Friday, May 23, 2014

"Missionaries of the Word": Evangelizing teens and young adults

Check out an article about the Missionaries of the Word, a beautiful and inspiring new religious order HERE.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"The Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body"

I think I have posted this before.  It's an extraordinary reflection about Christians from today's Office of Readings.  Idealistic about Christians, yes, but nonetheless true when it is lived out.
Second Reading
From a letter to Diognetus
The Christian in the world

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.
Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Intentions for Holy Land pilgrimage

One week from today, 19 of us GW Catholics will go to the Holy Land...!  Our itinerary is below.  Please email me intentions at, especially for particular sites along the way.  For example, an alumnus asked me to pray for him at the Holy Sepulchre.  Pray for a safe and blessed pilgrimage! 
Day 1: Depart U.S.A.
Our pilgrimage begins today as we depart on our flight to Israel. Meals and drinks served aloft.

Day 2 - Arrive Tel Aviv / Jerusalem
After our arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv this morning we will be met by our local guide who will arrange the schedules of our visits and make the scripture come alive as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.  Drive to the Mt. of Olives and see a wonderful panoramic view of Jerusalem before heading to the hotel.  The remainder of the day is free.

Day 3 - Jerusalem
This morning we will drive to the top of the Mt. of Olives for a spectacular view of Jerusalem. We will visit the Church of Pater Noster where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, Ascension Chapel the site where Jesus ascended into Heaven, and then walk the "Palm Sunday Road" to Dominus Flevit, where Our Lord wept over Jerusalem. Then we will proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane to visit the Church of All Nations for Mass on the Rock of Agony.  In the afternoon, we will drive through the New City of Jerusalem to Ein Karem, birthplace of St. John the Baptist, to see the Visitation Church where Mary proclaimed her famous "Magnificat".  This evening return to Gethsemane for a Eucharistic Holy Hour.

Day 4 - Jerusalem 
This morning we will enter the Old City of Jerusalem through St. Stephen’s Gate to visit the Church of St. Anne, where the Blessed Virgin Mary was born.  Next to this site is the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the paralytic man. We will then walk the Via Dolorosa finishing prayerfully in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where we will have Holy Mass.  There we will climb Mt. Calvary and pray at the site of the crucifixion. We will venerate the site where Jesus’ body was anointed, the tomb where he was buried and rose from the dead, and the Chapel of St. Helena where the true cross was found. While in the Old City, we will also see Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, the Arch of Ecce Homo, the “Wailing Wall”, and we will view the Temple Mount.  Afterwards, we exit the city to visit the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed a man born blind. We then go to Mount Zion to visit the Upper Room, the site where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper.  Last, we pray our Rosary together in the Church of Dormition, where Mary was assumed into heaven.

Day 5 - Jerusalem
Drive to Bethlehem and have Mass at the Shepherd's Fields. Above the traditional Grotto of Jesus' birth, visit the Nativity Church, built by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. Also tour the Manger, Grotto of St. Jerome, the Church of St. Catherine, and the Milk Grotto. Then visit the Franciscan Family Center followed by some free time for shopping. 

Day 6 - Jerusalem 
This morning we will celebrate an early morning Mass at the Tomb of our Lord. After Mass, we will spend some private time in prayer and reflection at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre before returning to our hotel for breakfast. The remainder of the day is free for personal prayer and exploring the Old City.

