Sunday, March 30, 2014

Laetare Sunday - 4th Sunday of Lent

Today is "Laetare" Sunday or "rejoice" Sunday/Sunday of Joy. Celebrants at Mass have the option to use rose colored vestments today just as in Gaudete Sunday during Advent.  This Sunday is a day to rejoice and remind ourselves that our austere penance during Lent is almost coming to a close and the events that define Christianity are about to come, especially Resurrection Sunday.  This Sunday tells us, "we're almost there, so don't quit now."

Today's readings introduce interesting themes; in particular, faith, the true Shepherd and Redeemer, and "God is in control."

The first reading tells us about the Lord telling Samuel to get ready with his horn of oil because He has already chosen the king for His people. Samuel was the last Hebrew Judge and the first of the major prophets in Israel. God tells Samuel to find the new king from among the sons of Jesse who he is supposed to anoint with the oil in the horn.

Samuel looks at the sons and goes one by one assuming he chose the right one, but God tells him no. Human beings are prejudicial beings. We love to judge people based on appearance, or "lookism." Samuel was no different. He believed a leader/king should be of lofty stature and assumed a particular son with that characteristic is who God had chosen. However, God says, "Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him.  not as man see does God see, because man sees the appearance,but the Lord looks into the heart." These are powerful words we should meditate on by themselves. God looks at the heart, not at how we look. We should do the same.  Instead of judging people by profiling them, we should look at their heart - their personality.

After Samuel went trough seven sons trying to find out which one God had chosen and learning none of them were the one, Jesse introduces Samuel to the youngest who was a shepherd tending
sheep.  The kid's name is David. David is described as being handsome and ruddy, obviously young but God chose him. Jesse and David of course are the descendants of Jesus the Messiah. The choosing of this young kid who is a shepherd is a prefigurement of Christ Himself. Jesus is to be the Good Shepherd and is also the Son of God. Even in an early age Jesus was doing God's work ( Luke 2:41-52) making a link to David who was the youngest and was chosen. This should remind the youth in the Church that they are indeed important and should take an active role in their respective parishes.  The Catholic Church is not for the "old" only.

In response to the first reading, we read from the most famous and well known Psalm of all found in chapter 23 which begins with "The Lord is my shepherd." This Psalm connects both David and Christ. It speaks of how God is the shepherd and takes care of His own. He annoints with oil and fills the soul with grace (my "cup overflows"). God is indeed our shepherd and we should always have trust in Him. Last Sunday's first reading was about the Hebrews doubting God in the desert believing Moses to be some con artist who dragged them out to die. We should not be like them. Trusting God will bring "goodness and kindness" for the rest of our lives.

As shepherd, God guides us on our path which is dark. The second reading from Ephesians tells us about this. We were in darkness and now are in the light of the Lord, the reading begins.  St. Paul tells us that we should continue living as children of the light. He reminds us to do what is pleasing to God and avoid the things that are in darkness. Christ is the light (John 8:12).
Without light, we cannot see physically speaking.  The same applies spiritually. Today we live in a world that is adopting atheistic existential nihilism which originated from Nietzsche et.al and claims that life is meaningless, has no purpose and that we create our own "destinies." This philosophy, while claiming to liberate man has done nothing more than bring him down and imprison him in despair and psychological and spiritual oblivion. We are rational beings with free will and intellect; however, this does not mean we can guide ourselves. When we leave human beings to be an end in themselves, they guide each other in darkness and without proper vision in this environment, they all fall into the hole (Matthew 15:14).  Only Christ can show us the way even in darkness.  Only He can guide the way so that we won't fall into the hole.

The themes of light and darkness are touched upon in the Gospel. We read in the Gospel how Jesus performs one of His "strangest" miracles recorded. Jesus passes by and sees a man who has been blind since birth.  The disciples ask Him if this man is blind because of his sins or his parent's sins.  Jesus replies, "neither he nor his parents sinned" and goes on to tell them that his disability exists in order for God to show His works. The disciples are holding to the idea that people who are disabled are in that state due to their sins. This brings to mind the "Moral Model" in disability studies which claims it is the fault of the disabled person that he/she is in that state and that this has to do with divine punishment. Jesus obviously disagrees.

