Fatima 100

Fatima 100
Easter Season: Christ has Risen! Alleluia Alleluia! Our Lady of Fatima 100th Anniversary: Saints Jacinta & Francisco, pray for us!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blogger Esther (Rosa Rubicondior) Agrees to Debate; Will She Run Away Again?



After running from my previous debate offer on Twitter in 2012 (see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2012/08/proof-rosa-accepted-debate.html), blogger Rosa Rubicondior whose real name is Esther Harrison (see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2014/10/case-study-rosa-rubicondior-revealed.html) proposed a new debate which I accepted. I invited her to debate on Sacerdotus Hangouts and she accepted after stating that she will not do it on a site run by me. You Tube is not run by me so there is no excuse for her to run away again.  The debate will be live and in real time. There will be no possibility to edit anything.  It is a neutral forum. 

"Rosa Rubicondior" pretends to be an intellectual atheist despite her scientific illiteracy demonstrated on her blog which brought others and myself to form www.rosarubicondior.com which is a site that counters her blog misinformation.  

When she is challenged to a debate or questioned on her errors, she then runs away and starts defaming whoever dares counter her. In retaliation, she has been posting defamatory and libelous posts targeting me and claiming I am some kid named "Manuel" despite my CUNY college records on CunyFirst showing my legal name, see here: http://www.sacerdotus.com/p/about-sacerdotus.html


Here is the video showing proof that she invited me; I accepted and she accepted to go on Sacerdotus Hangouts:







Here is a synopsis of her intellectual cowardice:

Rosa Rubicondior runs from debating me, see:
http://www.sacerdotus.com/2013/02/why-is-rubicondior-afraid-to-debate-me.html
http://www.sacerdotus.com/2012/08/rosa-rubicondior-epicfail.html

Rosa Rubicondior then tries to change the debate and make it her's despite it originating from me. She did this to save face, see:
http://www.sacerdotus.com/2012/08/rosarubicondior-sore-loser.html


The debate is scheduled here: https://plus.google.com/events/ct9k7huptl9rq3s5elkfbf2us5c

Let see if Esther Harrison aka "Rosa Rubicondior" sticks to her word and shows up.  So far, it seems that she is going to run from debating me again as her sock puppet accounts are not trolling the event claiming she did not accept to debate.  


Monday, March 30, 2015

MRSA Killing Potion

According to a microbiologist at the University of Nottingham, UK; a potion from an old English medical compendia from the 10th century entitled Bald's Leechbook may be a cure for MRSA.  The concoction was meant to treat eye infections but now turns out to actually kill MRSA.

MRSA or the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is an antibiotic resistant organism which infects the body to the point of causing death. Hospitals throughout the world have struggled with keep it at bay, especially after it has been found in hospital rooms and equipment despite attempts by hospital to sanitize them.  This recipe is written with simple instructions:

"Take cropleek and garlic, of both equal quantities, pound them well together… take wine and bullocks gall, mix with the leek… let it stand nine days in the brass vessel…"

However, the outcome is slimy, disgusting and odorous. IN lab studies, this substance was found to clear up styes and kill off MRSA.  However, do not expect this potion to hit the pharmacy soon. Scientists are studying why this substance has this effect on MRSA and will try to find means of replicating it so in the future it may become a form of treatment in a more modern form.







Source:

https://archive.org/details/leechdomswortcun02cock

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27263-anglo-saxon-remedy-kills-hospital-superbug-mrsa.html#.VRoRafzF-gF

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11504166/Anglo-Saxon-cow-bile-and-garlic-potion-kills-MRSA.html

http://www.popsci.com/ancient-medical-remedy-works-against-modern-resistant-bacteria?dom=fb&src=SOC


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday - The Passion

Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday is the last Sunday of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. Today we remember the Passion of Christ. Jesus entered Jerusalem while the people shouted Hosanna and threw Palm branches in his path.

Hosanna is an exclamation of supplication in a moment of emotion. The Palms are a sign of victory and joy. The people celebrated the Triumphant entry of the King of Kings into Jerusalem. Ironically just a few days later some of these same people will call upon Pilate to crucify Him.
Zechariah 9:9 prophesied this day. The account of the story is read prior to the procession with the palms and comes from Matthew 21: 1-10. In the Catholic Church, red vestments are used to symbolize the blood Jesus would shed as a result of His entry into Jerusalem. One procession with palms is done. Palms are used for the procession; however, other kinds of greenery can be used in its place, according to the Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy. These sacramentals are meant to remind us of Christ and His passion. They are not magical items or meant to bring about superstitious beliefs. The Directory states: "Palms or olive branches should not be kept as amulets, or for therapeutic or magical reasons to dispel evil spirits or to prevent the damage these cause in the fields or in the homes, all of which can assume a certain superstitious guise. Palms and olive branches are kept in the home as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ, the messianic king, and in his Paschal Victory."    
Readings http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032915.cfm
The first reading during Mass is from Isaiah which is connected to Jesus. It reflects on how Jesus is a gifted speaker who spreads the Good News yet offends many or stirs up a commotion among the people. Because of this, He is beaten, his beard is plucked and He is mocked. This reading is a foreshadowing of the Passion of Christ. 
Despite being abused by the people, Jesus returned no insult or attack (1 Peter 2:23). He braved it all for the sake of all (Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 8:17). Today we live in a world where Christ’s message is not popular. Priests, religious, laity, and even our separated Christian brethren face all kinds of hardships just for speaking the name of Christ and what He stands for. The Word of God is being criminalized in many parts of the world. Legislation was recently passed in Indiana protecting religious freedom and is being met with heavy opposition, especially from celebrities and powerful businesses. This opposition shows us how bad the world dislikes Christ and religion. Elsewhere in the world, Christians are being killed just for believing in Christ.  While things may seem bad and scary, we must not fear. God is with us. We must be strong and not give in to the pressures of the world and preach Christ in season and out of season (2 timothy 4:2). Like Christ, we must bear it all for the sake of salvation. God is with us, no one can stand against us (Romans 8:31). It may seem like God has abandoned us and this is why the responsorial Psalm begins with this phrase. This Psalm is another foreshadowing of Christ’s passion. Christ Himself felt abandoned by the Father. However, this is not so. God was there present comforting Him and us as well who struggle today.
Finally, the Gospel tells the account of Jesus’ arrest and His last supper where He instituted the Holy Eucharist.  Christ defined for all the true meaning of the Passover meal by breaking bread and sharing wine which are His body, blood, soul and divinity. Like with the Hebrews during Passover, this meal protects us from the plagues in the world and prepares us for the Exodus to our spiritual promised land (Exodus 12:1-14).  The journey will not be easy.  We will be attacked by the world and will walk through the desert of life (Matthew 10:18, Exodus 13:18).

