1st Sunday of Advent: 12 things to know and share

Friday, November 29, 2013 5:20 PM Comments (2)

The 1st Sunday of Advent is upon us. Here are 12 things to know and share . . .

Advent not only prepares us for the birth of Jesus Christ (his first advent), it also prepares us for his return (his second advent).

Both of these themes are present in the readings for this Sunday.

Here are 12 things to know and share . . .


1) What does the first reading this Sunday say?

The first reading is Isaiah 2:1-5 (you can read it here).

This reading contains a prophecy that, one day in Isaiah’s future, the mountain where the house of the Lord is shall become the highest mountain in the world.

When that happens, all the nations will stream to it, and they will say to each other,

Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob;...READ MORE

Filed under advent, first sunday of advent, isaiah, liturgical year, liturgy

St. Andrew the Apostle: 11 things to know and share

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 1:41 AM Comments (3)

Saturday is the feast of St. Andrew. Here are 11 things to know and share . . .

St. Andrew was one of Jesus’ closest disciples, but many people know little about him.

The feast of St. Andrew is November 30th.

Here are 11 things to know and share . . .


1) Who was St. Andrew?

He was the brother of St. Peter, who was also known as Simon bar-Jonah.

He and Andrew shared the same father, so the latter would have been known as Andrew bar-Jonah.

Andrew is regularly mentioned after Simon Peter, which suggests that he was Peter’s younger brother.

Like his brother Peter, and their partners James and John, Andrew was initially a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee.


2) What is significant about his name?

The name Andrew (Greek, Andreas) is related to the...READ MORE

Filed under andrew, apostles, liturgical year, liturgy, st. andrew

Pope Francis’ new document, Evangelii Gaudium: 9 things to know and share

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 12:17 PM Comments (124)

Pope Francis has just issued a major new document on evangelization. Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

Pope Francis has just released a new document titled Evangelii Gaudium.

It is his first apostolic exhortation, and it is devoted to the theme of the new evangelization.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .


1) What does “Evangelii Gaudium” mean?

It’s Latin for “The Joy of the Gospel.”


2) What is an apostolic exhortation?

It’s a papal document that, as the name suggests, exhorts people to implement a particular aspect of the Church’s life and teaching.

Its purpose is not to teach new doctrine, but to suggest how Church teachings and practices can be profitably applied today.

Some apostolic exhortations are devoted to the pastoral challenges faced in particular...READ MORE

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10 Things You Need to Know About Advent

Friday, November 22, 2013 3:19 PM Comments (9)

Advent is about to begin. What do the Church's official documents say about this season?

Advent begins on Sunday, December 1st.

Most of us have an intuitive understanding of Advent, based on experience, but what do the Church's official documents actually say about Advent?

Here are some of the basic questions and (official!) answers about Advent.

Some of the answers are surprising!

Here we go . . .


1. What Is the Purpose of Advent?

Advent is a season on the Church's liturgical calendar--specifically, it is as season on the calendar of the Latin Church, which is the largest Church in communion with the pope.

Other Catholic Churches--as well as many non-Catholic churches--have their own celebration of Advent.

According to the General Norms for the Liturgical...READ MORE

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Was the Kennedy Assassination a conspiracy? You don’t have to be crazy to think so . . .

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 11:55 PM Comments (70)

Was the Kennedy Assassination a conspiracy? Here are 9 reasons you aren't crazy to think so.

The 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination is upon us.

John F. Kennedy was the first—and so far only—American president to be Catholic.

He was not a particularly good Catholic.

His policy on Church-state relations has been widely faulted as contributing to the marginalization of religion in American society.

But nobody deserves to be gunned down in the street the way he was, and the Kennedy assassination has left us with an enduring mystery.

At present, only 29% of the American public accepts the claim that he was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, acting as a lone gunman.

By contrast, 62% of the American public thinks that he was killed as the result of a conspiracy. Another...READ MORE

Filed under assassination, jack ruby, jfk, john f kennedy, kennedy, lee harvey oswald, president kennedy, warren commission

Is the fire of purgatory Jesus Christ himself?

Saturday, November 16, 2013 5:08 PM Comments (9)

Is the fire of purgatory Jesus Christ himself?

The Catholic Church associates the image of fire with the final purification known as purgatory.

Why does it do this?

Is there a scriptural basis for this image?

Also, what kind of fire is this?

In past centuries, many theologians have speculated that it might be a form of material fire.

Although that has been a common opinion historically, there's a difficult question that the idea raises: How could material fire affect the holy souls in purgatory? They don't have their bodies, so how could material fire affect them? And why would it accomplish a spiritual effect on them?

More recently, some theologians have suggested that the fire is something else entirely.

In fact, they...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, jesus christ, joseph ratzinger, pope benedict, purgatory

Did Pope Francis just tip his hand on Medjugorje? (10 things to know and share)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 11:53 PM Comments (176)

Did Pope Francis just tip his hand on Medjugorje in a daily homily?

Many people are wondering what will happen at the end of the current investigation of Medjugorje.

As a result, they’re trying to figure out what attitude Pope Francis takes toward the reported apparitions.

On Thursday, Pope Francis made remarks which some people think tipped his hand and revealed his attitude.

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .


1) What is Medjugorje?

Medjugorje is a location in Herzegovina where, in 1981, a group of young people began reporting visions of the Virgin Mary.

Currently, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican is investigating the reported phenomena.

When their investigation is finished, they are expected to...READ MORE

Filed under medjugorje, pope francis

What is revelation?

Sunday, November 10, 2013 10:54 PM Comments (5)

What is divine revelation? Is it just what God shows the prophets--or is there more to it than that?

“Revelation” is a mysterious-sounding word.

Sometimes it conjures visions in our minds of the end of the world. That happens when we think of the last book of the Bible—the Book of Revelation.

But even when the word isn’t being used that way, it suggests something powerful and mysterious.

This is a bit of a paradox, because of what the word “revelation” actually means.

Revelation is something that is revealed—something that is now known. If I reveal what I’m doing or thinking, that’s a revelation.

Since the term refers to what is known, it’s ironic that it would have such mysterious overtones.


Human vs. Divine Revelation

If we only used the word “revelation” to refer to...READ MORE

Filed under private revelation, prophet, public revelation, revelation, scripture, tradition

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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."