Sunday, November 21, 2021

Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe: Honor The King!

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


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

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

READINGS: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112215.cfm

The first reading tells us of the 'Son of man' who is, of course, Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven (Luke 24:6-7, Matthew 8:20, ).  He was before the 'Ancient One' who is God the Father (Revelation 5:13, Revelation 4:2).  Everything was given to the Son: dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages (Matthew 28:1, 1 Corinthians 15:27).  Jesus is the King of the universe and is the Son of God the Father. Both along with the Holy Spirit are One Holy Trinity (John 10:30, John 15:26).  Each is distinct (Matthew 3:16-17).  They are not identical triplets.  This reading tells us how important Christ is. Though He is a 'Son of man' or has human flesh, He is still God. This is called the hypostatic union (John 1:14). Jesus is the Lord of all, believers and unbelievers, life and death, all things visible and invisible (Acts 10:36). No one is above Christ (Philippians 2:10). He is the Lord and indeed robed in majesty as the Psalm tells us.

The Lord is King. All things come from Him (John 1:3). His authority cannot be moved and His throne or His authority is of old (Isaiah 43:13). Jesus took on flesh at the incarnation to get back what is His, the world; humanity (John 3:16). We must trust in this King. He is not a King who is pompous and authoritative. He is a King of love and mercy (Ephesians 2:4).  A king of compassion and forgiveness.  He is a King who always was, as we read in the second reading.

Jesus is the firstborn of the dead. This means that He came back from the dead. He was born from the tomb, so to speak, showing that He is the Lord of the living and the dead (Romans 14:9). Jesus is the King of all kings.  We become part of His kingdom because of His love demonstrated on the Cross by the shedding of His blood for our sins, freeing us (Revelation 1:5).  We become priests, prophets and kings because of this, as I stated in the introduction citing the catechism of the Catholic Church. We now await Him as He returns anytime.  He will come amid the clouds (Mark 14:62).  All will see Him.  Those who believed in Him and those who did not believe in Him.  Atheists who lived life stubbornly rejecting God will finally get their 'empirical proof' of His existence but it will be too late at this point.  Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega.  There is no one else under whose name we are saved (Acts 4:12).

In the Gospel, we read a bit of the Passion. Pilate questions Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?" After an exchange of words, Jesus says, "You say I am a king.  For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."  The theme here is Jesus is the King. His kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, the people would have been there defending Him instead of calling for His death (Mark 15:13). Today, no one seems to want to stand up for Christ.  We let abortion become the law of the land. We let the so-called same-sex marriage become the law of the land.  We let a man dressed as a woman become 'woman of the year.'  We let erroneous ideas spread around the world. We let our own clergy abuse others.  We let division take hold in the Church forming into heretical sects who pick and choose what they want to believe; some even call themselves 'Catholic' while doing so.  We let people lose faith and become atheists or agnostics.  I can go on and on, but I think the point is made.  If we truly are part of Christ's kingdom, we would stand up for Him and defend the truth because we listened to His voice as He told Pilate (Hebrews 3:15). What is happening?  It seems our Catholic brothers and sisters do not care. They let evil win, attack the pope, bishops, and one another, and do not promote Christ when He is in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).  Today, Jesus is very much out of season. God is hated in today's world. Christians are mocked.  Though the Covid-19 coronavirus brought many to their knees, there is still a lot of lack of trust in God. I am afraid the Catholic Church aided in this by shutting parishes down and denying the faithful the Sacraments. It is no wonder why many do not believe in Christ's true presence in the Holy Eucharist which is now forcing the bishops to respond with a new document. 

I have become a target of some of them for reminding them that attacking the Popes and bishops causes scandal, especially among outsiders.  Others attacked me for criticizing the worship of cult personalities in the Church such as the disgraced priest, John Corapi.  What is going on?  I will tell you what is going on.  Satan causes division.  Satan is a liar; the father of lies (John 8:44). He is causing doubt, scandal, and division even among the flock of Christ in the Catholic Church (1 Peter 5:8).  We must not give him victory. We must stand with Christ the King, our King.  We must defend Him; His Majesty, who is witness to the truth because He IS the truth (John 14:6).  If we are truly Catholic, then we must testify to the truth and not be ashamed of it (Matthew 10:32). We must challenge the world's errors and not fight one another (Ephesians 6:12).

If Christ is truly your King, then do not turn your back to Him. Do not hide when the world roars at you with its nonsensical ramblings which it presents as 'reason' and 'progress.'  Do not give in to the world so as to avoid conflict or losing friends (Ephesians 5:11). Christ's kingdom is not of this world so we are not supposed to support the world's ideas (John 17:16). We will be hated because of Christ (Matthew 10:22). This is expected and we must not fear and run away (2 Timothy 1:7). Stand up and defend your King!  Do not be a lukewarm Catholic (Revelation 3:16).  Remember what Jesus said, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62).  Laudetur Christus Rex!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - The World Will End, His Word Remains Forever

 Please help me pay the bills for this site and to expand this work by donating at: www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus.  Your help is truly appreciated.  God will pay you back for helping spread His Word which will never pass.