Furthermore, we read how Judas is there present during the meal. He sells out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Judas is the first to leave the first Mass at the Last Supper.  How many times do we see people leave Mass early? Perhaps we may have done it ourselves? We are imitating Judas the betrayer when we leave Mass early. In doing so, we make whatever we are leaving Mass for more important than Christ. Granted, there may be emergencies we may have to attend to, but this is where faith comes in. God will take care of any emergencies for us. 

Moreover, we continue reading how Christ tells the disciples how they will flee when He is arrested. Each boldly claims that he will not leave Christ. How many times have we been vain in thinking that we have total control of faith? How many times have we thought that we control grace in us? It is God who sustains our faith and nourishes us with His grace (James 4:6). We only cooperate by the suspension of our free will in order to submit to God’s will.  Christ then goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He cries tears of blood showing the pain and anguish He was going through.  We again see Christ’s humanity. He is one of us! He is the perfect Adam we must imitate (Romans 5:12-18, 1 Corinthians 15:45).  However, like the disciples, we often fall asleep when we are in His presence. Instead of praying, we slack off and get distracted to the point of dosing off. We must avoid this by asking God to teach us how to pray and give us the strength and demeanor to be in His presence to pray even when our human frailness gets in the way.  It is in prayer that we unite with God.

Lastly, we continue reading how Christ is taken to trial. The Son of God, God Himself is treated like a criminal. He is sentenced to be killed by way of Crucifixion. His crime is love (John 3:16). Christ came to save all, first to His own people the Jews. Ironically, it is sometimes our own that betray us. We must avoid being like the Jews of Christ’s time who were with Him, saw His works and still wanted no part of Christ. Like the Jews in the desert, they saw His works and still did not want to believe (Psalm 95:8). Christ is then made to go through a horrible death. First He is made to carry a heavy cross. Throughout the way, He is mocked, spat on, hit and falls down three times for the sins of the past, present and future (Hebrews 13:8). He dies on the cross and is buried. God is dead!

Today, this phrase still echoes among western societies throughout the world who have lost their Christian roots and especially in universities teaching our youth. Some believe philosopher Nietzsche to have coined the phrase “God is dead,” but this has existed way before his own birth. Christ is nailed to the cross and dies. The people of His time said, “God is dead.” The Son of God who performed miracles and preached the good news dies. We know that in reality He is still alive (Revelation 1:18). Man can kill God because God allows it out of love. Today’s age of secularism, atheism, and relativism shout, “God is dead, we have killed Him!” However, God is alive and well. He rose from the dead showing He is the God of the living and dead (Romans 14:9). He is the one who IS; who is dependent on no one for existence (Exodus 3:14).
We must not be like the Jews of the old covenant who saw and still did not believe, nor do we want to be like the Jews in Jesus’ times who like their ancestors saw Christ’s works yet did not believe as well. They even proclaimed Him as their king by throwing palms onto His path only to reject Him and call for His execution days later. We should not be like them. We must never lose faith nor let the world silence it as it grows more hostile to religion.  Today we lift up our palms, not like those hypocrites in the Gospel reading before Mass, but like those in Revelation 7:9 who see the Lamb of God, hold their palms out to Him in joy and wear clean white robes showing they are made spotless by the blood of Christ shed for all during His Passion.
Palm Sunday is upon us. Raise your palms high and let the world know that we are Christian and will not be silenced.  We are in Christ and no one can stop us.  We are the Easter people who defy all odds in the name of Christ the Lord (Philippians 4:13).    
May Christ teach us how to live and suffer in faith. Let us shout Hosanna to the King with sincerity and remain with Him through good times and bad times until the end of time comes.  May Jesus Christ be praised!

***
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Senator: Make Church Attendance Mandatory

News outlets are reporting that senator Sylvia Allen, a Republican from Arizona is trying to pass legislation making it mandatory for citizens to attend church services. She claims that "corrupt souls" are the root of the problems in America, particular, gun violence.  Allen told the state's appropriations committee, "It is the soul that is corrupt and how we get back to a moral rebirth in this country, I don’t know. We are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. We should probably be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth."

I am not sure what to think of this proposal.  First, it would violate the Constitution as the government is not supposed to endorse any religion. Second, what of those people who do not go to church or may be atheists?  Should they be forced to attend church services as well? Lastly, people must be open to going to church and cannot be force. God gives us free will. We can accept or reject Him.  It seems Sylvia Allen is proposing this idea out of nostalgia. She described missing how religion played a big role in society, "People prayed, people went to church, I remember on Sundays the stores were closed.”  I do not see this bill or anything similar even making it to a discussion.  Instead of forcing people to attend church, churches need to go out to them and present their message in a way that is faithful to God and speaks to the people of today.  This is what Pope Francis is doing and calling all Catholics to do.







Source:

http://www.kpho.com/story/28620533/az-senator-church-attendance-should-be-mandatory

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2015/03/27/pkg-arizona-senator-church-attendance-mandatory.ktvk

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/arizona-lawmaker-church-attendance-mandatory-article-1.2164602

http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2015/03/26/nostalgia-but-no-apologies-senator-sylvia-allen-explains-church-law-comment/



Religious Freedom Wins!

There is a big commotion going on social media and in the traditional media regarding a bill that was signed into law in Indiana. The bill was signed by Governor Mike Pence after passing 63-31 in the House and 40-10 in the Senate and serves to protect religious freedom in the state.  Liberals and other LGBT supporters are calling this new law an open invitation to discrimination. However, those in favor of the law say that the reaction the LGBT agenda is giving the law shows exactly why the law is needed.

Since the LGBT has been gaining wins in courts throughout the states, religious groups have suffered greatly.  Bakers, churches, and other institutions have been sued for refusing to endorse the LGBT lifestyle which is contrary to their religious beliefs.  This law "“prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the governmental entity can demonstrate that the burden: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest.”

On Twitter and other social networks, #BoycottIndiana has been trending with frustrated individuals crying foul at the passing of this bill.  Businesses and other institutions are threatening to take their business elsewhere if Governor Pence does not veto the law.  Talk about bullying...  This goes to show you how this tyrannical minority wants to be the one to "run the show," so to speak. They do not care when religious businesses and persons are sued for adhering to their religious beliefs. Religious people have to take their agenda or suffer the consequences.  Well, Indiana said "enough!" This law is not meant to discriminate against anyone.  It is meant to protect religious freedom which has been under attack. Recently, a ban was placed on an archdiocese in New Jersey preventing it from selling headstones for its own cemetery!  In California, Archbishop Salvatore is being pressured to change his hiring practices in favor of one that rejects the Church's moral standard.

