Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sacerdotus named to Top Atheist & Philosophy Blogs Category!

I was just notified the other day via email by Anuj Agarwal the founder of Feedspot that my site has been named in the top 100 Catholic blogs (see:  He emailed me twice today again stating that my site has been listed in the Top 100 for Philosophy and Top 30 for Atheism. 

This is good news and shows that this ministry has become popular through the grace of God.  I am extremely grateful to Anuj Agarwal, Feedspot and all my supporters who visit my content and donate.   I will place the virtual medals/badges on my site in honor of God, Our Lady, St. Michael, the Saints and all my supporters.

Please continue to support Sacerdotus' ministry by visiting and donating at the Pay Pal button found here and  Without your help, we cannot continue this ministry and expand it.

Time to Grow up! Toy'R'Us Closing

Since the fall, the famed toys store Toys 'R' Us has been on the news due to bankruptcy. After the holiday, executives at the big box store thought things would be better.  However, this did not happen. Last week, rumors were circling social media that the big toy store would close all its stores. That week is now upon us and according to the Wall Street Journal, an official said that employees were informed about the demise of Toys 'R' Us. This official said that employees were told that all stores in the United States of America will close and that there will be liquidation sales posted.  The official Twitter account has not tweeted any announcement nor has there been any official statement to the press.  The Twitter account posted a tweet last week stating that all stores are open for business.

So far, the news is that the big toy store will be closing for good. Many blame Amazon, Target and Walmart for the failure of Toys 'R' Us. Others blame the big salaries chief executives collect. In any event, we live in a time where brick and mortar stores have been suffering greatly. Online sales are more popular.  No one wants to go out to shop anymore, especially younger Americans.  Everything is at one's fingertips on a cell phone or tablet these days. Moreover, the experience of shopping in store is not always so pleasant. Stores are often crowded with long lines at the check out. Prices are also an issue. Toys 'R' Us often sold toys at very high prices.  However, they do match prices with other stores. Then there is the unprofessionalism from employees.  Take this experience from one of my followers on Twitter who complained to Toys 'R' Us about an rude and unprofessional employee:

With this kind of experience, who would want to shop here?  In any event, the store will be missed.  I have many memories as a child going there, as well as, going there with my nephew and niece and watching their faces light up.  Hopefully, this report is just hearsay and the store will thrive or be bought by another company who knows how to manage a business in this new era of business.  Over 30, 000 jobs are at stake.  If not, then it is time for all of us to finally grow up and become neurotic and miserable adults in this crazy society. 

UPDATE March 16, 2018:

It seems that it is true that Toys 'R' Us is going out of business. I found these tweets from their accounts which shows that they are preparing to close.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Physicist Stephen Hawking dead at 76

I am sad to report that one of my idols has passed away. Dr. Stephen Hawking, the famed physicist who has been honored in many movies and television programs such as Star Trek the Next Generation died at the age of 76.  This news has hit me hard inside. I am truly devastated. Since I was a kid, I admired Dr. Hawking.  I even use the voice from his wheelchair computer for the intro on my radio podcast show.

Not only was he brilliant, but his strength inspired me. He was a man who was disabled due to motor neurone disease which developed since he was 21 years old. This did not stop him. In his body which became nearly frozen due to the disease, was a brilliant mind that never gave up.  He was an example to us all in a world which seems disabilities as a weakness and undeserving of life. Hawking was recently featured on Dr. Neil degrasse Tyson's Star Talk television broadcast for his work and expertise regarding Black Holes.

His family issued this statement:

“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.

He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.

His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.

He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him for ever.”

Hawking at one time believed in God, but eventually led himself astray due to materialism.  He wrote in his popular book  A Brief History of Time, "Why does the Universe exist? If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we would know the mind of God."  There will be those fanatics who will condemn him to hell or celebrate his death. This is not the Christian way.  We do not know what happened during his last moments.   

Hopefully he asked God for forgiveness in his last breath. God is merciful. Now Dr. Hawking knows that God truly exists. Now he truly knows the mysteries of the universe.  He met Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis and was also a member of the Pontifical Academy of Science. 

Thank you Dr. Stephen Hawking for inspiring me to study physics.  Thank you for inspiring me and many others by showing that disabilities are not an obstacle in life.  God has a sense of humor. Hawking dies on "pi day" 3/14 which is also Albert Einstein's birthday!  May God rest your soul. Rest in peace!


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sacerdotus Named in Top 100 Catholic Blogs!

I was just notified via email by Anuj Agarwal the founder of Feedspot that my site has been named in the top 100 Catholic blogs. This is good news and shows that this ministry has become popular through the grace of God.  I am extremely grateful to Anuj Agarwal, Feedspot and all my supporters who visit my content and donate.   I will place the virtual medal on my site in honor of God, Our Lady, St. Michael, the Saints and all my supporters.

Please continue to support Sacerdotus' ministry by visiting and donating at the Pay Pal button found here and  Without your help, we cannot continue this ministry and expand it.  

Monday, March 12, 2018

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Defends Pope Francis

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has defended Pope Francis from attacks from those who call themselves "Traditionalists" or "conservative Catholics." In a letter to Monsignor Dario Vigano who is the prefect of the Secretariate from Communications, the pope emeritus described the criticism of Pope Francis as "foolish/stupid prejudice" from those who see Pope Francis as "just a practical man without particular theological or philosophical formation."

It is interesting to note that the pope emeritus criticized himself by writing, "while I have been only a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete life of a Christian today."

The pope emeritus wrote the letter in regards to 11 short books on The Theology of Pope Francis. The letter was translated here by NCRegister Journalist, Edward Pentin:

Rev, Mons. Dario Edoardo ViganĂ²
Prefect, Secretariat for Communication

Vatican City

February 9, 2018

Rev. Monsignor;

Thank you for your kind letter of 12 January and the attached gift of the eleven small volumes edited by Roberto Repole.

I applaud this initiative that wants to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice in which Pope Francis is just a practical man without particular theological or philosophical formation, while I have been only a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete life of a Christian today.

The small volumes show, rightly, that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation, and they therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, despite all the differences of style and temperament.

However, I don’t feel like writing a short and dense theological passage on them because throughout my life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books I had read really well. Unfortunately, if only for physical reasons, I am unable to read the eleven volumes in the near future, especially as other commitments await me that I have already made.

I am sure you will understand and cordially greet you.


Benedict XVI


This letter by pope emeritus is significant in that he criticizes the discontent, slander and even hate which has been propagated by those who call themselves "traditionalists" or "conservative Catholics." Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has been seen as a leader and staunch defender of external traditions among the aforementioned.  The letter comes as a shock to those who feel Pope Benedict was a better pope than Pope Francis.

