was done was done, this son was gone and that was that. They were having a very bad, but predictable day.
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Two crowds came together. Strangers with very different expectations, ideas and plans for that day. But the Lord connected them forever through his act of surprise andgrace.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.
Once this miracle took place, the gospel tells us that the story spread far. I can imagine the commentary – “The most fascinating thing happened in Nain. Did you hear about it?” And then unlikely but delightful things would continue to happen. Believers were formed. Perhaps people would encounter other people who had already heard about it, and they would look at each other in amazement. A bond would form because they had heard, and they would share different aspects of what they heard, compare notes, etc.
This is a human truth. We walk into many days thinking we know what is about to happen, then inevitably – bam! Something happens that we didn’t see coming. Some days the bam is bigger than others; some days it’s exciting and some disappointing.  We bond with unlikely people over these occurrences. It’s unites us in knowing.
Do you think the woman who started that “pay for the guy behind you” coffee chain had any idea what she was starting? Doubtful. Though not even close on the scale of Christ’s miracles, this simple act of surprise and grace had an effect on both the people in line and all who hear the story. We delight in these stories because they remind us of the good of the world and the joy of being connected to each otherA glimmer of Christ’s surprise such as this will unite us and then change us. Inch by inch.
Whether you buy someone’s coffee or something much more significant, what will you do today to seize the opportunity to surprise? Don’t make just random acts of kindness, but rather create frequent acts of grace. Christ performed these glorious miracles for so many reasons;seek ways to share a piece of His grace where ever you can.
This meditation was written by Kim Elenez, wife, mother and media executive in Raleigh, NC. Kim converted to Catholicism in 2012.

Lk 7:11-17 Do Not Weep

Memorial of Sts. Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs(Click here for readings)Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.  As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was bei…

The Vocation to Sacrifice

Our Lord shows His compassion for His people in today’s Gospel by driving out demons and ordering His followers to implore God for more ministers to labor in the harvest — that is, in the…
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Sep 16 – Homily: Support Each Other by Prayer

Sep 16 – Homily: Support Each Other by Prayer

As members of the One Body, the Church, we are called to support each other for its proper functioning, especially by prayer. Ave Maria! Mass: Sts Cornelius and Cyprian – Mem – Form: OF Readings:…

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