Sunday, February 28, 2016

3rd Sunday of Lent: Bearing Fruit

In the first reading, we are told of Moses' encounter with God in via the 'burning bush.' The encounter is quite mysterious. We read of a voice coming from a bush that is in flames but is not burning. Some skeptics have tried to debunk the event as a hallucination on the part of Moses. Professor of cognitive psychology, Benny Shanon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem suggested in his paper "Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis" that Moses was under the influence of entheogens which are drugs from plants used in religious rituals that come from Peganum harmala or Wild Rue. While the idea is interesting, it fails to account to the fact that this 'burning bush voice' was very articulate and knew of events beyond that which Moses was aware of making it impossible to be a hallucination on the part of the aforementioned. Moreover, Shanon himself stated that he had no proof for his ideas. Other skeptics have tried to explain the 'burning bush' as deriving from 'earthquake lights' which is a phenomenon similar to that of the auroras but which appear often as spheres on the land.  Again, these ideas are interesting but offer no solid proof that what Moses encountered was in fact an 'earthquake light.'

What the 'burning bush' represents is a theophany, or God revealing Himself using nature. If the 'burning bush' was an 'earthquake light,' then God clearly used the opportunity to use this natural phenomenon to get Moses' attention. The story shows us that God cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). He tells Moses that He heard the cries of His people. Before that, He tells Moses to remove his sandals before stepping on holy ground. The removal of sandals was part of the culture of this time.  It was a sign of etiquette just like in western culture it is polite for a gentleman to remove his hat when indoors or before a lady. Moreover, the removal of the sandals is connected to the washing of the feet. Moses removes his sandals because they represent the dirt of the world. We cannot come to God 'dirty,' so to speak. This is why Jesus washes our feet (John 13:1-17).  He prepares us to enter into God's holiness. The removal of the sandals shows the distinction between God and mortal man who is not yet ready to enter into the presence of God. Moreover, God sends Moses to Egypt to rescue His people.  Moses asks God for a name so that the people would believe Him and God tells him that "I AM" is sending him. The name "I AM' is how God presents Himself. This name which is 'YHWH' or "Yahweh" says much about the nature of God.  God is "I AM" or the one who IS.  He has no beginning and no end. The name "I AM" shows the ontological essence of God. He simply is. He exists without dependence on anyone or anything (Isaiah 45:5).  This first reading should remind us that God cares for us and that we must remind ourselves that we are still in sin and cannot approach God fully.  We must take off our sandals at confession, so to speak and prepare to see God via the Holy Eucharist until we see Him as He really is.  God never forgets His people and is merciful towards them as we read in the Psalm today.

God is kind and merciful.  He pardons all things, heals us and brings forth kindness and compassion (Isaiah 43:25-26). In the Lord we have justice and rights.  All human rights come from God, not men or courts.  In this year of Mercy, we must remind ourselves that God is slow to anger. This does not mean that He will excuse us. It means that He will forgive us if we genuinely ask for forgiveness. We must not be arrogant by believing that we have salvation secured as the second reading tells us.

The second reading reminds us that our ancestors were all under the cloud, passed through the sea and were baptized into Moses.  This of course is referring to the events of the Exodus (Exodus 14). These events were a preparation for Christ.  St. Paul reminds us that everyone in the period of the Exodus has the same spiritual food, but God was not happy with all of them and punished them. These people are not an example for us in regards to how not to serve God.  We must not be ingrates or like the Hebrews were during the time of Moses (Psalm 95:8).  God rescued them and they built an idol in return and worshiped it (Exodus 32). We must not be like them.  We must not desire evil things.  This is why we are in the season of Lent and why we 'give up' something in order to condition ourselves to be detached.

Finally in the Gospel, we read of Jesus explaining that all people are sinners regardless of what action they may have taken in their lives. All must repent for all have sinned.  Then He tells the story of the man who planted a fig tree which did not produce fruit.  For three years the tree produced nothing so the owner orders it to be cut down because it is using up the soil and not producing anything. However, the gardener tells the owner to leave it another year so he can cultivate it, fertilize it and prepare it to bear fruit. God gives us chances even when we do not produce fruit.  In this year of Mercy, this Gospel should speak to us directly and strongly.  We are like the fig tree planted in the soil. Many times we will not produce fruit because of our sins and lack of response to God's grace. God has every right to 'cut us down,' so to speak, but He is merciful (Matthew 13:42).  Jesus is the gardener who gives a second chance and offers to cultivate us so we can bear fruit. During this Lent, we must make use of the Sacraments, penance, our faith and prayer in order to allow Jesus to cultivate us so that we can bear fruit. Let us allow Jesus to cultivate our lives so that we may bear fruit.  Let us not imitate those in the desert during the time of Moses who disrespected God.  Let us listen to God's voice wherever it is coming from, especially in our hearts.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