On social media, one can spot these Catholics by the way they attack Pope Francis or refuse to honor his title. They call him Bergoglio or simply Francis in an attempt to avoid calling him Pope or acknowledge him as the successor of Peter. Some have even made themselves part of the College of Cardinals by calling the pope a "heretic." Lay people have no such authority.  So-called "Father Z," a rogue diocesan priest who blogs for a living even endorsed praying for Pope Francis' death.  An anonymous author even wrote a libelous book entitled "Dictator Pope."  The hate for Pope Francis is real and is unhealthy both psychologically and spiritually.  

Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed in his letter that there is no disconnect between both pontificates despite "differences in style and temperament."  We see in the letter that the pope emeritus does not see the current pope as a heretic of a dissident.  If Pope Francis was truly a heretic or dissident to the faith, I doubt Pope Benedict XVI would have said that his pontificate and that of Pope Francis are linked in inner or interior continuity.  That would have tarnished his own papacy.

The news of this letter comes as a recent survey was released showing that American Catholics who identify as "conservative" are not fond of Pope Francis and are concerned that he is changing Church teachings. These claims are based on a poor understanding of Church documents, how the Church works and paranoia. In reality, pastoral practice is what is evolving not doctrine.

I am glad that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has made this statement and has classified the criticism against Pope Francis as "stupid or foolish prejudice."  This is exactly what it is. Some people simply do not like Pope Francis. They remind me of the Pharisees who hated Jesus for presenting God in a more merciful manner instead of like a cold mechanical religious concept.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has shown that he is a class act, a true pastor. I disagree with his self-deprecation.  He truly does understand the Christian life today and how to be a pastor. His book "Introduction to Christianity" was very instrumental in my conversion from atheism.  We see how this man is truly a humble man despite attacks from liberals who criticized him for his deference for Liturgy and Liturgical regalia.

This site and its media content will always be loyal and supportive of both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

Update March 14, 2018:

According to the AP (, the Vatican doctored the photo of the letter by blurring the lines that stated that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did not read the 11 books.  Some are already crying conspiracy over this. However, I have found nothing directly from the Vatican making such a statement.  Ironically the source was made by: "A Vatican spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity."  I think we can pretty much dismiss this story from the AP.


Friday, March 9, 2018

Puerto Rican Suicides Skyrocket

According to a report, the number of suicides in Puerto Rico has skyrocketed. Over 200 have committed suicide in 2017 after Hurricane Maria devastated the tropical island. Each day, several Puerto Ricans are committing suicide. Calls to suicide hotlines have increased dramatically.  People are finding themselves hopeless despite many a goods being sent to the island on a daily basis.

Millions of dollars and goods have been collected in the months following the hurricane. However, some Puerto Ricans still find themselves in great need. Many of their homes were obliterated by the strong storm. To date, electricity and clean running water are no longer accessible to many on the island.

The lack of basic necessities and living conditions that rival those of the 1800's has caused many Puerto Ricans on the island to reach breaking points. More needs to be done to address the needs of those on the island, including psychological and spiritual ones. Catholic bishops in Puerto Rico must do more to reach out to the people and remind them that they are not abandoned. The situation is sad and must be addressed. Puerto Ricans are American citizens as well despite their island having the title of Commonwealth.

This situation should remind us also how depending on "modern" things is not good. Puerto Ricans have lived off the land since the founding of the nation by Spain. To think that Puerto Ricans are so dependent on manufactured goods is unfortunate. Their ancestors would have simply lived off the land, purified water using simple means and rebuild their humble homes.  In any event, we must help the Puerto Rican people.  Calling hotlines is not enough.



Thursday, March 8, 2018

Kim Jong Un & Donald Trump to Meet in May

In a surprisingly turn of events, it was just announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald J. Trump are planning to meet. Earlier today, Trump stated that there would be a big announcement by South Korean officials visiting Washington. Many speculated as to what the announcement would be. Days before, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with leaders of South Korea and seemed jovial. News outlets reported that he seemed to have decided to change course.

South Korean officials announced that Kim Jong Un wanted to meet and talk with the current US president. The talks will involve denuclearization. Trump agreed to meet with him sometime in May. In the meantime, North Korean will be suspending its nuclear missile tests. Talks schedule for May will be geared towards reaching an agreement to end North Korea's nuclear program and ease sanctions placed against the nation by the United States of America, China and other nations.

It seems as if the sanctions have been working alongside the "tough-talk" by President Trump. Trump tweeted this on his personal twitter account:

Many are asking the president to be cautious with Kim Jong Un. North Korea has engaged in this kind of conduct in the past only to back away from any talks. Others are upset with Trump for giving legitamacy to Kim Jong Un's regime. Only time will tell what will happen and if anything good will come out of the planned talks. There are also security concerns. The Secret Service will have their hands busy, so to speak if this meeting takes place. It is possible that North Korea may try to assasinate the president.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Atheist Lawrence Krauss Accused of Sexual Misconduct

The Bible says that pride comes before the fall in Proverbs 16:18. How true are these words! I have just learned that atheist physicist, Lawrence Krauss is being accused of sexual misconduct by women. Krauss is known for his sarcasm, ridicule of religious beliefs and an untamed arrogance. He seems to think that he knows more than everyone else, especially those "stupid religious people." Well, now he is on the spotlight.

Several women have accused him for decades. Melody Hensley, 28 was a makeup artist who joined the Center for Inquiry. This is a nonprofit group that pushes separation of Church and state and a intolerant form of secularism. Hensley aspired to be a leader in the so-called "skeptics" movement. During a CFI event that took place in November of 2006, she was approached by Krauss who asked for her card. What happened next was creepy. Krauss asked her if she was "of age." This question obviously had to do with the legality of consensual sexual activity. Hensley, a fan of the atheist scientist did not think much of the comment. She was obviously "star-struck." However, Krauss invited her to dinner in a email later on. Hensley told BuzzFeed News,

“I didn’t care if he flirted with me, I just wanted to be around somebody important, and I also wanted to get a job in this field. I thought I could handle myself.”

Krauss then invited her to come to his hotel room. He then flirted with her, commented on her eye makeup and violated her personal space. Afterwards, he forced himself on her by forcing her onto the bed underneath him and began to kiss her without her consent and even tried to remove her tights. Krauss then got a condom. As he did this, Hensley ran out saying "I have to go." Krauss claims that the encounter was consentual. Hensley informed her boyfriend who contacted CFI about what happened.

According to Buzzfeed News, this is not the first accusation against Krauss. He has alledgedly groped women, made sexist jokes, has been accused of ogling undergrads and even told an employee at his place of employment Arizona State University that he would purchase her birth control so that she ould not inconvenience him with any maternity leave. Case Western Reserve University and Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics have both banned him from their campuses.