Those protesting the Indiana law are ignorant of the facts.  This bill has been a work in progress for over 20 years. Ironically, Democratic, president Bill Clinton signed the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act which was passed almost unanimously by Congress.  There was no protest then because the LGBT agenda did not enjoy the power and audience it does now. Also, president Obama while senator in Illinois was in favor of a Religious Freedom Act that was brought up in 1998.

The passing of this bill in Indiana is testament of what religious people can do.  We cannot sit back and let tyrannical minorities pervert society, our children, marriage and our laws. It is time to stand up to this Goliath and bring it down to size. Our nation was founded on religious freedom. European settlers fled Europe in search for a land where they can believe, pray and worship how they wished without interference from the government or anyone else.  Kudos to Governor Pence for signing the bill into law and protecting religious freedom.  Let us pray that other states follow.








Source:

http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/12574928/big-ten-officials-discuss-new-indiana-religious-objections-law

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/25/politics/mike-pence-religious-freedom-bill-gay-rights/

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/no-indiana-did-not-just-pass-a-law-discriminating-against-gay-people-heres-why-13174/

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/a-grave-problem-nj-ban-on-religious-headstone-sales-could-violate-constitution-58838/

https://www.lifesitenews.com/petitions/i-stand-with-archbishop-cordileone

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cut For Zayn Trends

The internet can be such a good thing.  It can link distant people and educate others. However, it can also be a place for great evil to thrive.

One such evil is taking hold now on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social networks.  The hashtag #cutforZayn, #cut4Zayn and other variations of it have been trending encouraging fans (namely girls) to cut themselves in protest to former "One Direction" singer, 22-year-old Zayn Malik abandonment of the boyband.

Zayn Malik quit the group after citing stress and wanting to live a "normal" life free from the spotlight his former boyband generated.  The group, "One Direction" is very popular today with millions of fans, mostly tweens or young pubescent girls. These girls are drawn to the vocal talent and handsome looks of the group's male members. Unfortunately, as with any group of fans, fanaticism takes hold.  Reason, conscience and morals are thrown out and replaced with instinctual animalistic drives.

Many young girls which clear mental problems are resorting to cutting themselves and posting images of their self-harm after Malik left the group. Psychologists and other mental health professionals are outraged and calling on parents and schools to monitor children for any signs of self-harm as well as to monitor their social network usage.

According to studies, girls are more prevalent to cutting themselves with boys with 1 out of 5 young females ages 10 to 18 are resorting to this self-harm.  This does not mean that boys do not harm themselves. They sometimes restore to burning instead of cutting. The DSM calls this cutting of oneself "Non-Suicidal Self-Injury" or "NSSI."  This self-harm brings about endorphins in the brain to help a teen cope with stress. The sensation of pain is a way of venting stress similar to someone punching a wall or an object when frustrated. NSSI is comorbid with other mental illnesses. Anyone exhibiting signs of it should see psychological services immediately.

To any young girls reading this post, please do not harm yourself.  No one is worth harming yourself over. You need to understand that things in life change. This boyband member wanted to try something new. He has every right to do that. Moreover, these celebrities make money off of you. They do not sit at home thinking about each fan. This is a business. The people who do care for you are your family and friends who do not want to see you hurting yourself. You are all that matters, not some boyband who will become "old news" in a few years as did the Beatles or any other boyband that followed them.








More information:

http://www.thenational.scot/news/fans-urged-to-cut-themselves-in-response-to-news-zayn-malik-has-left-one-direction.1476

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/zayn-malik-gives-first-interview-since-quitting-one-direction-ive-never-felt-more-in-control-in-my-life-10137740.html

http://hollywoodlife.com/2015/03/26/perrie-edwards-zayn-malik-cheating-rumors-love-breakup/

Leonard Sax MD PhD is a physician, psychologist, and author of "Boys Adrift" (Basic Books, 2007) and "Girls on the Edge" (Basic Books, 2010).

Adler P, Adler P.  2007.  The demedicalization of self-injury (link is external).  Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 36, 537-370.

Cheng H-L, Mallenckrodt B, Soet J, Sevig T.  2010.  Developing a screening instrument and at-risk profile for nonsuicidal self-injurious behavior in college women and men (link is external).  Journal of Counseling Psychology, 57, 128 - 139.

Hilt LM, Cha CB, Nolen-Hoeksema S.  2008.  Nonsuicidal self-injury in young adolescent girls: moderators of the distress-function relationship. (link is external)  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 63-71.

Nixon MK, Cloutier P, Jansson SM.  2008.  Nonsuicidal self-harm in youth: a population-based survey (link is external).  CMAJ, 178, 306-312.

Rodham K, Hawton K, Evans E.  2004.  Reasons for deliberate self-harm: comparison of self-poisoners and self-cutters in a community sample of adolescents (link is external).  Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 80-87.

Whitlock J, Muehlenkamp J, Eckenrode J.  2008.  Variation in nonsuicidal self-injury: identification and features of latent classes in a college population of emerging adults (link is external). Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37, 725-735.

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/178/3/306.abstract

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/teen-girls-crash-course/201211/stressed-out-teen-girls-cutting-cope

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sax-sex/201003/why-are-so-many-girls-cutting-themselves

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/teen-girls-crash-course/201301/cutting-cope-part-two

http://www.livescience.com/11043-teens-hurt-science-injury.html

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Former EWTN Priest Dave (Francis Mary) Stone Fathers Child & Accused of Sexual Abuse

https://www.linkedin.com/in/theedavestone
After years of being in hiding and living a "life off the rock," former priest Dave Stone who went by "Father" Francis Mary Stone, MFVA of EWTN has surfaced once again. As with many priests who leave the priesthood out of lust, Stone is in the news in a negative light.  He is going through a big divorce with the mistress Christina Presnell who led him away from the Church and EWTn and has even fathered a child.

Moreover, he is being accused of sexually abusing his own child. Stone, 54 denies the allegations.  He is accused of penetrating his son's anus with his finger causing the boy to defecate due to the size of the finger causing the inferior anal nerves to trigger  peristaltic waves forcing the feces out. Stone was arrested on October 9, 2013 and was out on a $150,000 bond.  Clinical psychologist Alan Blotcky who evaluated both Stone and his ex-wife Christina Presnell wrote in a reported, "Dave's psychological evaluation does not even hint at a person who is capable of abuse. It is implausible.  Stone is fully capable of being a healthy and competent parent."