#GOPDebate CNN - Super Tuesday

The final CNN debate before 'Super Tuesday' took place and it was a lively one.  It even had CNN's closed caption upset. The participants were front runner Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John kasich and Ben Carson. Each candidate was asked several questions.  However, things got ugly when Rubio went in on Trump.  He attacked Trump for repeating himself, brought up allegations that Trump was a fraud and was sued for 'Trump University.' He also brought up allegations that Trump hired Polish immigrants to build his buildings.  Rubio was hardly addressed Trump in previous debates took to task in this one to attack Trump.  Cruz joined in as well but was not as aggressive as Rubio.

Trump replied to each by calling Rubio a 'choker' and Cruz a 'liar.'  John Kasick and Ben Carson looked on as the three attacked each other.  It even prompted Carson to jokingly say, "Someone please attack me so that I can talk."  After winning three states, Trump has become a bigger target since he is already getting the delegates. Rubio is seen as the Republican party's preferred candidate and clearly was out to make the case that he is much better than Trump.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

2nd Sunday of Lent: He is the One

The first reading tells us of God's promise to Abram that he will be the father of many descendants; as many as the stars in the universe.  Today we are barely scratching the surface of what is out there beyond our world. We can only estimate that there are billions upon billions of stars out there. That is a large number. Well, Abram would be father to many descendents as the stars in the universe (Genesis 17:5). This is the introduction to God's involvement in the lives of men and ushering their redemption in Jesus. We who are the descendents of Abram prepare for the slavation of the Lord who is our light as we read in the responsorial Psalm.

The Lord is my light and my salvation.  Who else is there?  There is no other God (Isaiah 45:5). God is God of the gods man invented and Lord of lords.  There is no one whom we should fear (Psalm 27:1).  It is God who calls us, protects us and has pity on us.  We must wait for the Lord, do HIs will and live according to HIs statutes.  We must imitators of Christ who the disciples imitated as we readin the second reading.

We must imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).  Comport ourselves like Christians and not like the heathen.  We must not be like the non-believers, heretics and dissidents who conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Atheists and others love to mock Christians. They create all kinds of images, billboards and efigees in order to mock Christ.  Let them.  They set up their own destruction. Their glory is shame, not dignity. They are the trolls of life who have no purpose and wander the Earth like mindless zombies looking to attack (Luke 23:34).  They are focused no worldly things while we are focused on our citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20). God will save us, rescue us and transform our bodies like that Christ's glorified body.  We bear now the suffering from this world and await until all things are subject to Christ.

In the Gospel, we read of the Transfiguration.  This mysterious event where Christ tranforms. We are reminded of the revelation of Christ's Divine Glory on Mount Tabor before Peter, John and James.  Jesus' face became bright like the sun, His clothes were white as snow and Moses and Elijah appeared beside Him.   Moses represents the law and Elijah the prophets of the old covenant. Jesus brings the old with the new and fulfills both (Matthew 5:17).

This event showed the disciples present that Jesus was the real deal, so to speak.  Jesus is God (John 1:1).  The brightness is a visual manifestation of His Divinity and the white-as-snow garments show His pureness.  He is man as well but a man without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Father confirms that this Jesus is no mere mortal, but His son whom we must listen to. Let us listen to the Lord during this Lenten season and every season of the Church. Christ is the only path to salvation (Acts 4:12).    


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

John Paul II Had A Girlfriend? No... Media Lies

Once again the BBC and media are showing their anti-Catholicism out in the open.  They are turning an innocent friendship between two people into a scene from Thornbirds.  A show entitle The Secret Letters of Pope John Paul II was aired revealing the personal letters of St. Pope John Paul II to his friend Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka. Tymieniecka, a philosopher and the then Cardinal Wojtyla.  The friendship would span for decades until his death in 2005.

A glimpse of the letters show an innocent relationship between 'besties.' There is nothing vulgar, sexual or inappropriate in them. The Pope shows his platonic love for this philosopher who helped translate one of his books, hosted him in England and went skiing with him. In a letter dated March 31, 1976 the Cardinal writes, “God gave you to me and made you my vocation."

