Sermon: St. Therese Homilies

The Light & Truth of Christ: Remedy for Our Culture

Homily 4th Sunday Year B

The Light & Truth of Christ: Remedy for Our Culture

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D., J.D.

Our first reading is from the Book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Bible, the last book of the Pentateuch, also called the Torah, or Law of Moses. Deuteronomy comes from two Greek words, deutero (second) and nomos (law); it means literally “second law.” 

Deuteronomy is Moses’ farewell speech to the people of Israel as they are about enter into the Promised Land. In it he sets forth, for a second time, the law of God, including the 10 Commandments, so that God’s Chosen People will remain faithful to His Law when they enter the Promised Land, which is filled with pagans who worship false gods (really demons), and who sacrifice their own children to these demons.

In ch. 18 of Deuteronomy, which we hear today, Moses speaks of “a prophet” that will come after him, from among their kin, to whom they must listen, because he will speak God’s word, and speak in God’s name. 

That prophet is, in fact, Jesus Christ, the very Word made flesh, who, as our Gospel story relates, was able to cast out demons from people possessed at the very word of His command. 

As the Son of God who became man while remaining God, Jesus had a triple office of Priest, Prophet and King. As the divine Prophet, as our Gospel today says, He taught “with authority.” 

We, who are disciples of Christ, must follow His teaching. Jesus came to reveal to us the truth – about God, and how we must lead our lives in order to get to Heaven. Therefore, the truth proclaimed by Christ must be the guiding light for all that we think, say and do in our lives. 

But Jesus desires something more from us, His faithful followers:  that we, who have the light and truth of His saving message – and the teaching of the Church, which is Christ’s living voice in the world – He desires that we do all in our power to bring that light and truth to a secular culture, which in many ways as turned its back on God, and the saving message of Jesus Christ, and therefore is in darkness, and desperately needs to be enlightened.

The Gospel acclamation for today reflects this notion: “The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, for those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, a light has shown.”

Nowhere does our secular culture need more enlightenment than in matters concerning marriage and the family. 

Now, God has beautiful plan for love, life, marriage and the family. 

Why is this area so important? Because the common good – of all people, and of each and every individual person – is intrinsically linked to the family, which desperately needs to live according to God’s plan. “As the family goes, so goes the culture.”

What is God’s plan for love, life, marriage and the family? It’s pretty simple:  

First, that intimacy between a man and a woman be reserved for marriage. WHY? So that children, the fruit of marital love, will grow up in a loving household with a father and a mother present to nurture, form and guide them – on their journey through this life, and ultimately, to eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, our ultimate goal. 

And second, that every marital act of husbands and wives, and every use of their procreative powers, always be open to God’s potentially life-creating love, thereby following the original blessing that God bestowed on the human race: “Be fertile, and multiply, fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). 

Why this blessing? Why “multiply and fill the earth”? Because God, who IS LOVE, and who is the Creator of human life, wants more souls for the Kingdom of Heaven!

Well, it’s pretty clear that we are not following God’s plan for love, life, marriage and the family: 

– marriage itself has been redefined to include people of the same sex – a relationship that, by its very nature, is closed to procreation of new human life;

– many young couples shack up, and choose not marry or have children;

– many married couples use contraception and sterilization, thereby intentionally rendering themselves infertile and closed to new human life; 

– abortion – the murder of preborn children – is used as a back-up for failed contraception. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court admitted this. In its 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who wrote the majority opinion, said “we’re keeping abortion legal [even though all the scientific evidence proved that human life begins at conception] because abortion is needed as a back-up when contraception fails, to assure that women maintain their positions in the workplace.

This reasoning reveals the truth: that abortion is really the flip side of contraception; both stem from an anti-child mentality – one prior to conception, and one after the child is conceived.

Sadly, and shockingly, many in our nation today still insist that the murder of children in the womb is a “right” that must be protected by laws in our country and in our states – something truly demonic, and insane!

As noted in last week’s bulletin, our government along with other wealthy, first world nations, has effectively declared war on people of poorer, third world nations – on families and unborn children.

The article by Dr. Stephen Mosher in last week’s bulletin told of how, back in 1974, Henry Kissinger, former National Security Adviser, wrote a 250 page report that warned that the world’s natural resources are limited, and therefore, to assure enough resources for us here in the U.S., we must reduce the populations in poorer nations that are producing too many children. 

This became official U.S. policy: U.S. taxpayer-funded programs were initiated to reduce populations of 3rd world nations through contraception, sterilization, and abortion; and these programs continue to this day.

I’ll quote from Dr. Mosher’s article: 

For over 50 years the population controllers have carried out a gigantic, costly, and inhumane program to reduce human numbers. They have abused women, targeted racial and religious minorities, undermined primary health care, and aborted countless babies. They even embraced the most brutal birth control campaign in human history: China’s infamous one-child policy.”

By the way, it was Dr. Mosher who exposed the diabolic one-child policy of the communist Chinese government more than forty years ago – he was a graduate student living in China and witnessed the horror of this program.

As a result of these practices and programs I’ve just mentioned, fertility rates are at record lows in our nation and in many wealthy first world nations – and populations are literally dying off. In the U.S., the fertility rate last year was 1.77 children per woman during her reproductive lifetime, well below the 2.1 children needed to sustain a country’s population.

I could go on and on. But my point is, that people need to hear the truth proclaimed. We must make the light and truth of Christ known, in order to cultivate a true culture of life.

Let us pray that we have strength, the fortitude, and resolve to be true witnesses of Jesus Christ to the world.

Let us pray that people in our nation, and in every nation throughout the world, will repent, turn back to God, and follow God’s beautiful plan for love, life, marriage and the family.

I’ll end with a quote from Pres. John Kennedy. He once said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” 

Holy Family 2023

Homily: Holy Family 2023

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.


Today the Church honors the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, which is the supreme model for all families in living out their individual vocations as husbands, wives and children –  that is, in striving to be holy, to be saints, within the family setting.

WHY is the Holy Family the supreme model for all families? Because it is THE HOLIEST family that every lived! 

Just think about it: The child Jesus was perfect God and perfect man in one divine person; the Blessed Virgin Mary was immaculately conceived and free from all sin for entire life; and St. Joseph was filled with grace second only to his spouse, the Virgin Mary.

We can imagine the boy Jesus working with St. Joseph in his carpenter shop – everything done to perfection, at a gentle, deliberate pace.

We can consider the conversations that took place around the dinner table, discussing the divine things: What did Jesus share with them about God and His divine origin, about creation, about the events from the Old Testament which prepared for His coming, His future life of preaching the Gospel, which would culminate with His death on the cross?

We can meditate on the time they spent in deep prayer at the day’s end, when they contemplated all these mysteries.

Pope St. Paul VI wrote a famous homily on the Holy Family which on this feast appears in the Liturgy of the Hours (the official prayer book for priests and religious). I look forward to reading it every year, and this year I reprinted it in this week’s bulletin.

Pope Paul VI describes the holy home of Nazareth as a “school” where we are able to study and meditate upon the lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and thereby to imitate their holiness as they lived out their lives in a family setting.

He says that here, “everything he is eloquent, all [of it] has meaning.”

