Saturday, December 31, 2016

Mariah Carey New Year's Eve Disaster


Singer Mariah Carey fell faster than the Times Square ball. She laid a huge egg while performing on the "Rockin Eve" show.  While coming on stage in a scantily clad flesh colored leotard, Carey held the microphone to her mouth and began moving her lips but nothing came out. All that could be heard was the soundtrack for "Emotions," a poplar hit in the 1990's.  Clearly, Carey was attempting to lip sync the song and the vocals were not provided.  She looked flustered and embarrassed onstage, pacing back and forth attempting to act nonchalant.

The epic failure took social media by storm with people tweeting videos and memes mocking the singer.  Carey, who is known for her high pitches apparently is no longer able to sing possibly due to age or lack of practice.  Days leading to the New Year's Eve show, she was seen purchasing marijuana from a vending machine. Carey took to twitter to respond by playing the incident off as "things happen" by using colorful language. She blames producers of the show claiming they tried to sabotage her career.  The host of the show, Ryan Seacrest remained neutral when asked about the incident stating that he did not see the performance because he was moving to another stage.  











Source:


http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/04/entertainment/mariah-carey-new-years-eve-interview/

http://www.eonline.com/news/819893/ryan-seacrest-weighs-in-on-mariah-carey-s-new-year-s-eve-performance

http://people.com/music/mariah-carey-new-years-eve-2016-performance/

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/queen-latifah-defends-mariah-carey-new-year-eve-performance-article-1.2945126

http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/mariah-careys-new-years-eve-performance-what-went-wrong-w458587

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/01/03/mariah-carey-shopping-for-pot-days-before-new-years-eve-meltdown.html



Thursday, December 29, 2016

NYPD Allowing Turbans: Not Good!

In what is being called a "gesture of goodwill," NYPD's Commissioner James O'Neill who took over in September after Commissioner Bratton retire has made a big change. He is allowing the display of religion on police uniforms. Sikhs who join the force will now be allowed to wear turbans and one inch beards.  This change was made to accommodate the religious beliefs of Sikhs.  Sikhs wear turbans as a sign of identity and to promote equality as well as care of the hair.

A few of my atheist friends in NYC are having issue with it and I can see why.  I too am not liking the idea. A police officer represents his or her city or community, not a religion. Wearing a turban as part of the uniform is an endorsement of religion, in this case, Sikhism. This goes against separation of Church and State. While I am all for religious freedom, I am not for the imposition of religion in a government run institution such as the military or police. What is next?  Will there be navy blue yalmuke with NYPD logos allowed for Jewish officers? Hopefully the policy will be overturned.  I invite other Catholics and my brothers and sister in the atheism ideology to protest this decision.

A friend of mine who is a priest was assigned to work as a chaplain in the NYPD years ago.  He was not allowed to wear his roman collar and was forced to wear the police uniform of the chaplain. This uniform is similar to the dress uniform of officers, but has a differ badge and religious pips.

Those who join the police must accept the uniform as is or just not join it.

Voice your concerns to the commissioner here:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailnypd.html




Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nypd-to-allow-sikh-officers-to-wear-turbans-grow-beards_us_5864ff00e4b0de3a08f73d14?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

http://affinitymagazine.us/2016/12/29/sikh-nypd-officers-can-now-wear-turbans/

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/12/29/nypd-to-allow-sikh-officers-to-wear-turbans-and-beards-while-on-duty.html

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher dead at 60



Carrie Fisher, actress known for her role as Star Wars' Princess Leia has passed away.  She had suffered a heart attack while on a plane last week.  The news of her death has shocked many throughout the world. Fisher suffered from mental illness and was an advocate for those with mental illness.  She was a science fiction fan favorite and will be missed greatly.  Godspeed Carrie Fisher.  Eternal rest grant to her o Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace through the mercy of God.




Source:

 http://people.com/movies/carrie-fisher-dies/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/27/entertainment/carrie-fisher-obit-star-wars/

http://www.tmz.com/2016/12/27/carrie-fisher-dead/

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas

Today is Christmas day!  Christ the Lord is born! The first reading shows us this joy. We rejoice that God the King is here. He bears good news and announces peace to all.  Christ came to restore Zion and make Jerusalem strong again. His saving power is among us. God came down and became one of us in all things but sin.  The earth has seen His glory in the Christ child.  Many atheists call Christianity a myth. They are mistaken. Not only does history side with Christianity, but reason. All myths that speak of saviors or gods being born are different from the story of Christ. In mythology, these gods are weak and see power. They seek and demand worship from man at all cost, including torture or death. With Christ, it is different. Christ is born poor and homeless. He is not born in riches as one would expect a God to be born in. Christ is born to serve man which defies all logic when it comes to how primitive man saw God. Man is supposed to serve God, not the other way around.  With Christ, it is different in this aspect. Christ washes the feet of men. Christ hangs around sinners and those who religious leaders classified as untouchables. This was why the religious leaders of Jesus' day had issue with Jesus. They did not see the "typical" signs of "God" in Christ. Christ defied them all. He showed God to be humble and loving, not a tyrant on a throne.

God has revealed Himself little by little in the Old Testament. He spoke in partial and various ways.  With Christ, He speaks clearly and directly because Christ is God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity.  The Universe and all that exists was created through Christ.  All belongs to Him.  Jesus is God, the Son of God. He is not a mere angel who God elevated as the Jehovah's Witnesses erroneously teach. They claim Jesus is St. Michael. This is heretical and contradicts today's second reading which says, "For to which of the angels did God every say: Youa re my son; this day I have begotten you?"  Jesus is God and was always there. In the Gospel, we read of how Jesus was and is the Word or the Logos as the ancient Greek Philosophers described God. This "Word" is the algorithm of space and time, so to speak. Christ keeps all things together and in existence because all was created for Him and through Him.  He was in the beginning with God and is God.  Christmas is an awesome time. As an atheist, the idea of God becoming one of us, living among us, living and dying for us really impacted me. As stated before, Jesus defied the idea man had of God and how a God acts. This is why we can reason that Christianity is true. We can see an intelligence behind the story that defies the logic and ideas of man. We can see this "Word" in action.  Christianity is not a story someone made up some day. If it were made up, it would have been the same as other stories that circulated. However, we see that the writers of the Gospel did not care about the apologetical value of the text. They simply told the truth of what happened.  This is how we know that the Gospel is true and not just some myth someone wrote as atheists would love us to believe. A myth is carefully written so it can "make sense," so to speak. Each detail is crafted carefully like a story. However, real life does not work that way. When an event happens, we cannot really craft all the details together carefully. Even with a video, accounts will be different of what happened because people perceive things differently and recall memories differently. We see this in the Gospel. There are different accounts telling the same thing which shows the events were real, not myth.

It is Christmas time. Let us remember this awesome event of Christ becoming man to redeem us and show us love in person. Spend time with the family, open gifts and have fun in the Lord because Jesus is the reason for the season. However, do not get caught up in the materialism which corporations want us to celebrate Christmas. We give gifts to show love, not to worship materials.  Merry Christmas!

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122512-mass-during-the-day.cfm


During this holiday season of giving, please consider donating or becoming a regular benefactor to help me continue this evangelization work. Donate at my PayPal or Www.Gofundme.com/Sacerdotus.  God will reward you.  


Here is our Holy Father's Urbi et Orbi:

"URBI ET ORBI" MESSAGE
OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

CHRISTMAS 2016

Central Loggia of the Vatican Basilica
Sunday, 25 December 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas!

Today the Church once more experiences the wonder of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and the shepherds of Bethlehem, as they contemplate the newborn Child laid in a manger: Jesus, the Saviour.

On this day full of light, the prophetic proclamation resounds:

“For to us a child is born,
To us a son is given.
And the government will be upon his shoulder;
and his name will be called
“Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is 9:6)

The power of this Child, Son of God and Son of Mary, is not the power of this world, based on might and wealth; it is the power of love. It is the power that created the heavens and the earth, and gives life to all creation: to minerals, plants and animals. It is the force that attracts man and woman, and makes them one flesh, one single existence. It is the power that gives new birth, forgives sin, reconciles enemies, and transforms evil into good. It is the power of God. This power of love led Jesus Christ to strip himself of his glory and become man; it led him to give his life on the cross and to rise from the dead. It is the power of service, which inaugurates in our world the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice and peace.