Many of the letters were sent as Cardinal Wojtyla battled Communism in his home country of Poland. It is unfortunate that the BBC and media are spinning this friendship into an abandonment of celibacy.  No where in Catholic doctrine does is say that priests cannot have close friends.  The friendship between John Paul II and Tymieniecka shows how beautiful a relationship can be and how pure love can be displayed in a mere friendship.  I myself have many friends, both male, female, Catholic, Protests, Atheist, Muslim and Gay. We hang out whenever I am free and the relationship is strickly platonic and innocent.

Shame on the BBC and media for their disgusting interpretation of this beautiful friendship.  Some have used innuendo laced titles like, "Pope John Paul II letters reveal 32-year relationship with woman."  It is awful what these people will do to sell a paper or get ratings.  What is next, will they show a future younger Pope kissing his survivingsister and use the title 'incest?'


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pope Francis Got Pissed Off!

Pope Francis has made it his mission to be compassionate, loving and merciful, but he is also human and has emotions.  Today a group of fanatical faithful yanked on the Pope's sleeve causing him to lean in onto a disabled man/child in a wheelchair.  The Pope visible angry with face red shouted, "eso no se hace, no seas egoista" (You don't do that, Don't be egotistical).  This was the first time I have seen Pope Francis or any Pope visible angry in such a manner.

Here is the video:

While we must be humble, compassionate etc, we also must be alert and call out wrong doing even with anger.  The Pope was 100% correct.  He could have gotten hurt and could have seriously hurt the disabled person in the wheel chair.  There is no need to pull on the Pope or anyone for that matter. It is dangerous, especially for an elderly man - elderly men - who have problems with balance as it. Even a man of my age will fall if someone or a group yanks on my sleeve.  I have always had issue with how people get when the Pope visits.  It is like they become animals running on instinct.  I remember at World Youth day this man pushing people on the crowd including myself.  I had a cassock on and shoved the man back and yelled at him telling him that he is going to hurt someone to relax or I was going to get security.

People should relax and not get carried away in the presence of a Pope or anyone else.  Someone could get hurt if fanaticism takes over and crowds become like hordes of zombies trampling over one another.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

1st Sunday of Lent

It is the first Sunday of Lent of the Holy Year of Mercy.  It is also Valentine's day, the day of 'love.' We see Jesus' love in the Gospel as He bears temptation for each one of us.

In the first reading, we read of the hardships the Hebrews endured.  They wandered, became slaves of the Egyptians and suffered greatly (Exodus 2:23). However, God did not abandon them (Exodus 3:7-9).  He worked His wonders and freed them bringing them to a "land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:8).  It is a reminder of the trials in the desert that the Hebrews had to endure.  Those that persevered received the Promised Land.  Christianity is about not only love but also suffering.  We must suffer and carry our cross just like Christ did (Matthew 16:24-26). We must also suffer the mockey and hate from the world which is ruled by the father of lies (Matthew 10:22,Matthew 10:22). In the end, those of us who remained strong will be comforted as the Psalm says.

In the responsorial Psalm, we are told that God will come to us when we are in trouble.  He will be our "refuge and fortress."  Those of us who are faithfull will receive the help of the Lord. He will protect us as we endure what life has in store for each one of us as we grow in our spiritual lives (Revelation 3:10). We must be faithful to God as the second reading tells us.

The word of God is near to us; in our mouths and hearts.  We must share this word to the world. We must not be ashamed to profess faith in Christ Jesus and share the joy to the world regarding this faith (Romans 1:16, Matthew 10:32-33).  The world will mock us for this faith, but we will never be put to shame. Suffering is part of being a Catholic Christian (Acts 5:41, Romans 8:36).  There is no way around this. There is no such thing as a 'prosperity Gospel' which we hear of from these mega-church pastors out there.  The 'prosperity' comes as we grow in faith and grace leading to heaven with God, the angels and the saints. Before we can enjoy this prosperity in heaven, we have to walk through the desert, so to speak.

In the Gospel, we read that Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit leads Him. After Jesus was baptized by St. John the Baptist, He went into the desert for 40 days. The number 40 in the Bible is a symbol meaning preparation, penance or cleansing, and/or a time of trial/test.  We read that Jesus is in the desert with no food or drink due to fasting. The tempter, or Satan appears to Him and tells Him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread."

He does this in order to tempt Christ because after fasting 40 days, naturally anyone will be starving and even a slice of bread sounds like an eight course meal. Jesus does not fall for this trick and replies, "It is written:  One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God." In other words, Jesus is saying that while we need food, it is ultimately God who has the final say as to whether or not we live or die. Eating food does not guarantee our lives or existence and can even kill us.  It is God who is in control of our existence.