I think that today, devotion to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is needed more than any time in the history of the Church; nay, in the history of humanity.

Never has there been such confusion over what a family is, what constitutes a true family. 

Why is this? Because attempts have been made in recent years to redefine the family; in reality, to de-form it, by making it into something contrary to God’s plan – as a sanctuary of love and life within the context of marriage.

These attempts to de-form the family have accelerated especially in recent years as a result of attempts to redefine marriage as God instituted it, between one man and one woman.

This has caused mass confusion in the minds of so many; and, I must say, that Pope Francis has – sadly, and scandalously – added to this confusion by giving permission for blessings to be administered to same-sex couples.

Read my commentary on this permission in this week’s bulletin.

Today, there is so much confusion, especially among young people, about what it means to be male or female. Many youth today think they can change their natural, God-given sexuality, as a male or a female, merely by willing it.

Imagine if someone had told you 20 years ago that this was going to be the state of things in 2023 – you would have said, “Oh, no, you’re crazy.”

I am firmly convinced that this confusion is Satanic at its root.

This is so sad. And please know, in charity, we must have empathy for these young people who are so confused; we must pray for them; and, most importantly, we must never affirm them, but rather tell them the truth.    Why? Because charity, authentic Christian love, is always practiced in accord with the truth.

The family is the vital, fundamental cell of society. As the family goes, so goes the culture.

Satan knows this well, and for this reason that has ALWAYS set his sights on destroying the family, for example, by sowing seeds of division between spouses, and trying to separate what God has joined – through divorce, which breaks up the family.

Children need a father and mother for healthy development – moral, spiritual and psychological. The societal consequences of children growing up without a father present are devastating: We need just look around at our own neighborhoods.

So let us return now to contemplating the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, our supreme model for Christian families.

What lessons can our families learn from this holiest of families?

Pope Paul VI says the first lesson is one of “silence”: We must “appropriate its great value,” he says, in the home and family. 

He says that amid all the noise and uproar present in modern family life, families should strive cultivate this “admirable and indispensable condition of mind”; he says “May the silence of Nazareth teach us recollection, inwardness, the disposition to listen to good inspirations and teachings . . . May it teach us the need for and the value of study, of meditation, . . . of the prayer which God sees in secret.”

Pope Paul VI stresses the need for the family to exist as a “communion of love” between husbands and wives, parents and children; and he speaks of the work that goes on both inside and outside the home, praising what he calls the “nobility of work” by which the family is sustained. 

Let us, on this Feast of the Holy Family, pray for all families, that they may look to the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as a source of inspiration and strength, especially in practicing silence, in order to make the home and the family a holy sanctuary of prayer and contemplation of things eternal.  

Lead Us to Jesus through the Rosary

Homily: 1st Sunday Advent Yr B: 

This Advent Ask Mary to Lead Us to Jesus through the Rosary

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D., J.D.


At the beginning a new Church year with this First Sunday of Advent (you might have noticed the new missalettes!), the Church urges us to contemplate the two comings of Christ (recall: advent means “coming”): 

His first coming, as a lowly newborn child in Bethlehem, when He comes as our universal Savior and Redeemer; 

and His Second Coming, in glory, as universal King and Lord, on the Last Day – the Day of the Lord – to judge the living and the dead.

In fact, on this first Sunday of Advent the greater emphasis is on Christ’s Second Coming; we see this especially in our second reading from First Corinthians, where St. Paul exhorts us to “keep firm and irreproachable” up to “the day of the Lord Jesus Christ”; 

and also in our Gospel, where Jesus exhorts us to “be watchful and alert,” be “ready”, for we do not know the day nor the hour when we must stand before our Lord in judgment.

On this First Sunday Advent, I’m going to urge everyone to go to the BV Mary during this holy season, to help us all better prepare for these two comings of her Son.

Mary is not only the Virgin Mother of God, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word became flesh in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit; she is also our spiritual Mother in the order of grace.

What does Mary do as our spiritual Mother? First I will ask: What to all mothers do concerning their children? They conceive them, give birth to them, and nourish them; then they form and educate them.

In conceiving Jesus, the Head of the Church, Christ’s Mystical Body, Mary also conceived all of us – spiritually, that is; for we, all the baptized, are members of Christ’s Body. 

And, at the foot of the Cross, Mary gave birth to all of us in a spiritual manner. Jesus revealed this when He said to His Mother, “Woman, behold, thy son” – referring to the Apostle John – who represented all the future disciples of Christ; then He said to John, “Behold, thy mother.”

Just listen to the words of the Second Vatican Council, quoting the great Father and Doctor of the Church, Saint Augustine: 

Mary “is clearly a mother of the members of Christ . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the church, who are members of its head [Jesus.]”

But Mary’s vocation as spiritual mother was not finished at the crucifixion of her divine Son; no, it was just beginning. After Jesus ascended into heaven, Mary nurtured the Apostles and first Christians, teaching them about Jesus and helping to form them into His likeness, according to His teachings. 

And after Mary’s assumption into heaven, as the Catechism teaches, quoting Vatican II, “by her manifold intercession [she] continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . [and] is invoked under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”

From earliest times, the Church has always urged the faithful to have recourse to Mary.

The earliest known prayer to Mary in the Church, the Sub Tuum Preasidium (earliest copy – in Greek – late 3rd century) reflects this truth:

We fly to thy patronage or holy mother of God, despise not our prayers in our necessities, but ever deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed virgin.”

Moreover, as I said earlier, Mary not only conceived and gave birth to us in a spiritual manner; she is active as our spiritual Mother in forming us in the likeness of her Son, Jesus.

Here again I will quote the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (found in the Catechism, no. 501): Now in heaven, Mary’s “spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom Jesus came to save – the faithful in whose generation and the formation she cooperates with a mother’s love.”

Actually, the original Latin says “generation and education.” A good mother teaches her children, and Mary is the best of mothers. If we have recourse to Mary, she will teach/educate us about her Son; she will form us into the likeness of Jesus.

This is why the Rosary is such a powerful tool, because by praying it we meditate on the mysteries of the life of Jesus, calling on Mary over and over again to “pray for us, now and at of the hour of our death.”

In this holy season of Advent, let us have recourse to Mary through praying the Holy Rosary – daily – asking her to form us more and more into the likeness of Christ, her Son. 

Jesus said, “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” 

Let us meditate on how the Son of God humbled himself by taking flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and living there for nine months. (1st Joyful mystery); and then humbled himself as a child by being obedient to Joseph and Mary.

Let us meditate on the meekness and humility of Jesus when He allowed Himself to be crowned with thorns, and mocked and ridiculed.

Let us ask Mary to teach us how to carry our crosses with patience each day during this Advent season, in imitation of Jesus who fell beneath the heavy cross, weighed down by our sins; and after carrying it to Calvary, was then affixed to that cross by three nails – for three long hours, agonizing in pain.

Finally, let us ask Mary to share in her joy at the Birth of Jesus, and likewise her joy at Christ’s resurrection and Ascension into heaven.

After meditating on these mysteries, let us strive to bring the joy of Christ to others in this holy season of Advent, as we prepare for the glorious Birth of our Savior!

