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Why Star Trek and Mr. Spock Matter

Kresta in the Afternoon – March 20, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 20, 2015


4:00 – From International Model to Joyful Catholic

Paul Darrow is another featured story in the film Desire for the Everlasting Hills, which explores the lives of Catholics who are same-sex attracted. He tells us how his life has been transformed by Christ.


5:00 – Tiny Blue Lines: Reclaiming your Life, Preparing for your Baby and Moving Forward with Faith in an Unplanned Pregnancy

When Chaunie Marie Brusie stared down at the pregnancy test her senior year of college and saw two tiny blue lines–a positive test–she knew the road forward would be filled with difficult decisions, but she rose to the challenge. Brusie graduated from college, got married, and became a labor and delivery nurse and vocal advocate for the millions of young women who experience unplanned pregnancies each year. In her debut book, Tiny Blue Lines, Brusie offers coaching to young women, reminding them that their plight is near to the heart of Mary and that there is healing to be found in such Catholic practices as the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Brusie provides lists, resources, humor, anecdotes, and spiritual inspiration to help women gracefully navigate this challenging terrain. Chaunie joins us today.


The Loud Silence of Saint Joseph

By Fr. Steve Grunow

Via WordonFire.org

“We can have recourse to many saints as our intercessors, but go especially to Joseph…” 
- St. Teresa of Avila

Today the Church celebrates the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the guardian of the Christ-child.

The Gospels are very clear that Joseph is not the father of the Lord Jesus.  The child born of the Virgin Mary is God and has no earthly father.  The body of Christ’s human nature is created by what the scriptures describe as “the power of the Holy Spirit.”  If this explanation confounds us, we are rightly confounded.  Christ is like us inasmuch as shares with us a human nature and lives a real human life. And yet, Christ is unlike us inasmuch as he is the singular instance in which a divine nature and a human nature share communion in a divine person.

Simply expressed, Christ is God and man.  It is because of Christ’s willingness to accept a human nature with all its limitations that we are able to participate in his divine nature.  This participation, a gift given to us by Christ, is the most profound mystery of the Faith.

The mind can apprehend this mysterious revelation, even appreciate the “why” of it, but cannot fully understand the “how” of it all.

We can imagine that Joseph himself did not fully understand the circumstances surrounding Christ’s conception and birth, but he was able to love what he did not fully understand. It is in this love that both his faith and his sanctity are revealed.

The Scriptures for today’s solemnity are redolent of the Messianic expectations of Israel by which is meant the passionate belief professed by the descendents of Abraham that God would raise up from one of their own people a Savior who would manifest in word and deed the power of God.  The revelation of the Messiah would change Israel and the world forever.

The first scripture is a small section from the Second Book of Samuel that presents the prophet Nathan speaking to King David about his future heir.  David will have a son who will accomplish something that David will not.  What will the son of David do?  Build the Lord God a magnificent temple.

King David’s son, Solomon, would accomplish this feat and would do so with such glory that generations after its destruction, his temple is still remembered as one of the most glorious of all human artistic achievements.  However, the Church does not present this scripture from Second Samuel today so that we can remember Solomon, son of David, but Jesus, the Son of David!

Jesus, the Son of David, whose ancestry is traced back to Israel’s royal family through Joseph, is King David’s rightful heir.  Christ bears the legacy of Israel’s kingship and he build a temple.  But the temple Christ builds is greater than Solomon’s.  How so?  Because the temple of the Lord Jesus is the Body he reveals in the Incarnation.  God reveals himself in the human nature of Christ in a way that is likened to how the divine presence fills the sanctuary of Solomon’s temple with glory.

The second scripture for today presents an excerpt from St. Paul’s magnificent letter to the Romans.  The Letter to the Romans is St. Paul’s “magnum opus”, his crowning literary achievement.  The letter reads as an extended argument that the Apostle to the Gentiles is making on behalf of his conviction that the extraordinary revelation of Christ has had an extraordinary effect on Israel.  Israel has been transformed as a result of Christ’s revelation, and the Letter to the Romans is describing what Israel once was, is now, and will be in the future because of the Lord Jesus.

