In the readings for Sunday, July 1, we’re reminded that God takes no pleasure in death, but that God conquers it in the Resurrection. God didn’t create death, but we brought it into the world through our cooperation with evil. We’re offered two stories sandwiched together in one of Jesus’ power over death, and his desire to heal us.
Category archive: PB&Grace Blogs
Incredibles 2, as promised by the actors before the movie began, was well worth the more than a decade wait for the sequel. It tackles themes like adolescence, stay-at-home parenting, working parents, work insecurity and potential homelessness, how to deal with unjust laws, and my personal nemesis: New Math. Funny, action-packed and beautifully made, this is a fantastic family movie.
Solo: A Star Wars Story offers a glimpse into three years of Han Solo’s life, which is meant to give us an understanding of where he came from and how he became the hero that we all love. Don’t worry—he knows. This was not my favorite movie from the Star Wars franchise, but it did offer some great themes for family or youth group discussions.
In Avengers: Infinity Wars, personal sacrifice to save the life of another is a major theme—as is the value of a single human life. Here’s your Catholic family movie review, complete with the trailer and discussion questions for your older kids. (We’re not recommending it for the younger set.) And, I worked really hard to not include any spoilers.
The readings for this Sunday, April 29, show us that sometimes our past can follow us. Paul, who had been Saul the oppressor of Christians, needed to show the disciples in Jerusalem that he had changed. His past scared them, and the proof of his change was the way he lived his life. He now spoke boldly for Jesus, and modeled his life after Jesus’. The second reading backs up the experience of the early Christian community–it says that words aren’t enough–we need to live in our words and our deeds. And our deeds should be loving. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that to be part of him is like belonging to a vine. The main body of the vine is where the strength is, where the nutrients come from; where the life comes from. Branches grow out from there and grow fruit.
The readings for this Sunday, April 8, tell the story of the early Christian community. They were of one mind, all having received the Holy Spirit, are allowing themselves to be led by it. Their priorities were right; everyone who needed anything got what they needed because everyone was willing to share what they had without reservation. In John’s letter, we’re reminded that to love Jesus is to keep his commandments, which were to love God with your whole self and loving your neighbor the same way. The early Christians did just that. Jesus alone gives us the ability to do that, and if we open ourselves to him, we can do it, too. Then, when Thomas was out, Jesus appeared to the other Apostles, gave them the Holy Spirit, and told them to accept their mission of being “sent out” (that’s what “apostle” means). Thomas didn’t get any of that, so when they told him about it, how could he have understood it? They didn’t without that divine assistance. But, when Thomas is given the same as everyone else, he’s ready to run with it, too. We’re given a challenge–to accept Jesus’ help without being able to see him the way the Apostles did. Can you do it?
The Chrism Mass is when the bishop of each diocese comes together with all of the priests in the diocese to bless the holy oils that will be used throughout the coming year for sacramental celebrations. The oils of the Sick, Catechumens and Chrism are blessed and distributed for parish use. It’s an important event, and if you can swing getting there, totally worth it.
In the readings for this Sunday, March 18, God fleshes out for us what he intended his covenant with us to be. To be God’s people is to live God’s law, and to live God’s law is to put love above all other things. Jesus did this for us, even when he was afraid and stressed out, and we’re called to do it for one another. Throughout our history, all of God’s actions on earth were meant to draw us closer to him. Even now, God is calling to us, dreaming of a time when we will respond to that call together and bring peace to this broken world.
In the readings for this Sunday, March 11, the theme of God’s mercy continues. The Israelites were in exile in Babylon when God used King Cyrus of Persia to send them home to rebuild God’s nation. They had been victims of war with a superpower, but now were experiencing a peace they couldn’t have seen coming. The second reading shows us God’s boundless mercy — that he didn’t wait for us to be worthy of saving, or make us have to earn salvation, but offered it as a free gift to anyone who wanted to believe in it. The Gospel today is a famous one — God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. If that’s not a mercy, I don’t know what is. Jesus tells Nicodemus that, even when the light is right in front of them (Jesus is that light), they still turn away and prefer the darkness. But, that didn’t stop Jesus from keeping his light shining. Even when we continue to choose the darkness of sin, Jesus shines his light to guide us back to him when we’re ready.
The latest installment of Marvel Comic movies, “Black Panther,” is timely, beautiful and an important commentary on our responsibility toward one another — particularly those who aren’t directly related to us. Go see it. Bring your teens. Bring your youth group.
The question of “what is my responsibility to my brother?” is a constant companion in this movie, each main character struggling with it in their own way. It challenges our use of the resources that we control, and how protecting our own freedom and stability to the exclusion and detriment of others is faulty policy; both morally and practically. Women and people of color are depicted in relationships of equality, respect and dignity that could serve as a model for us any day. If you’re looking for a way to introduce Catholic social teaching to young people, I strongly recommend using this movie as a catalyst for conversation.