Reflection
In today's readings, we are reminded of the end of time.

The first reading tells us of Michael, the great prince. NOT ME, but the archangel Michael :)

St. Michael is the guardian of the Catholic Church. He protects us from the wickedness and snares of the devil (Revelation 12:7-9).  Michael will appear during a time of distress in the world, the dead will rise and will join those who are "written in the book" or who are saved (Luke 10:20, Revelation 20:15).  Judgment will then follow. No one will escape this day (Luke 23:30, Revelation 6:16). It will be too late for atheists and others who live to this day rejecting God, including those who knew of Christ and the Catholic faith but refused to be part of both (Matthew 7:23).  However, we must not fear this day (Revelation 22:20).  If we live as we must live (in grace), do what is asked of us by Christ and His Church, we will be fine.  We will "shine brightly... like the stars forever" and prepare for the Lord who is our inheritance as the Psalm tells us.

God is indeed our inheritance. The reason why we are even catholic is that we want God. Being Catholic is not like being part of a social club or something of the like. Instead, being catholic is taking responsibility for our lives and the lives of others by trying our best to be holy and call others to holiness with love and not judgment (1 Peter 1:16).  God is whom we await especially as we approach Advent. We will be glad and will rejoice when we finally inherit God. For now, we encounter Him via the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.

In the second reading, we read of the vain attempt of Jewish priests who offered sacrifices daily in atonement for sins but these sacrifices did nothing to remove them (Leviticus 21). Instead, the one and only priest, Jesus sacrificed Himself for all (Romans 3:25). He took His seat next to the Father and waits until all enemies become His footstool.  Jesus waits now until the day comes when He returns to judge the living and the dead.

The Gospel tells us of this day.  There will be great tribulation before it happens (Matthew 24:6). We saw these past few years how many strange things have been happening in the world. Huge storms, snow in places where there is not supposed to be any. Wildfires that burn without end. The Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. I can go on and on.  These events add more emphasis to the Gospel in today's context. Jesus describes how the cosmos will change. The sun will go dark, the moon will not have light, the stars will fall from the sky (Isaiah 13:10; 34:4). These are metaphorical statements using the apocalyptic language of the time. The sun will go dark one day after it runs out of fuel. All scientists agree this will happen.  Naturally, without the sun, the moon will not have light to reflect on the Earth. Stars do not fall because they are light-years away, but the point is made: it will be a big event that alters the universe.  As a student of science, what comes to mind here is the universe collapsing on itself.  This would most definitely present itself as Jesus described. This of course is just my way of seeing it from a scientific standpoint and is not theological. Anyhow, Jesus will come in the clouds with His angels.  The 'elect' or those who fought the good fight and did not fail will be gathered (2 Timothy 4:7-8. Matthew 25:31-46).  Judgment will follow of course.  Jesus reminds us that this day will be noticeable to all via the signs just like a fig tree and its branch becomes tender and grows leaves indicating summer is near.

The Earth and Heaven will pass away, but Jesus makes it clear that His word will not pass away (Isaiah 40:8).  Jesus closes by stating something that many Protestant sects seem to ignore:  "But of that day or hour, no one knows."  If I had a dime for every time I heard a Pentecostal, Baptist, or Adventist preaching on the street about Christ coming at so and so time.  This is nonsense.  Jesus made it clear that no one knows exactly when.  Our job is not to play guessing games on this day, but to prepare for it (Hosea 10:12, Matthew 24:42-43, Matthew 25:1-13, 1 Corinthians 16:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:6).  We can only know when it is near. The Church teaches us what we must look for in the catechism in paragraphs 668-677. First Christ will reign through His Catholic Church which is happening now.  Next, all things must be subjected to Him, "The full inclusion of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of 'the full number of the Gentiles." After this happens, the Church will face her biggest trial ever when the Antichrist comes.  Let us be watchful, pray and be holy always.  No one knows when the day or hour will come. In the meantime, let us prepare by going in grace, love, and hope; and by calling others to it by inviting them to the Catholic faith not only with words but with our witness.  Wat day.  It can come at any time. e must be ready for that hour and day Jesus Christ returns soon and may He have mercy on us all!


Readings: Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Sunday, November 7, 2021

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Give Your 2 Cents

 Part of being Catholic Christians is that we must help one another in many ways especially giving. Next month I have to pay the bills for this domain and other services and I need your help. Like the widow today who gave what she had, I ask you to imitate her by helping me continue this work and expand it. Donate to my campaign at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus.  God will see this and reward you for helping.  Thanks.