Day 7 - Jerusalem / Tiberias
We will drive to Bethany to visit the site of the House of Mary, Martha & Lazarus and the Tomb of Lazarus. Then drive to ancient Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western world.  In 1250 B.C., Joshua encircled the city and at the blast of the priests’ trumpets, the walls came tumbling down (Joshua 6). Many times Jesus passed through this city on his way to Jerusalem.  The sycamore fig, the tree which Zacchaeus climbed in order to catch a glimpse of Jesus, still grows in this area. From the ruins of ancient Jericho, we will ascend the Mount of Temptation where Jesus fasted and prayed forty days to resist the devil. Then proceed north through the Jordan River Valley to our hotel located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Day 8 - Tiberias 
This morning, we will enjoy a scenic boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and proceed to the Church of Peter’s Primacy (John 21:16). Here on the shore of Galilee, Jesus appeared to the Apostles after His Resurrection and confirmed Peter in the role as Vicar of Christ with the words, “Feed My sheep.” The rock emerging from the center of the church is the actual table at which they ate breakfast.  We will proceed onto Capernaum which for three years was the center of Jesus’ public ministry. Here our Lord met his first disciples – Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew – and worked many miracles. He healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever, brought a child back to life, cured a leper, healed the centurion’s servant, cast out a demon from a young boy and healed all that were sick (Matt 8:16).  We will have a Holy Hour at the Church above the home of St. Peter.  We will celebrate Mass, visit the synagogue where Jesus taught, and then drive to Tabgha – the site where Jesus multiplied the Loaves and Fishes and fed over 5000 people (Luke 9:13). Next, we will drive to the Mount of Beatitudes the site of the Sermon on the Mount. 

Day 9 - Tiberias
Following breakfast, we will drive to Cana of Galilee where Jesus, at the request of Mary, performed His first miracle…changing water into wine. It was here also that He blessed marriage and raised it to the dignity of a sacrament. If you wish, you may renew your wedding vows as a lasting remembrance of this holy site. From there, we go a short distance to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. In the Church of the Annunciation we will celebrate Mass.  Just behind the altar, at the Cave of the Annunciation, we will see the actual room in which Mary said “yes” to the angel Gabriel. From there we will visit St. Joseph’s Carpentry Shop and Mary’s well.  In the afternoon, we will take an excursion to the summit of Mt. Tabor where Jesus transfigured himself and revealed his Divine Glory to the apostles (Matt 17:2). 

Day 10 - Tiberias / Tel Aviv
This morning travel to the River Jordan to renew our baptismal vows. The Bible tells us that the Children of Israel crossed the River Jordan opposite Jericho when they came into the Promised Land.  The prophet Elijah divided its waters and crossed with Elisha on dry land. Naaman the Syrian dipped in the waters seven times and was cured of his leprosy. And Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan (Mark 1:9).  Each year, pilgrims from far and wide come to the Place of Baptism to immerse themselves in these holy waters.  Depart Tiberias and drive to Caesarea, the capital of the ancient Roman Procurators of Judea, where St. Peter preached and St. Paul was imprisoned for two years before being taken to Rome for trial. Visit the Roman Theater, Crusader’s Moat, and the Byzantine Churches. Then proceed south along the Mediterranean to Old Jaffa where we will celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Peter.  Later we will have a farewell dinner at a local restaurant before proceeding to the airport in Tel Aviv to catch our late evening return flight home. 

Day 11 - Tel Aviv / U.S.A.
Today our Holy Land pilgrimage comes to an end as we arrive back home following our overnight flight from Tel Aviv.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Homily - "Aye stail ghat JEEzus"

Here is the homily from the Sunday Vigil Mass / Baccalaureate:
We had senior night on Wednesday.  The seniors gave each other awards, “senior superlatives”.  It was for this person to be the “most likely to do…(this or that)”.  I gave them their own superlative as a class: “most likely to call me in the middle of the night”.  They have taken me up on my “available 24/7” policy many times!  Calls at 2 am from spring break or for confession or just to talk.  One time, I thought it was the alarm on my phone, so I went to hit it as I would my snooze button.  All of a sudden, a voice from the phone calls out, “Father”.  I thought, ‘that’s not my alarm.  That’s a person!’  As you can imagine at that time of night and given the condition of college students then, sometimes the voice was much louder:  “FAAATHERRR”.  My reply was, “we’ll talk tomorrow”.  I was actually very happy to get the (sober) calls because when a person calls a priest, it’s like calling Christ.  Calling Christ at 2 in the morning is very cool to me!

Seriously, there are many superlatives to give this class of seniors.  They are probably the biggest class Newman has ever had.  They have been the most active.  And, they didn’t wait until senior year to start leading.  They have led retreats, service trips, Bible studies, discussion groups, and served on our student board.  They are fun, cool, good, and faithful young people.  It really doesn’t get any better for a priest!  There are so many stories to tell.

