Saturday, May 30, 2009

Study on This Sunday's Mass Readings: Pentecost Sunday

Once again, here are some resources for getting a deeper understanding of the readings we'll hear at this Sunday's Mass. This Sunday is the Solemnity of Pentecost.

The readings, from the website of the U.S Catholic Bishop (USCCB):

And a study/meditation from my website:

Charitible comments and discussion are always welcome! Have a blessed Pentecost.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Eat This, Not That!

This is my new favorite book for making smart eating choices and losing weight. As someone who eats a lot of fast food at work and when on the go, this book has proven to be an invaluable reference for me (I keep a copy in my work truck and carry it with me on the weekends and when traveling). It basically tells you, restaurant by restaurant, what entrees and combos you should avoid and what you can healthily substitute instead. No more counting calories or trying to figure out what is least fattening -- and you aren't stuck eating salads or tiny portions. I always get full or can fill it out with a piece of fruit or some unsalted nuts.

So far, without really trying, I've almost lost 5 lbs. in two weeks and I'm not sick of it yet. Here's a link to the website that gives you an idea of what kind of choices you have. I picked up the book at Costco for around $11. Best $11 bucks I ever spent.

Aiding and Abetting the Culture of Death

Great post over on The Curt Jester commenting on Fr. Robert Barron's talk regarding President Obama's recent attempt during his shameful Notre Dame appearance to co-opt the Catholic message in favor of 'abortion rights'. He rightly points out that is the ignorance of Catholics-at-large (even ones that are otherwise well-informed) that have helped transform our culture into the Culture of Death it is becoming today:

The evil of abortion has been helped along by Catholics who are willing to make excuses for their favored candidates instead of condemning the evil they support in the strongest terms. Way too often with Catholics who call themselves both pro-life and Democrat there is always a "but" coming or some relativistic comparison of intrinsic evils with areas that Catholics can prudentially disagree on. What should happen with pro-abortion Democratic politicians is that they should get as little traction as pro-abortion Republican Rudy Giuliani. But Catholics of any political stripe are too often willing to turn a blind eye when it suits them. I say the Hell with any political party that would help me to earn a millstone as hat ware. I will go all Don Quixote pointing at polling booths before I cast a vote for a politician who supports the murder of innocents. Sure voting to choose the lesser evil is an acceptable choice, but you better know what evil is in the first place and to let the Church be your guide in discernment.

To see the entire post, go here:
And to read Fr. Barron's commentary, go here:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Scripture Readings for Ascension Sunday, May 24

Once again, here are some resources for getting a deeper understanding of the readings we'll hear at this Sunday's Mass. This Sunday is the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord.

The readings, from the website of the U.S Catholic Bishop (USCCB):

And a study/meditation from my website:

Charitible comments and discussion are always welcome! Have a blessed Ascension Day.

History of the Wilhelm Scream

What is the "Wilhelm Scream" you may ask? Well, even if you never heard of it, if you have been a moderate watcher of movies for some period during the last 50 years, you have surely heard it several times.

The "Scream" is basically a stock sound effect scream that originated in a 'B' movie from 50's and has resurfaced repeatedly in movies ever since -- everything from old westerns to 'Star Wars, ' 'Toy Story,' and 'Batman Returns.' It is named for a character in a Western (Private Wilhelm, pictured above) who is portrayed as issuing this scream.

Here is a brief history from Wikipedia:

And a compilation found on You-Tube:

Is Drinking Alcohol Sinful?

Here is a question I got from someone who wrote from Nigeria named Daniel.

Greetings from Nigeria. Perhaps you can answer a question for me. Someone from one of the local Baptist churches told me it is always a sin to drink alcohol. What does the Catholic Church teach?
God bless you,
Daniel in Nigeria

Hi Daniel in Nigeria - Greetings from Arizona, USA:
Like many other things --playing games of chance, eating nice food, relaxing, etc -- drinking alcohol, in itself, is not sinful. However, it is when we abuse these things -- indulging in them to excess or letting it affect our judgement, health or other responsibilities -- is when it becomes harmful and possibly sinful.

