Do you invite the poor to your Easter banquet?

By Paul Dion, STL

Jesus said to the man who had invited Him: "When you make a dinner or a supper, don't call your friends, nor your brothers, nor your kinsmen, nor rich neighbors, or perhaps they might also return the favor, and pay you back. But when you make a feast, ask the poor, the maimed, the lame, or the blind; and you will be blessed, because they don't have the resources to repay you. For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous." (Luke chapter 14, verses 12 to 14)

The other day a group of Catholic School Teachers, I among them, were sitting around a table drinking coffee and tea and talking about what it means to make the message of the Gospel known these days. The leader of the group read the quote that appears above and asked if any of the members of the group had ever practiced Jesus' outspoken directive. There were actually two or three.

Their stories are interestingly similar. Listen...

They had experienced similar invitations in their own extended family, if not in their immediate family. They had been at such meals where the neighborhood loner would be invited at Thanksgiving and Christmas. They had a grandmother who was a lousy cook but who fed all the neighborhood children anyway, with or without invitation.

The responders said that these meals were taken at a common table, in their own home, or that of their grandfather's, etc.

Could you imagine yourself inviting the Pastor of your parish over for dinner and hearing him say, "I notice that you haven't invited any maimed people. Don't you know a widow who could use a little company and a nice meal with us?" Or worse yet, "Would you mind if I invite old Mrs. Shakalot? Three doors from you. I could bring her along."

How would you respond to that? If you had ever done it before anyway, it wouldn't faze you. Have you ever done it before? Would you do it now that you know that Jesus directs us to do it?

Some suggestions? How about Easter Sunday? Memorial Day; July 4; Labor Day; Thanksgiving; Christmas and new Year's day, not to mention your birthday, or the widow's!

Share your thoughts with us. Tell us your story.

"What two sacraments were instituted by Jesus on Holy Thursday?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Welcome to all of you. We are living in the heat of the heart of the mystery of Christianity. We start at the moment of the last Seder Meal celebrated by Jesus with His disciples and we will end with the descent of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the disciples. The first three days are called the Sacred Triduum and comprise Holy THursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil.

These three days which cap the Lenten Season and the following 50 days during which we meditate on the historic first days of the history of the Christian Church are the defining season of our Faith/Religion. We here at will do our best to provide you with the spiritual food which will make your relationship with Jesus grow and flourish on a daily basis.

Let us start with a simple Catechism question for you: What two sacraments were instituted by Jesus on Holy Thursday?

Give us your opinion in writing. Then, if you like, you can click here for the answer.

"What influence does the Pope have on your personal life?"

By Paul Dion, STL

This question gets close to the heart of Roman Catholicism. The Pope is the human leader of the Catholic Church. He is a lot of things to Catholics, not the least of which is being an object of Catholic Faith. To wit, more later.

The question is: "What influence does the Pope have on your personal life?"

You may also feel free to comment on what, if any influence you think that Pope has, or should or should not have, on other people of the world.

Feel free, be honest. This is not an easy question. Give it a shot from the bottom of your heart.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Share your comments with the rest of the world.

Peace and joy.

(Click here to view the many wonderful articles that await you in, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine. Be informed, be inspired, be blessed. )

Should you Confess before you receive Communion?

By Paul Dion, STL

"Lord, I am not worthy to receive you," we say. Then we go to communion anyway. Well we should. Jesus didn't let the words of the Roman Centurion stop Him from blessing him and his family with a miracle.

It is Christ Himself who invites us to "Take this and eat it, all of you". He further states, "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." (John, 6:53)

More than ever, more and more people approach the altar of Communion. This is happening at the same time that fewer and fewer people are approaching the sacrament of Penance (confession).

Some Catholics, including some priests, wonder therefore if everyone who approaches the altar to partake of the Sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is truly ready to do so according to the spiritual demands of the Act of Taking Communion.

At the same time we are reminded that John Paul II exhorted the bishops of the United States to encourage more people to participate in the sacrament of Reconciliation.

It remains true also that some Catholics stay in the pew. Others leave the church when the communion procession forms. Some feel genuinely unworthy to receive their Lord, some realize that they have not observed the rule of fasting for one hour before the time of communion and some judge themselves to be too full of sin at the time and so they refrain from receiving.

In the not-too-distant past, and even at the present time, people go to confession before every communion, and many receive communion only rarely. The life style of the practicing Catholic has changed.

But the question is still valid: In your opinion, is it required to go to confession before receiving Communion? Let me add, If you haven't been to Confession in more than one year, should you feel free to receive Communion?

If you are among those who receive Communion without going to Confession first, tell us your reasons. If you Confess before you receive Communion, tell us why.

Give us your comments. The electronic soapbox is all yours.