Jesus then does something that is both strange and disgusting, in human terms.  He spits on the ground and makes clay with it.  Then he smears the clay made with spit on the man's eyes.  He then instructs the man to wash in the Pool of Siloam.  When the man did as he was told, he came back with full vision.  Those in the neighborhood could not believe it and were saying to themselves "isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?"  They were in shock that this man is now able to see after they have gotten used to seeing him in a blind state begging for money.  Immediately they questioned him and brought the man to the Pharisees.  The Pharisees upon learning that Christ healed this man on the Sabbath declared that Christ is not of God. They made the Law in the Old Covenant into a god, so to speak.  The Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around (Mark 2:27).  The rest of the story tells us how the Jews did not believe and even questioned the beggar's parents who testified that he indeed was born blind. Then there is a debate on who Christ really is and His intentions.

This Gospel has so many things I can write on, but will briefly get into them.  First, the Gospel reminds us that we are born blind or spiritually blind.  Atheists often make the claim that we are "atheists by default," I refute this here: http://sacerdotvs.blogspot.com/2013/04/atheism-as-default-fails.html.  We are not "atheist" at conception but are merely spiritually blind. After Baptism, we start to regain our sight as we grow in faith and grace.  This is why the man only gets sight after he washes himself in the Pool of Siloam.  Once we have life in Christ can we truly begin to see like the beggar did.  Second, Jesus in this story shows us how God does not discriminate. He sees the beggar who is blind, probably dirty and smelly, yet still approaches him.  God does not judge by appearance as 1 Sam 16:76 states.

Third, here is an interesting connection as well in regards to the clay.  We read in Genesis 2:7 how God creates man from the clay of the Earth.  Jesus uses clay to heal the man.  Think about this for a moment. If pottery is broken, how is it repaired?  We use clay to repair it. God made man out of the clay of the Earth and sin broke him. Christ comes and uses clay with spit to "fix" broken man. Christ makes all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We must approach Christ with faith and trust in Him.  He will restore our sight and guide us as our shepherd through the "valley of the shadow of death" which surrounds this world.  God is always in control.  Despite Original Sin ruining nature, God still fixes it and guides it to perfection in Him.  He is the Redeemer, the Savior who restores the Image of God in us with His light.  Today we rejoice with the "blind beggar" and shout out for all to hear: "I do believe, Lord."




READINGS:

Fourth Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 31 http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/033014.cfm


Reading 11 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A

The LORD said to Samuel:
“Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice,
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because man sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There—anoint him, for this is the one!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed David in the presence of his brothers;
and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

Responsorial Psalm PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R/ (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Reading 2 EPH 5:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light,
for light produces every kind of goodness
and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;
rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention
the things done by them in secret;
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

Gospel JN 9:1-41

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
He replied,
“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
And they said to him, “Where is he?”
He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe
that he had been blind and gained his sight
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
“Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?”
His parents answered and said,
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself.”
His parents said this because they were afraid
of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
“He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind
and said to him, “Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner.”
He replied,
“If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
So they said to him,
“What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them,
“I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?
Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
They ridiculed him and said,
“You are that man’s disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses,
but we do not know where this one is from.”
The man answered and said to them,
“This is what is so amazing,
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners,
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, ADo you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment,
so that those who do not see might see,
and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.

Or JN 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” — which means Sent —.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him, and
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
  
  



   

Friday, March 28, 2014

Noah - The Movie

The "Noah Movie" has just been released in movie theaters and has drawn in all kinds of criticisms.  Hollywood is known for making films with trash, violence, sex, immorality; you name it, they have put it on screen.  However, since Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" in 2004, Hollywood has been more open to funding and producing religious themed films.

This can be a good thing, but also a bad thing.  It is good because it gives exposure to religious ideas; however, it is bad because they often are inaccurate in telling the story of a particular faith or add to them.  "Noah" is no different.  The movie is not accurately made.

The movie turns away from sin as the cause of the Flood and replaces it with humanity's abuse of nature and its resources. A vegetarian theme is presented throughout the film and "God" is never mentioned but is simply called "The Creator."  There is no doubt that more than half of the movie is based on artistic license. Granted, Biblical stories don't always fill in the gaps and usually just get to the point, but with "Noah," the "filling" was obviously slanted.

Ironically, the movie is the work of atheist director Darren Aronofsky. It is obvious that he made this film with the intention to make the story of the Flood to be nothing more than a "myth." Moreover, there is a environmentalist tone to the movie which would probably cater to "tree-huggers" more than religious folks. 

The movie begins with flashbacks of creation with Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel, Enoch and even Methuselah are brought up. This is an attempt to give credibility to the movie itself.  The order of the Bible is not followed.  God or "The Creator" communicated with Noah via symbols which almost makes it seem as if Noah was suffering delusions. 