One of our seniors when she was a freshman introduced herself to me on campus.  Then, literally, two minutes later, asked me, “so, can you help me to believe in God again?”  She has spent the last three years believing in God. 

One of our seniors as a sophomore came to our Opening Barbeque with his friends.  They were just looking for something to eat because no other place was open on campus at the time.  He saw that it was Chipotle burritos, and was like, “oh great, I love Chipotle”.  Then, he saw that it was an event by GW Catholics and thought, “hey, cool, I’m Catholic”.  He signed up for RCIA because he needed to be confirmed.  He came to RCIA every week, asking tons of questions, and then spent the next three years as one of our most active students.  

One of our seniors started coming to daily Mass last year.  Yes, parents, your sons and daughters have been coming to Mass during the week in addition to Sunday!  They even asked for additional Masses at night because they couldn’t make the noon Mass every day.  So, this one student had an epiphany at Mass about life.  A few days later, she told me, “Father, I just want you to know that I am now pro-life”.  Awesome!

This year, three of our seniors and grad students are getting ready for marriage in the next year or so.  Two of our senior men are entering seminary or religious life.  Two of our senior women are going on mission for a year after being very active in service with GW Catholics.  Some of them have been holding each other accountable with regards to chastity and sobriety, two virtues that are not very popular on a college campus. 

Now, you parents might hear all this and wonder, ‘have they been at a university or a monastery the past four years?’  They have been on a secular campus, defending Christ and His Church in incredible ways.  They believe firmly what Jesus says in today’s Gospel: that He is “the way, the truth, and the life”.  And, they have been showing that and telling that to others on campus.  When they were freshmen, Cardinal Wuerl came to GW to celebrate a student Mass and for food after Mass.  What he saw was the “New Evangelization” – students going out and bringing others to Christ.  He saw GW as the prototype of this, and used it as the example whenever he talked about the New Evangelization.  We understand he even told the Vatican about GW!

It really is incredible what you seniors have been doing and who you have become.  You have come to know Christ.  You know Him and you love Him.  You have given your hearts to Him.  And, people around you know this.  They know you are a friend of Christ.  They know you are a follower of His.  This is your identity.  Thank you for your friendship with Christ!   Thank you for your friendship with me and Amy.  It really goes back four years with some of you.  Some of the best times we had were just hanging out at Newman or at meals.  Just chilling.  You have been so much fun, and such good friends!

Going forward, do not be afraid of the future.  No matter what happens, you always have Jesus. Don’t worry about tomorrow because you will have Jesus.  Don’t worry about the future because you will have Jesus in the Eucharist.  Friends of mine who are priests went to seminary with a guy from the south.  He had a funny expression that he would say all the time: “waaail, aye stail ghat JEEzus”.  If something went wrong like he failed a test or got a bad report, he would just say,  “waaail, aye stail got JEEzus”.  No matter where you go or what happens, you still got Jesus! 

Finally, you have heard me say this a hundred times: “you are good and you are loved”.  Tonight, I want you to take it personally.  I have come to know you these past four years, and I say that you’re good.  You know that you are loved by me, Amy, and Almighty God.  But, tonight, it is cemented as you sit with your parents and families, that you are loved by them. Your parents are the main ones who say that you are good and you are loved.  They say it tonight, and I beg you to believe it deeply in your hearts as you go forward, especially if life gets tough and you start to doubt yourself and your identity in the world:  you are good and you are loved.     

Friday, May 16, 2014

Prayer for our graduates

Congratulations to all of our graduates this weekend!  We are so happy for and proud of you.  See you tomorrow night at the Baccalaureate Mass, 5:30 pm, at St. Stephen's.

Graduation Prayer

I have knowledge, so will You show me now,
How to use it wisely and find a way somehow
To make the world I live in a little better place,
And make life with its problems a little bit easier to face.