The Gospel account continues with Satan taking Christ to the holy city and placed Him on the parapet of the temple so He could see all from that height.  Satan says to Him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.  For it is written:  He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone."  Here Satan is twisting Scripture to his advantage.  He is quoting from Psalm 91:11-12 showing that Satan does know the Scriptures well and interprets them in a way that will favor his views; hence, he is the "cunning serpent" mentioned in the first reading.  Satan mentions this Psalm in order to test Christ and in a sense, mock God.  He is pretty much telling Christ to commit suicide by jumping off a high place since according to Psalm 91, God will send angels to catch Him.  Jesus replies, "Again it is written, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test."  Here Christ is correcting the literal interpretation of Satan.  God sends angels and intervenes in space at time as His own discretion, not ours. Sometimes we, especially non-believers doubt God's existence when we hear of children dying, or some tragedy occurring which could have been prevented if God sent angels or even intervened directly.  However, this is not how it works.  We are not the gods of God.  We have no right to demand anything from God or have a sense of entitlement.

Lastly, Satan takes Christ to a high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and tells Him, "All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me."  Here Satan is acting like He is some " Don Corleone godfather" of the world and offers Christ power in the form of governments or kingdoms.  This ties in to Genesis where the serpent tricks Adam and Eve with his sophistry and eventually "takes" the world.  By showing Christ the kingdoms of the world, he is trying to tempt Christ with power.  This imagery was adopted in the movie with Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino called, "Devil's Advocate" where Pacino takes Reeves to the roof of a tall building and shows him the "world."  Human beings love power.  They love attention.  Who would refuse the kingdoms of the world?  The answer is Jesus.  He replies to Satan's offer which Satan thought could not be refused with: "Get away, Satan!  It is written:  The Lord, your God, shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve."  The Devil then left Him be and the angels appeared to assist Jesus.

Ironically, Satan despite having this great ability to reason as well as knowledge of the Bible and universe, he did not know Jesus was God.  This is why he was stalking Christ trying to figure out who this guy was.  Satan had no idea who Jesus was and was testing Him to see who He was and if He would fall for the same tricks used to make Adam and Eve fall.

These readings set the stage for Lent. Lent is a period of reflection and renewal. We join Jesus in the desert in prayer and fasting. Satan will eventually show up and stalk each one of us on this 40 day journey. He will tempt us with thoughts that will try to distract us just like he tried to distract Jesus. Satan will present to us all kinds of promises which are lies. Like Christ, we must bear with this annoying character. He is a bug buzzing around trying to annoy us to the point of reacting. We must respond like Christ did with direct rebuttals.  Satan is merely a fallen angel.  Hollywood likes to present him as this power anti-god type entity who has equal power to God, but is on the side of evil.  This is not so.  Satan is a creature just like us. Man has the capacity and intelligence to outsmart this being with God's grace.  One of the best weapons against Satan is ignoring him. Satan has an inflated ego and thinks of himself as this superior being.  He has the power to do minor parlor tricks in nature, but nothing we can't do on our own with our hands or technology. Ignoring him makes him powerless because we are not giving him the credibility he wants us to have in regards to him being this powerful entity.

During this Lent we should pray more and focus on the meaning of fasting and abstaining from meat.  We rely totally on God for our existence.  Christ reminded Satan of this.  The Scriptures remind us that despite man's failings, Christ is there to help him on his feet.  Christ has showed that He is smarter and more powerful that the annoying cunning serpent.  


Saturday, February 13, 2016


The GOP debate took place in South Carolina and it was a heated one.  It also took on a different tone due to the news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  Bush attacked Trump for attacking his family and his personality which he finds unfit for a commander in chief.  Ted Cruz also attacked Trump on his behavior.  Trump shot back at both by calling them liars and describing them as incompetent.  Carson as usual tried to be the peace maker.  Kasick also criticized the debacle between the candidates.

This debate was probably the most liveliest of them all.  As the fight to gain delegates continues, each candidate is becoming more and more desperate.  Marco Rubio is one of them who after the last debate, tried to re-present himself after being attacked by Chris Christie who dropped out of the race along with Carly Fiorina.


Justice Scalia Dead at 79

Conservative Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia was found dead at a resort in Texas.  He apparently died of natural causes.  Scalia was the first Italian American justice and fought hard against the promotion of abortion and gay rights.  He was a Catholic.  May he rest in peace.

I will update this post as I learn more.