For this reason, the birth of Jesus was accompanied by the angels’ song as they proclaimed:

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” (Lk 2:14).

Today this message goes out to the ends of the earth to reach all peoples, especially those scarred by war and harsh conflicts that seem stronger than the yearning for peace.

Peace to men and women in the war-torn land of Syria, where far too much blood has been spilled. Particularly in Aleppo, the site of horrendous fighting in recent weeks, it is most urgent that, in respect for humanitarian law, assistance and support be guaranteed to the sorely-tried civilian population, who continue to live in desperate straits and immense suffering and need. It is time for weapons to be still forever, and the international community to seek actively a negotiated solution, so that civil coexistence can be restored in the country.

Peace to the women and men of the beloved Holy Land, the land chosen and favoured by God. May Israelis and Palestinians have the courage and determination to write a new page of history, where hate and revenge give way to the will to build together a future of mutual understanding and harmony. May Iraq, Libya and Yemen – whose peoples suffer war and the brutality of terrorism – be able once again to find unity and concord.

Peace to the men and women in various parts of Africa, especially in Nigeria, where fundamentalist terrorism exploits even children in order to perpetrate horror and death. Peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so that divisions may be healed and all people of good will may strive to undertake the path of development and sharing, preferring the culture of dialogue to the mindset of conflict.

Peace to women and men who to this day suffer the consequences of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, where there is urgent need for a common desire to bring relief to the civil population and to put into practice the commitments which have been assumed.

We implore harmony for the dear people of Colombia, which seeks to embark on a new and courageous path of dialogue and reconciliation. May such courage also motivate the beloved country of Venezuela to undertake the necessary steps to put an end to current tensions, and build together a future of hope for the whole population.

Peace to all who, in different areas, are enduring sufferings due to constant dangers and persistent injustice. May Myanmar consolidate its efforts to promote peaceful coexistence and, with the assistance of the international community, provide necessary protection and humanitarian assistance to all those so gravely and urgently in need of it. May the Korean peninsula see the tensions it is experiencing overcome in a renewed spirit of collaboration.

Peace to all who have been injured or have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the brutal acts of terrorism that have sown fear and death in the heart of many countries and cities. Peace – not merely the word, but real and concrete peace – to our abandoned and excluded brothers and sisters, to those who suffer hunger and to all the victims of violence. Peace to exiles, migrants and refugees, to all those who in our day are subject to human trafficking. Peace to the peoples who suffer because of the economic ambitions of a few, because of sheer greed and the idolatry of money, which leads to slavery. Peace to those affected by social and economic unrest, and to those who endure the consequences of earthquakes or other natural catastrophes.

And peace to the children, on this special day on which God became a child, above all those deprived of the joys of childhood because of hunger, wars or the selfishness of adults.

Peace on earth to men and women of goodwill, who work quietly and patiently each day, in their families and in society, to build a more humane and just world, sustained by the conviction that only with peace is there the possibility of a more prosperous future for all.

Dear brothers and sisters,

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given”: he is the “Prince of peace”. Let us welcome him!

***

[after the Blessing]

To you, dear brothers and sisters, who have gathered in this Square from every part of the world, and to those in various countries who are linked to us by radio, television and other means of communication, I offer my greeting.

On this day of joy, we are all called to contemplate the Child Jesus, who gives hope once again to every person on the face of the earth. By his grace, let us with our voices and our actions give witness to solidarity and peace. Merry Christmas to all!




© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/urbi/documents/papa-francesco_20161225_urbi-et-orbi-natale.html

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

It is Christmas eve. Families are preparing around the world by cooking meals, organizing gifts and telling children stories.  Kids are probably anxious awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus or are watching him on NORAD. Each of our families have different customs and rituals that are carried out on this day. However, we must not forget that this time is about the Christ child.  We are commemorating the first coming of Christ to the world at Bethlehem. At the same time, we are awaiting His second coming as we have reflected on during Advent.

That first readings tells us of the people who walked in darkness and have seen a great light.  These represent the people who waited for Christ over 2,000 years ago and also ourselves today in 2016. The world is still in darkness. We see on the news the dread and evil that takes place around the world. It just never ends. Even as I write this, the NYPD are investigating the murder of a mother and child of four years of age. The perpetrator was a teen lover the mother had when she was a teacher; he was her student. The crime is just horrific. Unfortunately, this even it just one of the many that have occurred around the world or is about to occur.  There is no doubt that this world is in darkness. It just keeps getting worse. California is about to legalize child prostitution. States around the United States have legalized marijuana recreational use. The confusion of what gender is continues in the public debate square. I can go on and on, but you get the point. Things are not getting any better.  However, we have seen a great light!  This light is Christ the Lord.  On this land and this world of gloom and doom and light has shone. A child is born to us. This son is Wounder-Counselor, god-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of peace.  Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.  This is what Christmas eve is all about. We await in anticipation the birth of the Savior.  This Savior is the light of the world. It is amazing to think that Hanukkah coincided with today. The festival of lights leads into the birth of the light of the world. The old goes into the new. This light of the world illumines our minds and hearts.  He is the grace of God personified training us to reject atheism and immorality.  He teaches us how to live temperately and justly.

This is what Christmas is all about. Family time, Santa Claus, dinners, gift giving are all fine and dandy, but are meaningless without the Christ child. Christ is the center of the family. Santa Claus is a caricature of St. Nicholas of Myra who served Jesus and defended His divinity against Arius. Kids must be made aware of this. All things, all customs in our families must be geared towards Christ. The Gospel tells us the story of of the Nativity.  In the time of Caesar Augustus and child was born unto us, born of the Virgin Mary.  He was born in a humble state, not in a hospital or palace. Despite this, the little baby boy is King. The Savior of the world was born. This is no myth. No scholar today accepts the tired Christ myth theory. Only Richard Carrier continues to promote refuted ideas which attack Christ's historicity. The truth of the matter is that there is more evidence for Christ than for even Socrates. We know of Socrates via Plato who wrote on him. For all we know, Plato could have made him up to complete his republic thought experiment. All serious scholars acknowledge that there was a child born named Jesus Christ.  Anyone who denies this wallows in ignorance and disrespects academia. During this Christmas eve, let us meditate on the events that took place. These were real events that took place on earth. Reflect on this fact and realize that God is indeed real. The Bible is indeed true.  What the Catholic Church is and teaches is of God, not man. Let us look upon this light so that we can walk out of this darkness we call our world.



Readings:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122512-mass-at-midnight.cfm

Sunday, December 18, 2016

4th Sunday of Advent: Emmanuel Forever!

What is Advent?
We are now in the holy season of Advent where we prepare for both the coming of Christ at Christmas and the second coming at the end of time.  It is a spiritual period in which to meditate on these two mysteries and prepare for them.  We use the wreath and 4 candles to mark down the 4 weeks before Christmas.

Three of the candles are purple and one is pink.  The purple symbolizes preparation through penance and prayer.  Purple is also used during Lent.  Another way to see it is purple is a physical sign of healing. When we get hurt, the injury becomes purple.  During the time of healing, it remains purple until it clears up.  Sin hurts us and we need time to heal from it by using the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist, Prayer, Fasting, Indulgences and a genuine Spiritual life.

The pink is for the third Sunday or Gaudete Sunday which means “Sunday of Joy.”   We are joyous because we are getting closer to Christ’s birth.  As each week goes, we light the candle that corresponds to that week.

***Donations Needed!
Please help me expand and maintain this evangelization work.  Not too many are donating and I may have to start cutting down some things after Christmas.  Your help is truly needed. Please donate at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus on via Pay Pal found on this site.  