The Bible does not teach that we are to refrain from all alcohol. Here is an answer given by apologists at "Catholic Answers" to this question:

Q: A Baptist told me that Jesus never drank wine and neither should any Christian. He said that Jesus actually drank unfermented grape juice, or new wine. What does the Bible say?

A: Jesus had no qualms about drinking wine, and even miraculously produced 150 gallons of it at the wedding feast of Cana. This was clearly alcoholic wine, since it was described by the major domo of the event as the "best wine," which he explained was normally brought out at the beginning of wedding feasts until the guests had lost their taste. Non-alcoholic wine does not cause one to lose one’s taste; thus the "best wine"—the kind that Jesus produced—was alcoholic (John 2:10).The Greek word for wine is oinos, and this is the wine shared at the Last Supper. During the Passover meal, Jesus and his apostles would have consumed several cups of wine, and any Jew today can verify that it is not grape juice that one consumes during a Passover meal.Though your Baptist friend may object that Jesus only drank new wine, Acts 2:13 indicates that new wine can cause drunkenness—whereas grape juice cannot.Scripture never condemns the moderate use of alcohol, though drunkenness and addiction is forbidden (1 Tim. 3:8; Tit. 2:3; 1 Pet. 4:3). In fact, Scripture even recommends that alcohol be consumed on occasion: "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments" (1 Tim. 5:23). In an age in which modern water purification methods and food storage techniques were unknown, the antiseptic effect of alcoholic wine could play a significant role in preventing gastroenteritis (non-alcoholic wine would not have this effect). Paul thus counseled Timothy to take advantage of its medicinal benefits.In the Old Testament, the evidence is even more explicit: "Give strong drink to him who is perishing and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty, and remember their misery no more" (Prov. 31:6).

In discussing the disposition of tithes, the book of Deuteronomy tells us that if one lives too far from Jerusalem then one should convert the tithe to money and the "go to the place which the Lord your God chooses, and spend the money for whatever you desire, oxen or sheep, or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves; and you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice" (Deut. 14:25–26). Again, even if "wine" were somehow non-alcoholic, "strong drink" is unambiguously not.

Also, here is a longer article from the same source on the same subject:

So, although we are not to be drunkards or overindulge, it is not forbidden for Christians to occasionally and in moderation drink alcohol. Another factor to consider, however, is that of bad example or scandal. While it may be OK for you to have a drink because you personally do not tend to slip into excess, you should refrain from drinking around others who are not so strong, or struggle against alcohol abuse or excess in their own lives. This is a matter of charity.

Hope that helps, Daniel. :)

May God bless you and your family.

Gay Curriculum Proposal Riles Elementary School Parents

People sometimes ask why I've homeschooled my kids. Here is a prime example:

A group of parents in a California school district say they are being bullied by school administrators into accepting a new curriculum that addresses bullying, respect and acceptance -- and that includes compulsory lessons about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that will be taught to children as young as 5 years old.[emphasis mine]

To see the entire article:

The thing that is really disturbing about this is not merely that it is happening (this is California, after all, and political correctness and misplaced 'tolerance' and 'compassion' are so commonly taken for granted it hardly elicits anything resembling surprise), but that this bizarre curriculim is absolutely compulsory for the students in this school district. This means, basically, that the parents have no say-so in what their children are taught -- even if it completely contradicts their sincerely held moral and religious beliefs.
It isn't about keeping people from loving each other or about hate or about 'phobia' -- people can do whatever they want in the privacy of their own bedrooms -- but it is about forcing the views of a minority down the throats of others (including their children) against their own moral consciences and convictions.
The next logical step after this for parents who insist on speaking out against this and in favor of their children is to be accused of, in the least, 'hate speech,' but eventually (if they refuse to allow their kids to be exposed to this) be accused (and possibly prosecuted) for child abuse and a 'hate crime."

After all, who knows how to raise your children better; you or the government?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bible Study for this Sunday's Mass Readings

Once again, here are some resources for getting a deeper understanding of the readings we'll hear at this Sunday's Mass.

The readings, from the website of the U.S Catholic Bishop (USCCB):

And a study/meditation from my website:

Charitible comments and discussion are always welcome! Have a blessed Lord's Day.