Theology 101

What do you say when a friend says their prayers are not being answered?

In 2017, Theology 101 is focusing on the topic of evangelization. Specifically, the task is to offer some ways of approaching various questions Catholics may encounter from co-workers, family and friends regarding the practice of the faith. Of course, we must remember that nothing can replace the power of witnessing to the Good News through our own actions and words, combined with our willingness to accompany others on their faith journey. 

What do you say when a co-worker asks why we worship Mary and the saints?

In 2017, Theology 101 is focusing on the topic of evangelization. Specifically, the task is to offer some ways of approaching various questions Catholics may encounter from co-workers, family and friends regarding the practice of the faith. Of course, we must remember that nothing can replace the power of witnessing to the Good News through our own actions and words combined with our willingness to accompany others on their faith journey.

What do you say when a co-worker asks you about being Catholic?

This year, Theology 101 will focus on the topic of evangelization. Specifically, the task will be to offer some ways of approaching various questions Catholics may encounter from co-workers, family and friends regarding the practice of the faith. Of course, this undertaking represents only possibilities, and we must remember that nothing can replace the power of witnessing to the Good News through our own actions and words, combined with our willingness to accompany others on their faith journey.

Lessons in experiencing mercy

Jesus teaches us that power should be used so that there might be life, and life to the full. In other words, power should be exercised mercifully. However, is there something required of us in order to experience the merciful exercise of power? Are there “preconditions” that dispose us more readily to experience, for example, God’s mercy? Is there something that “enables” God’s merciful action to take effect in our lives?

The witness of the Gospels

Consider each of the following accounts:

Lessons in Mercy: The unforgiving servant

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Mt 18:21-35) challenges each of us to respond to the immense mercy we have received from the Father by showing that same mercy to our neighbor. At the same time, this parable reminds us that there are serious consequences for our failing to do so.

The parable

The parable begins with Peter asking Jesus, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus replies by telling Peter that he must forgive not seven times, but 77 times.

Mercy begins with spiritual conversion

And he told them a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?”…

“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” (Lk 6:39,41-42)

Blessed are the Merciful

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us the beatitudes. One of these beatitudes is of special interest for us during this Jubilee Year of Mercy: “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” (Mt 5:7) Here Jesus seems to make being merciful the condition for receiving mercy. Why might this be the case?

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