Christ The King Reigns Over All

Homily Christ the King Year A: Jesus Christ Reigns Over All

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, STD, JD

Today, on this last Sunday of the Church year, we celebrate the great Solemnity of Christ the King.

Yes, Jesus is the universal King of kings and Lord of lords, who reigns over all peoples and nations.

How can Jesus reign over all peoples and nations – even over those who do not acknowledge Him as their King and their God? 

He can do so, based on two rights: first, by a natural right, since He is God, Creator and thus Supreme Ruler over all of creation, which includes all peoples and nations.

Second, by an acquired right – as universal Redeemer and Savior. 

Jesus is the Eternal Word made flesh, who suffered and died to redeem every single person on earth, from the first man, Adam, to the very last, at the end of the world. 

Jesus acquired a right to reign over everyone, because He shed His precious Blood for every person on earth.

Of course, only those who accept Jesus as their Redeemer, King, and Lord will, in the end, reign with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.

For as St. Paul tells us in first Corinthians, our second reading today: “Just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.” 

This “being brought to life from the dead” comes – as St. Paul tells us – at “the end” – i.e, at the end of the world, at Christ’s Second Coming, when the resurrection of all the dead takes place, followed by the General Judgment.

Jesus speaks of this in today’s Gospel: at His Second Coming, Jesus will “sit upon his glorious throne”; the dead will rise, and “all peoples and nations will be assembled before him” for judgment.

Then, like a shepherd, He will “separate the sheep from the goats,” placing “the sheep on his right in the goats on his left.”

To the sheep on His right he will say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; because I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, naked and you clothed me, sick and in prison and you visited me.”

To the goats on His left He will say, “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me no drink, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”

The words of Jesus makes crystal clear that more than faith alone – saying we believe in Him – is needed to gain entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. 

If we desire to attain Heaven, we must actively practice charity towards others – in whom we should see Jesus. And when we fail in charity, we turn our backs on our Lord.

We might ask ourselves a fundamental question: 

If Jesus – as universal King, God and Redeemer – reigns over all peoples and nations, why isn’t His Gospel message embraced & and lived out by everyone in the world?

Well, for two basic reasons. The first is, the world does not follow the teachings of Jesus because many people in the world do not know and acknowledge Him as their Lord, King and Savior.

When Jesus lived on earth, His own people, the Jews, rejected Him as their Messiah and King; in fact, both the Jews and the Gentiles mocked Him as such – recall that that the Roman soldiers placed a chronic thorns on His head; and at the top of the cross on which Jesus died were written the words, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

Today, 2000 years later, Jesus is still hated by many, and His teachings ignored and despised.

The second reason the world does not follow Jesus is because He does not reign over our minds/hearts as He should, even among those who profess to believe in Him.

The feast we celebrate today, Christ’s universal Kingship, was first proclaimed almost 100 years ago by Pope Pius XI, with his 2nd encyclical, which he wrote in 1925, titled “On the Feast of Christ the King.”

Pius XI’s first encyclical, written in 1922 – called “On the Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ,” laid the groundwork for the feast he proclaimed three years later.

Even though it was written more than 100 years ago, it reads as though it could have been written yesterday. I’ll quote some lines from this encyclical:

  1. Men today do not act as Christians, as brothers, but as strangers, and even enemies. The sense of man’s personal dignity and of the value of human life has been lost in the brutal domination [of one nation over another] . . . [Men] have turned to the acquisition of material and temporal possessions and are forgetful of eternal and spiritual things, to the possession of which Jesus, Our Redeemer, by means of the Church, His living interpreter, calls mankind.

Sound familiar? No value for human dignity/the value of human life? One nation exercising brutal domination over another? Focusing on acquiring material possessions and forgetting eternal and spiritual things – to which Jesus calls mankind?

I’ll quote Pope Pius XI again:

  1. . . . Because men have forsaken God and Jesus Christ, they have sunk to the depths of evil. They waste their energies and consume their time and efforts in vain sterile attempts to find a remedy for these ills, but without being successful. . . . 

Why? Because they do not turn to Jesus Christ, the King, who tells us, “Without me, you can do nothing.”

Pius XI then says that in setting up their governments, “It was a quite general desire that both laws and governments should exist without recognizing God or Jesus Christ, on the theory that all authority comes from men, not from God.”

How many nations have set up governments and enacted laws and policies, without recognizing Jesus Christ as King? I would say every nation on earth!!!

Pius XI goes on:

  1. Again, legislation was passed which did not recognize that either God or Jesus Christ had any rights over marriage – an erroneous view which debased matrimony to the level of a mere civil contract, despite the fact that Jesus Himself had called it a “great sacrament” (Ephesians5:32) . . . [and] the idea of the family, the germ of all social life, . . . became confused in the minds of many.

Today, court decisions and laws have attempted to redefine marriage and the family – which, in fact, is not possible, given that God at the beginning of the human race instituted marriage between one man and one woman.

Continuing, Pius XI says: 

  1. Added to all this, God and Jesus Christ, as well as His doctrines, were banished from the school. As a sad but inevitable consequence, the school became not only secular and non-religious, but openly atheistic and anti-religious. . . . 

Thus, the school, forcibly deprived of the right to teach anything about God or His law, could not but fail in its efforts to really educate, that is, to lead children to the practice of virtue

Yes, and now books are in our public school libraries throughout the nation, which undermine children’s innocence and introduce them into sexual perversity.

Pope Pius XI ends his magnificent encyclical with these words:

  1. It is possible to sum up all We have said in one word [or phrase], “the Kingdom of Christ.” For Jesus Christ reigns over the minds of individualsby His teachings, in their hearts by His love, in each one’s life by the living according to His law and the imitating of His example. 

Jesus reigns over the family when (says Pius XI) – modeled after the holy ideals of the sacrament of matrimony instituted by Christ – it maintains unspotted its true character of sanctuary. In such a sanctuary of love, parental authority is fashioned after the authority of God, the Father, from Whom it originates.

The way families along with all family members can become a true “sanctuary of Christian love” is for them to acknowledge Christ as their King. A beautiful practice to help accomplish this to Enthrone an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a prominent place the home, as a constant reminder that Jesus reigns over us – because His Sacred Heart is the most perfect Symbol of His divine and human love. Then the family members carry this message to those in the broader society – to transform it, and to further establish Christ’s reign. Normally we enthrone an image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary along with that of the SHJ: Mary reigns as Queen with her Son over us. 

Precious Blood of Jesus

Homily 14th Sunday Yr A:  July – Month of Most Precious Blood of Jesus

By Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.


In our 2nd reading today, from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, he says: “You are [living a life] in the spirit only if the Spirit of God dwells in you.” 

How does the Spirit of God dwell in us? By Baptism – when we receive a share of God’s own divine life in our souls (called Sanctifying Grace); it is then that the Spirit of God dwells in us as well.

This is called the “Divine Indwelling” – the Spirit of God dwelling in us, making us “temples” of the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says elsewhere.

And because the Holy Spirit is one in substance with God the Father and God the Son (three Persons in One God), when the Holy Spirit dwells in us, the entire Trinity dwells in us – we become, in truth, “temples” of the living God.

