This week when the first reading at Mass was the story of the boy Samuel
being called by God during the night, Fr. John Christman did not give
the expected homily. Usually this story is a springboard for a vocation
talk. Instead Father focused on the sequel to the reading. After Samuel
replies to God, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening," God gives him a
daunting task. He is to tell the priest Eli, Samuel's beloved mentor,
that his family would be punished because his two sons were blaspheming
and Eli did nothing to stop them. The message of this reading on two
levels is "Speak up!" Imagine how Samuel dreaded bearing the bad news to
Eli. It would have been much easier to keep quiet. But Samuel did what
God expected of him. He spoke to Eli. On the other hand, there is Eli's
silence when he should have spoken up. That had dire consequences: his
two sons were killed in battle and he fell over backwards, broke his
neck, and died. Today some brave people are carrying out this message to
speak up; others choose to remain silent. Click to continue
Christians are now dealing with a new obstacle to evangelism; we can no longer assume people know stories in the Bible or the basic tenets of the faith. Perhaps this dearth of spirituality in modern culture will serve to drive desperate people to the feet of Christ but more than ever seekers need basic catechism to lead them back into the arms of God and the Church.
A few decades ago, almost everyone knew the bible, even if they did not attend church because even public schools read the bible and prayed before classes started. I am a convert. As a Protestant kid who went to Sunday School from 3 years old, I grew up on the stories of Jesus, singing songs about His love and memorizing bible verses. I realize now that I was a prayerful kid; God was close to me. continue
When I learned who currently held the authority my Lord gave Simon Peter, recorded in Matthew 16:13-19, I didn't have much choice: I had to join the Catholic Church.
In a sense, I 'knew too much.'
I could either claim to follow Jesus and acknowledge the Son of God's authority, passed along in unbroken succession through the rise and fall of kingdoms, empires, and civilizations — or not. As Simon Peter said, it's a simple choice....