Archive for February, 2017

Joseph and His Brothers – Preparing the Way for Jesus Christ

Monday, February 27th, 2017

It is the understanding of the Church that all of scripture speaks of Christ.  Reading the Old Testament, the Church has found hidden in the text prophecies and foreshadowings of what is fully revealed in the New Testament (Dei Verbum, 14-16). In a particular way, the Church has illuminated the unity of scripture through typology, […] [Read more]

God’s Plan of Salvation as Revealed in the History of Genesis

Friday, February 24th, 2017

The Book of Genesis opens with the story of the origin and meaning of human life.  Then, after recounting how humanity willfully sinned, Genesis sets out the Lord’s blueprint for the reconciliation and salvation of fallen humanity. Under this plan, God would gradually reveal himself and, through a chosen people, progressively prepare mankind for Christ, […] [Read more]

The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

The purpose of sacred art in any Catholic church is to teach us something about our faith and ultimately lead us to Jesus. In Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s soaring masterpiece at the Altar of the Chair shows what is traditionally presented as Saint Peter’s “cathedra,” which is Latin for “chair,” encased […] [Read more]

The Definitive Blessing of Life in the Glory of Heaven

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

What lies beyond death is shrouded in mystery, something that we cannot fully comprehend, but Jesus Christ offers us the Good News of heaven, of new and everlasting life even after our earthly bodies have died and our temporal existence has ended. Still, all human attempts to describe precisely what heaven is like will fail. […] [Read more]

The Mystery and Tragedy of Hell

Friday, February 17th, 2017

As much as we might prefer to deny it, hell is a reality (CCC 1034-35). But exactly what hell is like and how it is experienced is couched in imagery and mystery. Scripture uses two very different pictures to describe hell – unquenchable fire, yet also cold darkness. Dante’s The Inferno depicts hell with various […] [Read more]

The Questions of Purgatory and Limbo

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Any discussion on the Last Things – death, judgment, heaven and hell – is incomplete without taking up the matters of purgatory and “limbo.” In the popular imagination, purgatory is thought of as a place not unlike a waiting room. In fact, purgatory is not so much a location as it is a temporary state […] [Read more]

Judgment and Getting a Good Judgment

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

In Michelangelo’s Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, Jesus stands as the awesome central figure. This reminds us of the Gospel’s final rendering of justice depicting those who have been found worthy and those who have not (Matthew 25:31-46). We know that two kinds of judgments will be rendered and we cannot help but ask […] [Read more]

The Mystery of Death and the Blessing of Christian Hope

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Eventually, bodies give out, all biological processes cease and then . . . utter and unsettling stillness of the flesh. Facing the reality of death is one of the hardest moments in life. When it arrives for someone we love, there is a host of emotions to work through; fear, sadness, despair, anger to name […] [Read more]

Ask the Cardinal: The Last Things and the Mercy of God

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

If you ever teach a class, you come to appreciate people asking questions, even those that are quite challenging. Understandably, some of the most challenging questions deal with life and death.  The Church treats these matters under the heading of the Last Things – death, judgment, heaven and hell – which in a sense are […] [Read more]

The 2017 Cardinal’s Appeal

Friday, February 10th, 2017

One of my greatest blessings as the archbishop of Washington comes when I visit our parishes, schools and Catholic agencies and I see how every day, people in our community encounter Christ and experience his love and hope through the great array of ministries and programs in the Archdiocese of Washington. Much of this outreach […] [Read more]