David Lawrence Stone met Christina Presnell in 1998 when she worked at EWTN.  He was a freshly ordained priest and became a spiritual adviser and confessor to her.  The relationship became flirtatious eventually leading to a sexual one in 2001.  Both kept the relationship a secret until Presnell became pregnant.  She was fired in 2008 by EWTN and stone (Fr. Francis Mary Stone at the time) was put on leave of absence until he announced that he would be re-evaluating his vocation. Presnell has other children from previous relationships.

The situation is disturbing indeed and shows why men considering the priesthood must go through heavy discernment before considering a vocation to the priesthood. Dave Stone when he was "Father Francis" seemed like he was hiding something.  I recall seeing him at a March for Life in Washington DC and he did not say hi to anyone around him. Some recognized him and said hi and he just looked slightly nervous and serious.  It is unfortunate that EWTN has faced many wayward vocations. Other priests have left the Missionaries of Eternal Word.  Both Fathers John Klobucar and Augustine Mary left.  John went on to marry and Augustine (now Fr. James Hedderman)is now a diocesan priest is working in the Diocese of Birmingham. He is serving at Good Shepherd Church in Huntsville, Alabama. Other friars also left, including brother Rafael who was a tall heavy set friar often serving as a lector.

Stories like this can affect the faith of some, but it should not.  Human beings are weak. We all fall, sin, make mistakes etc. The disciples had their share of human weakness recorded in the Gospel. We must pray for one another and pray for those considering a vocation and those who answered one. Being ordained or taking vows does not make one perfect or impeccable. It is sad Dave Stone chose this life, but he is an adult and must now reap what he has sowed. His life was not on the rock and now is on sand. Let us keep him, the friars who left, Corapi, Alberto Cutie and others in our prayers. They may have abandoned God and the Catholic Church, but God has not abandoned them.






UPDATE June 1, 2016:

Stone was found not guilty by a jury of his peers, see: http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/05/jury_decides_on_child_abuse_ch_1.html







Source:

http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/03/catholic_priest_ex-ewtn_tv_hos.html

https://www.linkedin.com/in/theedavestone

https://fatherjoe.wordpress.com/2008/01/04/ewtn-scandals-problem-priests/

http://www.fisheaters.com/forums/index.php?topic=3453634.0

https://fatherjoe.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/fr-francis-mary-stone-of-ewtn-is-now-dave/


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Plane Crashes in the Alps



A German airliner crashed into the French Alps killing everyone on board including two Americans, Yvonne and Emily Selke.  The crash also claimed the lives of two high school classes on an exchange study abroad trip and infants as well.  The world is mourning this loss of life in such a horrific way.  According to reports, made by the New York Times, a source claims that the co-pilot was locked out of the cockpit.  He is heard knocking softly on the door and then increasing the pounding as if trying to break down the door.  Some are speculating that maybe the pilot had a medical issue or may have even been suicidal and locked the door to the cockpit.  The investigation is still ongoing.  Let us pray for all those affected by this tragedy.


Source:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/03/25/french-alps-crash/70416962/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/24/europe/france-plane-crash/

http://news.yahoo.com/black-box-1st-clues-alpine-jet-crash-killed-064937383.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/25/world/europe/germanwings-crash.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/24/europe/france-plane-crash/

UPDATE 3/26/15**



According to the black boxes, investigations have confirmed that the Germanwings plane was intentionally brought down by the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz.  It was the pilot who was locked out of the cockpit. Audio can be heard of the pilot trying to enter the cockpit. However, the co-pilot locked the door completely overwriting the keypad.  He then reprogrammed the autopilot to slowly decrease the altitude of the play to its lowest level, 100 feet.  This shows that he was intentionally bringing the plane down. The co-pilot also ignored commands from air traffic agents.  He could be heard breathing normally, ignoring the pilot as he banged on the cockpit door and air traffic agents.

Andreas Lubitz is said to have suffered from depression and even took time-off from his flight training.  He lived alone and did not go through psychological testing as a pilot.  This new development is sending chills down the spine of travelers who feel at ease knowing a pilot can take down a plane just for whatever reason and that the doors meant to protect pilots from entry by terrorists adds to this new problem.  These cockpit doors can be locked completely preventing anyone else from entering even by using the keypad.  This is a serious problem.  Moreover, European airlines allow one pilot in the cockpit.  American airliners order that two people be in the cockpit at all times.  



Source:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/27/world/europe/germanwings-crash.html?_r=0

http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/mar/26/germanwings-plane-crash-investigation-press-conference-live-updates-4u9525

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32063587

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/26/europe/france-germanwings-plane-crash-main/


Monday, March 23, 2015

Alien Star Passed by Solar System



When our ancestors first began to leave the "Garden of Eden" or Africa, a star passed near our Solar System about 70,000 years ago.  Astronomers at the University of Rochester claim in a new study that Scholz's star along with a brown dwarf flew by the edge of the Solar System in the Oort Cloud. The star's gravity is so weak that it had little effect on nearby comets. It is believed that Scholz's star was about 0.8 light years from the Sun.  It is now long gone at about 20 light years away.

The European Souther Observatory used Scholz's star's radial velocity using Doppler shift which is a way of detecting the speed of light spectrums in relation to the rest of space. With this method, scientist Valentin Ivanov determined that Scholz's star did, in fact, pass by our Solar System and that it is moving away from it at an extraordinary speed at about 55 miles a second.  Scholz's star is considered a rogue star since it is moving through space without and gravitational hold in one location.  However, some questions still remain.  Why did it fly by our Solar System? What caused it to form this trajectory?  Where did it originate from?







Source:

http://iopscience.iop.org/2041-8205/800/1/L17

http://www.universetoday.com/119038/a-star-passed-through-the-solar-system-just-70000-years-ago/

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31519875

http://www.space.com/28611-star-flew-through-solar-system.html

http://www.iflscience.com/space/star-passed-less-light-year-earth


Sunday, March 22, 2015

5th Sunday of Lent - Follow Christ

Today's readings tell us that God makes things new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We must follow Christ in order to be part of this renewal. This following of Christ will not be easy. We must suffer greatly (Matthew 10:18).

In the first reading, we are told that God is going to start a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. This covenant will be different from the one the Israelites were used too.  Before, God showed Himself to them and brought them out of slavery. He would work His wonders before them and others, showing that He is God (Psalm 95:9). Now things will be different.  He is going to place His law in their hearts (Psalm 37:31). Here we see how God is preparing humanity for Jesus. He is setting a place in man's heart for Himself (Ephesians 3:17). This new covenant will include not only Israel and Judah, but the rest of the world (Jeremiah 31:1,3-4,7-8, John 11:52).  The old covenant was a preparation for the new. This is why Jesus did not come to abolish the old, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).  The old is part of the new.  It is a religious and spiritual metamorphosis. However, in order to be part of this new covenant, we must be pure of heart, mind and soul. This brings in the Psalm for today.