This was all made possible by Christ’s suffering and death. 

That’s why St. Paul, in that same Epistle to the Romans, says that, “through baptism into his death, . . . we live in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).

And in dying on the Cross, Jesus shed His Blood for us. 

Blood is the source of life for the flesh, our body. If our body is drained of blood, we die. 

This is how we were redeemed: by Christ shedding His Blood for us.

St. Paul makes this clear in his Epistle to the Ephesians:  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).  

Continuing, St. Paul says that “in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near [to God] by the Blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).

In the Old Covenant, the Jews offered the blood of bulls and goats, which could not take away sin. But Jesus, the True Lamb of God, offered his own blood to redeem us. 

St. Peter tells us this also in his First Epistle: “You were redeemed not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ as the Lamb without blemish or stain” (1 Pet. 18-19).

Last month, the month of June, was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, because in June we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – the Friday after the Feast of Corpus Christi.

In the Church’s tradition, the month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because in the Church’ traditional calendar, we celebrate, on July 1, the Feast of the Precious Blood of Jesus.

Before the second Vatican Council there were separate feasts for the Body of Christ (Corpus Christi) and the Blood of Christ.

In the new order of the Mass (after Vatican II), these feasts are now combined on Corpus Christi – which is really now the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.

What do we mean by saying that Jesus redeemed us by His Blood?

We mean that Christ, the sinless Lamb of God, became man and allowed sinful men to scourge Him, crown Him with thorns, and crucify Him – all of which caused Him to profusely shed His Precious Blood; literally, to bleed to death, in order to pay the price for our sins and to redeem/buy back for us the share in God’s own divine life that was lost by Adam’s sin.

Many medical doctors are of the opinion that the ultimate cause of Jesus’ death was loss of blood. The description of St. John the Apostle gives witness to this: When His side and Heart were pierced by the lance, both blood and water poured forth – a sign that almost all the blood had drained from His Body.

So, what was the price that Jesus paid for our redemption? The shedding of His Precious Blood. 

Jesus attested to this when, at the Last Supper, He took the chalice and said, “This is the blood of the New Covenant, which will be shed for the forgiveness of sins.”

We call Christ’s Blood “precious” because it was, truly, the Blood of the Son of God who, out of love for us, assumed a human nature, with a human body that had human blood running through its veins.

That Most Precious Blood was shed for us during His Passion – which began in the Garden of Gethsemane when He literally sweated blood (as St. Luke, the Evangelist who was a physician, tells us); it continued with His scourging of the pillar, which caused a tremendous loss of blood – horrific, as Mel Gibson portrayed so powerfully in his movie The Passion of the Christ, and which is shown on the Shroud of Turin, the burial cloth of Jesus, with hundreds of marks on His body, especially on His back; then with the crowning with thorns which pierced Our Lord’s head/scalp, with blood pouring down on His beautiful face; and was consummated on Calvary when He was nailed to the cross.

In fact, as I’ve said, after Jesus died, the centurion pierced His side and Heart with a lance and both blood and water poured out – a sign that Jesus had nothing more to give; He shed His very last drops of blood for us.

The great Saints from the early centuries of the Church tell us that the Blessed Virgin Mary, who stood beneath the Cross as Jesus lay dying, was splattered with His Blood – the blood He had received from her when He was conceived, and during His nine months in His Mother’s womb.

Most importantly, we believe that Christ continues to offer His Blood for us in every Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Now in Heaven, in a glorified body, Jesus can no longer shed His blood physically, as He did on Calvary. 

But as Father John Hardon says, “in every Mass He sheds His Blood mystically. That is why, when He instituted the Eucharist [at the Last Supper], He separately consecrated first the bread, ‘This is my body’, and then the wine, ‘This is my blood.’ . . . 

“[Thus] every Mass signifies the separation of Christ’s Body and Blood. . . . On Calvary, Christ merited the graces of our salvation. Through the Mass, He now communicates the graces won for us by the shedding of His Blood on the Cross.”

This is why at every Mass the priest consecrates the bread and the wine separately, as Jesus did at the Last Supper, symbolizing that on Calvary His Blood was separated from His Body, which led to His death – and our redemption.

But we realize that when we receive the consecrated host, we receive both the Body and Blood of Jesus. Why? Because It is the glorified Body and Blood of Jesus that we receive – and now, having risen from the dead, glorified, His Blood can no longer be separated from His Body.

Receiving Christ’s risen, glorified Body and Blood in the Eucharist is how we CONTINUE to live in the Spirit. Why is this so? B/c the divine life we received at Baptism, like our human, bodily life, needs to be continually FED.

This is why Jesus says (in the Bread of Life discourse in ch. 6 of John’s Gospel):

Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.”

And Jesus then says: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood, I will raise him on the Last Day” – making clear that His risen, glorified Body and Blood in the Eucharist is the Source and Pledge of our future resurrection, on the Last Day, in GLORIFIED BODIES, with GLORIFIED BLOOD running through our veins!

St. Paul testifies to this in our 2nd reading today when He says: “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also [on the Last Day, Christ’s 2nd Coming in glory], through his Spirit that dwells within you.”

A beautiful practice in the month of July is to pray the Litany of the Precious Blood of Jesus. I’ll quote some lines here:

Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the agony, save us.

Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the scourging, save us.

Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the crowning of thorns, save us. 

Blood of Christ, poured out on the cross, save us.

In this Litany, we are reminded why the Blood of Christ is so precious:

Blood of Christ, the price for our salvation, save us.

Blood of Christ, without which there was no forgiveness of sins, save us

A beautiful traditional piece of artwork that symbolizes Jesus nourishing us with His Precious Blood is the image of the mother pelican: When she has no more food to feed her young, she pecks her breast with her long beak and feeds them with her own blood.

I’ll end with a few more lines from the Litany of the Precious Blood:

Blood of Christ, stream of mercy, save us.

Blood of Christ, victor over demons, save us.

Blood of Christ, courage of martyrs, save us.

Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, save us!


Belief in Real Presence a Test of Faith

Homily Corpus Christi Yr A 2023:  Belief in Real Presence a Test of Faith

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D., J.D.


In our first reading from the book of Deuteronomy, Moses speaks of how God tested the faith of the Israelite people as they wandered through the desert for 40 years. 

How did he test them? He fed them with manna – bread from heaven, which they found on the surface of the ground each day.

The Israelite people had to put their faith in God’s word, that He would sustain them with daily bread for 40 years. And God was faithful to His word.

In the Gospel today, from ch. 6 of John’s Gospel – called the “Bread of Life” discourse – Jesus makes clear that the manna which fed the Israelites was a symbolic foreshadowing of the Holy Eucharist. 

Jesus says: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” 

By this teaching, Jesus was testing the faith of His disciples. They had already been with Him for three years. Jesus had taught them many things, but this was the real test of their faith.

St. John the Apostle tells us that upon hearing this, they ask: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus responds: “Amen, amen [truly, truly] I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.”

We can well imagine how this sounded when they heard this teaching of Jesus for the first time: to put it bluntly, it sounded incredible.

In fact, almost all of Jesus’ disciples then walked away. They would follow Him no more.

