Sunday Podcast Companions – July 10, 2016

Longer Sunday schedule again, so more time for podcasts:

  • Fr. Jay, the iPadre, recently had Bishop Athanasius Schneider, an auxiliary bishop from Kazakhstan who is known best for his book Dominus Est, as a guest at his parish for a talk and Mass. This week’s episode is a recording of Bishop Schneider’s homily, as well as a quick discussion of Cardinal Sarah’s comments on ad orientem worship at Mass.
  • Sarah and Tommy of the Catholic Hipster Podcast talked with Mary Rezac of Catholic News Service, including an interesting discussion about her article on Catholics who struggle with psychological issues. They also talk about ad orientem (it’s a big topic of Catholic discussions!) and drinks appropriate for summer.
  • In a new-to-me podcast, Dan, Jake, and Chris of the Catholic in Training Podcast discuss Pope Francis’ recent comments about apologizing to homosexuals for mistreatment. They disagree (rightfully, IMO) with the approach this apology should come for stating and defending Catholic teaching on homosexuality, while agreeing that any abusive actions towards those with homosexual tendencies should be condemned.

Sunday Podcast Companions – July 3, 2016

A bit of political opinion in this week’s podcasts:

  • Josh Mercer of CatholicVote spoke with Mary Eberstadt about her book on the erosion of religious freedom in the United States. Yet another book to add to the reading list.
  • The Liturgy Guys – Denis, Chris, and Jesse – have an interesting discussion on participation in the liturgy, and who celebrates it.
  • Just a Catholic Dad Sean talks a bunch about his opinion on Brexit, and what he’s seeing as part of the “fallout” from the vote for the UK to leave the EU. He also mentions the preparation by the air traffic controllers at Farnborough airport for the upcoming air show, and a really interesting sounding kids’ “town”.

Sunday Podcast Companions – June 26, 2016

Spent my ordination anniversary doing the usual Sunday routine. A couple good podcasts to keep me company:

  • The Catholic Hipster, AKA Tommy, and Sarah, AKA the Catholic Drinkie, spoke to a good priest friend from “up north”, Fr. Darryl Millette. They discussed the CFL (and the regrettable Sports Fathers ongoing recess), artery clogging food from both the US and Canada, and more. Fun conversation
  • Fr. Dugandzic and Tim on Credo discussed the importance of modesty, especially how it plays into prudence and chastity. This is not an episode many will want to hear, as it will strongly and clearly challenge the immodest dress and actions we see at Mass, but is an episode many Catholics need to hear and take to serious consideration and prayer.
  • Also, on Tuesday, I caught the first 2 episodes of the Liturgy Guys podcast as I was driving to a funeral in one of the reservation parishes. Very good introduction to what liturgy is about. I have an admitted bias, however, as Mundelein was my theology seminary and I learned much about liturgy, art and architecture from staff members of the Liturgical Institute – including Denis and Chris of the podcast!

Sunday Podcast Companions – June 19, 2016

We’ve been having a bit of bad weather in the evenings over the past week or so. Last night, it got so bad, BNSF Railway had an intermodal train get blown off the tracks. I had to check it out, so it gave me a little more time for listening to podcasting:

  • Sean, who is Just a Catholic Dad, talked a lot about deaths this week. It’s understandable with the number of shootings (both here in the US and over there in the UK) this past week or so, as well as the death of one of their chickens. He also talked about what we expect from our bishops, and how that relates to military leadership in peace time versus war time.
  • Jeff, the Catholic Foodie, recorded while on vacation at the Florida panhandle coast and made me really hungry after Mass by talking about vacation food. His recipe for jalapeño poppers sounds really good.

A couple quick shots from my phone of the derailment (cropped as I didn’t want to get too close to where they were working):

Some of the railcars and intermodal containers that got knocked over

Some of the railcars and intermodal containers that got knocked over

Bowdoin Derailment with Amtrak

Amtrak’s westbound Empire Builder (running only about half an hour late!) creeping through the work area.

Bowdoin Derailment Equiment

A wider view of the derailed cars and containers, as well as some of the equipment working to clean up the mess.

Sunday Podcast Companions – June 12, 2016

Back on the longer route, so a couple longer podcasts this week:

  • Fr. Christopher, Olivia, and Jeff of the Catholic Underground Podcast practice living by the humility of St. Philip Neri, discuss practicing “mindfulness” with your phone (and I would include tablet), and the role of contemplation in the spiritual life.
  • Tim of Vericast discusses the triumph of truth in his usual forthright manner. He challenges us not to fall into the trap of victimology, but to be strong in the Truth of Christ!

Sunday Podcast Companions – June 5, 2016

It’s starting to feel a lot like summer, so I was enjoying the A/C in my pickup. A couple repeat podcasts this week:

If any of these podcasts strike your interest, be sure to subscribe to them, as well as rate them, in iTunes and other podcast directories.

Sunday Podcast Companions – May 29, 2016

I’m back on my usual Mass schedule, so my time behind the wheel is “only” about an hour and a half. I did find time to squeeze in a couple podcasts.