Readings:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/121816.cfm

Reflection:

The first reading tells us of the prophesy of Christ's coming.  A virgin will conceive and bear a son, we are told.  This son shall be named Emmanuel which means "God among us."  We do not need to have a doctorate in theology or scripture to know who is this Virgin and who is this Son. The prophecy is referring to Mary and Jesus as we will learn in the Gospel today.  Christ was promised to the people of Israel and to all of humanity since the beginning of creation  (Genesis 3:15, Deuteronomy 18:18).  As Christmas approaches, we must let the Lord enter as king into our lives as we recite in the responsorial Psalm for today.  The earth belongs to God and all who dwell in her.  God created all things (Colossians 1:16).  The rivers, seas, mountain, planets and so on. We must receive the Lord and be sinless in His sight.  Our hearts must be clean, free from envy, jealousy, sexual lusts, greed and hate (Galatians 5:13). God will bless us if we live in His love, mercy and humility.

We must be "slaves" of Christ as St. Paul described himself. This servitude is not one that brings weariness and abuse as in the slavery we learn about in school.  This slavery is true devotion to Christ that shows that our entire being belongs to Him (1 Peter 2:16). It must not be us who live, but Christ who lives in each of us (Galatians 2:20).  All are called to be part of Christ, Jew and Gentile. Jesus came for all (John 3:16). Today's Gospel is linked to the first reading.  Jesus was born to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph. She conceived via the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was a righteous man and thought Mary was unfaithful. Since he was righteous, he followed the law which called for men to expose women who were not faithful. These women would face dire consequences (Deuteronomy 22:22, Leviticus 20:10, Leviticus 21:9). Instead, Joseph was going to divorce her quietly per Moses' law (Deuteronomy 24).  God never endorsed divorce (Malachi 2:16).   However, an angel appeared to him in a dream telling him what was really going on. Mary did not play Joseph dirty, so to speak.  The angel explained that the child comes from the Holy Spirit, not another man.  The angel proceeds to tell Joseph that this child must be named Jesus and reminds him of the prophesy we read about in the first reading regarding the virgin conceiving a child who will be named Emmanuel.  Joseph woke up and understood clearly what was going on and fulfilled his duties to Mary and Jesus by caring for them.

The readings today remind us of this history that actually happened. No serious scholar denies that Jesus, Mary and Joseph existed. What we celebrate on Christmas is historical fact.  Mary is the most important woman ever. Without her, we would not have Jesus.  Mary is our link to Jesus and Jesus is our link to the Blessed Trinity. This is why our Catholic Church has so much devotion to Mary. Joseph is not far behind. He is the protector of the Church just as he was the protector of Christ and Mary.  As Christmas approaches, let us ask the Lord to be born in our hearts.  Let us ask Mary to guide us to her son and Joseph to care for us.  Jesus is Emmanuel. He is among us in the Holy Eucharist.  Go visit Him and spend time with the Lord.  May Jesus Christ be praised!  



Here are reflections from holy writers:

While St. Joseph, yet uninformed of so great a mystery, wanted to put away Mary quietly, he was advised in a dream by an angel who said to him, "Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit." St. Joseph is made aware of the heavenly mystery, lest he think otherwise about Mary's virginity. He is also made aware of this that he might exclude the evil of suspicion and receive the good of the mystery.
The following words were said to him: "Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit," so he might acknowledge the integrity of his fiancée and the virgin birth. It was not appropriate for so great a mystery to be revealed to anyone other than Joseph, who was known to be Mary's fiancé, and no reproach of sin was attached to his name. In fact, Joseph translated from Hebrew into Latin means "beyond reproach."
Notice here too the order of a mystery: The devil first spoke to Eve the virgin long ago, and then to a man, that he might administer to them the word of death. In the latter case, a holy angel first spoke to Mary and then to Joseph, that he might reveal to them the word of life. In the former case, a woman was chosen unto sin; in the latter case, she was chosen unto salvation. In the former case, the man fell through the woman; in the latter case, he rose through the virgin. The angel therefore said to Joseph, "Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit."

— St. Chromatius
Source: "Tractate on Matthew, 2.3-4," Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 15.


Mary's ability to live by God's gaze, is so to speak, contagious. The first to experience this was St Joseph. His humble and sincere love for his betrothed and his decision to join his life to Mary's attracted and introduced him, "a just man", (Mt 1:19), to a special intimacy with God. Indeed, with Mary and later, especially, with Jesus, he began a new way of relating to God, accepting him in his life, entering his project of salvation and doing his will. After trustfully complying with the Angel's instructions "Do not fear to take Mary your wife" (Mt 1:20)—he took Mary to him and shared his life with her; he truly gave the whole of himself to Mary and to Jesus and this led him to perfect his response to the vocation he had received.
As we know, the Gospel has not recorded any of Joseph's words: his is a silent and faithful, patient and hard-working presence. We may imagine that he too, like his wife and in close harmony with her, lived the years of Jesus' childhood and adolescence savoring, as it were, his presence in their family.
— Pope Benedict XVI
Source: Audience at Paul VI Audience Hall, December 28, 2011," Benedict XVI, General Audiences of Benedict XVI (English) (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013)


Why then do they not call him Emmanuel instead of Jesus Christ? Because the text says not "you shall call" but "his name shall be called." This means that the multitude and the outcome of the events themselves will cause him to be called Emmanuel. For here he puts the event as a name. This is customary in Scripture, to substitute names for the actual events. Therefore to say "they shall call him 'Emmanuel' " means nothing else than that they shall see God among us. Admittedly God has always been among us, but never before so openly.
— St. John Chrysostom
(344 - 407)

Source: "The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 5.2-3," Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 18-19




Saturday, December 17, 2016

Happy Birthday Pope Francis #Pontifex80


Happy Birthday Pope Francis!
Born: December 17, 1936
Jorge Mario Bergoglio




Let us congratulate and pray for our Holy Father on his 80th birthday.  He has won the hearts of many throughout the world especially the poor and homeless who he celebrated his birth with today.  Unfortunately, he has upset some in the Church who have a pharisaic view of Catholicism. The Pope asked us to pray for him on the night he was elected. Let us continue to pray for him and show our support to Christ's Vicar and Successor of Peter.  




Sunday, December 11, 2016

3rd Sunday of Advent - Gaudete Sunday: Rejoice! The One is to Come!

What is Advent?
We are now in the holy season of Advent where we prepare for both the coming of Christ at Christmas and the second coming at the end of time.  It is a spiritual period in which to meditate on these two mysteries and prepare for them.  We use the wreath and 4 candles to mark down the 4 weeks before Christmas.

Three of the candles are purple and one is pink.  The purple symbolizes preparation through penance and prayer.  Purple is also used during Lent.  Another way to see it is purple is a physical sign of healing. When we get hurt, the injury becomes purple.  During the time of healing, it remains purple until it clears up.  Sin hurts us and we need time to heal from it by using the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist, Prayer, Fasting, Indulgences and a genuine Spiritual life.

The pink is for the third Sunday or Gaudete Sunday which means “Sunday of Joy.”   We are joyous because we are getting closer to Christ’s birth.  As each week goes, we light the candle that corresponds to that week.



Donations Needed!
Please help me expand and maintain this evangelization work.  Not too many are donating and I may have to start cutting down some things after Christmas.  Your help is truly needed. Please donate at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus on via Pay Pal found on this site.  

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/121116.cfm



Reflection:

We are in Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of Joy.  Our joy is in Christ Jesus whose birth we are approaching (John 15:11).  Christ came to restore all things (Acts 3:21, 1 Peter 5:10). In the first reading, we read of the desert and parched land exulting.  The steppe rejoices and blooms.  Things will begin anew (Revelation 21:5).  Those who are feeble will become stronger.  Those who are afraid will become courageous. This is because God comes with vindication and recompense to save all. Those suffering will suffer no longer.  All will be joyous and glad in the coming of the Lord.  God Himself will come to save us as we read in the responsorial Psalm (Ezekiel 34-36).  He keeps His promises and carries them out (Psalm 145:13).  God will care for all, especially those in dire need and those who are humiliated before others.  Christ gave us a taste of this during His first coming. However, at His second coming. those who remained faithful and did what they had to do will reap the reward of eternal life (Matthew 24:13).  We must wait for this second coming and be patient. The second reading reminds us of this by using the metaphor of a farmer who waits for the precious fruit.