This particular scripture from Romans references Abraham, whose great story is told in the Old Testament Book of Genesis.  Abraham is the founding patriarch of God’s chosen people, a people who will take their name from Abraham’s grandson, who was called Jacob or Israel.  St. Paul cites the promise God made to Abraham that he would have limitless descendents who would all manifest the faith Abraham to the world.

It is St. Paul’s conviction that it is Christ who delivers this promise, transforming Israel so that its numbers can truly be limitless and providing the means by which the God of Abraham would be known by the whole world.  How?  St. Paul sees all this happening in the Church, which is Israel transformed.  Christ has enabled the whole world to become, through the Church, descendents of Abraham and followers of the one, true God.

The Church gives the priest the option of choosing one of two Gospel passages for today.

One of these choices, from the Gospel of Luke, describes a curious event in which Joseph and the Virgin Mary lose the Christ child, only to find him in the temple of Jerusalem.

This particular Gospel hearkens to the theme of the reading for today from Second Samuel with its allusion to the temple.  Luke is comparing and contrasting the old and new temples- one built of stones and culture in the city of Jerusalem and the other built of flesh and divinity in the Body of Christ.  His message?  The true meaning and purpose of the old sanctuary can only be fully appreciated in relation to the new sanctuary. The God whom we seek can only be found in the temple of Christ’s Body.

The other Gospel for today is an excerpt from the Gospel of Matthew.  Thjs scripture makes it clear that the child born of the Virgin Mary is not the son of Joseph, or of any other man for that matter, but the Son of God.  In this respect, the Gospel of Matthew is not just hinting at Christ’s true identity, but he is, in the opening of his Gospel, revealing Christ’s identity explicitly.  Who is this Jesus?  He is God, and he has come for a particular purpose: “to save his people from their sins.”

The rest of the Gospel of Matthew will demonstrate how this salvation from sin actually happens, but what Matthew wants us to know from the beginning is that it is God who is acting to reveal himself in Christ.  The Gospel of Matthew, indeed all four Gospels, are telling us that God has revealed himself in Jesus of Nazareth, who appeared to be the son of Joseph, but who is in fact the God of Israel himself.

I have now told you a great deal about the Lord Jesus and very little about Saint Joseph, which might strike you as odd given that today is his great solemnity.

However, my inability to say all that much about Saint Joseph follows a lead from the Scriptures, which are mostly silent in regards to details about him.  After the story of Christ’s birth, Saint Joseph seems to disappear from the narrative of Christ’s life as it is recorded in the Gospels. Generations subsequent to the writers of the Gospels treasured many pious legends about Saint Joseph, and the Church assures us that he remains an actor in the life of the Church to this very day, but in terms of personal details, anecdotes, true life stories, there is silence.

Perhaps the silence of Saint Joseph is his most profound witness.

Saints are not celebrities, who leverage every detail about their lives as a means to be known and recognized.  A saint is someone who in their desire to be like Christ is able and willing to disappear into the mission God gives to them.  For some saints, this mission brings with it a great deal of attention.  But for most saints, the life of grace involves a much lower profile and a death to self which requires an immersion into the most ordinary of circumstances. These circumstances are accepted by the saint because they know that it is precisely in the experience of what is apparently ordinary that God is accomplishing extraordinary things.

Therefore, it is all of us, who right now find ourselves immersed in the mission to be the unnoticed saints of ordinary circumstances, who know that the silence of Saint Joseph speaks louder than any words.

Kresta in the Afternoon – March 19, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 19, 2015


4:00 – Why St. Joseph is not the Father of Jesus

St. Joseph is one of the most important, yet least known characters in Scripture. The man entrusted with the task of raising Christ only appears in a few scenes and is not mentioned after Jesus is found in the temple. It’s important to remember that Joseph was not Jesus’ actual father. We discuss the importance of St. Joseph’s role with Fr. Steve Grunow.