In the responsorial Psalm, we recite, "Create a clean heart in me, O God."  We ask God for mercy and ask that He in His generosity and goodness restore His image in us by wiping clean all that exists in us that keeps us from this image (Isaiah 1:18). Only God can do this (Psalm 51:7).  God is the only one who knows us inside and out (Psalm 139:2).  He can perceive our introspection and know our temperament. We were created by Him, we come from Him (Genesis 1:27). His breath and word are what keeps us in existence (Genesis 2:7, Psalm 39:5, Matthew 4:4). This washing of the soul brings back joy in us. God reestablishes His friendship with us. In response, we must call others who are in sin and bring them to this spiritual laundry mat that is God's grace, so to speak (Colossians 3:16, Romans 15:14, James 5:20). This cleaning is done with the blood of the lamb who was slain (Revelation 12:11). His suffering redeems us and restores us as we read in the second reading.

The second reading reminds us that Jesus prayed and offered Himself for all of us. Today's second reading is sometimes used by Jehovah's witnesses and Muslims to claim that Jesus was not god.  To them, he was either a demi-god or a prophet. The words, "he learned obedience" and "was made perfect" seem to indicate this.  However, we must understand that Jesus was both God and man (John 1:1, 14). He had two natures and one personhood. This is called the Hypostatic union. The fact that He was God did not make His humanity any different. He experienced everything human beings experience except sin (Hebrews 4:15). Christ ate, drank, cried, experienced different emotions, thought, learned etc. He was not some magical deity walking the Earth like Hercules fighting Titans and what not. For all intent and purpose, Christ lived like an "average joe." So because of this, He learned obedience and was made perfect in the sense that His humanity was authentically human.  Since He did not succumb to any temptation and followed through with the will of His Father, Christ became the source of our salvation.  He is the new Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45).

Finally in the Gospel we read of Jesus' agony.  Jesus announces the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. This hour is the new beginning. The beginning of the new covenant signed, sealed and delivered by the suffer death of Christ. Jesus says, "unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat, but if it dies, it produces much fruit." Here He is referring to Himself. His death on the Cross had to occur. Jesus had to suffer in order to redeem us. Humanity got into trouble via sin and death, so Christ would use the image of sin (humanity) and death to save the world (Romans 5:12-18). If we are to call ourselves Christians, then we too must suffer (Matthew 16:24). Jesus reminds us, "whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life." This means that we must be open to suffering and even martyrdom if it comes to that (Matthew 24:9).

This life that we live today is not what we were meant for.  Humanity was meant for so much more. Today we are learning of the many Christians being killed. These are the martyrs of today who follow Christ to the cross. Their reward will be in heaven. Instead of focusing on the rewards of this life that wither like a crown of leaves, they focus on the crown in heaven that never withers (1 Corinthians 9:25). These Christians unite themselves to the suffering Christ. We too are united when we suffer for the faith (1 Peter 2:21, 2 Timothy 2:12, Romans 8:17). The agony of Christ shows us how Christ was truly human. This ties into what we read in the second reading regarding Jesus learning obedience and being made perfect. He suffered even before being scourged at the pillar.

Christ asks the Father to save Him from this hour. However, he did not quit and accepted what was coming. In the Mass, we join Jesus in this hour by reliving His passion, death and resurrection. Christ is not sacrificed again, He died once and for all peoples (Hebrews 9:28, Romans 6:10, 1 Peter 3:18). This death weakened the hold of the ruler of this world who is the liar Satan (Revelation 12:11). It is no wonder why today we see all kinds of evils and crazy ideas taking over society (Isaiah 5:20). Satan knows his time is up so he has to pull all stops to try to deceive many (1 Peter 5:8). However, Christ, as He is lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Himself (John 3:14-15). In the end, Christ wins.  May Jesus Christ be praised!

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032215-fifth-sunday-lent.cfm


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Friday, March 20, 2015

Science News 1

Ceres
As NASA's Dawn spacecraft inches closer to Ceres, we will be getting better images of the largest dwarf planet or asteroid in the asteroid belt that is between Mars and Jupiter. The only images we have had of this celestial body have been from the Hubble Space telescope.

A lot of interests have been sparked lately regarding Ceres because of a bright spot emanating from a crater. To date, scientists are not sure what it is.  Some believe it may be ice reflecting sunlight.  However, some conspiracists believe this may be an extraterrestrial outpost of some sort. The fact that NASA has yet to present photos of the Ceres up close is fueling that conspiracy.  They have not posted anything because the side that Dawn is orbiting is away from the sun and dark.  It is believed that images should start coming in next month.




Source:
http://phys.org/news/2015-03-dawn-distant-ceres-habitability.html
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Chemicals of Life
A new study (Common origins of RNA, protein and lipid precursors in a cyanosulfidic protometabolism) by the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the United Kingdom claims to have solved the enigma of how life began on Earth.  Since the onset of the theories regarding evolution and genetics began to sprout, scientists have struggled to figure out how all of this began.

What triggered the amino acids, carbon atoms, ribonucleotides and glycerol to come together and form lifeforms.  In the study, the scientists observed the interactions of the aforementioned chemicals and noticed specific reactions that indicate how they may have come together to form proteins, RNA and lipids which allow for cellular formation.  The problem I see with this study is that it assumes the interactions observed at the lab were what happened on Earth. We do not know the conditions at the time life formed or if there was an external factor not accounted for. An alleged atheist on Google + posted this article claiming he did not see God in this.  The suggestion is not logical since these chemicals all have a contingent nature. There is no way we can rule God out.


Source:
http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nchem.2202.html
http://phys.org/news/2015-03-chemists-riddle-life-began-earth.html


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Cosmic Display
Today will be a day of many cosmic displays. Due to a strong solar storm, the aurora borealis will be visible in many areas including New York City.  Moreover, there will be an eclipse which will only be visible in most of Europe. A supermoon is also scheduled to occur.

Some are calling these "omens" especially since it is the first day of spring.  However, scientists assure us that nothing out of the usual is going on.  These events just happened to coincide on the same day.  That being said, go outside and enjoy it.



Source:
http://news.yahoo.com/photos/sky-watchers-treated-to-northern-lights-super-moon-and-eclipse-this-week-1426746665-slideshow/aurora-borealis-northern-lights-commonly-known-photographed-over-photo-134638910.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/03/18/solar-eclipse/24970217/

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fridays-solar-eclipse-nothing-well-164149278.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory&soc_trk=tw
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cnn Special Report on Atheists - #CnnAtheists

Next Tuesday,  March 24 at 9:00 PM est CNN will have a special report program on the social phenomenon called Atheism.  This report is said to take a closer look at the movement of Atheism in America.  I advise all Catholics and believers to view it to get an idea of how these people think and how they organize themselves.