REFLECTION:
Today's readings remind us to be humble and simple. What the poor gives is greater than what the rich can ever offer.

In the first reading, we read of Elijah the great prophet. He enters Zarephath and runs into a widow. He calls out to her to bring him some water and bread.  She quickly goes to get him some. However, she does not have enough flour and oil to make bread.  She was saving it for her son and herself. The writer emphasizes this because of the culture. Women at the time were not allowed to have property or work. Some cultures in today's world still have this way of living. The fact that this woman was a widow and that she had a little flour and oil for her son and herself shows her struggle after losing her husband.  The husband was the 'breadwinner.'  However, with his absence, she has no source of income or wealth to care for herself or her son.  Despite knowing this, Elijah still insists on the bread.  However, he tells her,  "Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose.  But first, make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,'The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'" This widow immediately did as Elijah instructed without question. Because of her faith, she had enough to feed herself and her son for a year.  God took care of her (Psalm 68:5).  This connects to the Gospel and shows us why we must trust God and praise Him as the Psalm today calls for.

God keeps faith forever.  What does this mean?  It means that He is always there for us (1 Corinthians 1:9). He will not abandon us.  God is just and protects the oppressed like the widow we read of in the first reading (Deuteronomy 10:18).  God cares for all, the blind, the dead, those who are humiliated.  He loves the just and is there to protect the stranger.  As we read, He protects and sustains the widow and stops the wicked.  We must praise God and thank Him always (Psalm 106:1).  We are in the month of November which in the United States of America is dedicated to giving thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day.  However, we must thank God all the time. Luckily, we have Jesus Christ who is our connection to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as we read in the second reading.

Jesus is God.  He is also our high priest who plead for us and sacrificed Himself for us (Hebrews 4:14-16).  The reading tells us that Jesus "did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one." This is in reference to the temple built by Herod which was a copy of the Temple of Solomon (John 2:20). Moreover, the verse reminds us that temples, synagogues, churches are just buildings made by human hands. It is God who blesses them and gives them importance via His presence (Ezekiel 10, 2 Chronicles 5:14). A Catholic church building may be beautiful with ornate decorations, images, etc; however, it is useless without the Holy Eucharist; the presence of Christ Himself (1 Corinthians 10:16)! This reading reminds us that Christ is with us.  He suffered for us and died once for us (Hebrews 9:28, 1 Peter 3:18).  The reading also reminds us that human beings die once and are judged. We do not reincarnate nor do we become angels.  Human beings are conceived, live, and die.  They remain human entities.

As an atheist studying reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism, the idea did not register logically to me. If we come back over and over in order to reach perfection, then which personality actually reaches perfection?  Moreover, how can a soul reach perfection if it starts a new life with new experiences and does not have knowledge of mistakes in "past lives?"  These are just some of the problems I saw with the idea of reincarnation. The Christian idea of dying once and facing God after death made more sense. This is why we must take advantage of this one life that we have and do our best.  We must live each day as if it were our last, as the saying goes (Ecclesiastes 9:1-12).  A video game comes to mind in this regard. In video games such as PacMan or Super Mario Bros, the character has a set of lives. The more the lives, the more careless a player playing the game is. However, if his or her character has only one life left in the game, then he or she will be more careful so as to not lose the game. We should have a similar mentality in life.  We only have one, so we must make the best of it by avoiding sin and 'losing' our life by condemning ourselves to hell or permanent separation from God.  Our lives must be humble, doing small things with lots of love as Blessed  Mother Teresa said.  We see this in the Gospel which connects with the first reading.


In the Gospel, we read that Jesus is teaching the crowds.  He warns the people saying, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation."  This verse is unfortunately used to attack priests and Catholics who pray the Rosary. However, Jesus was clearly speaking about the scribes and Pharisees. He was making a point that these people dressed the part and did the prayers but out of vanity, not for the real reason (Matthew 6:5). However, this does not mean that some of us in the Church does not do similar things.  Many times there may be priests who celebrate Mass simply as a ritual that needs to be done. They focus on the wording more than the spirit of the wording. Vestments become things that 'dignify' the priest instead of representing the high priest Christ.