It has been over 2,000 years and Christ has not returned. Many have come and have gone waiting. This does not mean that Christ is not coming and has abandoned us (John 14:18). We must wait patiently until all that has to happen, happens. We can only know when it is near. The Church teaches us what we must look for in the catechism in paragraphs 668-677. First Christ will reign through His Catholic Church which is happening now.  The Catholic Church is all over the world, but we have not reached everyone yet.  Next, all things must be subjected to Him, Jew and Gentile: "The 'full inclusion' of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of 'the full number of the Gentiles." All of Israel will accept her Messiah.  After this happens, the Church will face her biggest trial ever when the Antichrist comes.  Many will lose faith while others will be deceived with "easy ways" of doing things that will seem to make the Catholic Church obsolete. This is why we must remain faithful and strong.  We must be patient and not complain about God or one another.  While we are  doing this, we must be on watch for the signs of the times as the catechism describes them.

Finally, in the Gospel, we see the revelation of the One, the Messiah who is Christ. John the Baptist was in prison and heard of the works of Christ. This Christ is the one he was preparing Israel and us for.  The followers of John asked Jesus if He was the One and Jesus tells them to tell John what they have witnessed.  Jesus restored sight to the blind, healed the lame and deaf, raised the dead and proclaimed the good news of joy and hope to the poor.  In other words, Jesus fulfilled what was written (Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus then confirms John's role as the one who prepared His way (Isaiah 40:3-5). He reminds the people that this prophet did not come looking like a rich person or king. Despite his appearance, he is great.  However, Jesus tells the people that the least of those in His kingdom are greater that even John himself (Matthew 20:16).  These least are the pariahs who are forgotten by man, yet remained faithful to God and God remained faithful to them.  They are great because Christ came to save them just like a doctor goes to the sick and does not focus all of his talents on the healthy (Mark 2:17).    

Let us be watchful of the signs, pray and be holy always.  No one knows when the day or hour will come. In the meantime, let us prepare by going in grace, love, and hope; and by calling others to it by inviting them to the Catholic faith not only with our words, but also with our witness.  May Jesus Christ return soon and may He have mercy on us all!


Here are some reflections by holy writers:


Christmas is the feast day of a Child, of a Newborn Baby. So it is your feast day too! You wait impatiently for it and get ready for it with joy, counting the days and even the hours to the Holy Night of Bethlehem. I can almost see you: you are setting up the Crib at home, in the parish, in every corner of the world, recreating the surroundings and the atmosphere in which the Saviour was born. Yes, it is true! At Christmastime, the stable and the manger take centre place in the Church. And everyone hurries to go there, to make a spiritual pilgrimage, like the shepherds on the night of Jesus' birth. Later, it will be the Magi arriving from the distant East, following the star, to the place where the Redeemer of the universe lay. You too, during the days of Christmas, visit the Cribs, stopping to look at the Child lying in the hay. You look at his Mother and you look at Saint Joseph, the Redeemer's guardian. - St. Pope John Paul II

Source: https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/letters/1994/documents/hf_jp-ii_let_13121994_children.html


"'Rejoice, because God iswith you; he is with us,'are words that truly open a new epoch.  Dear friends, with an act of faith we must once again accept and understandin the depthsofour hearts this lierating word:'Rejoice!'" - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Source:  "The Joy of Knowing Christ; Meditations of the Gospels"


As announced in prophecy: the law rose up and took shape in John. For the law announced Christ, predicted the forgiveness of sins and promised the kingdom of heaven. John thoroughly accomplished all this work that belonged to the law. Therefore when the law (i.e., John) was inactive, oppressed as it was by the sins of the common people and held in chains by the vicious habits of the nation, so that Christ could not be perceived, the law (represented by John) was confined by chains and the prison. But the law (i.e., John) sent others to behold the good news.
In this way unbelief would be confronted with the accomplished truth of what had been prophesied. By this means the part of the law that had been chained by the misdeeds of sinners would now be freed through the understanding of the good news freely expressed.
— St. Hilary of Poitiers (315 - 367)

Source: "On Matthew 11.2," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1-13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 217.


It seems almost as if John did not know the one he had pointed out, as if he did not know whether he was the same person he had proclaimed by prophesying, by baptizing, by pointing him out!
We can resolve this question more quickly if we reflect on the time and order of the events. For when John is standing beside the river Jordan, he declares that this is the Redeemer of the world. But when he has been thrown into jail, he asks whether they were to look for another or whether he had come. This is not because he doubts that he is the Redeemer of the world. John now wants to know whether he who had personally come into the world would also descend personally into the courts of hell. For John had preceded Christ into the world and announced him there. He was now dying and preceding him to the nether world.
This is the context in which he asks, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" But if he had spoken more fully he might have said, "Since you thought it worthy of yourself to be born for humanity, say whether you will also think it worthy of yourself to die for humanity. In this way I, who have been the herald of your birth, will also be the herald of your death. I will announce your arrival in the nether world as the One who is to come, just as I have already announced it on earth."

— Pope St. Gregory the Great (540 - 604)

Source: "Forty Gospel Homilies, 6.1," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 218.



John is greater than the other prophets for this reason: the other prophets predicted to John that someone was to come, but John pointed out with his finger that he had indeed come, saying, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world."
And he reached not only the rank of a prophet but even to that of Baptist, by baptizing his Lord. This heightened his significance. He thereby fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi in which an angel is foretold. John belonged to the order of the angels not by nature but by the importance of his task. It means he was the messenger who would announce the coming of the Lord.
— St. Jerome (347 - 420)

Source: "Commentary on Matthew, 2.11.9," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 2215.





Sunday, December 4, 2016

2nd Sunday of Advent: Repent! Christ is Coming!

What is Advent?
We are now in the holy season of Advent where we prepare for both the coming of Christ at Christmas and the second coming at the end of time.  It is a spiritual period in which to meditate on these two mysteries and prepare for them.  We use the wreath and 4 candles to mark down the 4 weeks before Christmas.

Three of the candles are purple and one is pink.  The purple symbolizes preparation through penance and prayer.  Purple is also used during Lent.  Another way to see it is purple is a physical sign of healing. When we get hurt, the injury becomes purple.  During the time of healing, it remains purple until it clears up.  Sin hurts us and we need time to heal from it by using the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist, Prayer, Fasting, Indulgences and a genuine Spiritual life.

The pink is for the third Sunday or Gaudete Sunday which means “Sunday of Joy.”   We are joyous because we are getting closer to Christ’s birth.  As each week goes, we light the candle that corresponds to that week.

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120416.cfm

Today's readings remind us that the plan of salvation has always been in progress.  In the first reading, we read of the shoot from the stump of Jesse which will blossom.  God's spirit will rest on Him (Luke 4:18).  He will not judge by appearance nor by gossip (Jeremiah 17:10, 1 Samuel 16:7).  This root will be a just judge and will impose justice.  He will bring peace.  The cow and bear will be friends, in other words, there will be peace among enemies (Isaiah 11:6). The root of Jesse is, of course, Jesus the Lord. Jesus will come to make all things new.  He will restore the universe to its true glory by purging out sin and the devil as well as those in league with him (Revelation 20:10).  Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world (John 3:16). In Advent, we prepare for both His second coming any days now and His first one 2,000 plus years ago, liturgically. We take this time to prepare because Christ can come at any time (1 Thessalonians 5:2). He can come today, tomorrow or any day. No one knows the day or hour (Matthew 24:36). Our task is to be prepared for that day and help others prepare by evangelizing them and being good Christian examples. Justice will flourish when Christ returns, as we read in the responsorial Psalm for today.  Christ will rescue those who are oppressed.

