We Become What We Eat

by Fr. Williams Abba  |  06/08/2023  |  Forming the Flock

Many of the prayers made by the people of the Old Testament are centered on reminding God, in case His divine memory is slipping, of the promises He made to save them. When the chosen people face new trials, their insurance against disaster is the promise of God to see them through their time of pain. They hold fast to that word of promise. Every new experience of want or suffering serves to keep alive the memory of God’s promises. Thus, their prayers of intercession are made to jolt God’s memory, to play back His promise, to hold Him to His word.


Holy Trinity Sunday

by Deacon Bill Schneider  |  06/01/2023  |  Forming the Flock

Today, Catholic Christians celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. On this day, we remember the basic dogma of our faith—the Trinity. This dogma holds that, though we believe in only One God, this God has Three Divine Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We read in St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians about the necessity to love one another. He says, “Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss” (2 Corinthians 13: 11-12). Through the centuries, members of the Church have never agreed completely on everything.


We Were Born For This

by Deacon Jeff Strom  |  05/25/2023  |  Forming the Flock

“I am not afraid, because God is with me. I was born for this!” St. Joan of Arc proclaimed this going into battle, and the Holy Spirit empowers this in us at Pentecost. She is the only person of either gender to ever hold supreme command of a nation’s military forces at only 17 years old. St. Joan of Arc, whose feast day is May 30, inspired the French against the English in the 15th century. She was wounded during battle, her fame spread, and she became perhaps the most famous person in Europe. The English put her on trial, but it turned political. Joan was charged with heresy, witchcraft and cross-dressing like a man by wearing armor into battle. Yes, the court alleged that this violated divine law. She was found guilty and burned to death before thousands. Her martyrdom helped spur the French to drive the English out. A king’s trial review years later reversed Joan’s guilty verdict. Mark Twain’s favorite book he wrote was “Joan of Arc.” “I am not afraid because God is with me. I was born for this!”


Seeing With The Eyes of Faith

by Larry Fraher, Ph.D  |  05/18/2023  |  Forming the Flock

Saint Benedict, in the prologue for his Rule, admonishes his monks to “Listen… with the ear of your heart.” Christians in the world today are called, as we were at the time of St. Benedict, to not only listen with the ear of the heart, but also to see with the eyes of our hearts.

A few weeks ago, I was walking into the church classroom. From the corner of my eye, I noticed what looked like a cross in the wooden door. Upon further inspection, not only a cross was visible, but, indeed, what appeared as a crucifix. Many who also saw the image stated that they could see, in the dark shape behind the cracks in the wood, what appears as the form of a child in an ultrasound. One person noticed the five dashes and remarked about the five wounds of Christ. This “accidental image,” is a series of cracks in a wooden door. Seen with the eye of the heart, however, it appears as a crucifix. The experience reminded me of a deeper call and need in our Catholic culture and society.


6th Sunday of Easter

by Fr. Williams Abba  |  05/11/2023  |  Forming the Flock

The scene is the courtyard of a prison. The time is dawn. A prisoner is led out to be shot; he is a priest who has been sentenced to death because he has opposed the Portuguese policy of slave trade in the country's colony. He stands against an outer wall facing seven members of the firing squad, all of them, his countrymen. Before the officer ties the blindfold, he asks the prisoner for the traditional last request. The reply comes as a surprise: the man about to die wants to play his flute for the last time.


5th Sunday of Easter

by Fr. Devaraju Gangolu  |  05/04/2023  |  Forming the Flock

The early church in Jerusalem had two groups of Jewish Christians: the first group lived in and around Jerusalem and spoke only Hebrew and Aramaic. The second group had lived elsewhere among the Greeks but now returned to Jerusalem and knew Greek rather than Hebrew and Aramaic. The complaint that quickened a kind of tension between these two groups is that the widows of the immigrants were neglected in the daily distribution of food. Such neglect was an honest mistake, as no one apostle was accused of this. Perhaps the existing system broke as Jews embraced the faith so overwhelmingly that it was impossible for the Twelve to keep an account of distribution, especially considering the language differences. The apostles solved the problems by ordaining seven reputable men who were selected to distribute food. Though these seven men started their ministry by serving food, they too will end up preaching the gospel. The whole incident shows that the church alone has the power to conquer prejudices through reconciliation, and it has power to adapt its ministries so that the risen Lord does his ministry in and through the church.


Emmaus Sunday

by Deacon Bill Schneider  |  04/20/2023  |  Forming the Flock

It is true. Only those who have lived with great expectations can experience great disappointment. Only those who have worked hard to win can truly feel the agony of defeat. Only those who hope for some great promise can know what it means to experience bitter disillusionment.

There is something special about the story of those two disciples on their way to Emmaus. Maybe it is because that story is really our story, too. We are on our way. We have our hopes and dreams for a better world, a better and happier life. We are always searching and looking for something more in life. We struggle through dark and discouraging times and we too need our faith, our hope and love made new. Like those two on the road, we need to recognize and know that the Lord is in our midst. That is what this Easter story is all about.


Thomas Was Framed

by Dr. Larry Fraher, Ph.D.  |  04/13/2023  |  Forming the Flock

Today’s Gospel is well known and beloved. In it we hear the story of “Doubting Thomas.” Thomas, who was not there for the initial appearance of Christ, is present a week later and faced with his own words as the risen Christ confronts him. Caravaggio’s turn-of-the 17th-century painting sought to capture the moment after Christ’s invitation to Thomas.


With Jesus, Let Us Rise and Protest Against Death

by Rev. Williams Abba  |  04/06/2023  |  Forming the Flock

Joan is wondering whether to have an Easter holiday or not. Her boyfriend of 5 years has just called off their relationship, leaving her feeling rejected and abandoned. She contemplates a holiday to help her come to terms with the breakup. She has no close family to help her through this. With a low income, she knows she can afford a modest holiday. So, she consults her childhood friend who gives her this advice: “Enjoy yourself now while you can—you are going to be a long time dead.”


"The White Crucifixion"

by Dr. Larry Fraher, Ph.D.  |  04/01/2023  |  Images of Faith

As Catholics we are abundantly familiar with images of the Crucifixion. We wear them on necklaces, hang them on our walls, and reverence them in our churches. The image of Christ crucified is one of the most sacred that we have, for it is the pinnacle of our faith. God, who has become one with us, now shares in our ultimate destiny, death, so that this destiny may be changed and the Divine nature of Christ becomes our new destiny in and through His resurrection.