Some laypeople may pray Rosaries without even focusing on what they are saying.  All that is heard is a mumbling of words without any substance behind them. We must not be like this. A priest should say Mass recalling what it really is.  He must use vestments not to look 'pretty,' but to remind himself and the people who He represents. This is why Pope Francis has made it a mission to tone down the ornate decorum. We cannot be in a Church thinking we are royals that deserve praise and veneration from the world.  Moreover, when we pray Rosaries, chaplets, litanies, etc, we must really think about what we are saying (Matthew 6:5-15). The Rosary is the life of Christ and Mary.  It is not an incantation that we recite mindlessly.  In light of this, we must be sincere. Jesus reminds us in the Gospel that we must be like the poor widow who had little (2 mites - Lepton) but gave a lot.  These mites were worth about half a penny which is a cent.  Some tend to believe the phrase, "Putting my 2 cents in" comes from the story of the widow.  A rich person can give 10 dollars out of his or her $1 million dollar salary to charity thinking it was a big deal, but in reality, it is not.  In contrast, a poor man or woman who gives 2 quarters he or she got from begging to charity and he or she gave a lot because it was all he or she had.  God sees this and puts more value on this giving because the person gave all he or she had, showing that he or she is detached from material wealth and trusts in God.  The Gospel reminds us that the lowly widow's actions trump that of the hypocritical religious person. Let us be like the widow and give to others even when we have little. Let us be humble like she was practicing true and sincere religion that trusts in God and does not seek to promote the self.  During this pandemic of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, many stepped up to help others by donating food and volunterring. Let us continue to do this and reach out to those in need whether there is a pandemic or not.  May Jesus be praised.


Readings:  Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Sunday, October 31, 2021

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time: Trick or Treat God

Before we begin today's reflection, let us focus a bit on Halloween. It is October 31st and it falls on the 31st Sunday of Ordinary time. This day brings many memories to me and possibly you reading this blog as well.  It is "Halloween."  In America and other nations, many young people dress up in different costumes and go "trick or treating."  

The holiday seems innocent enough, but of course, there are the dangers of knocking on strangers' doors, receiving candy and other treats from strangers, and becoming a victim of a prank or more recently, gang initiations.  

Many Catholics and other separated Christians wonder if it is ok to celebrate this day since most of it seems to be about evil, death, darkness, and violence.  All throughout television scary movies about psychopathic serial killers, zombies, ghosts, and monsters are being played in syndication.  There are even ghost shows out there having live ghost hunting sessions.  The question that comes to mind on this day is: 

Is this day all about a glorification of evil?

Well, let's briefly look at the origin of this holiday.  Some claim that this day originated in the Pagan Celtic harvest festival called Samhain.  The Catholic Church purposely moved All Saints day and All Souls day to coincide with this celebration in order to drain Paganism and convert it to Christianity.  

However, that is disputed because there seems to be no evidence that Pope Gregory IV was aware of this Pagan celebration.  Nevertheless, the Universal Holy Day of All Saint's day was added the day after the 31st and hence the 31st became to be known as, "All Hallow's Eve."  

In the Liturgy, Solemnities begin at the vespers (Evening Prayer) before the actual day of the Solemnity.  So in effect, All Saint's day begins at the vespers of October 31st.  Moreover, All Soul's day follows All Saint's day.  This further adds to the speculation that the Catholic Church did this on purpose to convert Pagans to Christianity.  

During the Reformation, ultra-conservative and fundamentalist sects attacked the idea of Saints, praying to saints and of course celebrating them.  Groups such as the Puritans forbade the celebration of Hallow's Eve and anything that was suspected as Catholic, Pagan, or Satanic.   However, while in America the Puritans did not prevent Hallow's Eve from "evolving" to its present form.  Many cultural elements were added to it such as the Jack o' Lantern, Trick or treating, dressing up in costumes, etc.  

Like any Holy Day, society often twists the purpose/meaning of it.  Hallow's Eve became Halloween and now is celebrated as a day when people just dress up, trick or treat and just enjoy themselves as someone/something else.  

While these celebrations seem strange and "evil," but also are fun, we have to thank the Catholic Church for the fun part, so to speak.  The trick or treat part derives from the Medieval practice of young people going door to door collecting, "Soul cakes."  For each cake, the child prayed for a soul in Purgatory.    Instead of the jingle, "trick or treat, gimme something good to eat"  kids said, "A soul-cake! A soul-cake! Have mercy on all Christian souls, for A soul cake!"  

In my opinion, Catholics and other Christians should not fear Halloween, but try to re-Christianize it.  Remember that this day belongs to the Lord and us.  Do not let secularism or paganism claim it as their own.  Have fun with it, but always keep in mind that evil is evil and is something that is real and must be avoided.   

Parents: If you let your kids dress up as monsters or violent characters, explain to them that what these characters represent or do in movies or shows must remain fiction and not become reality.  

We must strive for a world where monsters, violence, murder only exist in fiction.  

We must also remember to be proud of who we are.  Dressing up as a monster, character or whatever must be done just for fun and not to "feel" like someone else.  You are a unique individual.  No one else will ever be LIKE YOU!  Appreciate that!  

It is up to you if you wish to celebrate this day or not in the way secular society celebrates it now.  Instead of having kids dress up as violent things, one can try dressing them up as saints, angels or positive people as well.  

Say a prayer before going out to Our Lady, St Michael, and your Guardian Angel.  Pray for each home you visit.  