Krauss denies the allegations despite numerous complaints, documents, emails and interviews with over 50 people. The majority of accusers have asked to remain anonymous due to fears of retaliation. They fear Krauss will attack them with legal retaliation or his male fans will target them. The atheist movement is made up of mostly rich white males who have displayed misogynistic tendencies. They have often smeared women who have spoken out against other alleged skeptics.

In 2007, an accuser named Nora (middle name) was studying at Case Western Reserve as an undergraduate student. She approached Krauss regarding how hard it was to be one of the few female physics major students. He then made an inappropriate comment saying that there must be many guys who ask her out on dates. On another occasion, she asked to do an interview him for a newspaper and he just closed the door of his office, made sexual jokes and invited her to dinner. She even wrote about this in the college's newspaper:

“There was even one particular creep of a professor who once told me he thought differently of me compared to other students and asked me to dinner: a situation so disturbing that it left me upset for weeks afterward.”

Despite not mentioning him by name, the dean of the school knew who she was referring to and told her to file a complaint. She followed through with his suggestion. The dean apparently knew of Krauss' predatory behavior.

There are many more allegations detailed in the BuzzFeed link in the sources. The news is disturbing and shows what happens when one lacks a moral compass. Krauss is one who claims that morality can be determined via the scientific method. He has dismissed philosophy and ethics int he past and has even debated one of my former professors, Dr. Massimo Pigliucci who is a stern advocate for philosophy.

Ironically, Krauss has tweeted about the "MeToo" movement and spoke out against sexual harassment. In hindsight, his comments show his hypocrisy.

I invite all women and men to report any inappropriate sexual harassment or physical contact to the authorities. The atheist movement has a sexual harassment problem which it refuses to acknowledge. It is a movement run by white males who are misogynistic and who protect predators. They contradict their alleged concern for liberal ideas regarding feminism.  These men never fail at bringing up predatory priests while ignoring the filth among their ranks.  Atheists should not let another's celebrity get in the way of protecting women and any men who are targeted by sexual predators among the atheism movement.

I invite all to contact CFI and Arizona State and demand that Krauss and other sexual predators be fired and publicly condemned.

Center For Inquiry
P.O. Box 741, Amherst, NY 14226

CFI Executive Office
1012 14th Street, NW, Suite 205
Washington, DC 20005

Arizona State University
Tempe AZ 85281


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday 2018

Today is Ash Wednesday the beginning of the season of Lent. Many reflections come to my mind, in particular, the humility we should aspire to live by.  It is also St. Valentine's day, a day hijacked by secularism to reflect relationships.  More on this later.

During Ash Wednesday, we receive the ashes as a sign of repentance, humility, and reminder of our finite existence on Earth. The use of ashes is not new and can be found in Sacred Scripture: Esther 4:1Job 42:6 and Daniel 9:3.

The ashes remind us of our state of this world.  "We are dust and to dust, we shall return" which comes from Genesis 3:19.  It is a reminder that we are not an end in ourselves.  Our lives, our successes, our education, in a word; our entire being returns to dust and ashes after death.  All that we were or could have been is reduced to a pile of ashes.  The whole thought is humbling.  The very word 'humbling' comes from 'humility.'  The word 'humility' comes from 'humus' which means 'dirt, soil or ashes from the Earth.'  The ashes placed on us should remind us of humility.  It should remind us that eventually, we will die and that life should be well spent, so to speak.  

We do not have all the time in the world so we must make good use of it in order to try our best to follow God's will.  As Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 states:  
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;"
God will call each one of us in due time. We will face judgment immediately after death as Hebrews 9:27 tells us, and there is no attorney nor can we make use of any alibi.  It is important that we try to do God's will and not waste our lives on sin and other vices that give the illusion of happiness or joy.  Like the quote from the classic movie, "A Bronx Tale" written by Chazz Palminteri states: "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent."  We all have the talents necessary along with God's grace in order to live a virtuous life and grow spiritually.  Ash Wednesday and Lent should remind us of this.

The ashes remind us of our finite state in this world.  The fasting and abstaining from meat remind us that we can give up anything in order to grow spiritually, even sustenance.  This shouldn't be a burden for 'man does not live by bread alone, but by the Word of God." (Matthew 4:4)  

As an atheist, existentialism was part of my frame of mind which states that all rests on the individual - we are an end in ourselves.  Ash Wednesday added to my way of thinking.  It reminded me that I am not an end in myself.  My intellectual reasoning ability, my knowledge, my talents etc eventually will dissipate as I take my last breath.  This allowed me to consider that there has to be more to life, this couldn't be it on Earth.  However, this is a topic for another blog post.

Unfortunately, some Catholics rely on the external aspect of days like Ash Wednesday.  The "A&P Catholics" come to church on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday out of 'duty' or false piety and not a genuine search for God and discipline to grow more in Him.  Like the Pharisees, they do not internalize the symbolism behind the sacramentals given on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. Faith cannot become a mere "duty" or "obligation."  It must be a way of life.  The ashes on Ash Wednesday must not become a pagan ritual, if you will.  There is nothing magical about the use of ashes. It does not have any powers.  They are just holy reminders of our mortality.   

I hope you attending Ash Wednesday Mass today or if you receive ashes during a service that you remind yourself that we must be humble.  We must remember that we are indeed 'dust and to dust, we shall return.'  Nothing will change this.  No advancements in science or medicine will make death a thing of the past.  The ashes should remind us that the hourglass is slowly emptying and that we must make every effort to use every precious second to grow spiritual in God's grace.  We will fall along the way, but God will help us get back up.

The first reading reminds us that we have to return to the Lord.  Our fasting, the ashes we receive, our abstaining from meat much have an internal meaning, the rending of our hearts.  God is merciful and gracious.  He waits for us to return to Him.  In this season of Lent, we must do our best to return to God. None of us are perfect.  We all sin. However, sin is not the end of the story.  Sin is the villain in our story that we have to defeat.  We can only do this by living a holy life of prayer and reception of the Sacraments. These bring about a greater representation of Christ in the world. We begin to love God and our neighbor more and more.  We start to gain courage to face all trials.  Lent is a special time in the Church. We walk with Jesus in the desert, face temptation and walk out victorious with Christ Jesus.  The first readingreminds us the need to ask God for mercy; to spare His people!  We receive the ashes as a reminder of our mortality. Humans are just dust and to dust they shall return.  Scientifically speaking, we are carbon based lifeforms who are made of "star dust," as the late Carl Sagan famously stated. Our accomplishments, our intelligence, our capacity to reason should not make us feel pride as if we are gods on earth; we are not!  The ashes remind us of this.

