TCA Tuesday – Nov. 8, 2016

Q. What are "sins of the flesh"?

A. We learn of the contrast of "flesh" and "spirit" in the New Testament — which generally doesn’t mean a contrast between the physical and the spiritual. It’s a matter of semantics since the Greek word for flesh, sarx, denotes the inward turning of a person’s being, away from God. Its Greek opposite is pneuma or “spirit,” a person’s being turned toward God, thus open to His Spirit.

Check out Galatians 5:19-23 to understand more about this and examine the contrast between “works of the flesh” and “fruits of the Spirit.”

Q. People say, "You can't take it with you," but what can we take with us into eternity?

A. Our body and soul separate when we die, and our soul lives on in eternity. Our eternal dwelling is decided, in part, based on what we’ve done in this life. In the words of the late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, “The only thing we take with us when we die is what we have given away. … The only things that endure are our relationships with God and with others. … We give him all that we have, and he takes the gift and calls us when he is ready to do so. …”

Q. I’ve been to some churches who do not recite the creed on Sundays. Someone told me this is because the pastor believes it’s better not to say it at all since many just mindlessly recite it. Can he do that?

A. If it’s true that the priest has stopped reciting the creed for that reason, he is out of bounds and exerting control over something not within parameters of his control. Priests are servants of the Church and her liturgy and have the obligation to avoid major modifications such as this. The creed is our statement of belief as Christians and forms our very identity.

Q. Is our Sunday obligation fulfilled with a Communion service?

A. No it isn’t. But if we are unable to attend Mass on a Sunday because it is a physical or moral impossibility, then the obligation is lifted.  

If, by surprise, you show up at a church for Sunday Mass and learn there will be a Communion service instead, then you have at least made the attempt to fulfill your obligation.

But it’s always advisable to try finding a nearby parish Mass, if possible.

Michael R. Heinlein is editor of The Catholic Answer magazine. Follow him on Twitter @HeinleinMichael. Follow The Catholic Answer on Twitter @tcanswer.