Check the sex offender's list to make sure you know who you are visiting.  

http://www.familywatchdog.us/

http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/registry


Download Apps to help locate and track trick or treaters.  http://www.wltx.com/news/article/156875/2/Halloween-Safety-Theres-An-App-for-That

Check the treats before letting your children eat them.  Check your surroundings. Try to be with a crowd, not alone.  

Reflection:

Today is Halloween and it is a day much used for frights and to scare. Fear seems to be the theme today.  The first reading tells us to feat the Lord, your God.  Does this mean we have to be afraid of God? No! God is our Father. We cannot fear our father. Fear here means respect. We respect God just like we respect our parents. We do everything right so as to not offend them. Moses tells us that we have to keep God's statutes and commandments.  We must love God with our entire being: heart, soul, and strength. This is very important. It makes no sense to go to Mass and then do all kinds of evils afterward. Where is the "fear" of God there? Where is the respect? God sees us all. We cannot hide anything we do or plan to do. God is our strength and we must love Him as the responsorial Psalm tells us. 

God is our strength. We must love Him. He is our fortress and deliverer; our rock of refuge and salvation. Without God, we cannot exist. We are nothing without Him. He keeps us in existence with a mere thought. God created us because of love. He puts up with us because of love. He sent His Son to die for us because of love. We must return that love by doing what He wills. This means following His commandments and helping one another.  This is our ministry whether ordained or not.

The second reading tells us that Jesus is with us forever in His priesthood. Jesus is the one true priest. Priests at our parishes serve and act in Jesus' name. It is Jesus who celebrates Mass and the Sacraments. The man investments are just a stand-in if you will. We must make use of the priest by going to confession and Mass. We must pray for them and remember that they too are human. They are men subjected to weakness as the reading tells us.  Jesus died once for all. The Mass is not a new sacrifice. It is a reenactment of the one and only sacrifice on the Cross by Jesus Christ.  Many of our separated friends erroneously believe that Catholics sacrifice Jesus over and over. This is not true. The priesthood is grounded in Jesus and His Word. 

Today's Gospel summarizes the duty all Christians must follow. We must love God with all our mind, soul, body, and strength and we must love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the summit of Catholicism. This is why we have Sacraments, Commandments, Mass, and so on. If our Catholicism is not bringing us to love God with our entire being and our neighbors as ourselves, then we are just practicing nonsense. We are just being mechanical and going through the motions. The faith and its seed are not sprouting in us. If we are not making use of the Sacraments to show that we love God with our entire being, then we are just wasting our time and condemning our souls.  If we are not loving one another and just love people or tolerate them in certain situations or to get ahead, then we are just wasting our time. The faith is not in us. We are just being hypocritical and atheistic in thinking. Both of these acts are necessary. We must love God with our entire being and neighbor as ourselves. It is sad to see online and in parishes Catholics hold grudges. Recently the founders of Where Peter Is and One Peter Five blocked our Sacerdotus account on Twitter. It is an immature move showing that the founders behind these blogs are not living an authentic Catholicism. They are not loving their neighbor as themselves. This may indicate that they do not love themselves. There is a disease in their spirituality that does not allow them to love themselves and others. We cannot be like this. We cannot hold grudges.  A Catholic who blocks another Catholic does not follow Jesus' commandment. He or she is simply going through the motions of Catholicism and not internalizing it. We must love God with our entire being and love our neighbors as ourselves. This is what God commands of us. It is not easy, but it is also not impossible. It can be done if we subscribe to humility and openness. The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in its onset hurt this. Doctors and scientists told us to keep apart from each other. No one could embrace each other or help each other out of fear of being contaminated. While we must care for ourselves, we cannot exaggerate. Viruses and diseases are part of nature. We will get sick from something. It is only inevitable. May Jesus Christ be praised!

  

Readings: Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Sunday, October 24, 2021

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Restoring Sight

Dear readers, like the beggar Bartimaeus begging for pity in today's Gospel, I ask you to please help keep this evangelization work alive by donating. So far a few have donated, but I have not met the goal. Time is running out. 


In December, I have to pay for the renewal of this domain name, so I need your help.  I also want to expand this work so it can reach even more people.  Please help me meet my campaign goal by donating any amount at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus.  

Reflection:

In the first reading, we read of God telling the people that He has delivered them.  He promises to gather them all including the blind and lame (Jeremiah 32:37, Jeremiah 23:3). These people were scattered and suffered greatly.  They cried and were lost, but God says He will bring them back with consolation (Ezekial 36:24).  God reminds His people that He never abandons them.  He is a faithful God; a faithful Father (1 Corinthians 1:9).  Even when His people sinned and turned against Him, God was there and worked wonders as we read in the Psalm.