We need mercy from God for we have sinned, as the responsorial Psalm says.  God is indeed mercy. There is no sin He will not forgive unless it is the sin against the Holy Spirit, or the sin of not trusting in God's mercy and avoiding it. Only God can cleanse us of our sins and guilt. Only God can create a pure heart in us and a steadfast spirit. We must take this time during Lent to call on God to have mercy on us so that we can proclaim His praise.  The second reading tells us that we are ambassadors for Christ.  We represent Christ in our state in life to others.  Therefore, we must be holy and humble.  We must be full of love and mercy.  This can only be done if we ar reconciled with God.  Jesus became the image of sin (human) but did not sin so that He could rescue us from sin.  We must not be ingrates and receive God's grace with humility and not vain. Ashes on our foreheads are not a trophy to show off to others.  They are a reminder that we aremere dust.  They give witnesses that we are nothing but dust before God and therefore must rely on Him and His mercy.

The Gospel today reminds us that our righteous deeds are not supposed to be for self-glorification or promotion. We must not "blow a trumpet" before ourselves in order to be looked upon as if we are religious celebrities. Instead, we must pray in private, do things in private whether it is giving to the poor or helping others.  In other words, we must not make a spectacle of our actions as if we need to be praised by others because we did good.  Praying and doing good must be directed towards God, not self-glorification. During Lent, we fast and abstain from meat. This may be hard for some of us. However, we must not walk around with gloomy faces so that others can see and focus on our misery as if we fast and abstain in order to feel pity from others or garner attention.  God will reward us for suffering in silence.  As mentioned previously, many in America and around the world also celebrate Valentine's day.  On this day, couples give each other chocolates, roses, cards and what not.  The fact that both days collided this year is interesting and can be used as a reflection.  Ash Wednesday is a reminder of our mortality and that we must repent.  We can repent and change because God wants us to and allows us to.  This is because He loves us.  God is love. God is the ultimate love.  Love finds its definition in God.  What a wonderful way to celebrate Valentine's day by repenting and accepting the Love of all Loves: Jesus Christ. 

Take this time during Lent to refocus your attention to God. Do things for His honor and glory, not your own.  Wear the ashes as a witness to your mortality and as a witness to your conversion to Christ. Do not wear them in order to show off as if the ashes cry out "Hey!, I am a Catholic."  This is not what Ash Wednesday is about. Remember to be humble. We are just dust, not gods. May Jesus Christ be praised!


Monday, February 5, 2018

Father Z: Not Sinful to Pray for Pope's Death/End of Pontificate

An article written by Joseph Bernstein from BuzzFeed has placed the spotlight on internet personality priest who blogs as "Father Z."  His full name is John Zuhlsdorf and he claims to be a former Lutheran who converted to Catholicism. 

He is incardinated in an Italian diocese, but lives in Wisconsin.  No one really knows where or if he is attached to a parish. Usually when priests who are incardinated in other dioceses and are not working, this may mean that he is problematic.

Years ago in New York City we had a priest visit us from Italy who was ultraconservative.  I will not post his name to respect his privacy.  He was a nice guy, but seemed to have some unhealthy ideas about women and their function in the Liturgy.  He seemed to see females as an aversive thing.  At one point, he prevented women with lipstick from receiving Holy Communion.  He also embarrassed an extraordinary minister during Mass because he felt her clothing was not modest. She became upset and began to cry.  This caused problems as you can imagine. He was immediately asked to leave. I lost track of him and eventually saw him again at another parish I worked at. He helped at Spanish Masses and then disappeared again. Last I heard, he was staying with a parishioner from another parish and eventually became homeless.  No parish wanted to give him work because of his behavior and ultraconservative ideas. He was always in a cassock and critical of how parishes held their Masses despite these parishes doing what is allowed by the diocese and the Vatican.  It seems Father Z may be one of these characters.

When a priest's views are too extreme or his behavior is anti-social, bishops avoid him.  These priests become rogue priests wandering around without solid work at a parish. This makes sense due to the fact that Father Z relies on donations to earn a living. His blog is his wage producer. This may be illegal in the Church according to Canon Law. Priests are supposed to earn their living within a diocese and from the diocese, not on their own.  Bishops are responsible for their priests and must provide for them.  Canon Law 286 prohibits the clergy from engaging in business in order to gain profit.

Can. 286 Clerics are prohibited from conducting business or trade personally or through others, for their own advantage or that of others, except with the permission of legitimate ecclesiastical authority.

In light of this, Father Z may be breaking canon law by using a blog as a business means to earn a salary. This income is not tax-exempt and is unaccounted for. I found this odd when I first learned of this priest-blogger.  When I tried to join his blog to comment and inquire, he did not allow me to join because I used my ministry's name "Sacerdotus." I found this odd since he uses his own moninker "Father Z" to post online and did not know that Blessed Solanus Casey was a "Sacerdotus." Moreover, his tone in the email came across as arrogant and condescending.

When he wrote a post attacking the Vatican for displaying a light show on the facade of St. Peter's Basilica, I wrote a post pointing out the nonsensical rant in his post and why they made him look foolish, see:  His science illiteracy and lack of knowledge regarding previous Vatican light-shows was clear in his post.

It seems that many others have had problems with Father Z as well. Some of my followers have told me that they were turned off by the constant "showing off" of his lavish meals and travels. These are possibly at the expense of those who donate to him of course. While most of his content is not too bad; apart from the Vatican light show one, a post he wrote where he responded to a reader is extremely troubling.  In the post, he encourages the reader to pray for the death of a pope or the end of a pontificate. He claims that this is not sinful.

The reader, an apparent Pope Francis hater asked:

"Given the rate things are going for this current pontificate, would it be sinful to pray that, if it be God’s will, that the pope either abdicates or dies and a new pope of a more conservative leaning is elected?"

Father Z replied on 27 January:

"I get this often.
No.  It is not necessarily sinful to pray for the end of a pontificate, one way or another.
However, it depends on why and on your attitude.  I urge people not to have hate in their hearts for the person of the Holy Father.  He deserves our prayers.  That doesn’t mean that we have to like him or what he does.  We do NOT worship the Pope.  Popes come and go.  In our prayers, we can, without sinning, discuss with God about His time table."

Do you see the problem?  He tells the person that it is not "sinful to pray for the end of a pontificate, one way or another." He is endorsing the idea that the reader mentioned in the question who asked, "...would it be sinful to pray, that if it be God's will, that the pope either abdicates or dies...?"  Note how he never corrected the reader by stating clearly that we cannot pray for anyone to die, pope or not.  Instead, he says that it is not "sinful to pray for the end of a pontificate, one way or another."  To be fair, he did excuse himself later on after readers criticized him, see:  However, his mea culpa fell short of erasing his error.  He writes:

"Since I posted that, I’ve heard that some people thought – from what admittedly I wrote – either that it is okay to pray that the Pope should die (without any further qualification) or that they ought to pray that the Pope should die.
That was certainly NOT my intention.  I’m sorry if by my poor wording I gave that impression.
I tried to answer that question – which I have received quite a few times – in way that put questioners at ease, but also counseled care and judgment about their own attitude, their own motives.  It appears that I didn’t do that very well."