Was Jesus only speaking symbolically here? No. Those who walked away clearly understood that Jesus was speaking literally; and this is precisely why they left Him. They would no longer be His disciples.

And Jesus let them go. Why? Because He was speaking literally; He meant what He said about eating His flesh and drinking His blood; and His words, which we can consider a prophecy, were fulfilled at the Last Supper, when Jesus took bread, blessed it, and said, “Take and eat, this is my body”; and then took wine and said, “This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

The same blood that Jesus shed on the cross on Good Friday, He gave His Apostles to drink at the Last Supper.

The Church, infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost, has always believed that Jesus was speaking literally when He said, “I am the living bread that has come down from heaven”; and when He said that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood if we want to be raised up on the Last Day, in bodies glorified.

How do we explain our belief in this great mystery, which many people who call themselves Christians, deny? That the bread and wine, after the words of consecration said by the priest, by the power of the word of God, working through the priest acting in persona Christi t (in the Person of Christ), truly become Christ’s Body and Blood – and not just a symbol of His Body and Blood? 

We explain this great mystery of our faith, this greatest of miracles – the  changing of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus that happens at every Mass – through the doctrine of transubstantiation: the substance of the bread and wine change into Christ’s Body and Blood, while the appearance of the bread and wine remain – which allows us to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.

And in order to strengthen our belief in this great mystery, God has, many times over the centuries, performed an additional miracle: the appearance of the bread or wine has also visibly changed into flesh and blood. 

We call these events Eucharistic miracles. The first and most well-known Eucharistic miracle took place in Lanciano, Italy, back in the 8th century, at the Church of St. Longinus (the Roman centurion who thrust his spirit through Christ’s side and Heart).

During Mass, the priest, whose faith in the Eucharist was weak, doubted Christ’s Real Presence while saying the words of consecration. The Host visibly turned to flesh as he held it in his hands, and the wine visibly turned into blood. 

The Host turned flesh and blood in the chalice were preserved in the church and venerated by the faithful ever since – you can go and see them today; or you can do a google search and see it and read about it.

Fast-forward 12 centuries. In the late 20th century, the bishop permitted scientific experiments to be performed. A small slice of the host turn flesh, and a sample of the blood, were tested, by scientists from the World Health Organization, without telling from where the samples came.

The results: the flesh was found to be the myocardium, the middle and thickest layer of the heart wall. Scientists could tell from the heart sample that the man’s body had undergone great trauma (e.g., scourging). 

Most astounding of all, the myocardium was living flesh, as if cut out of living human being – even though this was more than 1,200 years later. The Host-turned-flesh was not hermetically sealed; it should have lost all its properties of living flesh, and disintegrated over time.

Examination of the blood revealed that it had all the qualities of freshly shed blood – which normally breaks down in a short time if exposed to the open air; and the blood type was AB – which matched the blood found on the Shroud of Turin, the burial cloth of Jesus.

Back in the 8th century, when the miracle took place, the blood in the chalice had coagulated, into five globules. The scientists who tested the blood found that the weight of the globules of blood was the same, whether they weighed one, or three, or all five – again, defying any scientific explanation.

Another famous Eucharistic miracle is that at the Church of St. Stephen in Santarem, Portugal, near Fatima. 

In the 13th century, a woman with marital problems consulted a witch, who told her she would help her if she would bring to her a consecrated host. The woman after receiving communion, spit out the Host into a handkerchief, but while walking to the witch’s home, noticed that the handkerchief was bloody. The Host had turned to flesh. The next day she brought the Host turned to flesh to the local bishop, who ordered it placed it in a monstrance in the church, where it remains to this day.

I saw up close this Eucharistic miracle on three occasions.

Still another Eucharistic miracle took place in a church in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1996. That Host turned to flesh, and was preserved in the church for a few years; then it likewise sent off to a laboratory to be tested, without telling the scientists its origin.

The test results were similar to the Eucharistic miracle at Lanciano, Italy: the flesh was found to be heart tissue from the myocardium, and the heart showed signs of severe trauma to the body. 

Also, the tests showed that the flesh was living flesh, as if cut out of living man – and this was more than three years after the Host had turned to flesh. 

And like the miracle at Lanciano, the Host-turned-flesh was not hermetically sealed; it should have disintegrated over time.

One of the scientists who performed the experiment was so astounded that he converted to the Catholic faith.

Significantly, in the Eucharistic miracles when the Host has visibly turned to flesh, and scientific tests were performed, all reveal that the flesh is from the heart – we believe, the Heart of Our Lord. 

Why might this be? I think it’s because the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the most perfect symbol of Jesus Christ’s love for us: both divine and human love, because He is both God and man in one divine Person.

On this coming Friday, the Friday after the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, based upon the request that Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675.

In what is known as the “Great Revelation” of June, 1675, Our Lord uttered these famous words to St. Margaret Mary:

Behold this Heart, Which has loved men so much, that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify to them Its love; and in return I receive from the greater number nothing but ingratitude by reason of their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and neglect which they show Me in this Sacrament of Love(Emphasis added.)

What is the Sacrament of Love to which Jesus refers? The Most Holy Eucharist. 

With these words Jesus reveals to us the marvelous truth that His Sacred Heart is in this Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar; and further, and that His Heart is offended because of the ingratitude, irreverence and sacrileges He receives in this Sacrament of His Love.

Jesus is always present in the tabernacle, waiting for us to worship and adore Him in this Most Blessed Sacrament. And so many people fail to show their love of Jesus, which reveals, I think, a lack of faith.

Many years ago I read a story about Mahatma Gandhi, the former leader of India. He met with a group of Catholics, who were trying to persuade him to convert to the Catholic faith, and to belief in the Eucharist.

After listening very patiently to these Catholics tell him about the miracle of the Eucharist, and how Jesus is really Present there, in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, Ghandi responded in these words: “I would very much like to believe what you tell me. But I do not believe that you Catholics believe what you say you believe about Jesus in the Eucharist. You see, if I really believed that the Eucharist is Jesus, my Lord and my God, I would crawl on my belly to church every day to worship and adore him.” 

These words from a pagan should move our hearts to a deeper devotion to Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist; they should move us to spend time in worship and adoration of Jesus, in conversation with Our Eucharistic Lord, heart to Heart, especially when the Jesus in the Eucharist is exposed on our altars.

The Holy Trinity as an Icon for the Family

Holy Trinity Yr A:
The Holy Trinity as an Icon for the Family
Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D., J.D.

Today the Church celebrates the central mystery of our Catholic Faith: the Most Holy Trinity – one God, but three distinct Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – all three who are co-equal, all who are co-eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, and . . . all loving.

We express our belief in this great mystery when we say the sign of the cross: in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit – name being in the singular – to signify only one God.

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not one person with three different names – that’s actually a heresy that was condemned in the early Church.

Muslims accuse us of being polytheists – believing in three gods.

No, but we do believe that there are truly three distinct Persons in the Trinity.

So, what is it that makes the three divine Persons distinct? It is their relations with one another, which are eternal.

What do I mean by this? God the Father is unbegotten; as such, He is the Source of the Trinity – not in succession of time, but from all eternity.