"Noah" is not true to the Biblical account, but the movie does open up discussion of the former.  Those seeking to know the truth of the story of Noah and the Flood should rely on Sacred Scripture and not this movie.  The movie is good if you like drama and action, but it is not a biblical or theological film.

Hopefully this movie will inspire people to read the Biblical account and ask questions.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Obama meets Pope Francis



President Obama met for the first time today Pope Francis at the Vatican. He told the Pope, "{i}t is a great honor. I'm a great admirer." Both exchanged gifts. President Obama gave Pope Francis seeds from the White House after learning that the Pope will start a garden. Pope Francis gave two medallions and a copy of Evangelii Gaudium, his first apostolic exhortation.

Obama seemed extremely humble and shy in the presence of the Pontiff. The Pontiff smiled as usual and treated everyone as if they were more important that he. In other words, "Francis was being Francis." Both then talked for almost an hour in private.

With Obama's approval ratings in the tank worldwide and his exclusion from the list of the world's top leaders, this meeting with the world's number 1 leader will be a boost of sorts.







Source:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/27/295151831/im-a-great-admirer-obama-tells-pope-francis

http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2014/03/26/obama-pope-francis-poll-saint-leo-university-polling-institute/6915419/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/27/obama-hoping-to-find-common-ground-in-meeting-with-pope-francis/?intcmp=latestnews

http://time.com/39916/barack-obama-pope-francis-vatican-meeting/

http://news.yahoo.com/obama-looking-kindred-spirit-pope-francis-060245020--politics.html

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/03/26/president-barack-obama-to-meet-pope-francis-at-the-vatican

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/26/politics/obama-pope-meeting-politics/



 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Bling Bishop" removed

Pope Francis has removed Bishop Franz Peter Tebartz Van Elst of the Limburg diocese. This bishop was suspended in October after a review of complaints made against him.

Van Elst spent 32 million euros or $43 million American dollars on a new residence and complex.  The complex included many luxuries such as a $20,000 bathtub.  Ironically, this bishop reduced the salaries of staff in the name of financial restraint.  In his defense, he claimed that the money was used for many building projects and not his personal residence.  However, the Pope did not buy into his apologia.

The Holy Father has made it clear that poverty is a must in the Church.  He called on the clergy to use simple cars and to live lives of humility and modesty. This bishop was obviously living a double life and had to go.  There is no need for one man to have a complex with $20,000 bathtubs.  This is just absurd.  Seriously, who needs a $20,000 bathtub?  

Furthermore, to reduce the salaries of the staff in the name of austerity while building a castle for yourself is just disgusting.  Bishop Van Elst should be sent to a monastery without the commodities of modern technology so he can nurse his spirituality which is injured.

Complex the Bishop had built


  

I hope the Holy Father will continue to root out these bad weeds from the Church.  


"Hit the road Jack..."





Source:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/26/world/europe/vatican-german-bishop-resigns/

http://www.religionnews.com/2014/04/01/beacon-hill-bishop-bling-clergy-housing-faces-new-scrutiny/

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/pope-replaces-german-bling-bishop-inquiry-23062117

http://time.com/38336/pope-francis-bling-bishop-fires/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/10/23/german-bishop-bling-vatican-suspension/3169723/

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/francis-removes-german-bling-bishop

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Sex Abuse Panel

In a move that has shocked the media and silenced Church critics, Pope Francis has named a woman who was molested by a member of the clergy to be part of a panel that will advice the Vatican on how to prevent sexual abuse.

He has named four women and four men so far from different countries.  Cardinal O'Malley of the Boston archdiocese as ell as Hanna Suchocka - former Polish Prime Minister,British psychiatrist Baroness Sheila Hollins, psychologist Hans Zollner, moral theologian Humberto Miguel Yanez, canon law professor Claudio Papal as well as two Jesuit priests are among them.  

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or "SNAP" are content with Collin's appointment, but still believe the Pope has not done enough.  As the cliche goes, "there's always a critic." This group will not be truly content unless the Church disappears or goes bankrupt from paying out settlements.

Credit must be given to Pope Benedict XVI as well who implemented many measures to combat the problem of sexual abuse upon which Pope Francis is building.