Bob Lord Passes Away

The Church Triumphant on Earth has lost another courageous soul full of evangelical zeal today.  Bob Lord along with his wife Penny Lord who passed away in 2014 (see: were known for their work in teaching Catholics about the faith, saints and other facets of Christian life.  Bob has now joined his wife.  He has passed on to the Lord's presence today, according to the Bob and Penny Lord website and EWTN.

Bob and Penny Lord are known for their programs on EWTN as well as books, conferences and retreats. I have several of their books which have aided me in my own journey.

Both will be missed and are role models for laypeople in the Church.  Bob and Penny Lord would always end the program with "we love you."  Well I think I speak for all Catholics who have enjoyed their ministry by returning the saying, "we love you back."

Bob even stems from my hometown The Bronx and went to Cardinal Hayes near the old Yankee Stadium which was demolished.

Rest in peace, Bob and Penny Lord.  Eternal rest grant to them O' Lord and may perpetual light shine upon them.



Friday, February 12, 2016

DemDebate PBS

After losing the primary in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton took on Bernie Sanders on another debate on PBS.  She went after Bernie before an audience with a big attendance by African Americans.  Clinton tried to paint Bernie Sanders as being anti-Obama and Obamacare.  In response, Sanders countered her claims but at the same time called the president weak. He accused Clinton of simply repeating the failed policies under Obama while elevating his own as real progress. He focused on the problems regarding race and the economy while Clinton came across as defending Obama more than presenting her case.

Sanders attacked Clinton for taking advice from Henry Kissinger, a republican who is not well liked among liberals. Clinton attacked Sanders on his vote against comprehensive immigration reform in 2007.      


Thursday, February 11, 2016

LIGO: We Found Gravitational Waves! #EinsteinWasRight

As expected, LIGO announced the discovery of gravitational waves!  Einstein was correct.  About 100 years ago he posited that when two large objects with a huge amount of mass accelerating would distort the fabric of space and time creating gravitational waves. No one has been able to prove this until September 14, 2015 the feast day of the Holy Cross. A signal was received by LIGO's antennas which sounded like a 'chirp.' This 'chirp' was the gravitational wave as it passed through the Earth distorting space time and matter at the protonic level. The distortion was so quick (traveling nearly at the speed of light) that we did not even notice it in our bodies.  These waves originated from a far away galaxy with a binary black hole system or two black holes with 30 times the mass of our sun orbiting each other in a death spiral.  When both united and became one, this released energy like that of a trillion suns.  Physicists believed this occurred 1.3 billion years ago, but we are now receiving the waves. You can read more about it in the published peer review:

This discovery can tell us more about how gravity works in relation to other forces and the mass of objects.  With this knowledge, we may be able to figure out how to use waves to distort space and time to create Rosen-Brigdes or 'wormholes.' These 'wormholes' can allow us quicker travel time between galaxies or may open the door to other dimensions, realms or universes that may exist.  The news lit up Twitter with hashtags #LIGO, #GravitationalWaves and #EisteinWasRight trending.
Here are more reactionary tweets to this exciting news:


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gravitational Waves Found By LIGO

In 2014, a big commotion was going on in the scientific community.  The American 'BICEP2' team claimed to have discovered ripples or gravitational waves.  European scientists were skeptical and tested the data.  They found that what the American's detected was lens interference and that of galaxies (see:  Gravitational waves were predicted by Albert Einstein just 100 years ago.  The existence of these waves would provide further evidence that the universe did start at a 'big bang.'  Anyhow, after the disappointment from the 'BICEP2' team, Lawrence Krauss posted some tweets that caused a buzz. He claimed that the science institution 'LIGO' found evidence of gravitational ways.  He was immediately attacked by others, including his peers for making such a suggestion. However, it seems that he was correct.  'LIGO' did in fact announce that they will be revealing some information on gravitational ways tomorrow, February 11, 2016 at 10:30 AM EST.

I will keep you posted as I learn more information, stay tuned.  Here are the tweets Krauss was sending out:


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pro-Abortion NARAL Attacks 'Doritos' Over Fetus

Those of you who identify as 'pro-life' may have experience this just as I have. Whether online or offline, you get bombarded by radical feminists or others who call themselves 'pro choice.'  They use all kinds of crazy and irrational arguments in order to defend abortion.  One such argument is the claim that fetuses, embryos, zygotes are not human.  It is a strange argument just for the mere fact that human females gestate human offspring.  A human does not become a 'human' at birth.  He/she is human from conception with his/her own DNA, gender and blood type.  Perhaps they should read my post:

Well, during the Superbowl the abortion group NARAL tweeted this tweet attacking the cheesy snack maker 'Doritos' over a commercial which aired showing a pregnant woman with and over active unborn child in the womb.