In the responsorial Psalm, we are told that God has done great things for us. This Psalm is an expression of joy. It is reminiscent of the wonderful things God has done for His people. Joy and happiness come from God (Psalm 126:3, Luke 1:49).  Material things do not make us happy. Everything that we have and comes from God (Acts 17:28). This should remind us to always be faithful and pleasing to God at all times.  As Catholics, we have Christ who intercedes to us next to His Father in heaven (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25, 1 Timothy 2:5). He pleads to the Father on our behalf so that when we are scattered by doubt, we can return rejoicing as Christ represents us before God the Father as we read in the second reading.

The second reading reminds us that priests are representatives of God. Our Catholic priests are "another Christ" (CCC 875).  They do not replace Christ but stand in His place physically speaking. Like the priests of old, they offer the sacrifice of Christ on the altar at Mass.  Christ is not re-sacrificed (1 Peter 3:18, Romans 6:10, Hebrews 9:28). The sacrifice is reenacted, if you will.  It is "replayed" because Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).  Jesus was the perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 10:14).  He was the spotless lamb offered for the sins of all (1 Peter 1:19).  The priesthood is not an "honor" that is given.  It is not a privilege.  No man has a right to be a priest.  This priesthood of Christ only comes via the call from God.  Christ is the real priest (Hebrews 4:14).  A priest in the order of Melchizedek offered bread and wine (Hebrews 5:10, Hebrews 6:20, Genesis 14:18).  This priesthood is forever even if a priest leaves the public ministry or is removed.  As a priest, Christ calls for mercy via His passion, the Divine Mercy. Priests must be merciful to others and not judge others.  Instead, they must admonish the sinner and call him or her back via the sacrament of Penance. In today's Gospel, we see this mercy.

Jesus encounters Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus.  This man was born blind and was a beggar.  We know that blind people often develop a great sense of hearing.  Bartimaeus was no different. He heard Jesus was around and not knowing exactly where began to shout out, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me."  The people in the town told him to shut up.  How many times in our own world do we see the homeless treated poorly?  People ignore them, tell them to shut up or write them off as drunkards and drug addicts.  Humanity has not changed. Back then the people did the same. Nevertheless, the man continue to call out to Jesus and Jesus responded telling the people to call him. The man threw aside his cloak and sprang up to Christ who asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?"  The man simply asked, "I want to see."  Jesus then tells the man, "Go, your way; your faith has saved you."  The man immediately received his sight and followed Christ.  This Gospel shows us the mercy of God. The blind man not only represents a person with eye problems but the sinner (Matthew 15:14).  We become blind to God when we sin (2 Peter 1:9).  Nevertheless, God is still nearby and we can still sense Him one way or another (Psalm 145:18). If we call out to Him and ask for mercy, God too will tell us to come to Him. He will restore our sight, not only physically but spiritually (Luke 4:18).   This is important today as we are in this Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.  Many have been lost and the faith has been tested. 

In response, we must "throw aside our cloak"  like the beggar did or set aside our old ways and follow Him on the way as Bartimaeus did and rejoice in the wonders of the Lord as the first reading and Psalm remind us (Isaiah 42:16, Mark 8:35).  Priests in the Catholic Church must be merciful like Christ and be ready to welcome the "spiritually blind" in order to bring Christ's healing to them.  This is what Pope Francis has been stressing to all of us even during the Synod that has just closed. We must ask mercy from God and be merciful to others. We must try to understand where life has taken others and meet there where they are in order to bring them back to Christ.  Let us as God to have pity on us and to remove our spiritual blindness which prevents us from seeing Him and the beauty in the souls of our neighbors both family and stranger.  May Jesus be praised.

Readings:  Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Sunday, October 17, 2021

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Being Humble and of Service

 Dear readers, I ask you to please help keep this evangelization work alive by donating. So far a few have donated, but I have not met the goal. Time is running out. 

In December, I have to pay for the renewal of this domain name, so I need your help.  I also want to expand this work so it can reach even more people.  Please help me meet my campaign goal by donating any amount at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus



Reflection:

In the first reading, we read a foreshadowing of Christ and how He will be suffering in order to justify many (Psalm 22:1-31, Isaiah 50:6).  Jesus became the offering on the altar if you will.  Instead of the ancient rites of sacrificing animals on altars, we have now Jesus, the Lamb provided by God (John 1:29, 1 Peter 1:19, Revelation 12:11, Genesis 22:8).  Animal sacrifices were common among pagan religions which the people of the Old Covenant often found themselves being influenced by. The use of animal sacrifices and the sprinkling of their blood was a sign of forgiveness and a foreshadowing of the true sacrifice in the person of Christ, the Lamb of God (Leviticus 4:35, 5:10; Hebrews 9:22, Leviticus 16:15, John 1:29). Animal sacrifices by themselves were just symbolic and had no power.  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writes,
"The blood of animals could neither 'atone' for sin nor bring God and men together.  It could only be a sign of hope, anticipating a greater obedience that would be truly redemptive." (Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, p. 133)
The true sacrifice is Jesus who died on the cross and had His blood shed for all of us as expiation for our sins (1 Timothy 2:6). Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was done once and is efficient for all to be redeemed (Hebrews 7:27). Many of our Protestant friends believe Catholic priests "re-sacrifice" Christ over and over, this is not true. The Sacrifice at Mass is a remembrance or reenactment if you will, of the salvific events of the Passion of Christ (CCC, 1366-67). Since God is providing us the offering, we must ask for mercy and trust Him as the Psalm says.

