Why do we wave palms on Palm Sunday?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  03/23/2024  |  Why do we do that?

The procession of palms is an ancient tradition from many different cultures. People would line the streets waving palms to greet a ruler when they came to the city, or to hail a victorious general returning from battle. Palms and laurel branches were symbols of goodness and victory. Thus, when Jesus entered into Jerusalem before his Passion, the people of Jerusalem were continuing this ancient form of praise.


Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

by Kathryn Mulderink  |  03/23/2024  |  Gospel Reflection

What more can be said about today’s Gospel? We hear the proclamation of this Gospel in several voices, to help us enter into these final days of Jesus’ earthly life. The scheming of the chief priests and scribes before the Passover, the woman with the alabaster jar of oil prefiguring the anointing of his body for burial, Judas’ plan to betray him, the Last Supper and Jesus’ knowledge that he would soon be betrayed, the institution of the Eucharist so that he could remain with us until the end of time, Jesus’ prediction that the apostles would be scattered and their faith shattered. And then, all the events of Jesus’ profound Passion and Death.


A Lenten Stewardship Reflection: Compassion

03/17/2024  |  Gospel Reflection

A central theme in the Gospel of Luke and a very good one for Lenten meditation is the notion of compassion. More than any other Gospel, Luke reveals the compassionate nature of Jesus Christ. Jesus said it emphatically and without mincing his words: “Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:36, New Jerusalem Bible).


Q. Why do we have to go to confession with a priest? Why not just say “I’m sorry” to God in private prayer?

03/17/2024  |  Why do we do that?

As Catholics, we have an incarnational faith. We believe that Christ truly was made flesh and dwelt among us, and that each of us as humans are a union of body, mind, and spirit. Each of our sacraments has an incarnational component to it: the bread and wine of the Eucharist, the oils used for anointing, the water of baptism, etc. St. Augustine said that a sacrament is an “outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.”


Q. What is purgatory? Why do Catholics believe in it, rather than just heaven and hell?

03/10/2024  |  Why do we do that?

From the foundations of Christianity, there was a belief that there were two options for the afterlife – the reward of Heaven for the just, and the pains of Hell for the unjust. And while these concepts are clear in the Gospels and easy to understand, there wasn’t much specific instruction for who goes where, other than the judgment scenes found in Matthew (24), Mark (13), and Luke (21) – “whatever you did for the least of my people, that you did to me.”

Within a couple of centuries, Christians wanted more specificity about sin and how to get into heaven. St. Jerome came up with the categories of venial sins and mortal sins to try to describe differences in the gravity and nature of our choices. He used the metaphor of debt – that to one creditor we may own just a few coins, while to another we may owe 10,000. By the Middle Ages, theologians became very exact in which sins required what amount of penance.


Fourth Sunday of Lent - Saying, Doing, or Being?

by Tom Schmidt  |  03/10/2024  |  Gospel Reflection

St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians that we are saved through grace: God’s actions of sending his Son to die for us, and raising Jesus from the dead show the love God has for us. It comes entirely from God. We are saved by our faith in Jesus, but even that faith comes from God. So when Paul says that no one can boast about being saved, he means that we can’t add up our good deeds like reward points for heaven. He also means that we can’t brag about our faith because we can recite the creed or answer an altar call. So if being saved is not a matter of saying the right things, or doing good deeds, what is it?


He Understands Us Well

by Kathryn Mulderink  |  03/03/2024  |  Gospel Reflection

Jesus came to save. From what? From sin, yes. From death, yes. But he goes to the very root cause of those things in every word and action of his life – and the root is hypocrisy and egoism, which is pride. In order to restore and defend man’s authentic relationship with God, Jesus must cleanse us from everything that gets in the way of that relationship, particularly whatever detracts from authentic faith and sincere worship. He came to save us from ourselves and our own contradictions.


Q. Why don’t we sing the Gloria or the Alleluia during Lent?

03/03/2024  |  Why do we do that?

Alleluia in Hebrew means “Praise God!” And obviously, the words of the Gloria come from the song of the angels at Christmas when they proclaim “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will!” Both songs, therefore, are expressions of joy – the celebration of God’s saving work and the proclamation that the Kingdom of God is at hand here in our Church, even as we await the Kingdom of Heaven which is our Christian reward. The Kingdom is already here, even though we have not yet seen it in its fullness.