4:20 – The Donkey that No One would Ride

Anthony DeStefano gives us a dramatic reading of his children’s story about the humble life of the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.


4:40 – Do You Believe?

The creators of “God’s Not Dead” now bring you a film that will really make you consider your commitment to Christ. A variety of characters must face one simple, yet fateful question: Do You Believe? Nick speaks with the film’s director, Ted McGinley.


5:00 – Gallup Poll Shows Jump in People who are “Greatly Concerned” about Terrorism

A new Gallup poll shows that 51% of Americans worry a “great deal” about the possibility of a terrorist attack, a 12 percentage point climb from last year. John Kerry claimed last month that the world is safer now than it has been for years, a claim that contradicts US intelligence assessments showing that 2014 was the deadliest year for terrorism in the 45 years data has been collected. Meanwhile, at least 21 people were killed yesterday in Tunisia’s deadliest terrorist attack in years. We discuss the current state of international terrorism with Robert Spencer.


5:20 – Starbucks Brews Controversy with “Race Together” Campaign

Starbucks has encouraged its baristas to write “Race Together” on customer’s cups in the hopes that it will open the door to better discussions on race. There’s no doubt that race relations in the US are a far cry from where they should be, but what is the best strategy? We’ll discuss this with Harry Stein.

Kresta in the Afternoon – March 18, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 18, 2015


4:00 – Kresta Comments: Open Homosexuals Dolce and Gabbana: “Children Should Have a Mother and Father.”

Luxury clothing giants Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said in a recent interview that they oppose gay adoptions and IVF. They believe that children should be born to a mother and father because life has a natural flow. Their comments have sparked a boycott led by activist Elton John. Al has comments on the controversy.

4:20 – New Planned Parenthood Defector is Redeemed by Grace

For three years, Ramona Trevino worked as the manager of a Planned Parenthood facility in Sherman, Texas. In spring 2011 she was transformed by the grace of God and the witness of the 40 Days for Life campaign. Ramona’s clinic was eventually closed and she now works in the pro-life movement. She joins us today. 

5:00 – Kresta Comments: Another Day, Another Islamic Attack, Another 21 Dead: This Time in Tunisia

21 people were killed today when gunmen opened fire at the National Bardo Museum in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis. The dead include 17 tourists, many of them European, a Tunisian security officer, a cleaning woman and two gunmen. Two or three attackers are still at large. The attack is a major blow to a country that relies on tourism and has struggled to keep Islamic violence at bay. Al discusses the story.  

5:20 – Getting Inside ISIS

In less than a year, ISIS has progressed from being a so-called “JV” team to controlling massive amounts of land and establishing a self-declared caliphate. How did this happen? Why have they been so successful? What’s their next step? And, most importantly, how can they be stopped? Michael Weiss has researched the terrorist organization extensively. He joins us today.

Kresta in the Afternoon – March 17, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 17, 2015


Special Guest Host: Marybeth Hicks

4:00 – Danger! Danger! Be Very Afraid!

If we believe the news reports, we’re lucky to be alive. We face extraordinary danger every day in the form of fast food, playground equipment, dessert and non-hybrid cars. Alarmists leverage parents’ natural anxiety to reach their own goals. Julie Gunlock joins us to discuss how the alarmist mentality costs us unnecessary money and stress.


4:20 – St. Patrick, the Three-Leaf Clover and Irish Snakes

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Philip Freeman is here to talk about the life and legacy of one of our most beloved saints.


4:40 – “One Big Happy”

NBC is about to premier another show about the new standard for an American family. “One Big Happy” is the story of a lesbian woman who conceives a child with her straight best friend…only to see him marry another woman. The show follows the threesome’s wacky adventures as “one big happy.” We’ll discuss it with Tim Winter.


5:00 – Pope Announces Jubilee: A Year of Mercy

Pope Francis has announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy. We’ll talk about it with Matthew Bunson.