Grant me faith and courage and put purpose in my days,
And show me how to serve Thee in effective

So my education, my knowledge and my skill
May find their true fulfillment as I learn to do Thy will.

And may I ever be aware in everything I do,
That knowledge comes from learning, and wisdom comes from You.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


A friend recommended the blog,, which looks pretty good.  It's run by Mary Pearson, a 23 year old Catholic woman who is married with a child and has a Masters degree in Biblical Theology.  Impressive!  Check out the site and this video from Mary:


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Harvard Catholics respond to Black Mass"

This is AWESOME.

From @JamesMartinSJ

Harvard Catholics respond to Black Mass: Adoration at St. Paul's in Cambridge. That is Veritas. (Photo )

Monday, May 12, 2014

Black Mass at Harvard cancelled!!

Catholic news agency article 

Homily - "Motherhood is the most important work in the world"

Click HERE to listen to Sunday's homily.

Happy Mother’s Day to your mothers and any mothers, grandmothers, and godmothers here tonight.  Motherhood is the  most important work in the world. I say this because it’s true…and because my Mom reads my homilies! It’s the most important work in the world.  I remind students of that who come in complaining about their moms.  Now, I know there’s a difference between being mothered and smothered.  We like to be mothered, but not smothered!  But, moms just want what’s best for us because they love us so much…sometimes they get carried away.  But, I remind students that their moms carried them for nine months and everything they have is through their moms.  The bond between a mother and child is the strongest bond on earth.  It’s primarily because of the nine months together before birth. 

Everything we have in life is from God through our mothers and fathers.  Everything we have in Christ is from God through the Blessed Mother, Mary.  Christ says in tonight’s Gospel that he came so that we might have life and have it abundantly.  He is talking about grace.  There was grace in the world before Christ: natural grace.  But, Christ came to bring supernatural grace.  This is a share in God, a share in Heaven, a share in God’s life.  It starts at Baptism, is nourished by the Eucharist, and sealed at Confirmation.  (My nephew was confirmed on Saturday, it was very cool). 

God wants us to live us a life of grace so He gives us a mother who is “full of grace”.  Mary is described as full of grace by the angel, Gabriel.  God has made her full of grace – like a balloon that is full of air – so that we will receive unique graces through her.  Go to Mary for this grace.  In a particular way, pray the rosary every day to draw closer to Jesus through Mary.  I’ve brought pamphlets on praying the rosary tonight.  They explain how to pray the rosary, and list all of the mysteries. 

When I was in college, I heard a tape on Fatima.  Mary appeared to the kids at Fatima in the early 20th century and told them to “pray the rosary every day for the salvation of sinners”.  I heard that and assumed that every Catholic prayed the rosary every day.  I’ve been praying it every day since.  Every one of us should be praying the rosary every day even if it’s only 1 or 2 decades.  My spiritual director tells people to pray at least 2 decades a day “because 1 is just wimpy”.  Well, 1 leads to 2 which ultimately leads to 5 decades a day…the full rosary which the Church prays every day. 

The main reason to pray the rosary is for grace.  We pray a rosary once a week on campus to bring grace to the place.  Pope Francis has said that the rosary sustains us in the battle against evil.  When  students are struggling to live chastity especially, I urge them to pray the rosary.  It’s one of the greatest weapons we have!  Pray for the grace but also to imitate Jesus and Mary more.  When we pray, we meditate on the scenes from the lives of Jesus and Mary.  People will ask why we pray 10 Hail Mary’s in a row and say that it gets so redundant.  It gets so meditative! 

I pray the rosary most nights on the walk from Newman to St Stephen’s (where I live).  I take the long way, and use the first third of the walk to go through all of the people I’m praying for.  Some of these people go back 10 or 15 years.  When people say, “pray for me”, pray for them!  By name.  Every day.  Some nights after a tough day at Newman, I’ll meditate on the 1st joyful mystery where God’s Plan is revealed to Mary through the angel.  Mary was like 14.  She said yes to the incredible plan of giving birth to the Son of God.  If she can say yes to God’s Will at 14, I can say yes now.  The 3rd sorrowful mystery, Jesus is crowned with thorns.  He is insulted and mocked, spit on as being ‘King of the Jews’.  The second reading says he did not return insult for insult.  How could he not return insult for all of that (in His Passion)? 