Source:

http://news.yahoo.com/pope-appoints-former-child-victim-church-group-sex-133710368.html;_ylt=A0LEVz3Q.DJTdwsAneJXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0a2ZiMmNoBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDI5M18x

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/22/us-pope-abuse-commission-idUSBREA2L0D520140322

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/22/292939805/pope-includes-victim-among-members-of-commission-on-sex-abuse

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/pope-francis-adds-child-victim-new-commission-investigate-sex-abuse-cases-article-1.1730325

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/03/22/pope-francis-sex-abuse-commission/6731439/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/pope-francis-appoints-former-child-victim-to-church-group-on-sex-abuse/2014/03/22/d30b035c-b1f8-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/23/293255056/pope-names-former-victim-to-sex-abuse-panel

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/22/pope-francis-names-women-victim-to-sex-abuse-commission-that-will-advise-pontiff-on-church-policy/

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/religion/pope-appoints-former-child-victim-church-group-sex-abuse-n59426

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Third Sunday of Lent Reflection

Today's reading for the Third Sunday of Lent have one main thing in common: Water.

The first reading comes from Exodus. In it, we read about Moses' struggle with the stubborn Hebrews who whined about being taken out of captivity. Go figure right?  They complain to Moses about being brought out into the desert to die of thirst.

The Hebrews actually preferred being in Egypt as slaves than in the desert.  Here we see a lack of faith. Despite all the wonders God performed, they still doubted and whined. Think about this for a minute.  They saw God send down plagues upon Egypt, one of them which transformed the waters to blood (Exodus 7:14-10:29). However, they still believe that they were taken to the desert to die of thirst.  How can they even think this after seeing how God had complete control over the molecules and atoms that make up water?

Again, the issue here is lack of faith. Humanity has not changed much since this time.  We still
whine and complain. When God doesn't answer our prayers or answers them differently, we get upset. Some of us even lose faith altogether despite witnessing God work in our lives in the past.

Moses himself becomes a bit stressed out and asks God for help fearing that the people will stone him.
God calmly tells him to go with his staff and strike a rock and water will flow from it. Gods asks Moses to do this to show that He can do anything. Usually water comes from rain, but God wanted Moses to tap on a rock for it. I see this as an innuendo of sorts. The Hebrews then and us today are "hard-headed." God must sometimes tap on our rocky heads to get water to flow, so to speak.

This first reading should remind us of faith and how delicate it is. We can be the most zealous Christians on Earth jumping around shouting alleluia like the charismatics, but it takes just one disappointment in life to bring all that down. In an instant we can lose faith in God. This is dangerous. Moreover, the first reading can be connected to our own spiritual journey during Lent and the rest of the year. We are "in the desert" trusting God. The desert is not a comfortable place.  In fact, it is so uncomfortable that even being a slave in Egypt sounds better.The desert is a common theme in the Sacred Scriptures.  It is not only a real place on Earth, but a symbol of hardship and loneliness.

The Psalm response is linked to the first reading. It comes from Psalm 95 and mentions the incident of the lack of trust the Hebrews had at Meribah and Massah. The psalm calls God the "rock of our salvation."  This is a connection to the rock Moses tapped for water. Water is the "salvation" of a thirty individual.

It is no surprise that to each refrain we respond, "If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts." This "hardening" is another connection to the rock in the desert and why I wrote a few paragraphs above that it is an innuendo. We often become "hard-headed" and harden our hearts as well.  The psalm reminds us that God is the one who made us and we should trust in Him. We must not repeat what our ancestors did where they did not trust Him and tested Him. The psalm ends in this manner.

The second reading speaks to us about faith. Again, it is all connected with the previous readings.  St. Paul reminds us that faith is what connects us with God. God gives grace to all freely, but we must respond with faith to it otherwise we will miss the grace.

This faith must then be put into practice for it to be truly valid because we must love God and have faith in Him not just because of commands, but because we choose it (James 2:14-26).  When we freely choose something instead of being forced to do something, it becomes more valuable and authentic. The reading continues speaking about hope that doesn't disappoint. No matter what hardships we face, God is still there.  Again, we must not repeat the mistakes of our ancestors in the desert who knew God was there but still doubted.

Lastly, the Gospel tells us about the Samaritan woman's encounter with Jesus. The Samaritans are a group of people who the Jews did not like. In about 700 BC, the Assyrians came to Israel and took over the north. They brought strangers to that area who would be called "Samaritans" later on. These people were Pagans but as they lived among the Jews in the land, they adopted some of their ideas and incorporated them into their own religion. Nevertheless, the Jews saw them as a pariah.

Jesus comes to a town called "Sychar." He is tired and sits down. Imagine that?  God is tired. This shows the humanity of Christ.

I digress..

As Jesus rests, a woman comes by and He asks her for a drink.  The woman is shocked because He asks her for a drink.  She does this because of the tension between the Jews and her people. Moreover, women at the time were not seen as full persons in those times due to culture. Jesus is showing He is a "feminist" per se. Moreover, Jesus then responds to her that if she knew who was asking her for water she would have been given the "living water" which is God's grace that comes from the Holy Spirit.