We see so much evil in the world. Kids are neglected, people are suffering due to the greed of others. Innocent unborn children are killed cold-heartedly in the womb via abortion. Our youth is being perverted by bad ideas. I can go on and on, but you reading this know very well how bad things are on this beautiful earth. From outer space, the earth looks glorious and beautiful. Yet, on the ground, it can be extremely ugly and nasty. Many people lose hope because of this. This is because of sin. Sin has ruined life on earth (Genesis 6:11, Ecclesiastes 7:20). However, sin will not have the final say. It will not gloat in victory (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).  Christ will return and destroy it once and for all.  His name will be blessed forever. Under Christ, both Jew and Gentile will come together praising Him as we read in the second reading. This is the Catholic (Universal) Church with members of all genders, races, ethnicities and so on. We must live in harmony with one another and be one voice glorifying the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We must welcome one another, especially the "heavy sinner" who is trying his or her best to make things right with him or herself and God. Judgment is not ours to give, but to God. All of us have sinned, except Jesus and His Mother Mary. This is why we have to repent and remember that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Many will be called, only a few will be chosen (Matthew 22:14). This means many of us will be in hell for eternity. This may be hard to accept, but if we look at the world and see how evil seems to be winning, we can see how Christ's statement is valid. Our repentance must be sincere. We know that it is when we see the fruit it has bore. Like John the Baptist, we must suffer and make amends for our sins. We must wear the "camel's hair" that reminds us of our mortality and need for God. We must allow discomfort in this world to remind us of the comfort of Jesus when He returns and in heaven.  Jesus is coming. Let us be prepared by repenting and truly living our Catholic faith the way Christ expects us to.  Come Lord Come!

Here are some thoughts from our saints and scholars:

John’s appeal therefore goes further and deeper than a lifestyle of moderation: it calls for inner conversion, based on the individual’s recognition and confession of his or her sin. While we are preparing for Christmas, it is important that we reenter ourselves and make a sincere examination of our life. Let us permit ourselves to be illuminated by a ray of light that shines from Bethlehem, the light of the One who is “the Mightiest” who made himself lowly, “the Strongest” who made himself weak.

(BENEDICT XVI. ANGELUS Sunday, 4 December 2011.http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/angelus/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_ang_20111204.html)

Camel's hair is mentioned not merely circumstantially but in a mystery and as a type. The camel is counted neither as strictly one of the unclean beasts nor as strictly one of the clean, but it occupies a middle position and partakes of the characteristics of both. For to chew the cud, that is, to bring up again the food after it has been swallowed and direct it forward to be ground by the teeth, is proper to the clean animals. This pertains to the camel. But not to part the hoof is a feature of the unclean beasts. The camel's foot is not divided, given that its nails meet together.
Therefore, on this account, John was clothed with the hairs of this animal, demonstrating the call of the gospel. He showed that the kingdom of God, which John declared was at hand, was going to accept both those who were from Israel, the clean people, and those from the unclean Gentiles. To both of these he preached repentance without any distinction.
— Bishop Theodore of Mopsuestia
("Fragment 12," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 41.)


He advises them to "bring forth fruit that matches repentance" and not to boast that they have Abraham as their father, for God is able to raise up children to Abraham out of stones. Indeed, succession to Abraham in the flesh is not required, but the inheritance of Abraham's faith. In this context, dignity of origin consists in examples of works. The glory of one's race lies in the imitation of faith. The devil was faithless, but Abraham was faithful. The devil was treacherous in his treatment of humanity, whereas Abraham was justified by faith. Therefore the very life and character of each person is acquired by a close relationship, so that those who are faithful to Abraham are his posterity in faith. But those who are unfaithful are changed into the devil's offspring by their unfaithfulness.
— St. Hilary of Poitiers


("On Matthew 2.3," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1-13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 44-45.)

He did not merely say that the axe was barely "touching the root" but "laid to the root"—it is poised right next to it and shows no sign of delay. Yet even while bringing the axe so near, he makes its cutting depend upon you. For if you turn around and become better persons, this axe will be laid aside without doing any harm. But if you continue in the same ways, it will tear up the tree by the roots.
So note well that the axe is neither removed from the root nor too quickly applied to cut the root. He did not want you to become passive, yet he wanted to let you know that it is possible even in a short time to be changed and saved. He first heightened their fear in order to fully awaken them and press them on to repentance.
— St. John Chrysostom

("The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 11.3," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 45.)



***
Please help me expand this ministry by donating at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus

Monday, November 28, 2016

Irascible Lin-Manuel's 'Papi' Luis Snaps

Many of you who know me personally or online know that I pull no punches. I am very blunt and do not hold back on my thoughts.  This has gotten the attention of the boring magician Penn Jillette, narrow view physicist Lawrence Krauss and has gotten me blocked by the annoying has-been Cher and maniacal Catholic clergymen Tom Rosica, Jim Goode and Kevin Farrell.

Well, after the disrespect vice-president elect Mike Pence faced while attending "Hamilton" with his family, I gave my dollar and change to its creator Lin-Manuel and his father who posted a tweet applauding the disrespect given to Mike Pence.

As expected, the liberal Miranda senior like every other liberal is not fond of getting criticism.  He launched out at me on Twitter after I call his son's show  "garbage" and a "disgrace to Puerto Ricans."



Take a look at the tweets:


I wrote my criticism:



Miranda senior responded like a typical Twitter troll:



I replied reminding him of reality:




The whole scenario is comical at best and shows the immaturity and lack of temperament by Luis A. Miranda who immediately resorted to an ad hominem attack rather than attacking my criticism. This tells me that one can easily get under his skin due to his lack of composure which is an indication of lower cognitive functioning.

Note, that I did not attack his son, but rather, his son's play and the way the actors attacked Mike Pence. I found that act distasteful.  For one thing, Mike Pence bought the overpriced tickets to see a show with his family.  I am sure he was not there to be lectured by frustrated and paranoid minorities. Moreover, the show is in fact overrated. I saw a cell phone quality recording of it and did not find it appealing.  It was redundant, corny and historically inaccurate.  Ironically, Miranda senior claims I could learn from it despite historians and even his own son stating there are inaccuracies. A Google search on this will produce many articles and videos.

Luis Miranda must learn to be mature and handle criticism, not respond like a rabid dog to tweets. This only shows his insecurity and overprotection of his son.  In America, we have freedom of speech and expression.  I exercised mine, not to offend him or his son, but to criticize the cast of his son's show and the show itself.  There is nothing wrong with this.  I will repeat again that his actions are a disgrace to Puerto Ricans worldwide, many of them who grow up on strong values of respect and tolerance. No genuine Puerto Rican from the island would target someone like Hamilton's cast did to Mike Pence.  Moreover, no genuine Puerto Rican from the island would celebrate such bullying.

Shame on Luis and Lin-Manuel for their celebration of harassment.  Guests to Lin-Manuel's show attend there to watch the show, not be targeted by paranoid minorities slanted by political views.  I used to follow Lin-Manuel on Twitter but unfollowed him after his puerile monolog on Saturday Night Live. In light of this, I am sort of happy Trump won which made Lin-Manuel look like an idiot, or like Puerto Ricans colloquially say, a "zangano." His childishness on the show and little celebratory dance made him look ridiculous.  Boricuas are usually humble by nature. He came across as obnoxious and arrogant.  It seems the apple does not fall far from the tree, so to speak. His own father, Luis Miranda has demonstrated himself to be ridiculous, irascible and as Puerto Ricans say in the Bronx, a "come mierda."

I can proudly say, Boycott Hamilton!

  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

1st Sunday of Advent: Be Prepared!

What is Advent?
We are now in the holy season of Advent where we prepare for both the coming of Christ at Christmas and the second coming at the end of time.  It is a spiritual period in which to meditate on these two mysteries and prepare for them.  We use the wreath and 4 candles to mark down the 4 weeks before Christmas.

Three of the candles are purple and one is pink.  The purple symbolizes preparation through penance and prayer.  Purple is also used during Lent.  Another way to see it is purple is a physical sign of healing. When we get hurt, the injury becomes purple.  During the time of healing, it remains purple until it clears up.  Sin hurts us and we need time to heal from it by using the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist, Prayer, Fasting, Indulgences and a genuine Spiritual life.

The pink is for the third Sunday or Gaudete Sunday which means “Sunday of Joy.”   We are joyous because we are getting closer to Christ’s birth.  As each week goes, we light the candle that corresponds to that week.

Readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/112716.cfm

Today's readings tell us that we must be prepared. The first reading tells us of God establishing His house on the highest mountain. All nations will stream toward it and will want to climb it.  We see the Catholicity of God's plan. He reaches out to all peoples around the world. From Zion shall go forth the instruction or the Gospel (Mark 16:15). We gather together at Mass on this first Sunday of Advent to prepare for Christ's coming. We prepare for Him rejoicing to climb this mountain and be with Him as the Responsorial Psalm states today. God is returning and will judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). We must be awake as we read in the second reading.  Our salvation is nearer and the day is at hand, we are told. Because Jesus may return at any moment, we must live as if each day is our last or in holiness (Ephesians 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:5). We must not live a life of sin (Ephesians 5:11).  Paul describes the bad behavior of those in his time in the second reading.

Unfortunately, not much has changed. Even in the 21st century, we still see horrific behavior even within the Church. This must end. We must be ready for Christ's return and put aside the robes of perdition and replaced them with the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 61:10, Galatians 3:27). In the Gospel, Jesus reminds the disciples and us today of the days leading up to the Great Flood (Genesis 7). The people heard the warnings but did not care. They were eating, drinking, partying in sin as if nothing mattered.  Then the flood came and flushed them away just like we flush other things.  The last day will be like this. Many will be caught off guard. They will live life thinking Jesus will never come and bam, He comes. We must stay away, as Christ says. No one will know the day the Lord will return (Matthew 24:36). We must take each day as if it were our last and be prepared. This is what the season of Advent is all about. We not only commemorate the coming of Christ on Christmas, but await His second day. We shout maranatha!  Let us praise Christ always and be prepared for His second coming! O Come O Come Emmanuel and save the captive world.


Here are some reflections by our saints:

"Christ did not forbid eating, drinking and marrying when he said "As in the days of Noah, they were eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage." He would never destroy what he himself established. Instead, he was commanding that what we do with our bodies, we do spiritually and to the glory of God so that our flesh might be made spiritual on account of the spiritual purposes for which we use it.…

Before the flood, people were fleeing from the fear of God and doing nothing for his glory. Everything they did was only for their own flesh. Whenever they ate or drank, they ate and drank only to satisfy their bodily desires, not to glorify God as the apostle had commanded. What Christ wanted to say here is that it will be like this again near the end of the world.…

At the end of the world, the destruction will be universal and sudden like it was "in the days of Noah." Just as every creature of the earth was destroyed in the flood, except only those who escaped in the ark, so also at the consummation of the world every heresy will be destroyed, but only one ark will be saved—the church of Christ, composed of the righteous. Everything outside of the ark died in the flood. Likewise, at the end of the world whoever is found to be outside the one true church will perish."
— St. John Chrysostom

(Homily 50," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 14-28, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 208.)


"To teach us that our ignorance of the date of his return (which his silence has kept hidden from everyone) is not without its usefulness, Christ warns us to keep all his commandments. We should also be occupied with constant prayer in order to guard against the coming of the thief. For the thief is the devil who seeks to invade our bodily homes with the darts of his thoughts and allurements in order to ruin us while we are sleepy and careless. It is good therefore that we be prepared. Our ignorance of the day of Christ's return should provoke us to be careful as we eagerly await his coming."
— St. Hilary of Poitiers


("On Matthew 26.6," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 14-28, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 210.)



"Or, Two men will be out in the field, found performing the same labour, sowing corn together, but not reaping the same fruit of their labour. The two women grinding together we may understand to be the Synagogue and the Church, which seem to grind together in the Law, and to make of the same Scriptures meal of the commandments of God."
— St. Jerome

(Quoted in Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers: St. Matthew, ed. John Henry Newman, vol. 1 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 835.)


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro dead at 90

Abajo Fidel! This cry has been on the hearts, minds and mouths of many Cubans, especially those in America.  The day has finally come when the phrase has taken on reality. Today, Fidel Castro passed away at the age of 90.  Born Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz in 1926 and educated by the Jesuits, Castro would take on a big role as an adult. He adopted leftist (Marxist)ideas while studying at the University of Havana and was the son of a wealthy farmer. Fidel Castro would use these ideas to rule over Cuba after overthrowing the government. At first, he failed to overthrow President Fulgencio Batista in 1953 and was imprisioned. Afterwards, while in Mexico, he formed the "26th of July Movement" with his brother Raul and Che Guevara.  With this movement, he overthrew President Batista in 1959 and took over Cuba becoming its prime minister from 1959 to 1976 and then its president from 1976 to 2008.  The government of the United States did not like Castro and wanted to assasinate him. There were about 634 attempts to assasinate Castro with each failing.  Because of this, Castro became allies with the Soviet Union and allowed them to place nuclear arsenal on the island which began the Cuban Missile Crisis building up to the Cold War era.

The United States would respond with an embargo as a way of forcing economic harm to small island-nation. The embargo had no real success, but the nation did fall into ruin. While its people are well educated and hospitals have well-trained doctors, the island is pretty much frozen in time with citizens using old vehicles from the 1940s and living in run-down edifices. Castro controlled every aspect of the Cuban people. He transormed the nation into one ruled by Communism, taking control of every facet of government and private life. All free speech and expression was suppressed. Those who spoke out against Castro were either killed or imprisioned. In 1999, Saint John Paul II met with him and spoke out against the abuses against human rights and religious freedom.  Shortly after, changes came. The Catholic Church was given more freedom to celebrate Christmas and other holy days. Even more changes came after Pope emeritus Benedict XVI visited in 2012 and told Castro that his political experiment no longer corresponded with the reality of the times.  Castro was the third longest serving head of state and holds the world record of the longest speech at the United Nations. His death was announced on state television by his brother Raul who announced a nine day mourning period. His remainds were cremated.  Many Cubans in exile took to the streets in Miami to celebrate the death of the dictator. World leaders commented on his death, some causing controversy such as Obama who failed to condemen his poor human rights record and the prime minister of Canada who praised him as a great leader.  President-elect Donald Trump and his vice president choice, Mike Pence both condemened Castro and hope for democracy to take hold in Cuba.

My thoughts
The response to Castro's death has been interesting with some praising him and others not so. As a Catholic Christian, I can only pray for his soul. His acts and words judge him by themselves, so I need not make a judgement. Based on what I know, Castro oppressed his own people. He restricted basic freedoms and while preaching Socialism and Communism, lived a lavish life full of riches while his people had to line up for rations. I understand why some are celebrating his death, however, I find that distasteful. We should never celebrate the death of another, even is that person was bad. All have sinned before God, excluding Mary the mother of Christ and Christ of course while on earth as a human male. We should pray for his soul. Fidel Castro was an atheist. Atheism has a long history of oppressing people and free thought.  He was a prime example.

Some atheists claim to be "good without God," however, we can see what happens to a person when he or she removes God from his or her life. The person becomes void of morals and conscience. Atheism has a bad human rights record in light of this. Fidel Castro was a product of indoctrination on campus. This is a big problem. Today, we see so many young people protesting and requesting "safe spaces" due to some leftist professors pontificating to them views that are irrational, yet chick. Universities can be great places to learn, but also dangerous places where some promote ideologies that threaten the moral and social fabric of humanity. It is sad that Cuba has suffered under dictator after dictator. We must hope and pray that Cuba will change and become a more viable democratic society that respects the basic human rights of its citizens. While Castro did improve education on the island, what good is it if the people cannot freely speak and express themselves?  When Jesus said "forgive them for they know not what they do," he had people like Fidel Castro in mind. Pray for his soul. Only God can judge Castro. May He have mercy on His soul.























 





Source:

http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=6631562

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/the-life-of-fidel-castro-1926-2016/2016/11/26/9dfecc96-b3f0-11e6-840f-e3ebab6bcdd3_gallery.html

http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/fidel-castro-dead-cubas-former-president-dies-at-90-w452402

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/fidel-castro-en/article117186483.html

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/26/503416852/cuban-reaction-to-fidels-death

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/fidel-castros-death/fidel-castro-life-cuban-leader-n290311

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-38118739

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2016/11/cuba-leader-fidel-castro-dead-90-161126053354637.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/26/world/americas/fidel-castro-dies.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/27/justin-trudeau-ridiculed-over-praise-of-remarkable-fidel-castro

http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/11/26/statement-prime-minister-canada-death-former-cuban-president-fidel-castro

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/26/world/americas/justin-trudeau-fidel-castro.html?_r=0

http://wreg.com/2016/11/26/cubas-fidel-castro-dead-at-90/

https://apnews.com/ca4bf8c1d23b451698ae7e979e1455d8?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=AP

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mercy Reigns! Christ the King of the Universe

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe and the closing of the Jubilee Holy Year of Mercy. What a glorious day. Jesus Christ is King of all (1 Cor 15:20-26, 28). The king of the universe. The very word "Christ" means "Anointed one, or King."

