Pop-Up Catechesis: An Advent Jesse Tree

With the season of Advent soon upon us, I want to share about a great Advent tradition that you can do as a family: the making of a Jesse tree. The Jesse tree, named after the father of King David, helps us to connect the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the events in our salvation history that lead to Jesus’ birth. It is, in essence, Jesus’ family tree. We adorn a Jesse tree with […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Beatitudes

Our eyes can easily be fooled by optical illusions and mirages. We may see one thing until our eyes adjust or someone points out another way of looking at an image. This is what Jesus’ Beatitudes are all about. He is saying to us, “Don’t be fooled by what the world says will make you happy.” In this episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, we explore the Beatitudes as Jesus’ way of teaching us to see in […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Eucharist and What We Crave

Researchers tell us that the majority of us experience regular cravings for specific foods. It’s important to remember, however, that hunger and cravings are not synonymous. The former is driven by the body, while the latter is driven by the mind. Hunger seeks to satisfy a physical need; a craving seeks to satisfy an emotional one. That’s why cravings are not limited to food. We can find ourselves craving any and all of the following: […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Speaking God’s Language Through Rituals

There is a fine line between routine and ritual. A routine is something we do the same way habitually, with little or no thought. Every morning, we mindlessly follow a routine: turn off the alarm, turn on the coffee pot, eat a bowl of cereal, brush our teeth, and so on. A ritual is something we do the same way habitually, with deep, intentional thought. Blessing ourselves with holy water, genuflecting, anointing with oil, walking […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Speaking God’s Language Through Silence

When I was in high school, I remember being told by a Jesuit priest (one of my teachers) to listen for God in the silence. This was no easy task. First of all, it was not easy for me to find a quiet place in a home that I shared with my eight siblings! Second, when I did find some silence, I never heard God speaking to me. When I related this to the priest, […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Speaking God’s Language Through Music

Throughout their history, the Jewish people have included music in every facet of living. Believing that humans are created in the image and likeness of God, the Jewish people easily concluded that God does indeed sing, since his creation is filled with music (Psalm 96:1, Isaiah 55:12), and our souls are compelled to give praise to God in song (Psalm 27:6). The prophet Zephaniah assures God’s people that God “will take great delight in you; […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Speaking God’s Language Through Signs and Symbols

Throughout Scripture, God’s presence is manifested symbolically, in a burning bush, a pillar of fire, a column of smoke, clouds on a mountaintop, a mighty wind, a whispering sound, a dove, or tongues of fire. God did not reveal himself as a hologram in the same fashion as Princess Leia appeared to Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kanobi in Star Wars. Instead, God chose to reveal his mysterious, transcendent, invisible, and intangible presence through tangible, […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Speaking God’s Language Through Bible Stories

According to linguist Noam Chomsky, “Language embodies the world view of a culture and is unique to the culture that created it. It reflects values and concepts that are deemed to be the most important by a culture. A language describes the culture it comes from.” For this reason, it is imperative that Catholic parents speak God’s language at home, especially when children are preparing for a sacrament. What do we mean by the phrase, […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Ordinary Time

In most sports, the playing calendar calls for a training season, a regular season, and a playoff season. The training season is focused on refining the skills needed for the regular season. The playoff season is the climax of the season’s competition, with the ultimate goal of achieving a championship. That leaves us with the regular season: the long stretch of time when players and teams are called to put their skills into practice on […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Pentecost and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Recently, I enjoyed watching Death on the Nile, a Hercule Poirot mystery in which the Belgian detective uses his keen skills to gather clues leading to the solving of a complex crime. Like all detectives who themselves did not witness the crimes they are investigating, Poirot relies on his skills of observation to gather clues leading to an irrefutable conclusion. As we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, we are reminded that we, too, must rely […]

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