He continues telling her that the water He asks of her does not quench thirst but that the water He
gives will. Here He is saying that only God can satisfy us fully. Things of this world, including water, satiate. They do not satisfy us forever. The woman becomes interested and asks Jesus for this water.  Jesus then shows her that He knows her life by revealing that she had five husbands. The rest of the Gospel (if the longer version is read) continues with Jesus speaking about true religion in spirit and truth that comes from what He gives. The disciples also make an appearance and show their disapproval of the woman and Jesus communicating.

The Gospel is very long, but has deep and simple themes to reflect on.  First let us focus on faith. Here we see that it is God who comes to us, not the other way around. Jesus comes to the woman and asks for water. This is His way of saying that we have to respond back to God's grace with our faith and why He says, "I thirst" on the cross (John 19:28). He approaches us and asks for us to give Him water (our faith response).

Second, the woman belonged to a group of people that the Jews did not like.  Christ shows us that we must go to everyone with the Good News, not only our own. We must not be greedy and keep the truth for ourselves, but must share it with the "Samaritans" of the world today: non-believers, lukewarm believers, those who believe in other faith traditions, etc. We must not judge those who are not in our Catholic Church - the Mystical Body of Christ. Instead, we must approach them, be friends with them and reach out to them. We must also listen to them and learn from them just like Jesus listened to the woman.

The Gospel reminds us of "water." Water is the ultimate source of physical life.  Without water, there would be no life on this planet. Water is the engine of life. Jesus reminds us that He has the living water that gives us meaning and true life unlike the common H2o on Earth that we need to live on, physically speaking.

Ironically, in a desert that thing that is lacking the most and is the most desirable is water. When our
lives become dry, painful under the heat; the discomforts of the desert of life hit us hard, it is Christ who gives us the living water who keeps us going. In this time of Lent, we are walking in the desert with Christ. We are tempted to break our fast just like Jesus was tempted by Satan.

We naturally suffer spiritual dryness when we feel God is not there like the Hebrews who felt they were tricked into going to the desert to die. Our response is to trust in God even in bad times. We must not become hard headed and doubt God like those in Meribah and Massah. We know God is there. We have encountered Him in our lives. Our daily struggles should not push us to think God is not there in our lives. Faith is key. We must ask ourselves during Lent as we walk in the deserts of life: “Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

The answer is YES!  He is there with a nice clean cup of fresh living water to quench our thirst.





READINGS:

Third Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 28
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032314.cfm

Reading 1EX 17:3-7
In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst
with our children and our livestock?”
So Moses cried out to the LORD,
“What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people,
along with some of the elders of Israel,
holding in your hand, as you go,
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it
for the people to drink.”
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah,
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
“Is the LORD in our midst or not?”


Responsorial Psalm PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R/ (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R/ If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R/ If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R/ If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.


Reading 2 ROM 5:1-2, 5-8

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Gospel JN 4:5-42
Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned,
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?”
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
others have done the work,
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified,
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

Or JN 4:5-15, 19B-26, 39A, 40-42
Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.

“I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him.
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”





Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

          

Saturday, March 22, 2014

#1 World Leader - Pope Francis


Pope Francis has just completed his first year as the Pontiff and has wowed the world with his style and approach.  He has been on the cover of many magazines and has been named "Person of the Year" by them.  He now has a new title: "World's Greated Leader."

Fortune Magazine published its list of the world's top leaders and Pope Francis is number 1!  Ironically, president Obama did not even make the list showing how disappointing he has been as a leader. It is no wonder why Pope Francis was given this honor, and rightfully so. In just a few months after his election he has taken the world by storm. Even those who are not amicable with the Church have fallen in love with him.

Is he the "Holy Pope" some prophecies have spoken about who will convert the world?  Who knows?   Nevertheless, Pope Francis deserves to be number 1.




Source:

http://www.today.com/news/pope-francis-tops-fortunes-worlds-greatest-leaders-list-no-obama-2D79408674

http://www.mychamplainvalley.com/story/d/story/pope-francis-tops-fortune-magazines-list-of-greate/61013/0KWv3PJ6cUixl4IKSG8RbA

https://www.google.com/search?q=forbes+pope&rlz=1C1CHMZ_en-USUS299US305&oq=forbes+pope&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.1903j0j9&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=fortune+magazine+pope&tbm=nws

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"God Hates Fags" "Pastor" Dies

Fred Phelps, the founder of the controversial cult "Westboro" which picketed the funerals of troops, gays and other people as well as presented the idea that "God hates Fags" and pretty much everyone, has died.