This solemnity was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas. The day was originally called the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the king.  In 1969, Blessed Pope Paul VI in the motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis revised the title as "Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe."

Priests in the Catholic Church wear white or golden color vestments to show the glory and joy behind the celebration.  Other Christian bodies such as the Protestant and Orthodox adopted the day and have their own ways of celebrating it.  All those Baptized share in this Kingship of Christ (CCC 1241). This day which always falls on a Sunday is the last Sunday of the Liturgical calendar. The Sunday that follows is the First Sunday of Advent which starts a new Liturgical Year.  This is a reminder that Christ is the Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end (Revelation 21:6).  Jesus ends the Liturgical calendar and begins it.  He was at the beginning of time and will judge all at the end of it as we will read in the Gospel at Mass.

READINGS: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/112016.cfm

In the first reading, we read of David being anointed the king of Israel. This reading is significant because it shows the royal lineage of Christ who is a descendant of David. Christ is king, not just any king, but THE KING. He rules the entire universe.  As with any king, Jesus had royal blood in His veins being a descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16, Matthew 1:1–17). This is why the book of Matthew was written for the Jews, per se.  The Gospel begins showing the genealogy of Jesus linking Him to David.  He is the "king of the Jews."  Unfortunately, many of the Jews in His time did not accept Him as their king and even mocked Him (Psalm 22:7-9, Matthew 27:29, Luke 23:37, Mark 15:18, John 19:3). When we sin, we do the same. We forget that the Lord is our king and disrespect Him with our bad thoughts and actions. This is why we must seek His mercyso that we can go rejoicing to the house of the Lord as the responsorial Psalm today tells us.  Today ends the Jubilee Holy Year of Mercy. Our Holy Father Pope Francis ushered this year hoping the Church will recall mercy; mercy from God and showing mercy to one another.

Too many times, we get caught up in our faith and may forget to be charitable to others. We may receive the Sacraments and then live life thinking everyone else is a heathen. We look at lukewarm Catholics as horrible, Protestants as heretics, gays and women who support abortion as evil; the list goes on and on. This is wrong. We must remember the log in our eyes before we pinpoint the speck in the eyes of others (Matthew 7:5). We all sin (Romans 3:23). Only Jesus and Mary were free of sin. While we are free to admonish the sinner, this does not mean we are free to judge others (Colossians 3:16, Matthew 7:1-3). The "job" of judging belongs to Christ alone (1 Peter 4:5, 2 Timothy 4:1). Hopefully this Year of Mercy has reminded us of asking God for mercy and being merciful towards others. We must remind ourselves that we were "made fit" to share in the inheritance of God's kingdom, as the second reading tells us. Christ delivered us from the power of darkness through the sacrifice on the Cross.  He transffered us to His kingdom, we are now sons and daughters of the light (1 Thessalonians 5:5-15, Galatians 5:1). We must act like and son and daughter of God and not live double lives with one foot in the things of this world and one in the things of God (Matthew 6:24). All of the universe is Christ's footstool, we need not attach ourselves to the things of this world. We must learn to love another and forgive one another.

God will be watching us and how we treat one another. We must be humble like the "good thief" who asked Christ to remember Him. God remembers those who are humble, contrite and loving ( Psalm 106:4-5).  Today's Gospel not only reminds us that Christ is king, but that He is merciful. As Jesus was on the Cross, the people mocked Him. They called Him the King of the Jews and even placed a superscription with the latin INRI (Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews) acronym. The people there were clearly wicked, yet Christ suffered and died for them as well (John 3:16).  With Him were two men who were criminals. One did not care about life nor God and mocked Christ while the other made mistakes in life and was contrite. This one rebuked the criminal mocking Christ and asked Christ to remember Him when He enters paradise. Jesus did not say to him, "Ok, I will remember you;" rather, he said that the criminals would JOIN HIM in paradise.  This is an awesome witness to Christ's Divine Mercy and an appropriate Gospel to end the Holy Year of Mercy with. God is merciful. A lasped Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Atheist etc may have lived life without caring for the truth or holiness, but at the deathbed, they can resort to God's mercy and be saved. This is because God is merciful and love (Psalm 145:8, Psalm 106:4-5).  Here is what some of our saints had to say on Christ's majesty and mercy:

       
St. Jerome - That flaming, flashing sword was keeping Paradise safe. No one could open the gates that Christ closed. The thief was the first to enter with Christ. His great faith received the greatest of rewards. His faith in the kingdom did not depend on seeing Christ. He did not see him in his radiant glory or behold him looking down from heaven. He did not see the angels serving him. To put it plainly, he certainly did not see Christ walking about in freedom, but on a gibbet, drinking vinegar and crowned with thorns. He saw him fastened to the cross and heard him begging for help, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" …
The cross of Christ is the key to paradise. The cross of Christ opened it. Has he not said to you, "The kingdom of heaven has been enduring violent assault, and the violent have been seizing it by force"? Does not the One on the cross cause the violence? There is nothing between the cross and paradise. The greatest of pains produces the greatest of rewards. ("On Lazarus and Dives," quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 366-367.)



St. Ephrem the Syrian - One robber said, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us with you!" The Lord however did not take him down from the cross as he asked, in order to exalt the other robber on the right of the cross and who was believing in the crucified Savior. It would have been easy for him to use a miracle to conquer anyone as a disciple. He produced a more powerful miracle when he forced the scoffer of truth to adore him. That is why the apostle said, "That which is the weakness of God is stronger than human beings." He submitted all peoples to the weakness of the cross.
Stretch out your arms toward the cross, so that the crucified Lord may stretch out his arms toward you. The one who does not stretch out his hand toward the cross cannot approach his table either. He will deprive of his table the guests who should have come to him hungry but instead came full. Do not fill yourself before going to the table of the Son. He might then make you leave the table while you are still hungry. ("Commentary on Tatian's Diatessaron, 20.23," quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 363.)

St. Ambrose - The superscription is written and placed above, not below the cross, because the government is upon his shoulders. What is this government if not his eternal power and Godhead? When asked, "Who are you?" he replied, "The beginning, who also speaks to you." Let us read this superscription. "Jesus of Nazareth," it says, "The King of the Jews."
The superscription is fittingly above the cross because Christ's kingdom does not belong to his human body but to his divine authority. The superscription is fittingly above the cross, because although the Lord Jesus was on the cross, he shines above the cross with the majesty of a king. ("Exposition of the Gospel of Luke, 10.112-13," quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 363.)


St. Pope John Paul II - The Good Thief crucified with Jesus came in some way to the heart of this truth. Indeed, in a certain sense he became a prophet of this eternal Kingdom when, hanging on the cross, he said: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). Christ said in reply: “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43)... In the second reading the Apostle Paul explains the nature of the kingdom of which Jesus speaks. He writes to the Colossians: we must give thanks to God who “has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (1:13-14). It is precisely this forgiveness of sins which the good thief inherited on Calvary. He was the first to experience the fact that Christ is King, because he is the Redeemer. (SPECIAL ASSEMBLY FOR OCEANIA OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS. EUCHARISTIC CONCELEBRATION. HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II. Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. 22 November 1998. https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/homilies/1998/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_22111998.html)

Let us always be loving and merciful. The Year of Mercy is every year, not just 2015-16. We must be merciful to others and ask God to remember us and have mercy like the good thief did.  May Christ the King reign in the hearts of all men, women and children!




Sunday, November 13, 2016

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: The Day Is Coming

As we approach Advent, today's readings remind us that the day is coming. This day is of course the last day or judgment day.