The 3rd glorious mystery is the “Descent of the Holy Spirit”.  The Apostles were afraid to go outside, much less talk about Christ.  Then, the Spirit came upon them, and they went out proclaiming Christ as we hear in the first reading…and three thousand people were baptized that day.  This is the birth of the Catholic Church…Mother Church.  The 5th luminous mystery is the “Institution of the Eucharist”.  Meditating on this, we think what it must have been like to be there at the Last Supper, hearing the words for first time, “this is my body…this is my blood”.  Jesus gives us his life in the Eucharist…the abundant life he came to give us.

May you know the abundant life and love God wants you to have.  May you know deeply in your hearts – mainly from your mothers and fathers – that you are good and you are loved.    

Holy Hour tonight at Newman, 8:30 pm, during "Black Mass" at Harvard

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sign the petition to "Stop the Black Mass" at Harvard

(from TFP student action)


A Satanic Black Mass at Harvard University is scheduled for Monday, May 12th — we cannot remain silent!

So send your protest message now:


I regret to inform you that according to news reports, emails and flyers posted at locations around Harvard University:
The Satanic Temple will perform a Satanic Black Mass at Harvard University on Monday, May 12, at 8:30PM.
This is a most grave sin. And a direct insult and act of defiance against God. And Catholics must SPEAK OUT before it happens!
In fact, the Archdiocese of Boston has just called on all Catholics to express their "strong opposition" to the plan to stage a "black mass" and urged the faithful to ask that Harvard disassociate itself from the event.
So I urge you to —
Sign this petition against the Satanic Black Mass at the Queen’s Head Pub at Harvard University.
Just listen to this:
  • According to the flyer being passed around at Harvard University: “May 12th, 8:30PM. The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club is hosting a reenactment of a Satanic Black Mass performed by the Satanic Temple.” ( May 6, 2014).
  • According to Deacon Greg Kandra: Elizabeth Scalia has confirmed it: The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club is indeed hosting a Black Mass on Monday night. ( May 7, 2014).
Typically, at black masses a Consecrated Host is used to desecrate Our Lord Jesus Christ in the most vile way possible.
Can you believe this!
1. The Satanic Temple is the same group that is working to get a Satanic monument built on state grounds in Oklahoma City and in other locations across America.
2. Allowing a Satanic Black Mass at America’s most prestigious university is a sin that offends God deeply and begs the question: are we still one nation under God?
3. To invite Satan into your soul isn’t a joke. It’s a terrible sin that brings devils to the earth and provokes God to withdraw His graces and blessings from America.
4. To dismiss the Satanic Black Mass at Harvard as a publicity stunt is not to understand the grave nature of the sin that is happening here. There is no such thing as a publicity stunt with Satan. Satan plays for keeps. No joke.
For these reasons, please:
Sign the petition: “Stop the Satanic Black Mass”
Here’s what’s at stake:
1. A huge step forward for Satan.
2. An attack on Our Lord and the sanctity of the Catholic Mass.
You see, Satan wants men to worship him and mock God.
But since you love God, I want you to have an opportunity to say:
"Stop the Satanic Black Mass"
Thank you!
Fighting the good fight,

John Ritchie
Tradition Family Property, Student Action
P.S. — Please call the president of Harvard:
Dr. Drew Faust
Tel: (617) 495-1502
Fax: (617) 495-8550

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Honoring the Dignity of Life in Sickness and Death

Honoring the Dignity of Life in Sickness and Death

May 10 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Join us, along with our expert panel ~ Fr. J. Daniel Mindling, O.F.M. Cap., S.T.D., Joan Panke, MA, RN, ACHPN & Burke Balch, JD ~ as they discuss the moral, medical and legal dimensions of medical decision making and advance directives for yourself or your loved one, in light of Church teaching and the dignity of the human person. Light refreshments will be provided.