This is a poor attempt at backpedaling.  Father Z knew exactly what he meant and why he worded his words the way he did. Anyone with or without a theology degree knows that it is a sin against charity and one's neighbor to pray for the ill or the fall of another. This would be what St. Thomas Aquinas calls a maledictio. A true Catholic Christian prays for the grace to deal with others, not to get rid of them (1 Corinthians 13:7). Father Z's reply is simply empty of moral theology. There is never any justification for praying for the end of someone's life, ministry or position in life. Instead, we must pray for that person to convert if he or she is doing evil and must pray for the grace to deal with the person or circumstance. This would have been the best reply to give to the reader.  Praying for a pontificate to end is a maledictio whereupon the person is demanding God bring an end to a person or his or her position in life.  This is evil and sinful.  God guides His Catholic Church.  The pope who is in power is so because God wills it. Who are we to whine and ask for a forced removal? 

Father Z has also encouraged readers to attack Father James Martin SJ causing some of his events to be cancelled. While the intention may be to prevent Fr. Martin from spreading his twisted ideas on homosexuality, this intention may be abusive against Fr. Martin. He has freedom of speech and bishops are responsible for whom they allow to speak and work within their territories, not mass protesters. It is scandalous for a priest to publicly attack a brother priest. If I were Father Z, I would reach out to Fr. Martin privately and not create an online militia that seeks to become its own organization of inquisitors.  The BuzzFeed article goes more at length as to why Father Z is a problematic figure in the Catholic Church. 

My advice to my readers is to be careful with Father Z. Just because one is ordained does not mean he or she is a good representative of the Catholic faith. Take note that this priest is not functioning within the Church in a normal manner. While there are priests and nuns who blog, they do not live for blogging like Father Z does. These individuals have their respective full-time ministries and ways of life which provide an income for them. I would be wary of a rogue diocesan priest who seems to be a pariah among dioceses and who relies on a blog to earn a living which is contrary to Canon law.  Pray for him.



Sunday, January 28, 2018

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Even Demons Obey

Today's readings tell us about Jesus' authority and celibacy as a way of life for those who serve the Lord.

In the first reading, we are told about the promise of Christ.  Moses tells the people that a prophet will come from God and from the Hebrews.  All must listen to Him.  We see the foreshadowing of the Messiah. Jesus was born from the lineage of King David. He was a Jew. God sent Him (John 3:16). This is all common knowledge to any Christian who knows his or her faith well. Ordinary Time is a period where we are introduced to Christ and His teachings. A good homilist will capitalize on these readings and educated his congregation about Christ and His origin, as well as, why we should listen to Him. The responsorial Psalm reminds us that we must listen to His voice and not harden our hearts. We must be happy and joyful in the Lord. It pains me to see some fellow Catholics treat the faith as some obligation that is done on Sundays. Moreover, it also pains me to see fellow Catholics live out their faith mechanically. Recently, the Holy Father Pope Francis married a couple while on his flight. I was shocked to see on Twitter the many insults directed at the pope over this. They attacked him for doing this in a plane citing canon law and what not regarding the location of a marriage and so forth. Apparently, they forgot, did not know or willfully ignored the fact that the pope is the legislator in chief, so to speak. This attitude of trying to know more than the pope or thinking one is more Catholic than him or any other Catholic is a hardening of the heart. It is a fake faith that is set on pharisaic tendencies. We must not harden our hearts like this. We must bow down in worship to the Lord and this means being humble.  We are the people He shepherds. God guides us. The Holy Spirit guides the Church. Many times, we may see the Church move in a direction that causes eyebrows to rise. This is a normal reaction. We are human. Humans often do not like anything that appears to be a change. However, we must not harden our hearts to the Holy Spirit by protesting where His wind blows the sails of the Church or boat of Peter.

The second reading reminds us how important it is to serve God. It is so important that everything else becomes secondary or non-existent.  St. Paul tells us that those who are unmarried are concerned about the things of the lord. Those who are married are concerned about significant others and family. St. Paul suggests that those who want to serve God remain as he is, celibate and chaste. This is why our Church values celibacy. Celibacy is not a dogma, it can be done away with. It is a mere discipline. This does not mean that it is bad. Celibacy is practical for the reason St. Paul tells us. Those who are celibate can focus on God. This does not mean that those who are married cannot serve God. They can and do serve God in their respective state of life. However, a priest or religious serves God all the time in the life of the Church. He or she has no family, wife or husband to care for or attend to. There is talk now about ordaining older men to serve in remote areas. This is possible and a good solution to areas which lack a priest. However, this does not mean that celibacy will be done away with. The Roman or Latin rite will always have celibacy as its rule. Orthodox Churches allow their priests to marry. However, their bishops are not married. By being celibate, a man can focus on God and his parish. Can you imagine a priest with a wife and kids serving at a parish? The priest would have to earn a better wage to care for his family. He would have to be on call for both his family and parishioners and so on. This would make things extremely difficult. In fact, the Catholic Church restored celibacy as the rule because of this and the fact that widows wanted Church property after their priest-husbands passed away. celibacy makes sense and allows a man (priest/brother) and a woman (religious sister) to grow more in the Lord and focus on Him and the Church. 

Finally, the in the Gospel, we read of Jesus speaking with authority. He taught the people and astonished them. Jesus was a carpenter's son. He was not a doctor, lawyer, physicist etc. Jesus did not have a high school diploma or college degree. Those things did not exist then, but the point is that Jesus was not "well-educated" in the sense that we understand education. He was a simple soul living in Israel. However, He spoke better than the best philosophers and teachers of Judaism in His time.  His knowledge is greater that even Aristotle, Plato, Aquinas, Augustine, Scotus, Einstein, Hawking etc.  This was because He was and IS the one. He was the Messiah that was expected by the Jews. He spoke in God's name because He is God and the Son of God. His authority is so great that even the unclean spirits obeyed when He told them to shut up and leave the man in the synagogue. If any other human told a demon to shut up, that human would be tossed around like a doll. This is why an exorcist can only cast out demons in Jesus' name and not his own. The Church's authority, the popes and clergy's authority; even the Bible's authority comes from Jesus Christ.  The aforementioned would be nothing but mere men and books without Christ. 

Jesus was the God-Man; two natures and one personhood. He is Emmanuel or God among us. All authority is His. He existed before all else existed as we read in the first chapter of John. Today's Gospels hows us that Jesus is the one Moses spoke of. He speaks for God and comes from the Hebrews. We see how God is not a liar. When God says something will happen or not happen, that is what will be. This is why we who believe in Jesus Christ must never fear even when things are hairy in life.  Life is hard. Life is tough. Life can beat us up. However, we believe in the one who has authority over it. We believe in the one who has authority even over the demons of hell and of death itself. God is awesome.  Let us praise our Lord Jesus Christ who is loving and merciful.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time: God Calls, Listen!