How so? God the Father eternally begets, or generates, the Son, who is the Word. (cf. Jn. 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”).

In knowing ourselves, we generate words and ideas; so likewise with God the Father. But God the Father has known Himself perfectly from all eternity, and His self-knowledge is so perfect, it’s another Person – of the same nature, or substance, as God the Father (just as our own self-knowledge is in a way distinct from our mind, but one with us, with our human nature).
This is why we profess in the Creed that we believe God the Son is consubstantial – or of the same substance – as God the Father.

God the Father has from all eternity begotten the Son; He does so now, and always will – because He has always known Himself perfectly, and always will.

Now, where does the Holy Spirit enter in?
Well, from all eternity there has been a mutual, infinite, and perfect love between God the Father and God the Son – so perfect, in fact, that it, too, is another person: the Holy Spirit, who in theology is called the Fruit of the love between the Father and the Son.

From all eternity the Father and the Son, in their mutual love, have breathed forth the third divine Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit – who proceeds from their mutual love.
This is precisely why we say in the Creed that we believe the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

The Holy Spirit is also called the divine Person of Love in the Trinity, because from all eternity the Holy Spirit receives the mutual love of the Father and the Son, and returns that love, fructifies it – in the One God who IS LOVE – each divine Person giving Himself totally to the other Persons in love.

So, to sum up the eternal relations of the three divine Persons in the Trinity:
God the Father begets or generates; God the Son is eternally begotten, and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from their mutual love.

We are made in God’s image and likeness. God is Love; and we are made to love in the manner of divine love: giving ourselves in love totally to others, as the divine Persons give of themselves totally to one another, in love.

It is for this reason that theologians have proposed that the Triune or three-personed God, the Holy Trinity – the infinitely perfect divine society, is the perfect model or icon of the family – the fundamental and original human society.

One such theologian is the Ven. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen – the first televangelist. Archbishop Sheen wrote what I consider the greatest work ever composed on marriage and the family. The title: Three to Get Married.
The basic premise of the book is that all authentic love is triune – having its source in God: three-personed love.

Applied to marriage, Sheen said that it takes three to get married, because it takes three to love: the man, the woman, and God.

The Vatican II recognized this truth: The document On the Church in the Modern World teaches that, “Authentic married love is caught up into divine love” (GS 48).

In 3 to Get Married, Archbishop Sheen emphasizes that “if love were only mutual self-giving, it would end in exhaustion, or else become a flame in which both would be consumed. . . . ”

And just as divine love is eternally and infinitely fruitful in the Person of the Holy Spirit, so the love between husband and wife is designed by God to produce fruit: the child, who proceeds from the mutual love of husband and wife, in cooperation with divine love: it is God that creates a completely unique immortal soul and infuses it into the embryo, making it a human being.

Here is how Archbishop Sheen says it:
“As the Three Divine Persons do not lose their personality in their oneness of essence but remain distinct, so the love of husband and wife leaves their souls distinct. As from the love of the Father and the Son proceeds a third distinct person, the Holy Spirit, so in an imperfect way, from the love of husband and wife, there proceeds the child who is a bond of union which gives love to both in the spirit of the family.”

SHEEN: Even those without faith speak of their mutual love in the third person. They say “our love.” They speak of love as if love were a third person common to them, belonging to them, and uniting them in a mysterious way. They are paying tribute without knowing it, to the mystery-model of their union. This Third Person, altissimum donum Dei, is also given to human beings to unite them in love, in the measure that the couple accepts it as the “spirit” of their union. Marriage is a trinity even when no child proceeds from it through no fault of the parents. But if the child comes, then love is made incarnate.

Yes, we can truly say that the child is the enfleshment of the love of husband and wife in cooperation with divine love.

I’ll quote Sheen once again:

“The Sacrament of Marriage, because it is life-giving love and love-giving life, is the image of the Trinity. As the riches of the Holy Spirit of Love are at the disposal of those who live under His impulse, so marriage, lived as God would have it lived, associates partners to the creative joy of the Father, to the self-sacrificing love of the Son, and to the unifying love of the Holy Spirit.”

The Devil Attempts to Tempt Jesus

1st Sunday Lent Yr A: The Devil Attempts to Tempt Jesus

The Devil, Satan, plays an important part in the world history. In the form of a serpent, he tempts first Eve, and then Adam, to eat the forbidden fruit. 

That Original Sin marks the fall of the human race from God’s grace and friendship. The Gates of heaven close. Deprived of divine grace, human beings become slaves of the Devil.  

To win back Sanctifying Grace, a share in God’s own divine life, and make us His children once again, the Son of God becomes man and dies on the cross to redeem us from our sins, and free us from slavery to the Evil One.

To prepare for His public ministry, Jesus, after His baptism by John in the Jordan River, retires to the desert to pray and fast for 40 days.

And as we see in the Gospel today, Satan tries to tempt Jesus. 

Who is Satan? A fallen angel. 

Who are the angels? They are creatures, pure spirits, who, like us, have a rational intellect and free will. 

But the angelic intellect is far superior to ours. Angels know things not by reasoning things out; rather, their great intellects allow them to grasp or understand things immediately.

We know that God created all the angels good. At the time they were created, before they were allowed to enter into God’s presence and see God, the angels were given a test of obedience.

The common teaching of the Church holds that God revealed to the Angels that the human beings would fall from God’s grace, that the Son of God would become man to redeem the human race, and that the angels would have to worship and adore the God-man, Jesus Christ; also, they would have to venerate the woman who would be Mother of God, Mary.

We think about a third of the billions of angels, led by Satan – the most beautiful and intelligent of all the angels – and moved by pride, rebelled at the thought of worshiping the God-man, Jesus Christ, and especially having to venerate the woman, His Mother, Mary. Why? Because the angelic nature, being pure spirit, is above our lowly human nature, made up of both body and spirit.

And because of their great intellects, the angels understood fully that their rebellion against God was final and definitive. 

And so was their separation from God: When these angels disobeyed, Hell began.

The Devil and the other fallen angels are offered no opportunity to repent, because their free wills, guided by their great intellects, are hardened and fixed forever in opposition to God’s will.

In other words, the fallen Angels, Satan and the rest of the demons, would refuse to repent to even if they were offered it by God, so hardened are they in their stubborn, sinful pride.

Satan and the other fallen angels are in hell, but God, in His providence, permits them to tempt us. This is a mystery. But God gives us grace to reject temptations.

How do the devils to tempt us? By suggesting things to us. 

All they can do is suggest things; they cannot force our wills to obey them and disobey God, because our wills are free. All the demons in Hell cannot force us to commit even the smallest of venial sins.

But because we are fallen creatures, our free wills are inclined to rebel against God’s will in order to do our own will, and sin.

We call this inclination to sin concupiscence; and manifests itself in particular in seven ways, which we call the seven deadly sins: PLACES-G:  pride, lust, anger, covetousness, envy, sloth, and gluttony.

In our first reading from Genesis we see evidence of both pride and lust: They desire to be like gods (sinful pride); and they can no longer look at one another in innocence in their nakedness – they feel shame from lust, so they sew fig leaves to cover themselves.