5:20 – Kelleigh’s Cause: Trusting God and Battling AVM

When Kelleigh Gustafson was four years old she was diagnosed with AVM, also known as an arteriovenous malformation. AVM is a rare blood vessel condition that can put extreme strain on the heart. The causes are not known and there is no cure. Kelly has undergone several surgeries to help her condition. Through it all, she has continued to trust God. She joins us today.


What’s the Point?


In the spring of 203, a new era in human happiness began. A young North African woman was taken into custody by Roman soldiers in Carthage, in modern Tunisia. Her name? Perpetua, 22 years old, from a good family, educated, married, and nursing a child. She and a small group of companions, including her personal slave, Felicitas, defied the emperor’s decree forbidding conversion to Christ. They were promptly rewarded with a violent death.

On March 7, Perpetua, Felicity and their group was fed to wild animals, mauled, and slain by the sword before jeering spectators. Bloodsport was common in the ancient world. But these young disciples gave a performance never before witnessed in this arena.

An eyewitness recounts that Perpetua and her companions “marched from the prison to the amphitheater joyfully, as though they were going to…heaven, with calm faces…with joy rather than fear.” When they were scourged and taunted, “they rejoiced…as though they had obtained a share in the Lord’s suffering.”

They greeted death with open arms. The uncomprehending crowd was witnessing what Darrin McMahon, in his Happiness: A History, describes as “a radical new vision of human happiness.”

The Christian martyr gave the world a new vision of human happiness. Her identification with the crucified and risen Christ blazed a new trail of human blessedness and fulfillment. In the Greek New Testament, the word for “martyr” is the word for “witness”. In the midst of suffering, the martyrs bore witness to a reality that was beyond the pain and suffering of this world. They bore witness to a life obtained through the pain and suffering of this world.

A 2009 romantic comedy starring George Clooney, Up in the Air, envisions life differently. On the day of his wedding, Jim has cold feet. He tells Julie, his fiancée that he is backing out.


Julie’s Uncle Ryan, played by Clooney, must engineer Jim’s return to the altar. The problem is that Ryan is a free-wheeling bachelor who has never been married, never wants to marry and doesn’t even want a “significant other.”

Glum Jim explains that last night he laid in his bed thinking “about the wedding, the ceremony and about us buying a house and moving in together and having a kid and then another kid and Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Spring break and football games and then all of a sudden they’re graduated, they’re getting jobs and they’re getting married and I’m a grandparent and then I’m retired, I’m losing my hair, I’m getting fat and then the next thing you know I’m dead and I can’t stop from thinking, ‘What’s the point?’ I mean, ‘What is the point?’”

Ryan, taken aback, asks, “The point?” Jim replies, “Yea, what am I starting here?” Ryan concedes all leads to our demise. We’re running clocks that can’t be slowed down. We all end up in the same place and, yeah, there is no point!

Jim and Ryan never met anyone like Perpetua and Felicity even though they live in a culture filled with self-identified Christians.

Happiness isn’t natural but it is possible. It is more than engineering our feelings or arranging the perfect circumstances for our comfort. Read endless self-help books or enjoy the dizzying distractions and entertainments available to us. Ingest illicit substances and feel the god-like to power to adjust our mood with a drink, pill, injection or trip to IKEA. Happiness isn’t found therein; it is found in God’s design for human blessedness described in Scripture.

In the Psalms and the Beatitudes we hear: “Blessed is he who….” Blessed means joyful, fulfilled, satisfied, happy. Happiness is available. He turns our mourning into dancing. We might weep in the night, but joy comes in the morning. The cross is necessary but the resurrection assures us that human life can end in light, laughter, glory and triumph.

Is this promise trustworthy? “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given you besides.” Jesus teaches that if we seek righteousness more than happiness, we’ll get both. The happy one has stopped trying so hard to be happy. He examines his conscience asking: “What am I really living for? What are my fundamental allegiances? What kind of person am I created to be? How is God guiding me?”