God is trustworthy and He loves justice and what is right, the responsorial Psalm introduces (Psalm 145:17). The Psalm tells us of God and how He looks upon those who fear Him or have respect. He shows us kindness and delivers us from death, the death of grace in hell (Revelation 20:14).  We must wait on the Lord who is our protection. He cares for us so much that He gave us His only son, the high priest as we read in the second reading.

Jesus is the high priest we are told in the second reading.  As a priest, not only does He offer the sacrifice, but He IS the sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12).  As priests, He sympathizes with our fragility because He became one of us in all things except sin (2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 2:7).  Jesus faced the same things we face, but He never sinned. He got happy, He got sad, He faced pain, He faced stress; everything human beings have faced in life, Jesus did as well as a true man while at the same time being true God.  Because of this, we have a God - the one and only God - who we can confidently come to in order to receive mercy (Matthew 11:28-30). God is all about love and mercy. If God was not merciful, then it would have made no sense to send His Son to redeem the world (John 3:16). Clearly, we see that He is merciful. This reading is a great way to prepare for the upcoming Yes of Mercy.

Finally, in the Gospel, we see James and John ask Jesus to literally approach Jesus with confidence.  They dared to say to Him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."  Of all the nerve...!  How can they dare say this to Christ?  Who can say to God, "you have to do what we want"?  That is just absurd; nevertheless, James and John did exactly that.  They did this because they understood who Jesus was and since they were His followers, they felt they could speak to Jesus like this with confidence. However, they let this friendship with Jesus get to their heads, so to speak.  After Jesus asks them, "What do you wish me to do for you," they answer Him with, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."  This was clearly an ambitious request. James and John believed that since they were following Jesus as His disciples, then that meant they would have a high position in the kingdom of God.  This is not the way to go. We must be humble when serving God and one another (Galatians 5:13).  We do not worship Christ in order to expect benefits or a position as a prince or princess of sorts (Matthew 5:20, Romans 12:16).  Rather, we worship Christ because it is "good and just" as we hear in the Mass (Psalm 136:1). Our reward is having a full friendship with God.  This is what we strive for. However, this does not come easy. Jesus asks the two brothers, "You do not know what you are asking.  Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"  In other words, Jesus is asking them if they can drink from the cup of suffering and accept the baptism or the rebirth in regards to becoming a new person (Luke 22:42, Psalm 102:9, Romans 6:4). Following Jesus is not a walk in the park, so to speak. We will have to do a lot of things and face much suffering (Luke 9:23, Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 9:62). 

Those who persevere and do not lose faith will enjoy the rewards of salvation; namely being with Jesus, His Father, the Holy Spirit, and all of the angels and saints (1 Timothy 6:12). This entails loving God and neighbor, receiving the Sacraments, living a holy and spiritual life following the commandments of God and the Church as guides (Acts 16:30-31, John 14:15). We cannot be like James and John and think of our salvation as being a career ladder that we have to climb. We must be the servant of others, not the master (John 13:12-14). Jesus gave us the example by being the one who came to serve and not serve.  He set Himself aside to ransom the rest of us who quite honestly do not deserve it.  None of us deserve to be saved (Romans 11:35).  We have no claim to anything that God has to offer.  We lost that privilege due to our sin and stubbornness (Romans 3:23). However, the mere fact that despite this God continues to defy the odds to bring us back shows us how much love He had for every human being. Let us trust God and approach Him with confidence so we can obtain grace.  Let us see to serve God and on another and not use our Catholic faith or positions in the Church in order or lord over others. The Catholic faith does not exist to create or feed personal ambitions or thirsts for power over others.  This is why the Holy Father Pope Francis is holding the synod for synodality. He wants the Church to be a Church that listens and works for the flock, not lord over the flock.  We must be humble and of service to all people, not just Catholics. The Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic has reminded us that we must help each other even during a time where contagion is spreading and has taken millions of lives globally. Service does not necessarily mean getting close to people and possibly exposing oneself to Covid-19.  It can also mean loving neighbor by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated if one feels comfortable with it.  Let us be humble and help one another.  May Jesus Christ be praised!