The first reading from Malachi tells us that this day is coming and will be like a blazing oven. All those who are proud and evil will be disposed of.  There will be neither root nor branch, the reading describes. The reading uses metaphors with imagery of fire burning a tree leaving nothing behind. This of course is a description of hell. God will come to judge all people from every nation (Zephaniah 3:8, Isaiah 3:9, Matthew 25:31-46, Acts 17:31, 2 Peter 3:7). No one will escape this judgement (Isaiah 28:14-16). This day will be the day of justice where the good and the bad will receive their just reward. The good will reap "the sun of justice with its healing rays" while the wicked will burn in the flames.  God is a just God and will rule the earth with justice as we read in the responsorial Psalm.  All of the earth praises the Lord. Each creature, each natural phenomenon praises Him. We join this praise with our lives as we advance in grace. God is coming and we must be prepared.  We must behave in accordance to the faith just like Paul and the disciples set an example to the early Catholic Christians. Living a good example is very important in the faith. We cannot live as hypocrites.

Nothing turns off people from the faith than a hypocritical Catholic who does not walk the talk, so to speak. This is why we must set a good example to others so that they can see the Gospel alive in our lives. Saying that we pray is not as powerful and praying with someone. Reading the Gospel and Works of Mercy is not the same as actually carrying them out in day to day living. We must be our faith. This is the best way to preach the Gospel. Imagine if St. Teresa of Calcutta just sat in a monastery and talked about helping the poor of the poor, would she have become a saint?  Imagine if St. Francis of Assisi sat in the Portiuncula and spoke only about helping lepers while never going out to actually help them, would he have become a saint? We must go out into the world and get our hands dirty, so to speak. The Church is like a field hospital as our pope tells us constantly. Work in important in the Church. Those who do not work, should not eat. If we do not work to become saints and let sin take over, then we should not approach the Lord's table to eat. Moreover, we must work in this world in order to make a living. No one is entitled to live a work free life full of luxury and "freebies." We all must earn a living, including the clergy and religious who earn a salary in their respective ministries.

Lastly, we read in the Gospel, Christ telling the people about the destruction of the temple and the signs that warn of the times ahead.  The temple will be destroyed and there will be famine and other unpleasant and scary things. These things are described as happening in the New Testament, but we must also watch for the signs in our day. With the election of Donald J. Trump, many protesters are gathering on the streets out of paranoia. We are still seeing the divisions and discord that Jesus warned about. Nations are still at war with each other. Earthquakes, famines and plagues are still taking place and we see awesome sights in the sky just like the Super moon that will be visible tonight and on Monday. While these things happen naturally, we must always be on alert. We must ignore those who claim to know the day of the Lord. No one knows the day nor the hour. As Advent approaches, we must call on the Lord to come or Maranatha (Revelation 22:20)! While we wait for His coming, we must be patient and bear with the persecution that is upon us.  We will be hated because of Jesus. Even those close to us will hand us over and betray us. We will secure our lives with our perseverance. We cannot be quitters when the time gets rough.

St. Ambrose tells us, "It was spoken then of the temple made with hands, that it should be overthrown. For there is nothing made with hands which age does not impair, or violence throw down, or fire burn. Yet there is also another temple, that is, the synagogue, whose ancient building falls to pieces as the Church rises. There is also a temple in every one, which falls when faith is lacking, and above all when any one falsely shields himself under the name of Christ, that so he may rebel against his inward inclinations (Quoted in Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers: St. Luke, ed. John Henry Newman, vol. 3 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1843), 674.)." We must focus on the temple within us where the Holy Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 6:19). God does not care about church buildings or man-made temples. What He cares about is our souls. This is why Christ came and died for, our souls (John 3:16).

St. Cyril of Alexandria reminds us stating, "Some of them showed Christ the mighty works that were in the temple and the beauty of the offerings. They expected that he would admire the spectacle as they did, although he is God and heaven is his throne. He did not allow any regard for these earthly buildings, since they were unimportant. Absolutely nothing compared with the mansions that are above. Dismissing the conversation about them, he turned to what was necessary for their use. Christ forewarned them that however worthy of admiration they might think the temple was, yet at a certain time it would be destroyed from its foundations. The power of the Romans would tear it down and burn Jerusalem with fire, and retribution would be required from Israel for the Lord's murder. They had to suffer these things after the Savior's crucifixion ( "Commentary on Luke, Homily 139," quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 319)." We must care for our souls by living the faith, receiving the Sacraments especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I cannot stress enough how important it is for us to authentically live our Catholic faith. We must not hide our faith. We will be persecuted and mocked. There is no way around this. Some of us may even be martyred for our faith. However, the death of a Christian is not the end. If we die with Christ, we shall also rise with Him (2 Timothy 2:11, Philippians 3:10). Our mortal bodies will come back to life glorified in Christ (Philippians 3:20-21). St. Augustine tells us, "We should have no doubt that our mortal flesh also will rise again at the end of the world.… This is the Christian faith. This is the Catholic faith. This is the apostolic faith. Believe Christ when he says, "Not a hair of your head shall perish." Putting aside all unbelief, consider how valuable you are. How can our Redeemer despise any person when he cannot despise a hair of that person's head? How are we going to doubt that he intends to give eternal life to our soul and body? He took on a soul and body in which to die for us, which he laid down for us when he died and which he took up again that we might not fear death ("Sermon 214.11-12," quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 321)." God is in control, we have nothing to be afraid of. Not one of our hairs will be harmed if we trust Him and live for Him. Let us prepare for the day when Christ returns.  May Jesus be praised!


Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111316.cfm

Labels

Catholic Church (448) God (306) Atheism (232) Jesus Christ (212) Jesus (208) Bible (171) Pope Francis (164) Atheist (142) LGBT (128) Science (111) Liturgy of the Word (104) Christianity (84) Rosa Rubicondior (75) Pope Benedict XVI (73) Abortion (71) Gay (64) President Obama (56) Prayer (54) Vatican (39) Christian (37) Physics (35) New York City (33) Philosophy (33) Blessed Virgin Mary (32) Christmas (31) Psychology (31) Women (29) Politics (28) Biology (26) Liturgy (26) Baseball (24) Religious Freedom (23) Pope John Paul II (21) Space (21) Holy Eucharist (19) NYPD (19) Pro Abortion (19) priests (19) Evil (18) Supreme Court (18) Child Abuse (17) Pro Choice (17) Evangelization (16) First Amendment (16) Protestant (16) Police (15) Donald Trump (14) Death (13) Health (13) Christ (12) Priesthood (12) Astrophysics (11) Blog (11) Marriage (11) Pedophilia (11) Racism (11) Poverty (10) Illegal Immigrants (9) Theology (9) Vatican II (9) Divine Mercy (8) Human Rights (8) Muslims (8) Personhood (8) September 11 (8) Autism (7) Condoms (7) David Viviano (7) Easter Sunday (7) Ellif_dwulfe (7) Evidence (7) Gender Theory (7) Gospel (7) academia (7) Apologetics (6) Barack Obama (6) Big Bang Theory (6) Humanism (6) Jewish (6) Morality (6) Pentecostals (6) Traditionalists (6) Babies (5) Cognitive Psychology (5) Cyber Bullying (5) NY Yankees (5) Spiritual Life (5) The Walking Dead (5) Angels (4) CUNY (4) Donations (4) Ephebophilia (4) Eucharist (4) Gender Dysphoria Disorder (4) Holy Trinity (4) Podcast (4) Pope Pius XII (4) Evangelicals (3) Hispanics (3) Pluto (3) Pope John XXIII (3) Sacraments (3) Baby Jesus (2) Dan Arel (2) Death penalty (2) Encyclical (2) Founding Fathers (2) Freeatheism (2) Hell (2) Massimo Pigliucci (2) Oxfam (2) Penn Jillette (2) Pew Research Center (2) Plenary Indulgence (2) Catholic Bloggers (1) Cursillo (1) Dan Savage (1) Divine Providence (1) Eastern Orthodox (1) Fear The Walking Dead (1) Pentecostales (1) Pope Paul VI (1)