As I came to know more about Catholicism, I discovered that the Church spoke to all aspects of humanity — holiness, personal relationships, family life, social justice, the economy and issues of war and peace, among them. The Scriptures for Feb. 1 remind me of that spiritual reawakening.
Why does the Catholic Church ask non-Catholics to receive a Catholic annulment to a previous marriage in order to get married in a Catholic church?
It used to be that you did not know who was calling until you answered the telephone. If it were someone you spoke with all the time, you would recognize his or her voice. The same is true with our relationship with God: The more we talk and listen to him, the more likely we are to recognize the voice when we hear it.
Q. Do you believe that sins are the measurement of your passes to heaven? I don’t think so. Sins are necessary to life. How would you know that good is good if you do not experience sin? It gives balance to life.
Sunday, Dec. 21
Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Q. I have noticed that when the choir does a piece of music differently or performs a song especially well, someone inevitably starts to applaud, and the rest of the congregation follows suit. I think this detracts from the mood that the music has just created and interferes with the solemnity of the Mass. Is it just me, or should applause be reserved for musical performances outside of Mass?
Q. I understand that, as Catholics, if we choose to be cremated, our cremains are to be treated with dignity and must be buried or entombed. My husband and I have two family members who have asked us to arrange to have their ashes “scattered.” One is a Catholic, one is not. Does our duty to follow Church teaching on this matter override the wishes of our family members (even of the non-Catholic one)? I am uncomfortable with one day having to carry out their request, but I’m unsure as to how to respond.
We are celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Today’s reading reminds us of three important aspects about understanding God’s presence through history: first, salvation occurs within history; second, the mystery has been revealed; and third, God works the impossible.
Each year we celebrate Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means “to rejoice.” In the second reading, we are given the simple command by Christ through his servant St. Paul, “Rejoice always.” These words are part of St. Paul’s final advice to the Thessalonian church in his first letter. He leaves them with a simple theme, which forms the context for the third Sunday of Advent.
Q. Often, I have been at a Mass where the deacon reads the Gospel. But then, sometimes, the deacon goes on to give the homily while the priest watches. Is this a new function in the Church today?
Q. Please help me to know how to answer people who say, “It doesn’t matter what religion or beliefs you have, since we’re all going to the same place anyway.”