By: Jennifer Ficcaglia (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9803-2/1/18


One day, the Israelites came to the prophet Samuel and asked for a king to rule over them. 



Samuel prayed to God, and God appointed a man named Saul to be king. 


Unfortunately, as the years went on, Saul listened to God less and less. God wound up being very unhappy with Saul’s leadership. 


God let Samuel know that he had rejected Saul as king and wanted the prophet to appoint a new leader for the people. 


By: John C. Cavadini (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9803-2/1/18

The sacrament of confirmation is perhaps the most mysterious of all the sacraments. Many Christians find it difficult to understand what benefit it brings. Isn’t the Holy Spirit received at baptism?


Yes, baptism makes us “a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1279). Then why do we need to receive the Holy Spirit again in confirmation?


By: Jennifer Ficcaglia (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9808-1/18/18

After preaching to the people, Jesus boarded a boat with his apostles and crossed the Sea of Galilee to the territory of the Gerasenes.


In this territory, a ragged-looking man lived alone among the tombs. He acted as if he had lost his mind, crying out day and night, and sometimes bruising himself with stones. People tried to put him in chains and shackles, but the man always broke free.


The man saw Jesus and his friends come ashore and rushed up to them.


Jesus immediately knew that the man had an unclean spirit living in him.


By: David Gibson (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9802-1/18/18

Baptism is no mere “formality” in Christian life. “It is an act that touches the depths of our existence,” Pope Francis remarked in January 2014, speaking four days before the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, when contemporary popes customarily baptize babies in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.


I do not know all the reasons Pope Francis accented the word “formality” in telling what baptism is not. But obviously, to regard baptism as a formality, something like an academic society’s initiation ceremony, would be to misunderstand it entirely. 

By: Paul Senz (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9801-1/4/18

The visit of the Magi to the newborn Jesus is commemorated as the feast of the Epiphany. This places the emphasis on what was revealed to them at this, the culmination of their long journey “from the east” (Mt 2:1).


The Magi remain mysterious figures. There are many theories as to just who these pilgrims were. There is a consensus that they travelled a great distance from the east, compelled as they were to come and do homage to the “newborn king of the Jews” (Mt 2:2).


By: Cindy Wooden (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9726-12/21/17

Vatican City (CNS) --The Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square is not getting rave reviews: The backdrop does not look like a stable and the characters in need  – hungry, naked, dead, imprisoned  – don’t exactly evoke a silent night when all was cozy, calm and bright.


Franciscan Father John Puodziunas said he didn’t like it at first. 


By: Jennifer Ficcaglia (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9726-12/21/17



One day, the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus decided to take a census of all the people living in the territories over which he ruled. 


At that time, a man named Joseph was living in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, which was an area that the Romans controlled. Joseph made plans to travel to his ancestral hometown with his pregnant wife, Mary, so they could be counted. Joseph was related to King David, so he and Mary traveled to Bethlehem, the city of David, to take part in the census. 


By: David Gibson (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9726-12/21/17

Did you ever hear a sound in the night that startled you from sleep, an unsettling sound that left you wide awake and demanded that you investigate its cause? The Gospel of Luke tells of a nighttime disturbance similar to this (2:8-14).
It startled shepherds “keeping the night watch over their flock” some 2,000 years ago in the Holy Land. “Behold,” a voice called out to them.


Luke indicates that what happened in the night really frightened the shepherds at first. It captured their complete attention, of course.


By: Father Herb Weber (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9725-12/7/17

Promises are part of our lives. As kids we extract promises from parents and friends just as we learn to make promises. Some are simple like the promise to bring a treat. Others demand more commitment like the promise to be there when our friends need us.


The most significant promises that I witness take place at marriage ceremonies. As the officiating minister I ask both the man and the woman if they will repeat after me. Then they say how they promise to be faithful in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor all the days of their lives. 

By: Jennifer Ficcaglia (CNS)



One day, God sent his angel, Gabriel, on a very important mission.


God asked Gabriel to deliver a message to a young woman, Mary, who lived in the town of Nazareth in Galilee.



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