Now Jesus, being perfect God and perfect man in one divine Person, was of course free from concupiscence.

But Satan did not know this, because he really did not know that Jesus was God in the flesh.

Now, the devil and the other fallen angels would have known certain things about Jesus from their observations – e.g., that He had been conceived without Mary having had relations with Joseph. 

Saint Cromantius, a fourth-century bishop, stated: “[Satan] had heard that it had been announced by the angel to the Virgin that she would give birth to the Son of God. He saw the Magi…. He saw, after [Jesus’] baptism, the Holy Spirit descending like a dove. He also heard the Father’s voice from heaven saying, ‘This is my Son.’” 

Still, knowing that Jesus was “Son of the Most High God” doesn’t give the full picture of who He is. Though Satan could see that Jesus was a holy man of virtue, he did not know that He was the Word made Flesh – His Incarnation remained concealed. 

But from what the Prince of Darkness did observe about Jesus, he was very much puzzled and perturbed. 

St. Cromantius continues: Satan heard John with a loud voice proclaiming, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” 

No doubt Satan, who had filled the world with sins, feared now that someone had come to take away the sins from the world. 

Another early Saint, Hilary, says that the Devil “had despaired, seeing Christ fast for forty days; but perceiving that afterwards he was hungry [since God could not experience hunger], he began to hope again” (In Matt, ii.3).

So now, in an attempt to discover who Jesus really is, he sets out to tempt Him, knowing that if he yields to the temptations, he need not be too concerned.

This is why Satan begins his temptations saying, “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread . . . throw yourself off the Temple.”

The CCC (538) teaches that temptation is an attraction, either from outside oneself or from within, to act contrary to right reason and the commandments of God. 

It progresses to fulfillment, in sin, according to Pope St. Gregory the Great, by beginning with suggestion, continuing on to delight, and concluding with consent.  

In the case of Our Lord, who could not be tempted from within (because He was God) but only from without – in this case, from the Devil himself – delight in sin was not possible; nor could He ever consent to it. 

So the Devil, that most cunning serpent who Jesus tells us is “a liar and a murderer from the beginning” (Jn. 8:44), knowing Jesus is hungry, urges Him to turn stones into bread. 

Jesus refuses. Had He worked this miracle, it would have revealed his identity – which He did not intend to do. 

The second temptation as recorded by St. Matthew: “Throw yourself down from the Temple, for the angels will bear you up.” Worthy of note here that Satan quotes Scripture here. Yes, the cunning serpent knows Scripture, and can use it for his own advantage. But this temptation is a clear example of Satan putting God to the test, just to satisfy his curiosity. Would God send His angels to save Jesus from being injured – or, if Jesus is God, will He save Himself?

Finally, the Devil shows Our Lord all the kingdoms of the world, saying, “All of these will be yours if you fall down and worship me.” This temptation reveals Satan growing even bolder in his sinful pride; for if Jesus is indeed God, to offer Him the all kingdoms of the world with all their riches in return for worshiping him, is pure blasphemy.

Our Lord says to him, “Begone.” This should be our immediate response to every temptation that the Devil or his demons may set before us. We do not want to “dialogue” with the devil, engage in conversation with him, for he is extremely clever and we will come out the losers. This is the trap that Eve fell into, and we know “the rest of the story,” as they say.

The Evil One comes disguised and speaks slyly to us to ensnare us – often with sweet words. But make no mistake: As St. Peter warns us, the Devil “prowls about like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” – and sometimes he does devour. 

St. John Chrysostom wisely notes that often times we do not seek our salvation as eagerly as Satan seeks our damnation

This past Ash Wednesday, we received ashes in the form of a cross on our foreheads as a sign of our feeble fallen human nature that one day will “return to dust.” The Gospel provides us with the road map that we must travel to Calvary, and Jesus gives Himself as an example to follow in our Lenten journey, with prayer and fasting.  

Through these holy practices, along with acts of charity, let us consecrate this holy season of forty days – to arm ourselves against the attacks of the enemy.  

To quote Archbishop Listecki: “Prayer should always be a part of our daily routine, but during Lent we intensify our prayer life by deepening our relationship with God. For some, daily Mass will be added to their schedule, for others, additional time for adoration, and still others the Rosary or the reading of Scripture [or all of these!]. We often take our most intimate relationships for granted. Prayer reminds us of just how blessed we are to have the love of Christ present in our lives.”

Fasting and abstinence make us battle ready to engage in the spiritual combat that is always before us: “We intentionally deny ourselves something we can ‘have’ or ‘do,’” says the Archbishop, “in order to strengthen our will and unite us to Christ. Through our union with Christ’s sufferings, we are in ‘solidarity’ with our brothers and sisters in need.”

Almsgiving, sharing our wealth with those in need, as well as sacrificing our time in serving others, offers us the opportunity to share our blessings with others in and for Christ.

Let us do all these good and holy works in order to make Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection more fruitful and effective in our lives during this holy season.

Humility: Boast Not in Oneself, but in the Lord

Homily 4th Sunday Yr A: Humility: Boast Not in Oneself, but in the Lord

Fr. Dwight Campbell, S.T.D.


No one should boast before God. Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.”


These are the words of St. Paul in our second reading today, from First Corinthians. 


Why should no one boast before God? Precisely because He is God, and we are His creatures. 

We would not even exist if it were not for Him. He created all things, including us, and He maintains everything in being


What does it mean to boast in the Lord? It means that we should attribute to God, give Him credit, for any good we do, for any holiness we attain, knowing that it is all due to God’s grace.


St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), used the motto for members of his order: Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God). That is, we should do all things not for our own glory, but for the glory of God, for His greater glory, knowing that He is the Source of all graces and blessings we receive.


The Blessed Virgin Mary is our perfect example here. In her great prayer of praise to God, the Magnificat, which she spoke when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, she says this:

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid.”


If anyone had reason to boast about gifts and graces, it was Mary. But she did not boast of herself, but rather, she realized that any degree of holiness and splendor she possessed was freely given to her by God.


Why don’t we always imitate Mary, and always give God the glory for anything we do, for all our accomplishments? Why are we always inclined to glorify ourselves, and to relish in any praise we might receive from others? It is because of our sinful pride, which is due to our fallen human nature.


Humility is the great virtue which opposes, and is a remedy for, our sinful pride.


The Prophet Zephaniah, our first reading today, exhorts us to “seek the Lord, all you humble, . . . Seek humility.” He says that the Lord seeks a people “humble and lowly.”


In the Liturgy of the Hours today, daytime prayer, is Ps. 34, which begins with these words: “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise always on my lips; in the Lord my soul shall make its boast. The humble shall hear and be glad.”


St. Paul in our second reading speaks of how “God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no one might boast before God.”


Yes, if we practice humility, God will be pleased with us and will exalt us – not only here on earth, but in Heaven. 

That’s the message of Jesus today in Matthew’s Gospel, which is the beginning of the greatest sermon ever preached: the Sermon on the Mount. 

Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes, which are a complement to the Ten Commandments, and teach us the most perfect way to imitate Jesus Christ.