The tweet is just unbelievable and hopefully exposes to the world the extremist and ignorant views of the pro-choice/pro-abortion movement which denies scientific facts in favor of sophism which they create in order to push the narrative of abortion.

See the commercial:

They had no problem with humanizing dogs...

Twitter users gave them a piece of their minds:


Monday, February 8, 2016

Denver Wins Superbowl L

The Denver Broncos have just won Superbowl L.  Congratulations to them and Peyton Manning who is going to retire after this season.  The game was an interesting one with the Broncos neutralizing the defense of the Panthers.  However, other things went on which were interesting and also disturbing. During the halftime show, 'Lady Gaga,'  'Beyonce,' and 'Bruno Mars' took the field to entertain those who were present.  Eager fans present were anxious to see the performance.  However, the performance turned into a promotion of LGBT ideas.  The stadium was colorized in rainbow colors with the words 'Believe in Love.'

This led to many fans tweeting on Twitter many anti-gay tweets attacking the NFL and planners for trying to force the LGBT agenda down everyone's throat.  

Also, during the performance, 'Beyonce' almost fell after squatting down during a dance.  She is also being criticized for having a display of what seemed like 'Black Panther' rhetoric as well as imitating Michael Jackson.

I did not see the game in its entirety, but I think I will no longer watch this event if it is going to be promoting things that go against God and the Catholic faith.  Let us hope that the MLB will not follow suit. 


Sunday, February 7, 2016

5th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Duc In Altum

Today's readings are about being called to evangelize.

In the first reading, we see Isaiah sees an image of heaven. God is on His throne being worshiped by the many choirs of angels (Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones etc).  They say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts! All the earth is filled with His glory!"  Does this sound familiar?  It should because we say this at Mass every day before the Eucharistic prayer.  It is the hymn of the angels before God.  Isaiah is caught up in the magesty he witnessed and feels unworthy. He is a sinner with unclean lips among people of unclean lips.  Immediately, a seraphim put an ember ant touched Isaiah's mouth with it removing the uncleanness.  God then says, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?"  Isaiah immediately replies, "Here I am, send me!"

At first, Isaiah was reluctant on going to speak for the Lord before the people or sinners. He himself was one of them. However, God prepared Him; cleaned his mouth out, so to speak. Notice how God asks, "Who will go for us." Here we see the mystery of the Trinity; this plurality of persons (us)  (Genesis 1:26). Also, we see how God respects man's free will (Sirach 15:11-20). He does not say, "You over there, go now..." rather He asks, "Whom shall I send?  Who will go for us?" God asks the same of us today.  We must not worry that we are sinners or incapable.  It is God who will work through us to do His will (Philippians 2:13).  He will give the Holy Spirit to each of us so we can preach the Gospel and sing His praises as we read in today's responsorial Psalm (John 14:16).

In the sight of angels we sing God's praises. We give thanks to God with our hearts. God is kind to us, saves us and is always there for us. Even when we feel God is not there, He really is there (Isaiah 41:10). Every day at Mass we say or sing the 'Holy holy holy' before the Lord joined by the angels just like what Isaiah witnessed. With this joy, we must go out into the world and evangelize even if we are not perfect as we read in the second reading.

The second reading tells us that we have to preach the Gospel even if we think we are not worthy.  It is God who calls us (2 Timothy 1:9). God gives us the gifts necessary to go out and preach the Gospel of Christ (Romans 12:6). Even if we are imperfect - we surely are sinners - we must evangelize because God is the one in charge. God often chooses the weak, the most unlikely of persons to do His will (1 Corinthians 1:27). We have seen things many times in the Bible and in the lives of the saints. Those who were the weakest, those who sinned the most, those who were simply clueless were chosen by God and did many great things in His name. Paul was one of those people. As Saul, he persecuted the Church, yet God chose Him and did many great things. We must never doubt ourselves and what God can do with us when we allowed Him to take control at the helm, so to speak. Speaking of nautical terms, we will read in the Gospel how Jesus chooses fishermen.

