Author Archive for Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

Grew up in Providence RI. BA at Providence college, Ph.D. in historical theology from Catholic University of America. Former professional musician and theology professor at Loyola College in Maryland and the University of Dallas. Currently owner of Wellness Business Ventures LLC and director of CrossroadsInitiative.com. Father of five.

The Mystery of the Incarnation
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The Mystery of the Incarnation

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“Mystery,” he sneered. “That’s a good Catholic word.” My friend was a fundamentalist who had more than a bit of antipathy towards the Catholic Church, charging that it added to the simple faith of the Bible. But he didn’t read his bible very well. The word “mystery” is a Catholic word, only because it is […]

John the Baptist and Spiritual Joy
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John the Baptist and Spiritual Joy

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On the third Sunday of Advent, penitential purple gives way to pink and we celebrate “Gaudete” or “Rejoice!” Sunday. “Rejoice heartily in the Lord, says Isaiah” (61:10). “My Spirit finds joy in God my Savior,” says the Virgin Mary (Luke 1: 47). “Rejoice in the Lord always,” says St. Paul (I Thes. 5:16). “Make straight […]

Prepare ye the Way
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Prepare ye the Way

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Advent is a time of joyful anticipation. For someone even bigger than Santa Claus is coming to town. The human race has been waiting a long time for his next and final visit. Actually, it waited a long time for the first visit. Things had gone awry quite early in the history of the human […]

You Snooze, You Lose
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You Snooze, You Lose

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Have you ever had one of those days when you just wish God would show up, snap his figures and work miracles? The people of Israel had about 500 years’ worth of days like that, groaning under the oppression of one tyrant after another. The book of Isaiah gives voice to these sentiments: “O that […]

Feast of Christ the King
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Feast of Christ the King

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34rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, From the dawn of civilization, kings have dreamed of possessing a world-wide dominion, a universal kingdom that would last forever.  Some have come close to conquering much of the known world: Alexander, Genghis Khan, Augustus Caesar, to name a few.  And some kingdoms have lasted a very long time, such […]

Last Judgment
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Last Judgment

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On the final Sunday in the liturgical year, it is time to remember things that we’d prefer to forget. For starters, we recall that there is an infinite qualitative difference between us and God. He is immortal and infinite. We are not. Each one of us will come to our individual end. But so will […]

The Parable of the Talents
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The Parable of the Talents

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I’ve seen it time and time again. Someone decides to seek a better paying job, or pursue and investment strategy, or launch a new business. Invariably some pious person in the parish objects that maybe this is too worldly, that it will be a distraction from Church and family priorities, that one should be satisfied […]

Who Needs Church Buildings?
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Who Needs Church Buildings?

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As a rebellious teenager, I thought that Catholics should stop wasting their money on expensive churches. We ought to sell them all and buy food for the poor, I argued. Funny thing. Jesus, who cared much for the poor, did not have this attitude. As an adolescent he yearned to spend time in Herod’s sumptuous […]

Holiness is For All!
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Holiness is For All!

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At age 16, I thought that aspiring to holiness was out of the question. If you really wanted to be holy, I thought, you had to be a priest, nun, or brother. And you had to spend your days doing “religious stuff” like praying, preaching, teaching catechism, or serving the poor. But I had developed […]

The Radical Rabbi and the Great Commandment
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The Radical Rabbi and the Great Commandment

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They are at it again. In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus’ opponents enlist a lawyer to do what lawyers do best- ask a question that puts a person on the hot seat. “Which commandment of the law is the greatest?” (Matthew 22:34-40). If the law consisted in only the Ten Commandments, this would be tough enough. […]

Render unto Caesar
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Render unto Caesar

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Despite their flattering words, they were trying to trap him, to force him into a no win situation. Consider the circumstances.  They are living under the iron boot of a brutal empire which filled the earth with its idolatry.  Patriotic Jews longed to throw off the tyrants’ yoke.  They prayed for an anointed king who […]

The Sneakiest of the Seven Deadly Sins
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The Sneakiest of the Seven Deadly Sins