WHEN: Saturday, May 10th

TIME: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

WHERE: St. Raphael Trumpet Room
 1513 Dunster Rd, Rockville, MD 20854


Click here to listen to an interview with Christa Lopiccolo, Executive Director of the Department of Life Issues that aired on 1160 AM as she shared information about this event.

Hosted by the Archdiocese of Washington Department of Life Issues & St. Raphael’s Respect Life Committee

Monday, May 05, 2014

Homily - "Our hearts burn for love"

Click HERE to listen to Sunday's homily.

We were already excited about the FOCUS conference in January in Nashville.  They are hoping to get 7,000-10,000 college students from around the country.  It really is a great experience.  But, then, we saw last week that Jim Gaffigan will be performing at the conference.  He is a comedian who is Catholic and hilarious.  He does some bits about the faith that sometime toe the line but are really funny.  Like, when he talks about his wife who is Catholic.  He says, “she’s a serious Catholic…like a Shiite Catholic”.  When they go to Church to pray together, she closes her eyes and very seriously prays.  He gets on his knees, closes his eyes, and tries to pray, but all that enters his mind is…”did I go to Wendy’s twice yesterday?”

For those who don’t know, FOCUS is the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.  They are Catholic missionaries who serve at almost 100 campuses around the country.  We have had FOCUS missionaries for 4 years at GW.  They do an excellent job of building up the Catholic community at Newman Centers through Bible studies, discussion groups, mentoring, and evangelization on campus.  They are a really good presence to have around.  I do want to plug our Bible studies through FOCUS for next year because we hear about a Bible study in tonight’s Gospel. Jesus leads a Bible study with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  He opens up the Scriptures and interprets them to them.  They enjoy it so much that they ask Him to stay with them.  They would say later that their “hearts were burning” when He taught them Scripture. 

If you’ve ever had that experience when someone explains Scripture to you, it really is that your hearts burn.  First, God made our hearts and our hearts burn for Him Word.  Second, the Bible can be a cryptic language for us…like a foreign language.  It is the language of love, but hard for us to understand.  When someone explains it to us, it’s like learning a new language… the greatest language.   Also, there are benefits with learning a new language.  I remember taking Latin in high school.  My parents promised me that Latin would help my vocabulary. Ok, so that might not have happened (!), but for most people that is true.  The benefit of learning the language of the Bible is wisdom.  We have had Scripture scholars speak at Newman and they are just a wealth of wisdom in so many areas.

St. Peter teaches Scripture in the first reading.  He interprets Psalm 16 as being about the Resurrection.  Psalm 16 is one of my favorites, but I didn’t know it was specifically referencing the Resurrection of Christ.  When we first hear this interpretation, we might think, “where does he mention the Resurrection?”  But, then, we take a closer look: “my flesh, too, will dwell in hope…will not see corruption”.  Wow, David was talking about Christ!  The prophets were talking about Christ!  Once the cryptic language is translated, it opens up so much for us in understanding Christ, God, and our faith.

The whole “hearts burning” experience is really an encounter with the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit wrote Scripture, and the Spirit interprets Scripture.  The Spirit teaches us the language of love and truth, and our hearts burn for love and truth.  Normally, we give our hearts to whatever is closest…things of the world like movies and music.  But, when we hear God speak to us, then our hearts have found what they truly desire….what they truly burn for.

Finally, this Gospel is the story of our lives.  We are walking along the path and Jesus is with us.  We don’t often recognize that He is with us.  For so many of us, it’s been in the Eucharist that we have recognized Him:  “he was made known to them in the breaking of bread”.   Many people see this scene as the first Mass: Jesus celebrates the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. 

For those of you who are finishing your exams this week and heading home, have a great summer!  Three things for you to do this summer spiritually: 1) Mass every Sunday even if you’re on vacation.  2) 20 minutes of prayer every day.  3) Pray the rosary every day even if it’s just a decade;  take Our Lady with you this summer.  Have you hearts burn for Christ and know that His heart burns for you with love. May you believe deeply in your hearts that He loves you.   You are loved by God!  You are good and you are loved.