I will update this post as I learn more details and will give my review after I view it. Stayed tune.


UPDATE** March 24, 2014  10 PM EST

Well, I just watched this report and have some mixed feelings about it.  Overall, atheism was presented fairly well.  However, it was also presented as a parody of religion.  The report showcased young atheists, one with religious parents and another who is studying at Harvard's divinity school. It also presented Richard Dawkins, David Silverman, Jerry W. DeWitt, and an anonymous protestant minister who is flirting with atheism, so to speak.  One of the young atheists named David Gormley is a son of religious parents who were shocked when he told them that he was an atheist.  His parents claim that he became "dead" to them.  However, they still live together but are not as close.  David claims that other friends and relatives stopped talking to him altogether.  He runs a secular club at his university and claims that as a young person, going to church did not make sense to him after spending Wednesdays for 6-8 hours praying to God.  David felt out of place and decided atheism was for him.  The other young person, Vanessa Sotay stated that she studied at Harvard Divinity school because she believes religion is part of humanity in a cultural sense.  She was raised as a reformed Jew.

Jerry W. DeWitt was a Pentecostal pastor who almost ran for mayor. However, he had doubts deep in himself. While on a call to see a parishioner's's relative who got into a car accident, he claims that event confirmed his atheism. He felt that prayer was useless.  In 2011, he quit his pastor job and became a building inspector. When his family saw him photographed with Richard Dawkins on Facebook, his wife left him, his congregation became upset with him and he went into foreclosure due to debt.  DeWitt now rents a home and uses it to house "atheistic services."  He literally preaches to a congregation entitled, "Community Mission Chapel."  Furthermore, the CNN report featured an alleged Protestant minister who lost his faith. He is part of the "Clergy Project" which is a community of current and former clergy who are atheists but fear revealing that detail due to the fact that their ministry may be their livelihood and they will lose it.

In conclusion, the special report on atheism was interesting, but I believe some atheists would disapprove of the reporting. As stated before, the report presented atheism as sort of a parody of religion. Students and former pastors were presented as being "chaplains" for atheism or humanist communities. DeWitt is even running a church-like ministry catering to humanists where he has monetary collections just like a typical Christian denomination would have. Viewers can see the clear cognitive dissonance of these atheists.  They dislike God and religion, but then present atheism as a religion to their followers.  It is just absurd.  The idea of a humanist chaplain or atheist chaplain is ridiculous. Moreover, the idea of an "atheist preacher" is laughable.  It is clear that DeWitt is using atheism to make money. One guy even stated that atheism is part of American religious diversity. The show presented atheism as a religion.  I am not sure how other atheists will take this as many state that atheism is not a religious movement.  The two young people presented clearly are atheists for emotional reasons.  David's parents are Evangelicals who took him to their service which lasted 6-8 hours.  Any child will come to dislike something they attend every week for 6-8 hours!  He is also going through a rebellious stage by distancing himself from the social script his parents brought him up in.  Atheism is a way for him to feel independent.  He is doing "his own thing" instead of repeating his parents scripts.  Vanessa comes from a Jewish family who survived the Holocaust. She claims that "God did not survive the Holocaust."  I took this as her way of saying that God was not there for the Jews who were killed during this horrific event.  This probably turned off her family from continuing their faith in God.

Meanwhile, David Silverman uses his usual appeal to ignorance tactic by claiming that there is no evidence for God.  I address this fallacy here: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2012/11/no-evidence-for-god-therefore-no-god.html.  Moreover, he even claims that the Bible is not history.  Seriously?  So how the heck did Israel come to be?  Did this nation come out of a fairy tale?  If so, where is Atlantis?  This guy is extremely foolish.  It is no wonder why the organization that he runs, American Atheists only has 5,000 members according to him during the CNN report.  Silverman then presented his "Atheist TV" channel which was an epic fail, see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2014/08/atheist-tv.html.  He also claims that America is not supposed to be "under God" or "trust in God."  He is clearly ignorant of American history.  Our Declaration of Independence clearly mentions God:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" -http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

The Constitution is even signed "in the year of our Lord."  God is as American as apple pie, so to speak.   Furthermore, DeWitt is clearly a con artist.  He is using his talent for "preaching" to make money off of atheists.  How can atheists be so foolish to attend an "atheist chapel?"  Seriously guys?! Atheism means a rejection of God and religious belief, not an imitation of the latter.  In regards to the anonymous minister all I can say is that all Christians go through the "Dark Night of the Soul" which is a period of spiritual maturation where the soul feels abandoned by God.  God seems to not exist. All saints have gone through this process and is what the late Christopher Hitchens misinterpreted in Blessed Mother Teresa's writings when she wrote of her doubts.

Richard Dawkins then claims that the world will be better without religion but does not acknowledge that Stalin and other atheist leaders hold the record for the most mass murders.  Their regimes pushed atheism and oppressed human rights. Cuba and China today still oppress their people and commit horrendous crimes in the name of a godless society.  Dawkins also uses what I call the "Leprechaun fallacy" which I refuted here: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2015/03/atheist-nonsense-introduction-part-i.html.  I feel bad for these individuals who persist in their ignorance.  There is some underlying psychological issue going on that forces them to be apprehensive towards God and religion.  Granted, some believers do horrible things and sometimes do not represent their faith well (I included); however, this is no reason to stop believing.  We are all sinners and make mistakes.  No religion or faith should be based on the behavior of its followers.

This CNN report gave a glimpse of atheism and what it really is.  It is simply a parody of religious belief.  We are all predisposed to believe in God.  This is part of our genetic makeup.  Atheism is the outlier in nature see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2014/07/atheists-dont-exist.html.  A claim was made during the report that young people are becoming atheists or leaving religion because of the internet.  This may be because the internet is full of so much misinformation that it is hard to verify what is factual and what is not.  There are many sites such as Wikipedia, blogs and the like with fabrications and other distortions.  Take this "news" article claiming Dr. Steven Hawkins endorsed intelligent design, see: http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/stephen-hawkins-admits-intelligent-design-is-highly-probable/.  A lot of people are falling for that fake news and believing it!  This is an example of how careful we must be when searching for things on the internet.  Young people are impressionable and will believe anything that may be presented as "cool" or rebellious.  Atheism is a rebellious social phenomenon so it is attractive to young people who want to go against the "status quo." This show reminded me of one of the reasons I left atheism behind: it is silly.  Atheism is just an opium for the contrarian.  It is based on speculative reasoning that fails to sustain itself logically.                





