Results filtered by “Fr. Tim Schumaker”

What is Truth?

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Two weeks ago I had an encounter with a couple which had me reflecting upon Pontius Pilate’s question to Jesus, “What is Truth?” I was at a restaurant with some friends when a woman and her husband approached me. They had noticed my collar and felt moved to come over and ask me some questions. These “questions” turned into an hour and a half long conversation. In this conversation they shared their story. They had a Christian background, but now did not identify as any religion. As the woman told me, there were just too many inconsistences and discrepancies in the Bible to be able to know what was true and what was false.

This led them on a crusade for truth that, as the woman admitted, made them so thoroughly confused they had no idea where to turn. Is Jesus really who he says he is? Was he really foretold in the Old Testament or did mankind read too much into the Scripture? How could the Bible be the Word of God if humans had written it? These were some of the questions that plagued her and yet the core of her angst was the very question Pilate asked Jesus 2000 years ago: What is Truth?

I am not going to necessarily answer that question today (sorry), but briefly look at the symptoms of Truth, because what struck me with this couple was what a life looks like without Truth. In my opinion, this couple was not looking for Truth, but rather proof, and oddly enough, this search for proof led them further from Truth.

Truth will always challenge us, but it will never confuse us or make us doubt more. This couple was very lost, they did not even know what they believed and did not believe anymore. Truth does not do this. Truth brings peace, comfort, stability, and a firm foundation. What is my “proof” that Jesus is who he says he is? Well, when I live the life Christ wants me to live, I am more at peace, more at comfort, more stable, and when I do not, my life quickly becomes tossed about in the storm. I may not always be able to explain away every inconsistency or discrepancy, I may not be able to answer every question, but I don’t need to. When living in the Truth there is little reason for proof, it is like asking a wife to prove her love to her husband.

What is Truth? I may not always be able to tell you the answer, but I can show you.


Tags: truth

The Great Gift of the Eucharist

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Recently, I was exercising at the Wisconsin Athletic Club, the people there are friendly and I enjoy the opportunity to keep my body loose for school recess. The room I was exercising in was shared between myself and two other men. One of the men I had never seen before, the other had become an acquaintance. At one point I moved to another part of the building when, shortly after, the man I was an acquaintance with excitedly came up to me. He eagerly told me that he started a conversation with the third man in the room and it turns out he was a VP for none other than the famous website Facebook and had the wealth to prove it. As much as I was surprised to hear that such a man had somehow found his way into the WAC in Brookfield and had been in the same room as me, I was more surprised at my indifference to such a fact. I simply could not match or come close to the excitement my friend was displaying. I found this quite strange. After all, this man was, according to my friend, worth many millions if not billions, how could I not be at least somewhat excited to think I was a mere feet away from him. 

As the week went on I mulled this over and an answer slowly became clear. While this man represented the pinnacle of worldly wealth, it pales in comparison to what myself and every Catholic has. For in my poor and unworthy hands, I have held the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, my hands have held God himself. When I enter through the doors of the Church, I find myself in the same room as the God who was born in a manger, walked on water, forgives sins, created me and died for me. What could this man offer to me that I do not already have?

The longer I am a priest, the more I am in awe and gratitude for the great gift of the Eucharist. The world can offer me many things, but it cannot offer me God himself. Perhaps that is why it is so fitting that the word “Eucharist” means Thanksgiving.

The Ambo: Where God Speaks

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Today I would like to speak about the ambo. With modern technology it can seem a little strange why we would spend a bunch of money on an elaborate book stand such as what we have here at St. Dominic. It might make sense in the old days for sound to make it easier for people to hear and such, but now it doesn’t make much sense.

That is of course if we look at it from a practical perspective. From a theological perspective it makes all the sense in the world and it reminds us that the ambo holds a special place in a church. The word “ambo” means/signifies an elevated or raised area and this is key.

Because the Word of God always descends down upon us. Whenever God speaks it is always from above. Moses goes up to Mount Sinai and brings down the Ten Commandments. Jesus gives us the Beatitudes on a large hill on what is known as the Mount of Beatitudes, the apostles go to the Upper Room and receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and here at Mass the lector comes up the sanctuary to the ambo where the readings, the Word of God is proclaimed and descends on us. 

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says, “When the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ, present in his word, proclaims the Gospel.”

I love to think of the readings as gentle rain falling on our souls. Nourishing us, refreshing us, preparing us to receive the Eucharist which becomes the life of Christ within us. So that we may embody what we have just heard and consumed.

That is why the ambo matches the altar, because it is at the ambo where Jesus speaks, it is at the altar where he reveals himself to us. We often hear someone before we see them. The readings prepare us to be able to recognize Jesus in the Eucharist. Without the readings, without hearing his voice, we will never see beyond the veil of bread before our eyes. We will never see that it really is Jesus before us.

I think that is why it can be so difficult to pay attention to the readings at Mass, because God will never shout or force his voice into our hearts. Like we hear from the prophet Elijah God is not in the earthquake but the whisper. We must intentionally strain our ears to hear him. We really have to work hard to pay attention.

And so the ambo is reminder to us that God still speaks to us today. His voice is not trapped in the past, but spoken to us in this very moment. We only need the ears and desire to hear him.