While Jesus was teaching the people, he stood by the Lake of Gennesaret.  While there, He saw two boats. One of the boats belonged to Simon which He stepped into. From there, He continued speaking to the crowd. After the people left, He tells people, "Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon responded, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets."  When he did this, they caught a great number of fish; so much, that the nets were tearing.  Simon then realized that the master was really 'the Master' and told Jesus to depart from him because he was a sinner.  Jesus replied, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."  Here we see a connection to Isaiah in the first reading. Isaiah was astonished at the glory of God (the angels singing, God on the throne), but felt unworthy to do God's will. In the Gospel, we see Simon (who would be named Peter later) say that he too is unworthy because of sin. However, Jesus dismisses that and tells him not to fear and that he will catch men. Here we see that when God calls someone, it is because God has a plan (Isaiah 43:1, Jeremiah 29:11). Even if God chooses someone who is not capable in our eyes to do God's will, when God calls this person, then whatever God planned will happen (Isaiah 14:24). God is God.  Jesus is God (John 10:30). If Jesus tells you to do something, you do it. We must not be like Simon who told Jesus that he had tried to catch fish but failed. Simon did not truly grasp whom he was addressing.  When Jesus says something, we must do it. If Jesus tells me to stop blogging, doing radio podcasts or using media and by doing so I will bring more to Him, then I will do it.  I will not counter by saying that I need to blog with tens of thousands of visitors etc in order to bring others to Him. Jesus is the boss. He is God. God created all that is. Who am I to counter God?  When God says something, it will happen.  It may not make sense to you or I, but it will happen (1 Corinthians 13:12). This is the power of faith.  We are all called to "put out into the deep water."  In other words, we must go deep into the world where the darkness still has control and fish for people. Pope Francis has stressed that the Church cannot be closed in on herself. We cannot be just stuck in a parish. We have to go out there and 'fish.' Moreover, we must not become worried if we are not good speakers, do not have theology degrees or are sinners.  When God says to do it, we do it. He chooses the weak, the least intelligent etc to shame the geniuses of the world and the strong. The Holy Spirit will do the work through us. We just need to let Him. Jesus chose fishermen, not scribes of the teachers of the law who were more educated. Let us go out there with our nets and cast them out into the deep.  May Jesus be praised.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

#GOPDebate - ABC News

The ABC GOP debate took place tonight in New Hampshire. This debate was very interesting. It began in an awkward manner with Ben Carson and Donald Trump remaining at the side instead of going to the podium like everyone else.  It is not clear why both remained there.

In this debate, Trump did really well along with Chris Christie. Both spoke strongly with Chris Christie taking on Marco Rubio.  Rubio did poorly. He repeated himself several times and seemed unprepared. The other candidates did well, but not like in previous debates. Ted Cruz was put on the spot regarding the messages stating that Carson dropped out of the race.  


Friday, February 5, 2016

#DemDebate - MSNBC

Last night, the Democrats had another debate on MSNBC with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  Martin O'Malley was not present because he suspended his campaign after the Iowa caucus on Monday.

Both candidate went head to head in probably the most liliest of debates. Now that the number is down to two, the issues can be discussed more in depth.  Clinton and Sander reiterated their previous ideas but focused on trying to separate themselves from the 'establishment.' In other words, like with some Republican candidates, they want to be seen as innovators and not members of a party following the party's wishes. Clinton had a moment when she was questioned on taking money for speaking engagements, especially from Goldman Sachs which paid her $675,000. Sanders immediately jumped to the occasion to attack Clinton by saying that she cannot be trusted to go against Wall Street.  He made the analogy that kids get records because of pot while bankers at Wall Street who destroyed the economy, robbed people of their assets, got scott free and were even bailed by the US government.

This debate is an important one since the New Hampshire votes are at stake.  Both Clinton and Sanders nearly finished at a tie, though Clinton won the caucus.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pope: Bite Your Tongue Catholic Gossipers!

"If you get an urge to say something against a brother or a sister, to drop a gossip bomb, bite your tongue! Hard!"

These were the words of the Holy Father at the close of the Year of Consecrated Life. The Pope voiced his concerns of the gossip atmosphere found in the Church, particularly in religious orders where members trash each other or others outside of the order. He also criticize orders for accepting just anyone into religious life without screening applicants' true intentions and whether or not they do have a genuine vocation.

I agree with the Pope. There is too much of a display of fallen human nature than divine grace among religious, clergy and the laity. I have had personal experiences with the aformentioned who have done all kinds of things to stifle my ideas of evangelization. They apparently felt threatened by my presence, assertiveness, educational background and courage to take on risks. These were mostly older Catholics, but a few were young as well (near my age). When they did not get their way, they would make up stories or talk behind my back in order to get others against me (divide and conquer tactics). I remember two ladies who always tried hard to ruin liturgies I had planned by the book (rubrics). They had tried to incorporate their new age-Protestant-like ideas into Masses, but had to deal with me.