  • My friends Sarah and Fr. Kyle at the Catholic Drinkie Show spoke with Michael and Luke of the Catching Foxes Podcast. Fun discussion, and Catching Foxes now on my podcast subscription list. Side note: I had the pleasure of meeting Michael (AKA Gomer) at the first Amazing Parish conference two years ago.
  • In a recent episode, Michael and Luke of Catching Foxes interviewed Kenn Cramer, one of the Parish Life Coordinators at St. Paul Mission on the Ft. Belknap Reservation in North Central Montana. I work with Kenn and his wife Laura as their Canonical Pastor, and was interested to hear the discussion while also checking out the podcast. Kenn did a great job describing life on the reservation, and the physical and spiritual poverty many Native Americans face, especially those who live on such rural reservations.

Sunday Podcast Companions – May 22, 2016

Driving in Montana gives me a great opportunity to listen to podcasts. Today was especially good for this due to a different Mass schedule, so here’s who accompanied me on my travels today:

Hopefully, this will the first of a regular series of posts to promote podcasts that I enjoy. A good podcast can really make the miles more bearable!

God’s peace vs the world’s peace

In the Gospel from today’s Mass, Our Lord promises His disciples, “Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you.” (John 14:27). This is one of these verses that people get wrong because we don’t understand what Our Lord means by peace.

When the world talks about “peace”, it really means “an absence of strife”. We say countries are at peace because they’re not currently exchanging bullets or dropping bombs on each other. We say people are at peace because they’re not currently attacking each other and name calling. The world even promotes material and emotional peace that is basically another word for high self-esteem.

Our Lord’s peace, however is different. To demonstrate the peace Our Lord gives, let’s compare a couple preachers: the Osteens and St. Paul.

Just one example of the many books the Osteens have published.

If you’re not familiar with Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria, they’re preachers at the Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. According to Wikipedia, the church was originally founded by Joel Osteen’s father, but Joel has really expanded it. The current building is actually a former sports arena that seats nearly 17,000 people, and is usually packed for each service.

Sounds impressive, right? Some might wish we in the Catholic Church could do the same. The problem with Joel and Victoria is that their message is not the fullness of Christianity. Oh, they claim to be Christian preachers, but what they proclaim is more or less a self-help spirituality with Christian ideas sprinkled in.

In case you have the stomach for it, here are the most recent videos from both Joel and Victoria:

Some might say, “Well, that don’t sound too bad. After all, it starts from the Scriptures.” True, but they use the Scriptures to promote typical self-help nonsense. “Thinking with the mind of Christ” does not mean “Champion mentality” and “Enjoying the life God gave you” (from Victoria’s video). Interestingly, the video from Joel even talks about “peace stealers”, not understanding that he’s talking about the world’s peace and not God’s peace. Their message is all about “being happy”.

In contrast, let’s look at St. Paul in the first reading today. He was stoned (literally, as in having rocks thrown at him, not merely smoking marijuana) and dragged out of the city. Was he “enjoying the life God gave him” at that moment? Probably not, but he got up and went right back to his work of evangelization. Because of his faithfulness to Christ, St. Paul brought thousands of people to baptism and was one of the main driving forces behind the early Church’s rapid growth.

St. Paul realized that suffering was a part of following Jesus, but he also realized and experienced the true peace Our Lord wishes to give us. This peace is not merely a “warm fuzzy”; it’s far deeper than anything the world can give. It’s a spiritual recognition of the love of God, and the consolation that leads us deeper into our relationship with Christ. It gives us the strength to stand up the stones – whether literally or figuratively – that the world wants to throw at us. We may even be able to rejoice over the mistreatment we receive at the hands of the world as the Apostles did. (Acts 5:41) It is the grace of God working in our lives, leading us to salvation and giving us the desire to bring as many people as we can with us.

This is the peace we should desire. Not the Osteens’ worldly feel-good peace, but the true peace from Our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the peace that can truly make us “bounce back” (to use Victoria Osteen’s words) from the stones of the world, and desire His salvation all the more.

Not merely saying no

It’s sad to say, but many people think the Church just says no. No, you shouldn’t shack up with your boyfriend. No, you shouldn’t use contraceptives. No, you shouldn’t get drunk or use drugs. And so on. Because they think the Church just says no, little wonder why we’re having a hard time getting our children to stay in the Church. We just sound like a bunch of prudes who don’t want anyone to have fun.

That’s not the message they should be hearing. In today’s Gospel at Mass, Our Lord tells His Apostles, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” He also tells them, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He gives them a message of hope and joy; a message that needs to be heard today.

We need to be telling people, “We have a better way.” We need to bring Christ to them, and allow them to develop a real relationship with Him. Then, when they understand the need to follow Him and desire to be His disciple, we present the moral teachings out of love and a desire to help them as they grow deeper in His love. If people don’t know who Jesus is and why it’s so important and life giving to follow Him, why would they care about following His teachings, especially in the area of morality?

This isn’t to say that we should get rid of the moral teachings of the Church. On the contrary, we need to be striving daily to live in conformity with Her teachings, as they have been given to Her by Christ Himself, and should always seek to grow in our observances of His commandments. This also doesn’t mean we need to stop fighting the moral decay of our world, but it does mean we need to find a track that leads people to Christ and not be pushed away by the “no.”

Our job as Christians is to go out and evangelize the world. We won’t be effective if the world just hears “no” from us. It needs to hear that there’s something better than how they’re living now, and allow Our Lord to guide them to following His teachings.