The Christmas season is over and we are now in "Ordinary Time." Ordinary time is not just an "ordinary" period, so to speak. The Church gives this time this name just to distinguish between the days where we celebrate important Christ-centered days and regular days. However, this period is extraordinary in my opinion. It is during this time that we get more indepth in Scriptural readings, particular the teachings of Christ.


In the first reading, we read about Samuel who was sleeping in the temple of the Lord. God's house is a refuge for all. It is also our home. This is why we see Catholic Churches always open up church property to those who need help. Last year, a big fire broke out in my old Belmont neighborhood in the Bronx. Originally 12 perished, but a few weeks ago, another member of a family who lost almost everyone also passed after being in a coma. As the fire broke out and the tragedy was taking place, Father Morris, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was immediately on scene and offered help to victims. Another local parish, St. Martin of Tours teamed up with the NYPD's 48th precinct and started a goods-drive to help survivors. You can read more here:

God's house is a home for all. This was why Samuel was comfortable sleeping in the temple eventhough he was not familiar with the Lord, as we are told in the reading. God calls to him, but Samuel thinks it was Eli. Eli tells him to go back to sleep. God kept calling Samuel until Samuel realized that it was the Lord when Eli told him to say "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Eli realized that God was calling Samuel and Samuel had to respond. When God calls, we must answer. Sometimes we do not realize it at first. We are told that Samuel grew up or matured. God was with him.  This passage reminds me of myself as an atheist and other atheists today. God is always calling us. Sometimes, we are so caught up in the world that we think it is someone else calling us; or something else. Many times, we hear of atheist scientists coming up with all kinds of explanations to refute, or attempt to refute, God's personal interaction with us. Atheist psychologists say that that "voice or perception of God" we experience is just man's brain giving agency to something due to stress or some other thing. We develop this defense mechanism in order to cope. Other scientists claim the universe appeared out of nowhere due to gravity and formed randomly without any God. I can go on and on. The truth is that we often put on a mental block that attempts to ignore God and attribute His callings to something natural. We go to "Eli," so to speak, instead of God. We must listen to God and say, "Here I am, your servant is listening." Afterwards, God will be with us and will guide us just as He did with Samuel.  God calls even the youth. Young people must never be afraid, ashamed or scared away from serving God (1 Timothy 4:12). They are an important part of the Catholic Church. 

The responsorial Psalm responds to the first reading with the phrase, "Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will." This must be our words every day of our lives. In fact, this is the first prayer I say when I wake up even before I start the Liturgy of the Hours. I recommend that you use the same short prayer. It is short and simple, but very powerful and inspirational. God is always with us, but will not impose Himself on us. This is why He calls to us and we have the choice to answer. He hears our cries and all of our problems as the Psalm says. However, He will not intervene unless we give permission. I know it sounds strange. How can a mortal and finite creature give God permission?  God who made all things seen and unseen. This is just a reminder of how God is so humble and genuine. How He is so loving and merciful and truly loves us. His love is not manic or sick. It is pure love. It is Himself because He is love! God does not need us. He wants us!  He loves us.  In the second reading, we read that our bodies belong to God. Those baptized are part of the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church. We must care for our bodies and not abuse them. This means living as healthy as possible both spiritually and physically. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Think about this. The Holy Spirit dwells in us. That is awesome! When we have guests over at our homes, we often tidy up the place. We want our guests to feel comfortable in a clean and welcoming environment. Does the Holy Spirit deserve worse that this? I think not!  The Holy Spirit deserves the best tidiness we can offer. This is where the sacraments and prayer come in. We must be in a state of grace so that the Holy Spirit can have a beautiful temple to dwell in. We were purchased at a price as St. Paul says in this reading. This price was Christ shedding His blood on the Cross!  We must glorify God in our bodies. Today, many abuse the body with alcohol, drugs and other bad things. Others abuse the body by turning it into a sex show for others. Men go to gyms, women go to gyms to look "sexy" so they can appease others. This is not what our bodies are for. If God wanted humans to be "sexy" or have their goal to become "sexy," we would not age and fall apart. We would be ageless creatures. However, we know this is not the reality. We age, we get sick and fall apart. The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord.

Lastly, in the Gospel, we are introduced by St. John the Baptist to Jesus. The Monday after the Epiphany, we celebrated the Baptism of the lord. Today, we read about Jesus being described by John as the "Lamb of God." This phrase can be understood only via the Old Testament. After God stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, He provided a sacrificial lamb (Genesis 22:8). This was a foreshadowing of Christ who is the Lamb God provided as the sacrifice. We all know what sacrifice this was. If you guessed the Cross, then you are correct! Jesus is the Lamb of God. When you go to Mass, focus on this phrase a little more. It has a lot of meaning behind it. It should remind us that Jesus is the pure Lamb that shed His blood for us. We are not worthy to come under His roof. He must say the word. He must call us like He did with Samuel in today's reading. Jesus is introduced to us in the Gospel for today. He is the Rabbi or teacher. He will guide us and educate us in God's ways. Jesus tells us, "Come, and you will see." He calls out to us. We must make the choice to follow Him. Listen to God's voice in your life now and each day. He calls out to you. Do not ignore Him. Do not attribute His calling to another agency. He truly calls you.  Come and see the Messiah whose birth we celebrated. He will not disappoint!  May Jesus Christ be praised. 

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson is back for Spring 2019!

Dr. Sagan's famous series "Cosmos" (see: was rebooted in 2014 with Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson as the host. The series was successful but did not return for another seasons. Many expected that the series would continue with Dr. Micho Kaku. However, those rumors have turned out to be false.  Neil Degrasse Tyson has announced via Twitter that he and the Cosmos reboot will be returning in 2019 on Fox and The National Geographic channel.

This is exciting news!  I hope parents will watch with their children so that they can learn science.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Epiphany of the Lord: God Welcomes All & Science Leads to God

Today is the Epiphany of the Lord.  The word Epiphany comes from the Greek word "epiphainen" which means to reveal or shine upon.  This day celebrates the main revelations of the person of Christ as God and man. The main times we see this is when the Magi visit Christ (Matthew 2:1-12) -which we celebrate today,- at the Baptism of Christ (Mark 1:9-11) when the Holy Spirit descends on Christ and God the Father reveals Christ as His only begotten Son; the next moment is at the Wedding of Cana (John 2:1-11) where Jesus performs His first miracle due to the intercession of His Mother Mary.  In this, her last recorded words are shown, "Do whatever He tells you."  Great advice from mom right? 

