4th Sunday of Advent: 10 things to know and share

Thursday, December 19, 2013 11:35 PM Comments (5)

This Sunday's readings include the prophecy of Immanuel and Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus. Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

This Sunday the readings include the famous prophecy of Immanuel.

They proclaim God’s supremacy and our call to holiness.

They review the basics of the gospel message.

And they record the birth of Jesus and how it came about.

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

 

1) What does the first reading say?

The first reading is Isaiah 7:10-14. (You can read it here.)

In this reading the prophet Isaiah confronts Ahaz, the king of Judea. He demands that Ahaz name a sign to show that the Lord will protect his kingdom. The sign can be as “high as heaven” or “as deep as sh’ol” (Hebrew, “the grave,” “the underworld”; pronounced “sh’OL”).

Ahaz, however, refuses to name a sign,...READ MORE

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Zechariah’s mysterious vision in the Temple: 10 things to know and share

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 10:17 PM Comments (12)

Luke tells us some very interesting things about a mysterious vision that Zechariah had in the temple. Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

The Gospel reading for December 19 contains the familiar story of Zechariah in the temple.

You can read it here.

It is the occasion when the Angel Gabriel appears to him to announce the birth of John the Baptist.

Although the story is familiar, there are some fascinating details in this account, and their significance is not obvious.

Let’s take a look.

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

 

1. When did this event take place?

Luke begins his narrative "in the days of Herod, king of Judea," by which he means Herod the Great.

When precisely Herod the Great ruled is disputed. According to a theory introduced a little more than a century ago, Herod reigned from 37 B.C....READ MORE

Filed under john the baptist, liturgical calendar, liturgical year, temple, zechariah

Pope Francis takes on allegations and rumors about his papacy: 9 things to know and share

Sunday, December 15, 2013 2:52 PM Comments (301)

Pope Francis has made important clarifications about recent allegations and rumors concerning his papacy. Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

Pope Francis has given a new interview in which he tackles several allegations and rumors about his papacy.

These concern allegations that he is a Marxist, rumors that he will soon appoint women cardinals, and proposals to give Holy Communion to those who have divorced and remarried without an annulment.

He also makes several other interesting comments, including plans for an upcoming trip to the Holy Land, breastfeeding in public, and what happened right after he was elected.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

 

1) Who did he give the interview to?

He gave it to the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

You can read the full interview here (and should; it’s worth it!).

...READ MORE

Filed under andrea tornielli, breastfeeding, communion, divorce, eugenio scalfari, pope francis, remarriage, scalfari, women cardinals

Gaudete Sunday: 11 things to know and share . . .

Thursday, December 12, 2013 9:39 PM Comments (8)

Gaudete Sunday is upon us! Here are 11 things to know and share . . .

The third Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete Sunday.”

In the readings, we hear about miracles associated with the Messianic age, its coming, and what we need to do to prepare.

We also learn about the doubts of John the Baptist, how he dealt with them, and the blessing that makes us even more fortunate than John was.

Here are 11 things to know and share . . .

 

1) Why is the third Sunday of Advent known as Gaudete Sunday?

Its name is taken from the entrance antiphon of the Mass, which is:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.
Indeed, the Lord is near.

This is a quotation from Philippians 4:4-5, and in Latin, the first word of the antiphon is gaudete (Latin,...READ MORE

Filed under advent, gaudete, gaudete sunday, liturgical calendar, liturgical year, liturgy, third sunday of advent

Our Lady of Guadalupe: 6 things to know and share

Monday, December 09, 2013 11:34 PM Comments (39)

December 12th is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Here are 6 things to know and share . . .

December 12 is the commemoration of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In the United States, the day is a feast.

Linked to this day is December 9, which is the optional memorial of Juan Diego, to whom she appeared.

Here are 6 things to know and share . . .

 

1) Who was Juan Diego?

More formally known as St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, he lived from 1474 to 1548.

According to the biography of him on the Vatican web site,

Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaelogical and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, "El Nican Mopohua" (written in Náhuatl with Latin...READ MORE

Filed under juan diego, liturgical calendar, liturgical year, mary, our lady of guadalupe, saints

The Immaculate Conception: 8 things to know and share . . .

Sunday, December 08, 2013 4:25 PM Comments (69)

Monday is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. What is the Immaculate Conception and how do we celebrate it?

December 8th is ordinarily celebrated as the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, but this year in the U.S., it's being celebrated on Monday, December 9th.

It celebrates an important point of Catholic teaching, and in most years it is a holy day of obligation.

Here are 8 things you need to know about the teaching and the way we celebrate it.

 

1. Who does the Immaculate Conception refer to?

There's a popular idea that it refers to Jesus' conception by the Virgin Mary.

It doesn't.

Instead, it refers to the special way in which the Virgin Mary herself was conceived.

This conception was not virginal. (That is, she had a human father as well as a human mother.) But it was...READ MORE

Filed under holy day of obligation, holy days of obligation, immaculate conception, liturgical calendar, liturgy, mary, virgin mary

2nd Sunday of Advent: 9 things to know and share

Saturday, December 07, 2013 5:00 PM Comments (7)

What does the Bible mean when it says Jesus' winnowing fork is in his hand?

This Sunday’s readings take us from Old Testament prophecies of the future Messiah to the union of Jew and Gentile in God’s kingdom.

They also bring us to the herald of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the mysterious image of Jesus’ “winnowing fan.”

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

 

1) What does the first reading this Sunday say?

The first reading is Isaiah 11:1-10 (you can read it here).

This reading contains the famous Messianic prophesy which begins:

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

It continues by describing how the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him.

The passage stresses that the “shoot” (a future king...READ MORE

Filed under advent, calendar, gospels, john the baptist, liturgical calendar, liturgical year, prophecy

St. Ambrose: Strangest Life Story Ever? (8 things to know and share)

Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:17 PM Comments (19)

Which Church Father had the strangest life story of all? It may be this one! Here are 8 things to know and share . . .

St. Ambrose’s memorial is December 7th.

He was one of the four original doctors of the Church, and he baptized St. Augustine.

He also had perhaps the strangest life story of any of the Church Fathers!

Here are 8 things to know and share . . .

 

1) Who was St. Ambrose?

St. Ambrose of Milan was born around A.D. 338 and died in 397.

He was the bishop of Milan, Italy.

 

2) What makes is his life story so strange?

Originally, he was a government official, he became bishop in a most extraordinary way.

After the death of the local bishop, the Catholics and Arians got into a vehement conflict about who should be the new bishop.

Ambrose was trying to keep the peace and...READ MORE

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About Jimmy Akin

Jimmy Akin
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Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, "A Triumph and a Tragedy," is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is a Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to This Rock magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."