Another guy was also jealous of me because the pastor favored me.  This guy took it upon himself to act as master of ceremonies at Masses for years, but never officially was. He is openly gay and dresses like a priest with a cassock. I have even seen photos of him dressed in a papal cassock! Needless to say, he did not like me very much and at one time on Good Friday grabbed my shoulder trying to make me face him since I was ignoring his baiting.  I immediately notified the police present there for the procession.  Unfortunately, though he was removed, he, I believe, has returned after I was assigned elsewhere years later and is still pretending to play master of ceremonies at several parishes while living a double life.

There was also a layman who was ordained a deacon. He was very docile as a layman, but when he became a deacon, he tried to present himself as being 'above' me as if we were in the army and were using ranks.  However, the pastor made him know publicly that I was in charge.  About a year or two later, he moved to Florida so I did not have to deal with him.  Lastly and one of the most craziest is involving this priest from Peru who because of gossip, turned against me. He used to be friendly with me. I even helped him learn some English. However, he changed. One time I was serving as an extraordinary minister of the Holy Eucharist and he told me to leave publicly while having the microphone on. The people at the Mass were scandalized and attacked him for him afterwards. After a priest I know became the pastor of the parish, this priest and the one who did not like me argued constantly. The latter was forced out.  He was either mentally ill or was a forced vocation and was bitter all his life.  

It is this behavior that discourages many Catholics and forces them to leave the Church for another faith or leave the faith altogether. Today, we see online many blogs trashing the Pope by people who call themselves 'traditionalists.' In my many discussions with them, they have come across as ignorant of actual Church doctrine and have their convictions based on nostalgia, not faith or reason. In any event, this must stop. We must show the world now more than ever what Christianity is all about: Faith, Love and Hope.  It is not about selective faith, love for those who agree with us and hope for things to return to the way they were before Vatican II.

Lastly, I agree that there needs to be more screening of people trying to enter religious life or the priesthood/seminary. While psychology is not perfect, it can be useful at screening underlying psychological issues in people. Moreover, tests of character are needed. We cannot allow people who are rude, arrogant, stubborn, immature etc to join the ranks, so to speak. These people do not have the temperament to handle the challenges of religious or diocesan (priesthood) life.



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review: A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Phlegmatic Child

A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Phlegmatic Child

The book A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Phlegmatic Child
by Catholic laywoman & author Connie Rossini is a must have for parents and those who work with children. In the book, she addresses the temperaments found among children by giving a description of each and how to distinguish between them. Rossini focuses mostly on the phlegmatic temperament of children. Though these terms have fallen out of use with most mainstream psychologists, the information she provides is accurate and very useful in any generation.  The book is meant for parents, not social scientists so it makes sense for Rossini to apply the data on temperaments the way she does in the book.

The content in the book reminded me of my introduction to psychology and theories of personality classes which I took to earn my psychology degree. Rossini did an excellent job connecting these concepts of personality with spirituality and parenting. She even psychoanalyzes several biblical personalities which I found very interesting. Moreover, she offers her advice on how to deal with children with phlegmatic temperaments. One can tell that she is very experienced in this field as a parent by reading this book. Her advice is sound and will work well with Catholic families and other families (non-Catholic) who adhere to traditional Christian/religious values. She even offers ways to increase a child's spiritual growth and Catholic way-of-life without drowning a child with it.

A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Phlegmatic Child by Connie Rossini is a must have. I recommend it for parents and parents to be. This book is an excellent guide even for those who work with children such as teachers, priests, catechists etc. Once you read the book, you will have a better understanding of children and their temperaments.  This will enable you to better service them: our greatest asset.  Kudos to Connie Rossini for this easy to read, simply, yet enriching book that does not need to use big psychological words or doctoral level jargon in order to get the message across.  She has made a new fan here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

#IowaCaucus: Ted 'Cruzin' & Bernie Clinton Tied

The Iowa caucuses are just about over which some interesting results.  On the Republican side, Ted Cruz pulled off a win over front runner Donald Trump, followed by Marco Rubio. It seems that a heavy evangelical vote pushed Cruz to first. On the Democrat side, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are virtually tied for first showing how close the race is between both candidates.  Third remaining Democratic candidate Martin O'Malley barely received 1% and announced he would be suspending his campaign for good. Similarly, Mike Huckabee threw in the towel after barely scratching the surface with votes. No word yet on whether either candidate will throw their support behind the remaining candidates.  However, as the days move on, we may see some endorsements.



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