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.)



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