More info:
http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/03/17/exp-cnn-creative-marketing-atheists-inside-the-world-of-non-believers.cnn
 http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/03/17/exp-cnn-creative-marketing-atheists-inside-the-world-of-non-believers.cnn

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

DeGrasse to host "StarTalk" on Television

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson seems to be all over these days. He was chosen to host the remake of the late Carl Sagan's hit, "Cosmos" in 2014 and apparently decided not to continue with the series despite its popularity.

He also hosts a popular podcast entitled "StarTalk." DeGrasse is a product of the Bronx of Puerto Rican and African American descent who fell in love with the stars. He speaks passionately on science and sometimes makes statements which cause controversy.

Despite this, he is a great communicator and will now have a night program named after his podcast on the National Geographic Channel.  "StarTalk" will air on April 20, 2015 according to the National Geographic Channel network. In keeping with the tradition of the podcast, he will be having a host of guests from a variety of backgrounds including scientists such as Richard Dawkins, actors such as Star Trek's George Takei, and others.

I am excited to learn of this news and look forward to viewing the TV version of his podcast which I enjoy listening to.  It is sad that he will not return to "Cosmos," but rumor has it that one of my former instructors, Michio Kaku at CUNY will take his place.  That being said, "Cosmos" is in very good hands!

In other news, here is a funny video of Degrasse sounding as if he were high: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/25/neil-degrasse-tyson-stoned-video-response_n_5023458.html





More info:

http://www.startalkradio.net/#

http://www.startalkradio.net/announcing-startalk-tv-national-geographic-premiere-date-and-episode-schedule/

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/nat-geo-latenight-series-hosted-by-neil-degrasse-tyson-to-launch-april-20-1201455419/

http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/18/8252023/neil-degrasse-tyson-startalk-late-night-tv-420


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Atheist Nonsense Introduction (Part I) - Leprechauns

I have decided to start a new series regarding atheism and its errors due to the fact that my "Atheism is stupid" and "Atheism Dilemma" posts have been extremely popular. This new series will be on specific misconceptions that are often repeated by atheists or those who claim to be an atheist. The first misconception will deal with Leprechauns since today is St. Patrick's day.

Why Leprechauns?

Well, take a look at some of these nonsensical tweets.



















Problem With Argument
The persons behind these accounts are trying to equate God with a Leprechaun.  They argue that Leprechauns and God are one in the same: myth.  To an uneducated person who is not well versed in logic, this argument would seem to be very convincing.  However, to one who is educated and well versed in logic, he or she would see that this argument is a False Equivalence fallacy.  A False Equivalence fallacy is when a comparison of two or more subjects is made, attempting to make a logical connection when there is none (Phillips & Bostian, 2014).

Background
Leprechauns are mythical creatures said to reside in Ireland and guard pots filled with gold or gold coins. The word "Leprechaun" comes from "leiprechan" or "Luchrupan." in Gaelic.  They are said to be humanoid fairies of some sort (offspring of an evil spirit and fairy) who guard a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and also make shoes.  The myth of the creature originates from a story from the medieval ages entitled "Adventure of Fergus Son of Leti" (Koch, John T. (2006).

Refutation
So we see that Leprechauns are nothing but mythological formulations of the human mind since they can be traced to a human author. The attempt to conflate God with Leprechauns is ignorance at best. We cannot say that God is a myth because we do not have an author from which to trace Him to. Some may say that the Bible shows God's original in authorship; however, this argument fails because the concept of God or gods predate any "sacred books" found in any religion or culture. Others may say that the concept of God originated from oral traditions.  This argument also fails as the concept is a universal one that can be found in every culture known, both current and extinct. Interestingly enough, the concept of Leprechauns can only be traced to one region: Ireland.  It is not a universal concept.   Moreover, biologically and psychologically speaking, we are all hard wired to believe in God (Boyer, 2008). This is interesting because we are not hard wired to believe in Leprechauns, Fairies or anything of the like.

Therefore, the idea or suggestion that God and Leprechauns are both comprised of myth is illogical and complete nonsense.  This argument is a False Equivalency fallacy that fails to take into account facts and evidence.  It shows the lethargic cognition that some atheists are capable of engaging in.        

Monday, March 16, 2015

Year of Mercy


Pope Francis has just announced a new jubilee year beginning on December 8, 2015 which is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will end on November 20, 2016 which will fall on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The Pope wants the focus to be on Mercy.This will be a period to reflect on God's mercy by reminding the world of it as well as being merciful towards others. Here are the Pope's words during a Lenten service where he announced the Year of Mercy:

This year as last, as we head into of the Fourth Sunday of Lent, we are gathered to celebrate the penitential liturgy. We are united with so many Christians, who, in every part of the world, have accepted the invitation to live this moment as a sign of the goodness of the Lord. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, in fact, allows us with confidence to draw near to the Father, in order to be certain of His pardon. He really is “rich in mercy” and extends His mercy with abundance over those who turn to Him with a sincere heart.
To be here in order to experience His love, however, is first of all the fruit of His grace. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, God never ceases to show the richness of His mercy throughout the ages. The transformation of the heart that leads us to confess our sins is “God's gift”, it is “His work” (cf. Eph 2:8-10). To be touched with tenderness by His hand and shaped by His grace allows us, therefore, to approach the priest without fear for our sins, but with the certainty of being welcomed by him in the name of God, and understood notwithstanding our miseries. Coming out of the confessional, we will feel God’s strength, which restores life and returns the enthusiasm of faith.
The Gospel we have heard (cf. Lk 7:36-50) opens for us a path of hope and comfort. It is good that we should feel that same compassionate gaze of Jesus upon us, as when he perceived the sinful woman in the house of the Pharisee. In this passage two words return before us with great insistence: love and judgment.
There is the love of the sinful woman, who humbles herself before the Lord; but first there is the merciful love of Jesus for her, which pushes her to approach. Her cry of repentance and joy washes the feet of the Master, and her hair dries them with gratitude; her kisses are pure expression of her affection; and the fragrant ointment poured out with abundance attests how precious He is to her eyes. This woman’s every gesture speaks of love and expresses her desire to have an unshakeable certainty in her life: that of being forgiven. And Jesus gives this assurance: welcoming her, He demonstrates God’s love for her, just for her! Love and forgiveness are simultaneous: God forgives her much, everything, because “she loved much” (Luke 7:47); and she adores Jesus because she feels that in Him there is mercy and not condemnation. Thanks to Jesus, God casts her many sins away behind Him, He remembers them no more (cf. Is 43:25). For her, a new season now begins; she is reborn in love, to a new life.
This woman has really met the Lord. In silence, she opened her heart to Him; in pain, she showed repentance for her sins; with her tears, she appealed to the goodness of God for forgiveness. For her, there will be no judgment except that which comes from God, and this is the judgment of mercy. The protagonist of this meeting is certainly the love that goes beyond justice.
Simon the Pharisee, on the contrary, cannot find the path of love. He stands firm upon the threshold of formality. He is not capable of taking the next step to go meet Jesus, who brings him salvation. Simon limited himself to inviting Jesus to dinner, but did not really welcome Him. In his thoughts, he invokes only justice, and in so doing, he errs. His judgment on the woman distances him from the truth and does not allow him even to understand who guest is. He stopped at the surface, he was not able to look to the heart. Before Jesus’ parable and the question of which a servant would love his master most, the Pharisee answered correctly, “The one, to whom the master forgave most.” And Jesus does not fail to make him observe: “Thou hast judged rightly. (Lk 7:43)” Only when the judgment of Simon is turned toward love: then is he in the right.
The call of Jesus pushes each of us never to stop at the surface of things, especially when we are dealing with a person. We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart to see how much generosity everyone is capable. No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it and the Church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one. Its doors remain wide open, so that those who are touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness. The greater the sin, so much the greater must be the love that the Church expresses toward those who convert.
Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is a journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord's words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (cf. Lk 6:36)”
This Holy Year will begin on this coming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will end on November 20, 2016, the Sunday dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – and living face of the Father’s mercy. I entrust the organization of this Jubilee to the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization, that [the dicastery] might animate it as a new stage in the journey of the Church on its mission to bring to every person the Gospel of mercy.
I am convinced that the whole Church will find in this Jubilee the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time. From this moment, we entrust this Holy Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she might turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey.
(from Vatican Radio) http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-homily-with-announcement-of-year-of-m