He was reportedly on the brink of death and was even excommunicated from the cult he founded for apparently making the suggestion that they present a kinder tone.

Phelps death I think is unfortunately being celebrated in many LGBT communities.  He seemed to have had a fixation with gay people to the point of harassment.  Granted, the LGBT are known to be social bullies, but Phelps cult went a bit too far in claiming God hates people.  Phelps not only harassed the LGBT, but troops and the Catholic Church as well.  His followers would protest funerals of fallen troop with displays that were truly disgusting.  He would blame AIDs, disasters and other things on the troops, gays and others.  

Fred Phelps may have been a mentally disturbed individual, but he is still a child of God.  We must forgive his displays of immaturity and anger.

We may never know why he held so much hate in his heart to the point of founding a cult that expounded on it.  Nevertheless, we should not celebrate his death but learn from it.  Our lives are short and we will be judged by God.  We must make the best of it by living as Christ taught us; namely to love one another and forgive one another.


I won't presume to know where Phelps ended up, whether heaven, hell or purgatory.  This is God's job, not mine.  We don't know if he reconciled with God in his last moments of life on Earth. Moreover, he seemed to have wanted his cult to change hinting that maybe he himself was having a conversion.

May God have mercy on his soul and may he finally rest in the peace he never found on Earth.







Source:

http://news.yahoo.com/anti-gay-pastor-fred-phelps-sr-dies-84-162046972.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/fred-phelps-excommunicated-wbc_n_4981300.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/19/fred-phelps-dying_n_4995242.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/fred-phelps-funeral_n_4980493.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/16/fred-phelps-dying-death-westboro-baptist_n_4974584.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-raushenbush/fred-phelps-death-grieving_b_4976173.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/20/us/westboro-church-founder-dead/


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Inflation - Lemaitre was Correct!

Astrophysicists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center have appeared to discover evidence of Cosmic Inflation.

Cosmic Inflation basically means that the universe is expanding and began to expand about 14 billion years ago after the "Big Bang." The evidence comes in "B-modes" which are polarizations in the Cosmic Microwave Background.

These were discovered using the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) telescope which is located in Antarctica. The telescope seems to show gravitational waves which indicate expansion of space, time and matter itself.

This all seems complicated, but try to see it as a pond.  If you throw a stone at the pond you will see ripples extending outward from the point of impact.

This is pretty much what these astrophysicists spotted. The "ripples" are the gravitational waves expanding space, time and matter just like the ripples in water show the water "expanding" outward, if you will.

We can thank Monsignor George Lemaitre for formulating the "Big Bang Theory."  Many in the atheist community distort the truth by claiming that religion and science are incompatible or that the Catholic Church is opposed to science.  Msgr. Lemaitre and countless others in the Catholic Church have shown otherwise.  Had it not been for this priest, these astrophysicists would not have been looking for and finding these gravitational waves.  Msgr. Lemaitre was President of the Pontifical Academy of Science and contributed much to science and faith.









Source:

http://news.yahoo.com/major-discovery-smoking-gun-universes-incredible-big-bang-145912987.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/cosmic-inflation-theory-early-universe-expansion_n_4979486.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D454769






UPDATE:  December 2014  


According to a new study which was submitted for peer review suggests that the study conducted last year by BICEP2 was wrong.  Apparently, the twists of B-modes which are imprints of gravitational waves of energy were not what the American BICEP2 team thought they were.  The B-Mode signal may have been interference from large galaxies.  There is also the lensing effect which must be considered.  However, the more solid reason for the doubts come from dust that is in the Milky Way.  This dust can cause a polarisation pattern like that of B-Modes which may have confused the American physicists into thinking that they were gravitational waves showing expansion at a rapid rate.  The quest now continues...





Source:

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1409.5738.pdf

http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/forum_thread.php?id=76635

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31058529

http://wtexas.com/content/15011865-bicep-detection-was-wrong-study

https://www.ias.edu/ias-letter/flauger-bicep

Monday, March 17, 2014

Green beats Rainbow

The "green" beat out the "rainbow" in the clash between the St. Patrick's day parade and the LGBT agenda.

As you may know, for years the LGBT agenda has been trying hard to force its immorality upon the St. Patrick's day celebration, mainly the parade.  They have whined and protested claiming it to be "homophobic" for not allowing them to march under their banner.