We also know of this day as the day the Magi or Three Kings came to pay homage to the child Jesus. The story of the Magi, Wise men or Three Kings is one that has always gotten my attention even as an atheist.  This story of three men coming from far away guided only by a star to adore a child is one that captures the imagination. The "Three Kings" or Magi (Wise men) traveled a long distance to find the child-God.  God used His own cosmic version of a GPS to guide them with a bright star, so to speak. This star could have been a comet, Jupiter, Venus or Saturn, or a conjunction of them; some believe it may have been a Stella Nova - when stars illuminate brightly for a brief moment and then return to their normal brightness.  Jesus is the light that illumines the Magi and us today (John 8:12). This stellar phenomenon should remind us of this.   At midnight Mass, we read about the light shining on those in darkness (see:  At around December 22, ancient peoples noticed that the days got darker and began to get longer afterwards.  They linked this to their beliefs surrounding their understanding of the divine. It seems to me that God was preparing man for Christ by guiding primitive religions to collect their beliefs around this time which would become the time of the birth of Christ.  In the Catholic Church, we call this Divine Pedagogy.  Christ is the light the brightens up the darkness. The story of the Magi gives us clues.  These men were outsiders to the Jewish faith, yet they were drawn to the Jewish Messiah.  We will get into this in a little bit.

One can literally visualize the night.  It is such an event that many cultures treat it like another Christmas day.  Latino cultures often hand out gifts to children while reenacting the visit of the Wise Men.  This is a great way to evangelize at an early age.  However, the story is much more deeper than three men who are stopping by to visit a baby as if it were a divine baby shower.  They are bringing with them gifts that have specific meanings. I wrote more on this on my 3 Kings Day (Epiphany) post.  Each came to bring gifts to the child-God Jesus Christ; the gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.   The gifts often are viewed as symbols of Christ's Royalty, Divinity, and Death.  Others view them as Faith, Hope and Charity. This is mentioned in today's first reading.  We read of "... the caravans of camels and dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense.." As a student of science, this story brings to mind the fact that these men were men of science and they searched for God in the stars.  Science and Faith are not opposed to each other as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI stated when he spoke of St. Albert, "St. Albert reminds us that there is friendship between science and faith, and that scientists can, through their vocation to study nature, follow an authentic and absorbing path of sanctity." Today, we have the Hubble telescope and all these satellites in space that take amazing high definition images of the universe.  These images never fail to "wow" scientists and amateur astronomers alike.
Carina Nebula

The Wise Men represent the "outsiders;" the Gentiles, Pagans and others who were not part of the Chosen People - Israel.  They represent all the different races coming to meet the Christ child.  God calls out to them as well and they come to Him (John 10:16).  God wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).

Unfortunately, many times some Catholics promote Triumphalism instead of Catholicism. Triumphalism in the Catholic sense is the attitude that the Catholic religion is superior to other faiths and/or better.  While the Catholic Church does contain the fullness of truth and is necessary for salvation, this does not mean that we are the best or should put others down who are not of our faith.

The story of the Magi shows that God is not prejudice.  While He did choose a particular people, He is Father of all.  He brings others to the faith by their own means many times.  Other faiths are not perfect, but they have the right idea that God does exist and loves us.  The Catechism puts it well:

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332

In 2014, Pope Francis touched on this, specifically the Pope's homily.  As usual, Pope Francis broke from his written text briefly to invite those Catholics who are indifferent, left the Church as well as atheists to the faith.  He said:

"I would like to tell all those who feel far from God and the church — and I say this respectfully to those who are afraid or indifferent: The Lord calls you and wants you to be part of his people and does so with great respect and love! The Lord doesn't proselytize, he gives love and this love looks for you, waits for you — for you who don't believe or have drifted away. This is the love of God."

The Pope is right.  The Lord does not proselytize.  He ate and drank with sinners and those who were the pariah of society during His day (Matthew 9:11).  Unfortunately, this behavior is often mistaken as Jesus being too open to all that He doesn't care about their behavior.  This of course is not true for He, while accepting and respecting all, called them to repent (John 8:11).  God calls out to those who are not in the faith.  He has His way of bringing them back.  This is why I love Pope Francis' "meet them where they're at" philosophy.  I have always believed this.

We must be patient with those who left the Church or were never part of it.  We must not judge them or treat them as if they are defects in the world.  Pope Francis has showed already how by simply respecting others brings them to consider God and Catholicism.  Many homosexuals, atheists, protestants and others are opening up more to the Catholic Church even to the point of attending Mass because of this.

We must meet them where they are at on the path to God. Once we meet them there, we can direct them to the right road, so to speak.  You can't given directions from miles away, you have to be close to the lost party.  We must go to them.  It is no wonder why the image on Pope Francis' pectoral cross is that of the Good Shepherd that leaves the 99 behind to get the one that wandered off (Matthew 18:12-14).

Regardless of how others pray, have liturgy; or their attitudes on God and faith, we must trust that God will use these to bring them back to Him just like He used nature, astrology and science to bring the Wise Men to the Christ child.  Science is not anti-God.  Many atheists believe it to be the "killer of God;" however this is not so.  The more we learn about the cosmos and our own planet, the more we realize that the only logical explanation for their existence is an intelligent Creator. This part of the story of the Wise Men is what I like to reflect on being that my area of studies are the sciences.

In the story we see how science leads the Wise Men to God.  This is exactly what happened to me when I was an atheist (See "From Atheist to Catholic..").  I wasn't wooed into Catholicism by preachers, Bibles, Catechisms, theological books, EWTN, Popes etc.  It was science, specifically the science of physics that opened my mind to the Logos.  The popular suggestion "there was a big bang, then processes developed and we came from there.. accept it" did not satisfy my young scientific mind.  I need logical answers, not quick assumptions.  Saying that we're here due to processes and that's how it is does not cut it for me, so to speak.  Like the Wise Men, I needed to get closer to "whom the Star pointed to."  In my case, to whom particles and forces that make up the universe pointed to.

The story of the Wise Men shows that God is always in control of Salvation.  We are not the one who save others.  It is God who brings people to Himself.  As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI puts so well in his Jesus of Nazareth - The Infancy Narratives:

"The key point is this:  the wise men from the east are a new beginning.  They represent the journeying of humanity toward Christ.  They initiate a procession that continues throughout history.  Not only do they represent the people who have found the way to Christ: they represent the inner aspiration of the human spirit, the dynamism of religions and human reason toward Him." (pg. 97)      
In the first reading, we read of Jerusalem being told to rise up in splendor, her light has come.  The glory of the Lord shines on her. Darkness covers the earth and thick clouds the people, but God shines through. This light is of course Jesus Christ the Lord (John 8:12)!  Our world is in so much darkness.  Evil is never good. Violence is never good. These affect our psychology. Human beings were not made for violence. We are the only creatures on earth without physical defenses.  Other animals have claws, venom, quills, etc to defend themselves. We do not.