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At age 16, life was about rock ‘n roll. If my own band was not performing on Saturday night, I was out in the audience, watching another band. It would have never occurred to me to spend my Saturday nights at a Catholic conference or retreat. True, no matter how late I was out, I’d […]

Peace and Security
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Peace and Security

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A few years ago, I toured northern England.  There, stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a massive wall.  Constructed of stone, it was built to last, since it marked the northernmost boundary of the greatest empire the world had ever known.  Soldiers from every corner of the world were […]

Talk is Cheap
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Talk is Cheap

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There will never be a shortage of words.  Words are plentiful because talk is cheap.  It’s easy to make a promise.  Keeping a promise is an entirely different matter, as this Sunday’s gospel makes abundantly clear. There are over a billion people on the planet who have solemnly promised to live a life of loving […]

The Generosity of God
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The Generosity of God

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“But that’s not fair!”  Most parents have heard this phrase umpteen times.  The notion of fairness, also known as justice, is wired into us.  It makes us aware that each of us has certain rights that need to be respected. But it also means that we each have duties.  If others have the right to […]

Feast of the Holy Cross
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Feast of the Holy Cross

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Terrorism is nothing new.  It’s probably as old as the human race. In fact the cradle of civilization, now Iraq, was the home of the most infamous terrorists of antiquity, the Assyrians.  Their goal was to conquer their neighbors in a way that would minimize  initial resistance and subsequent rebellion.  To do this, they knew […]

Peter as Satan
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Peter as Satan

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Truth in advertising–after all the glowing reports of the benefits of a product, potential side effects need to be mentioned.  Informed consent–before surgery, patients have to be told of all the things that could possibly go wrong.  That way, they have the chance to opt out before it’s too late. As soon had the truth […]

Old Testament Roots of Peter and the Keys
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Old Testament Roots of Peter and the Keys

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“More Catholic than the Pope.” There is nothing more quintessentially Catholic than the Papacy.  When we think “Catholic,” we think Rome, the Vatican, the dome of St. Peter’s. But the roots of the papacy actually go back to Jerusalem and the messiah-kings who ruled there. Like most heads of state, David and his descendants, the […]

Jesus and the Canaanite Woman
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Jesus and the Canaanite Woman

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The apostles thought she was a nuisance and asked Jesus to get rid of her.  Jesus had gone to the region of Tyre and Sidon, modern-day Lebanon, and a local woman approached him for a favor.  This was pagan country, home turf of the infamous Jezebel.  The inhabitants of these parts were fondly referred to […]

Walking on Water
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Walking on Water

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One of the most famous stories of the New Testament is the one about Jesus walking on the water. If there is any gospel story we never tire of hearing, this is it. The lake is rough.Though several of the apostles spent most of their life in a boat, they’re still worried. But when they […]

The Miracle of the Loaves
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The Miracle of the Loaves

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Only one miracle of Jesus is recorded in all four gospels–the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. I once heard a homilist give what he said was the real meaning of the story: the people in the crowd took out food they were hiding under their cloaks and shared it. Jesus’ preaching inspired the melting […]

Old vs. New in the Kingdom of God
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Old vs. New in the Kingdom of God

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“Liberal” and “conservative.” The definitions of these terms are seldom stated. Usually they are just presumed. Often people call “conservative” those who like old-fashioned things and “liberal” those who favor the latest ideas, trends, and values. But for the Christian, the ultimate question is not personal preferences of style, or whether something is old or […]

The Parable of the Wheat and Tares
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The Parable of the Wheat and Tares

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At one time or another, we’ve all dreamed of a perfect world.  Imagine a company where everyone is productive, a government full of honest politicians, a church where all are saints. Dreaming about such things is natural; expecting such things is dangerous.  Unrealistic expectations lead to discouragement, despair, even cynicism. That would be bad enough.  […]

The Sower and the Seed
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The Sower and the Seed

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I’ve always loved gardening.  Seeds I’ve planted include carrot, cucumber, and of course, zucchini.  In each case, I’ve planted seeds in neat rows, expecting nearly all of them to sprout and yield fruit. But the farmer in Jesus’ parable (Mat 13:1-23) uses the broadcast method.  Lots of seed cast everywhere.  And predictably, many of these […]

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