The parade organizers have a clear policy of not allowing ANYONE with any partisan agendas or political views to march.  This includes even pro-life groups, etc.  Despite this, the LGBT wanted to play the victim card.  The parade allows anyone to march, just not with banners or representing partisan agendas.

Some mayors decided to boycott parades. See: http://sacerdotvs.blogspot.com/2014/03/tale-of-2-faces.html  The actions of these mayors will be felt in the next elections for showing that they are only representative of specific groups and not all.  Some beer companies also pulled sponsorship which will eventually hurt their sales.  In any event, drinking alcohol is not a good thing so they are doing the nation a favor by cutting down on their product promotion and sponsorship.

Parades throughout the nation went well despite protests and attempts by the LGBT to invade the parade.  Many were arrested for their disturbance of the peace and other illegal activities.






Source:

http://news.yahoo.com/irish-ask-whats-big-deal-letting-gays-st-120003300.html

http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/17/pf/st-patricks-day-parade-boycotts/

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/03/16/controversy-forgotten-for-moment-south-boston-patrick-parade-goes/nfgYOFE30Ajm7xDeZdhqUL/story.html

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/03/17/guinness-pulls-sponsorship-new-york-st-patrick-day-parade/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/17/st-patricks-day-parade-2014/6526607/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/st-patricks-day-parade-gay_n_4980463.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/gay-st-patricks-day-float_n_4979134.html

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/03/15/the-south-boston-patrick-day-parade-story-you-haven-heard/1cWGE9P41gWgvCTRodcbRI/story.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/16/guinness-st-patricks-parade-gay_n_4976382.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/gay-rights-fight-dampens-mood-st-patrick-parade-article-1.1724231


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Second Sunday of Lent Reflection

Today's readings recall how Christ is the One the Jews waited for. He is the the completion of God's plan to save humanity.  They remind us of faith. 

In the first reading from Genesis 12:1-4, we read how God speaks to Abram and tells him to leave his past to a new land. He will become the 'Father' of a new nation. 

The first reading reminds us how it all started. God made a covenant with Abram who would later be called Abraham. He would be the model of true faith for all and God would found a nation which he would be the father of. God calls Abram to leave all behind. This is not easy to do. Imagine listening to a disembodied voice telling you to leave your family's land and go to a strange land which the voice promises will be yours. Abram trusted God. He never questioned God's commands.

Lent is a period of meditation and renewal. This story is a great way to meditate on what it means to have faith. Faith means to trust God. God is the creator, God is good. Trusting God does not take anything away because we know He wants the best for us. However, due to Original Sin and our own Actual sin, we don't see things clearly in life. (1 Corinthians 13:12)  Faith is not easy to live by. In faith we fall into a Teleological Suspension from our human ethical laws as the philosopher Kierkegaard posits in his Problema writings.  Faith becomes a paradox in itself. Nevertheless, it is by faith that we grow in God because we learn to trust Him.  In any relationship trust is key. Without trust, we cannot have any kind of relationship.  Jesus Himself calls us to leave all things and follow Him. (Luke 18:22)

In response to the first reading we recite Psalm 33 which speaks of trust in God and goes in detail about how God cares of us.  We call on God to have mercy on us as He guides our path.  Again, the keyword 'trust' is mentioned in the first sentence "Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
"  We recall how God is trustworthy.  Like Abram, we are called to leave all behind and trust God because God is God and does not deceive.  

The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to Timothy and speaks of how God's grace brings us to holiness.  It starts out by telling us that our faith is not easy and is full of hardships.  However, God gives us the strength to carry on.  Again, this reading reminds us of trusting God.  God has everything under control despite our lives getting hectic at times especially when we get closer to God.  It is God's grace that keeps us going, not our own.  

Lastly, the Gospel is the story of the Transfiguration where Christ takes Peter, James and John to a mountain top and He visibly transforms into a glorious being glowing in God's glory.  Moses and Elijah, two pillars of the Jewish faith appear beside Christ representing Israel, the law and the prophets while validating that Christ is the one they were preparing the Hebrews for.  This transformation is a foreshadowing of the Resurrection where Christ will appear in a glorious form after He rises from the dead.  Again, the Gospel shows how Peter, James and John trusted Christ and followed Him.  They were the first to be called and were His closest disciples.

We as followers of Christ must reflect on this during Lent and throughout the year. We must analyze where our faith lies.
     