Sources:
 http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-homily-with-announcement-of-year-of-m




Saturday, March 14, 2015

4th Sunday of Lent - Divine Mercy

We are now in the 4th Sunday of Lent.  The readings today remind us of God's mercy and His commitment to making things new.

In the first reading from Chronicles, we read of the destruction of the kingdom which was established by God via the covenant with David. This would be the last covenant in the Hebrew Scripture or Old Testament (2 Samuel 7). As usual, the "chosen people" went haywire and disobeyed God.  They "added infidelity to infidelity" and did every abomination imaginable, completely ignoring God and desecrating the Lord's temple with their sins.

God out of love and concern sent messengers to rescue them, but the people did not listen to them and mocked them (Luke 4:24, Isaiah 66:4, Psalm 95:10). The people were just out of control. This sin and licentiousness led to the destruction of the house of God and the walls of Jerusalem.  Everything was destroyed.  The Israelites were then taken captive in Babylon and were made slaves to the king of the Chaldeans.  However, despite the people of God ignoring God and wanting no part of Him, God was still concerned and wanted to restore them. In order to do this, He inspired Cyrus who was a pagan king and anointed him to rebuild the temple and shepherd His people (Isaiah 44:28-45). Cyrus would then issue a decree stating that all of the kingdoms of Earth were given to him by God. This was a signal showing that the salvation God began with the Hebrews would extend to the rest of the world (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9). Many times atheists and others describe the "God of the Old Testament" as vindictive, jealous, and evil; however, we see how these human attributes used to describe God indicate how passionate He is with the human race that He tries everything to save them even if He has to show some "muscle," so to speak (Deuteronomy 4:31, Psalm 116:5). We must not forget God because He has not forgotten us. This brings us to the responsorial Psalm.

In the responsorial Psalm, we read the cries of God's chosen people suffering "by the streams of Babylon" weeping and remembering Zion.  We read this Psalm of their lamentation and repeat, "Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!" If we forget God, then nothing good will come about from this rejection (Ezekiel 6:9, Deuteronomy 32:18, Ezra 8:22, Leviticus 26:27-28). We must not be like the Israelites who followed God only when it suited them. When we turn away from God, nothing good comes. The atheist mantra "good without God" is not realistic because all good comes from God. God is the one who declares what is the good (Genesis 1:31). Sin forces us to turn from God. We become insensitive and open to all kinds of evil. This kills us spiritually and psychologically.  The second reading from Ephesians reminds us of this.

The reading from Ephesians reminds us that our sins bring about death (Romans 5:12). However, God is always merciful; rich in it. He has such a great love for us that He brought us back to life with Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). It is in Him that the image of God in us is restored (Genesis 1:26).  Jesus is the image of the Divine Mercy who came to redeem and save all those who are open to Him. In Jesus, we see how far God will go to rescue His people who seem to be fond of going astray (Exodus 32:9). Jesus brings mercy to each one of us but at a high price as we read in the Gospel.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus that He will be lifted up like Moses lifted the serpent in the desert (Numbers 21:9). God had commanded Moses to make a bronze serpent. Anyone who looked at this serpent would be healed. Ironically, what made them sick were serpents (Numbers 21:6).  This symbol is still used today in the medical profession.  God is so powerful that He uses the same thing that brings bad and brings good from it. Similarly, Jesus being lifted on the Cross is something that is not good per se.  Being crucified was the capital punishment at the time of Jesus.  No one lined up to receive it.  Nevertheless, God uses this bad to bring about good: redemption and salvation. God uses death to bring life. This is only something God can do because He can do anything.  By being nailed to the cross, lifted up and then dying, Jesus draws all peoples worldwide back to God (John 12:32). Once again, God demonstrates His mercy.

Pope Francis recently declared that starting December 8, 2015, a jubilee year of Mercy would begin. Today's readings are a good way to reflect on mercy and how God does everything to try to bring us back to Him, even sparing His own Son on the Cross who He sent not to condemn the world but to save it.  We must be merciful ourselves with others (Matthew 5:7, James 2:13). None of us are perfect, so we should not treat others who fall as if they are lesser than us. We must hate what is evil and seek what is good.  As children of God, we must be children of the light (1 Thessalonians 5:5). In light, we can see better.  Our eyes work to their full potential.  With light, we appreciate the beautiful things around us. When we are in the light of Christ, we see the world as it truly is and enjoy the beauty of it.  We see others as God sees them; not as we see them now which many times forces us to be uncharitable, impatient and rude to others because we do not see them as God does.

During this Lent, recall how merciful God is and that He will do anything to bring you back. He wants us to be saved and enjoy eternal life with Him. Make use of the sacrament of Penance and turn away from sin. Focus on Christ lifted up on the Cross and let Him draw you in.  May Jesus Christ be praised!




Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031515-fourth-sunday-lent.cfm  


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