Behind the Bible

A closer look at the history, context and characters in Scripture

The ancients who gained approval

With the beatification this week of Detroit’s own Fr. Solanus Casey, many Catholics are aware that the canonization of saints is an ancient practice. But fewer are aware that the roots of placing the saints as exemplars and role models goes back to biblical times. The most famous example of extolling the righteous feats of…

‘Tear down this wall’: How Christ’s cross conquered division

One of the most significant geopolitical symbols of our time is the wall. Winston Churchill famously condemned the rise of the Soviet bloc as an “iron curtain” that had descended across Europe. Nothing better symbolized Churchill’s metaphorical wall than the Berlin Wall, which divided the German capital from 1961 to 1989. When Mikhail Gorbachev, the…

Relics of the past

Relics and sacramentals might seem pretty ordinary to Catholics, but for many non-Catholic Christians they seem strange and somewhat foreign to the Christian faith. They might say, “What does a piece of cloth or bone have to do with God’s grace? All we need is faith!” However, these sacramentals and relics are not only found…

Fishers of men

We’re all familiar with Christ’s words to Simon Peter “… from now on you will be catching men,” but did you ever study the context? There is a lot going on in Luke’s recounting of Jesus’ call to Peter, James, and John (Luke 5:1-11). First, the episode itself foreshadows Simon Peter’s role in Jesus’ Church.…

Where did the priests go?

One aspect about Catholicism that is hard to miss is the priesthood. We do not have ministers or preachers, but bishops, priests and deacons. The odd thing is that when you read the New Testament, you do not encounter Christian priests. The only people who are called priests are generally the Old Testament priests who…