  • We must ask ourselves how much do we trust God?  
  • Are we willing to give up everything for God? 
  • Are we willing to go wherever God calls us to even if it brings us pain and suffering?  
This is why we do penance, abstain from meat, and fast. This is why we give up something for Lent and offer more so we can discipline ourselves. Detachment is the key to getting closer to God. St. Francis of Assisi and other saints have showed us that only in casting away our worries, our material desires do we grow closer to God.  God afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted. Our trials make sense only in faith.  Let us continue to grow in faith, trust God and focus on His Son Jesus who is the only One we need.  
  



Here are the readings:


Second Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 25

Reading 1GN 12:1-4A
The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

Abram went as the LORD directed him.


Responsorial Psalm PS 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22

R/ (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.


Reading 2 2 TIM 1:8B-10

Beloved:
Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the gospel.

Gospel MT 17:1-9
Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tale of 2 Faces

Newly elected mayor Bill de Blasio has made many promises during his campaign.  One of these promises was to be representative of ALL New Yorkers. However, he was criticized for his "Tale of Two Cities" philosophy which he borrowed from Charles Dicken's novel.

He pushed class warfare as his main platform arguing that NYC is really two cities with the rich and the poor getting different kinds of treatment from the city instead of the same.  He vowed that he would be a mayor for all New Yorkers.  See the contradiction?  However, the hypocrisy goes deeper.

Mayor de Blasio has promised not to participate in an event that is historically "New York" - the St. Patrick's Day parade.  The St. Patrick's day parade in NYC is the second oldest parade in America. It began in 1762, just a decade before the Declaration of Independence in 1776!  The parade begins with Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on 5th Avenue and 59th street.  The nature of the parade is to honor St. Patrick and his contribution to Ireland.  It is a RELIGIOUS parade.  The Irish came in droves to America and helped form our great nation.  They are devote Catholics who pride themselves in wearing green on March 17 in honor of their patron saint.

However, the LGBT agenda has been trying for years to march in the parade.  Not content with their own parades full of filth and sexual tones, they wish to tarnish the St. Patrick parade with their immoral displays and political tones which are contrary to religion and morals.  De Blasio, a long time pro-gay advocate has decided to boycott the parade because of its refusal to cater to the LGBT agenda. The City Council, which is usually a puppet of the mayor has decided to do the same.  Boston's mayor is also boycotting Boston's parade which is the oldest in the nation.

De Blasio's decision shows that he is not only telling the "Tale of Two Cities," but is demonstrating the "Tale of Two Faces."  He claims to represent all New Yorkers, but is obviously snubbing the Catholic Church, Catholics and Irish folks.  Ironically, he marches in "Gay Pride" parades which are events that are not open to Catholicism, but refuses to participate in a Catholic parade because it does not allow the banner of the LGBT agenda.  Hypocrite much?  

His boycott is a message to the Church, Catholics and Irish people that they must accept LGBT
immorality in order to be respected and be represented in the City.  This is offensive and a disgrace.  Hopefully Catholics and Irish New Yorkers will remember this when his term is up. The LGBT have no right to impose their nonsense on everyone.   This tyranny from a minority sub-culture must end.

Moreover, beer company "Sam Adams" has pulled its sponsorship of the parade out of protest against the parade's anti-LGBT agenda stance.  Catholics and Irish Americans should boycott this beer brand in response.    

      




Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/01/politics/bill-de-blasio-inauguration/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/21/nyregion/de-blasios-tale-of-2-new-yorks-echoed-by-liberals-statewide.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://politicker.com/2013/01/bill-de-blasio-tells-a-tale-of-two-cities-at-his-mayoral-campaign-kickoff/

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/de-blasio-boycotts-st-patrick-day-parade-gay-pride-article-1.1602586

http://politicker.com/2014/02/city-council-joins-de-blasio-in-st-patricks-parade-boycott/

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/mayors-tell-irish-parades-no-catholic-values-need-apply/

Friday, March 14, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370



It has been over a week since air traffic controllers lost contact with flight 370 of Malaysia Airlines.  At first it was believed that the plane may have had technical problems; however, it is now believed that the disappearance may be deliberate.

The plane made a sharp turn back towards Malaysia, but did not land in any airports.  Moreover, the transponder and other technology that makes it visible to computers on short and in space were shut off indicating that someone did not want the plane to be tracked.  After September 11, many new security features were added, but it seems terrorists have found a way around it.  The pilots are under suspicion now.  The main pilot has a flight simulator at home which may have been used to "practice" a flight pattern.  Officials are still speculating.

No debris of any kind has been located and there is no intelligence indicating any plans (that we know of).  Let us pray for the people on this flight and their families.




Source:

http://news.yahoo.com/malaysian-leader-planes-disappearance-deliberate-064752321.html

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