Significantly, the first Beatitude is about humility: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“Poor in spirit” does not mean to be lacking in holiness, but rather to be lowly in spirit; not proud and arrogant.

Humility – like holiness – attracts. We enjoy being in the company of a humble soul. No one likes being in the presence of a conceited, self-centered

Person who always praises and draws attention to himself.

The humble will enjoy more glory, more happiness, greater beatitude, in Heaven because, as I’ve said, there God will reward them, exalt them. 


The saints realized this. Our patroness, St. Therese, desired to be known as the “Little Flower” of God. She said, “I am too little to have any vanity. . . . I prefer to acknowledge simply that ‘He that is mighty has done great things to me’ (Lk. 1:49) (quoting here Mary’s Magnificat); and the greatest [thing God has done] is having shown me my littleness, my powerlessness for all good.”


Another Carmelite Saint and Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila, said: “There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world.”


Having great intelligence and vast knowledge and can often be a source of pride. Yesterday was the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, whom most agree had the greatest intellect of all the saints. (He is the patron saint of Catholic schools; hence this week is Catholic Schools Week). 

Once, when someone praised his great intellect, he said that he drew all his knowledge from praying on his knees before the Crucifix.


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is regarded as the foundress of the Catholic school system in this country. (I used to pray at her tomb every week when I was in the seminary in Emmitsburg, MD). Mother Seton said:  “The gate of Heaven is very low; only the humble can enter it.”


Finally, let us recall the words of Jesus Christ Himself: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for yourselves” (Mt. 11:29). Yes, rest and peace here on earth, and eternal rest in the Kingdom.


Sunday of the Word

3rd Sunday Yr A: Sunday of the Word
Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

How do we come to know about God, and our eternal destiny?

Well, God reveals Himself to us through nature; i.e., through the created universe. “The heavens proclaim the glory of God, and the firmament shows forth the works of his hands.”
Yes, the beautiful order that we see in nature – in the created universe, the sun, stars & planets, in the world and all that is in it – reveals that there must be a Supreme Intelligence behind all of creation, an All-Powerful Designer that placed things in order and maintains them in order.
The ancient pagan philosophers acknowledged this. By contemplating the beautiful order in the universe we can come to know the existence of God.
This is something we call natural Revelation.

And with our natural, God-given ability to think and reason, we can know basic morality – that it is wrong to steal, to lie, to murder, etc.

But natural Revelation only takes us so far – to know that God exists. By contemplating nature we cannot know that there are three Persons in one God; that He is a God who loves us and who will bestow upon us everlasting happiness in heaven if we love and obey Him.

These truths we know because God Himself has revealed them to us. This is what we call Divine Revelation.

How has God revealed these truths to us? Through His word. God has spoken to us through His word.

And how has His word been revealed to us? In two ways.
One way is through Sacred Scripture – which is the word of God set down in writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirt, so that the sacred writer wrote down only what God wanted written down, and nothing more.
Another way the word of God has been revealed to us is through what we call Sacred Tradition – which is the oral preaching and teaching of Jesus to His Apostles, which has been handed down to us in the teaching of the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So, the word of God has been revealed to us through both Scripture and Tradition. To know the fullness of God’s Revelation, the fullness of the truths God wants us to know about Himself and the way of salvation, we need both the Bible and the Church; both Scripture and Tradition.

Scripture alone does not reveal to us the fullness of the truth about God and His plan of salvation. “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture alone) is a Protestant invention, thought up by Martin Luther. Scripture does not interpret itself. In fact, one can interpret verses of the Bible in various ways, even in contradictory ways – this is why there are literally thousands of Protestant sects, each claiming its interpretation is correct.
And this is precisely why Jesus founded the Church as a hierarchy, with the Pope and bishops as our teachers in the faith, to assure that the truths of the faith would be preserved in their fullness.

Why am I speaking about these things on this particular Sunday? Because the Pope has proclaimed this Sunday as the “Sunday of the Word of God,” with a special focus on the Bible.

The Bible, the word of God set down in writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reveals to us not only truths about God; it also reveals His entire plan of salvation, beginning with the creation and fall of man, and God’s plan to redeem us in Jesus Christ which begins to unfold in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament tells about the preparation for the coming of the Savior.
Beginning with Abraham, who lived about 1900 years before Christ, God formed a people, His Chosen People, the Hebrews, later known as the Jews, from whom the Savior, Jesus, would be born.
King David, a descendent of Abraham, lived about 1000 years before Christ. King David united all the tribes of Israel under a single rule.
The 12 tribes were named after the 12 sons of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, whose name was changed to Israel (why they’re called Israelites!).
After the death of his son, King Solomon, the kingdom of David was divided into two kingdoms, north and south.

In 721 BC God permitted the Assyrians to conquer the northern kingdom of Israel, because the people had fallen away from the true worship of God; in fact, they sacrificed their babies and little children to the pagan gods, who were, in fact, demons.
The Assyrians first conquered the lands of Zebulon and Naphtali, which were located in the northern part of the northern kingdom, in the area known as Galilee.

Our first reading today is from the prophet Isaiah, who lived during this time. Isaiah prophesied that although the Lord first degraded these two lands (i.e., He allowed them to be conquered and become paganized), these two lands, Zebulon and Naphtali, which were in darkness and gloom, would be the first to see “a great light” – i.e., Jesus Christ, who is the great light that has come into the world:
“the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone . . . And has brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.”

As we see in today’s Gospel from St. Matthew, the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled because Jesus began His preaching in the area of Zebulon and Naphtali, in Galilee (northern Israel). St. Matthew quotes Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulon and land of Naphtali, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light.”

Jesus begins His preaching with these words: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Christ’s kingdom would not only be the Jews, the 12 tribes of Israel, but all peoples of all nations.
This is made clear in the Gospel today: Jesus calls His first Apostles, Peter and Andrew, then James and his brother John, who were fishermen, and tells them they will become “fishers of men.” Later, just before He ascends into Heaven, Jesus gives them the “great commission” – “Go and preach to all nations, teaching them everything I have taught you; and baptize them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Ever since then, the Good News of the Gospel, the revealed word of God, has been preached to the ends of the earth.

Yes, in Christ, the prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled. In Jesus Christ, our world that was in darkness has seen a great light.
Jesus, with His suffering, death and resurrection, has broken the yoke of slavery and sin, and has allowed us to be God’s children through baptism, members of His Church, His kingdom on earth, to enjoy eternal life with Him and reign with Him forever in Heaven.

Reading the Bible is a beautiful and constructive way to see how God’s marvelous plan of salvation has unfolded, and to come to better know Jesus Christ. St. Jerome has a famous saying: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

The Pope wants us to carry the spirit of this Sunday throughout the upcoming year, and to read and meditate upon Sacred Scripture, the revealed word of God.

Why not make a plan to read Scripture daily during this upcoming year?
One can go to Catholic sources on the Internet and get an outline to read the Bible, or most of it, in a year.
Holy Catholic Family Bookstore sells a Bible divided daily so that one can read it in a year. They also sell a New Testament one can read in a year.

Reading the Bible daily is a wonderful way to better learn the truths of our faith and to attain a deeper love and devotion to Jesus, who is the true Light of the world.