This is why we need Christ the light who illumines minds and hearts keeping us away from evil and violence. The light of the world is Christ and we need to seek Him.  We need to seek Him just like the Three Kings or Magi who came from Midian, Ephah and Sheba with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh did.  However, our gift to Jesus must be the perfection of faith, hope and love in our lives.  This is what Jesus wants from us. 

All nations will adore the Lord, as we read in today's responsorial Psalm.  God is king over all the earth.  All rulers will pay homage to Him just like the Magi did.  We are the Magi of today coming before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament offering our lives.  I have always loved the Magi. They were instrumental in my conversion because they were men of science who used the stars to find Christ.  In science, we can find God as well! God's creation points to God just like the star pointed to Christ (Job 12:7-10, Psalm 19:1-4, Romans 1:20). The late astronaut and first American in space John Glenn said after seeing the earth from space, "To look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible."

Relics of the Wise Men
The magi found the Lord via the science of the stars, astronomy.  We know of their names as Balthazar, Gaspar and Melchior from the document Excerpta et Collectanea which is attributed to St. Bede who died in 735.  Their relics are in the cathedral in Cologne, Germany.

You can read another reflection I wrote here for January 6: In it, I elaborate more on how the Magi represents all the outsiders. The second reading reminds us as well by telling us that Gentiles are also coheirs and part of the body of Christ.

Christ was born for all people of all races, genders, orientation, faiths; in every time and place. He is the Savior of all!  The Gospel tells us that great story.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the magi came from the east asking King Herod where the newborn king of the Jews was. Herod did not like this because he saw himself as the king of the Jews. He asked the magi to bring him the child so he too can adore Him. They found the child via the star and saw Mary with Him.  The magi prostrated themselves and paid homage to the child and gave Him the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh as prophesied in the first reading of today. Before departing, they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod.  They listened and returned home via a different route.

The Epiphany is an awesome celebration in our faith. Many cultures celebrate it as another Christmas. Kids put hay under their beds for the camels and wake up to find the hay missing and gifts in their place. Other cultures have feasts and other celebrations commemorating the visit of the magi. To me, the magi represents all peoples outside of Israel and academia coming to worship the Lord. This is my personal reflection. The stars and all of nature pays homage to God and leads us to admire Him via His creation.

May we continue to look for the Christ child and stay focused on the Star which is God's grace.

Please remember to help me with this ministry which is focused on reaching out to those in the dark.  Please be generous as the Magi were and consider donating or becoming a regular donor. Any amount is useful. God can do anything with any amount.  You can donate via Paypal or  God will reward you!  I have already received emails from donors who received many blessings just months after donating.  As soon as I get permission from them, I will share those emails.  I am not a business man nor investor so I rely on God's providence and how He inspires visitors and readers to donate.  Financial means is not the only way to help. You can pray and also volunteer your talents.  God bless you and Mary keep! 


Here are more reflections from holy writers:

There is something more that must be understood about the gold, incense and myrrh. Solomon testifies that gold symbolizes wisdom when he says, "A pleasing treasure lies in the mouth of the wise." The psalmist bears witness to that incense which prayer offers to God when he says, "Let my prayer ascend as incense in your sight." The myrrh indicates the mortification of our bodies, of which the holy church speaks of its workmen who strive even unto death on behalf of God, "My hands dripped with myrrh."
And so do we too offer gold to the newborn king if we shine in his sight with the brightness of the wisdom from on high. We too offer him incense if we enkindle on the altar of our hearts the thoughts of our human minds by our holy pursuit of prayer, so as to give forth a sweet smell to God by our heavenly desire. And we offer him myrrh if we mortify the vices of our bodies by our self-denial.
Myrrh brings it about, as I have said, that dead bodies do not decompose. For a dead body to decompose is the same as for the human body of ours to become a slave to the decay of dissoluteness, as is said by the prophet: "The pack animals have decomposed in their own dung." This indicates fleshly minded persons who end their lives in the stench of dissoluteness. Therefore we are offering myrrh to God when we employ the spice of self-restraint to keep this earthly body of ours from decomposing through decadence.

— St. Gregory the Great
(540 - 604)

Source: "Forty Gospel Homilies, 10.6," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 28-29.

"Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word." Appropriately did Herod say, "Bring me word," for the one who hastens to come to Christ always brings a word of renunciation to the devil. When the priest says to the future Christian, "Do you renounce the devil?" the latter will answer, "I do renounce him." Properly therefore are the magi instructed to bring word to Herod, who realized he was taking the place of the devil. Satan knew how to corrupt a person.
"That I may come and worship him." He wants to lie but he cannot. He who feigned adoration will come that he might bow to abuse, kneel to inflict punishment, recline to do harm.… But when the clouds of treachery have passed, in the fair weather of emerging Christian faith, the magi behold again the star they had seen, preceding and leading them on. Finally they arrive at the most holy place of the Lord's birth.
— St. Peter Chrysologus
(380 - 450)

Source: "Sermons 158.8-9," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 25.

Since Herod was king, he was naturally afraid both for himself and for his children. But why was Jerusalem troubled? Surely the prophets had foretold him as the Savior, Benefactor and Deliverer who would come from above. But Jerusalem remained troubled by the same idolatrous affections that had previously caused them to turn from God precisely when God was pouring out his greatest benefits on them. While God was offering them new freedom, they were once again mindful only of the fleshpots of bondage in Egypt…
Although troubled, they nevertheless did not try to understand what was happening. They did not follow the wise men or even take any particular notice. To this extent were they both contentious and careless. This happened just when those in Jerusalem under Herod had reason to pride themselves that a king was being born among them. This had even attracted the attention of the wise from Persia. They were on the point of having everything going their way, as though their affairs were advancing toward improvement. But most did not even take notice. Amid an empire that had become so magnificent, they showed little improvement.
Jerusalem had only recently been delivered from subjugation. It might have been more reasonable for them to think, If the Persians tremble before this king now merely at his birth, wouldn't they tremble much more when he grows up? They would fear and obey him, and our situation might then be more glorious than that of the barbarians. Even if they knew nothing of mysteries or revelations but formed their judgments only on the basis of present self-interest, they surely might have thought along these lines. But nothing like this really occurred to them, so great was their dullness in prophecy and envy in human affairs.
Such dullness and envy must be rooted out of our minds. One must be more impassioned than fire to stand up against such an array. This is why Christ said, "I am come to send fire on earth, and how I wish it were already kindled." And the Spirit on this account appeared in fire.
— St. John Chrysostom
(347 - 407)

Source: "The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 6.4," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 22–23.


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