There is a point! Holocaust survivor and Austrian psychotherapist, the late Viktor Frankl wrote:“A man who…knows the ‘why’ for his existence… will be able to bear almost any ‘how’.” We don’t invent the meaning of our existence, we discover it. For those in Christ, our meaning is found in the promise: “When a disciple is fully trained he will be like his Master.” The baptized are called to be conformed to Christ’s character. He wants to reproduce his life in us so that we might become radiating centers of love and peace, a sign of hope demonstrating a life beyond the limitations of this world. Happiness is knowing God is at work in us fulfilling the purpose for which we were created and redeemed.

So, Jim and Ryan, what is the point? The point is Perpetua’s and Felicity’s choice to live inside the story that God has written and discover what God in Christ has called us to be. Let me paraphrase: “The only real tragedy, the only ultimate unhappiness, is to fail to become the saint we are created to be.”

Kresta in the Afternoon – March 16, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 16, 2015

4:00- Without You, there is no Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite

Suki Kim knew North Korea was a world where the elite invented their own truth. In 2011 she got a job teaching English to the teenage sons of the country’s ruling class at an exclusive university. She kept notes on her experience, saving them on portable flash drives which she carried with her everywhere lest they fall into the wrong hands. Suki joins us today with her story.


4:40 – Should a Chaste Catholic with Same-Sex Attraction “Celebrate” their Gayness?

We’re following up our open line discussion from last week on the lives of chaste Catholics who are same-sex attracted. Is it appropriate for two people who are same-sex attracted to live together chastely and offer each other support? Should a Catholic who is same-sex attracted view their orientation as a gift from God or a cross to bear? We discuss the issues with Fr. Paul Check, founder of Courage.


5:20 – When the Church was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers

How much do we really know about the early days of the Church? How do we know truths such as the concept of the Trinity if they don’t explicitly appear in Scripture? The answers lie in the lives of the early Church fathers. Marcellino d’Ambrosio joins us.


Kresta in the Afternoon – March 13, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 13, 2015

4:00-6:00 – Direct to My Desk: Gay Weddings and Christian Ecumenism 

We have open lines all day today and we have three topics to discuss. What should you do if a close friend or family member invites you to their gay wedding? How should you explain your decision to their family? Also, what lessons can Catholics learn from “megachurch” Protestants? And, on a related note, what bible verses make “bible only” Protestants the most nervous? Call in with your answers at 877-573-7825, participate in our survey, and join in the discussion on Facebook!

Kresta in the Afternoon – March 12, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 12, 2015

4:00 – Kresta Comments: Conversation with a Radical Islamist

Earlier today we spoke on the phone with Anjem Choudary, the British Imam who has voiced his support for ISIS and the 9/11 attacks. We replay parts of the conversation and Al gives some thoughts. We’ll have more on this interview very soon.


4:20 – Kresta Comments: Racial Bias in Ferguson + Leading Catholic News Services Unite: The Death Penalty Must End

4:40 – Finding Jesus: John the Baptist

We’re continuing our discussion on the CNN series Finding Jesus. This week’s episode focused on the life of John the Baptist and his relation to Jesus. Ben Witherington joins us.   

5:00 – Playing Jesus in a Major Television Production? No Pressure.

A new television series called AD will give us another representation of the life of Christ. What is it like to play the most famous and influential figure in world history? We’re joined by Juan Pablo di Pace

5:20 – Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery

David Gibson, co-author of Finding Jesus and a prominent figure on the CNN series, joins us.

5:40 – Two Ferguson Cops Shot: We Talk Holder, Sharpton and Race-Baiting in America

Two cops were shot last night in Ferguson, Missouri. The incident comes on the heels of a Department of Justice report suggesting institutionalized racism in the Ferguson police department and the subsequent resignation of Ferguson police Chief Tom Jackson. What racism really exists in the US? And how is it affected by people like Al Sharpton? We’ll ask Carl Horowitz to explain.


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