Readings:  Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Monday, October 11, 2021

Bishop Barres Removes CNN's Fr. Beck's Faculties

 Bishop Barres bishop of the Rockville Centre Diocese has removed Fr. Beck of the Passionist order and regular on CNN from functioning as a priest in his diocese. ON their part, the Passionists are inquiring as to why this was done and have stated that they will be leaving the diocese's parish St. Therese church on the feast day of St. Paul of the Cross on October 19. 

Parishioners of the parid were told on October 6 of the order's decision to pull out of the parish and its trustees are upset. They are calling for answers from Bishop Barres and the diocese. The diocese claims that they had a written agreement stating that Fr. Beck's faculties would expire in August. However, the Passionists dispute this claiming, "It had not been, nor was it ever stated that Father Beck would be in Montauk for just a year." 

Faculties are the canonical/legal term for a cleric's powers to function as a priest within a diocese. While a priest is ordained forever, he cannot function as a priest without permission from a bishop. It is like a police officer who can only function as a cop when he or she has his or her badge and is in good standing. 

Fr. Beck is concerned over the decisions and rightfully so. The removal of faculties is often interpreted as a punishment against a priest who did wrong. In today's age, sexual abuse is the first thought many minds cross when they hear that a cleric lost his faculties. By the diocese not giving a reason, Fr. Beck is concerned for his reputation. 

The parish Fr. Beck is being removed from has been suffering due to poor leadership according to parishioners. The Passionists were allowed to work at the parish to bring some stability. Clearly, parishioners love their presence there and are upset over the order's decision to leave the parish due to the diocese's removal of Fr. Beck's faculties.  

Let us pray for all parties involved and for a resolution. 


Source: Father Edward Beck on Twitter: "Some news New York diocese's unexpected removal of popular CNN priest roils parish | National Catholic Reporter https://t.co/pkDapoNGDH" / Twitter

Sunday, October 10, 2021

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time - It is Very Difficult to Enter Heaven

 Dear readers: Today's Gospel tells us how Jesus expects us to give to others and not store up treasures or possessions.  In light of this and the call to be "doers of the word" and not just "listeners," I ask you to please help keep this evangelization work alive by donating. So far a few have donated, but I have not met the goal. 


In December, I have to pay for the renewal of this domain name, so I need your help.  I also want to expand this work so it can reach even more people.  Please help me meet my campaign goal by donating any amount at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus.   
_____________________________

Reflections:
Today's readings deal with seeking God above anything else and being detached from material wealth.

In the first reading, we are told how great wisdom is.  Wisdom comes when we first fear the Lord or give the Lord the adulation and deference that He deserves (Proverbs 9:10).  The riches of this world, the power of scepters, thrones, or even the papacy or presidency means nothing compared to the spirit of wisdom (Proverbs 11:28). In order for wisdom to come, we must pray and trust in God's providence (Philippians 4:19).  Wisdom is the first step. It allows us tos ee the world and life objectively. With this objectivity, we can discern God's will and purpose in our lives and the lives of others.  We begin to understand what must be done and how we must do it.  Love follows this. God will fill us with love as we read in the Psalm for today.

God fills us with love.  We in turn sing for joy. We must ask God to teach us how to "number our days aright" or plan our lives around Him.  Man proposes and God disposes we often here (Proverbs 19:21). No matter how much we pretend to control our lives or freedom, it is God who has the final say (Jeremiah 29:11). This is why we must pray and ask God for mercy and kindness. He will bless us and let the work of our hands prosper.  We cannot do anything without God. We are learning this the hard way now during this Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Man in government and even the Church decided faith was not essential.  Boy were they wrong.  We need faith.  Faith is what kept us going during the hard times last year when tens of thousands were dying around the world daily. 

In the second reading, we read of the importance of the word of God.  It is "sharper than any two-edged sword."  This word penetrates "between soul and spirit, joints and marrow" reaching to the heart. The word is Jesus, the Lord, and Savior (John 1:1). This word comes to us in many ways; via the Sacraments, the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, prayer, meditation, and when we help one another (Matthew 25:40).  If we can put each of these ways to work for us and our schedules, our spiritual lives would grow immensely (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Lectio Divina is a great way to put Sacred Scripture to work in our spiritual lives. This can be incorporated with mediation and our private prayers or even the divine office.  The study of Sacred Tradition also increases our spiritual life.  When we grow in the knowledge of our faith, our faith increases (Ephesians 4:13).  The Sacraments complete the aforementioned because we receive the Word via them. They help us travel the narrow path to heaven which we will learn of in the Gospel.

In today's Gospel, a rich man comes to Jesus and asks, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus says something interesting, "Why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone." This line is often used by Muslims and other sects such as the Jehovah's Witnesses to "prove" that Jesus was not God. At first glance, it seems to make sense.  Jesus seems to imply that He is not God because He asks the man "Why do you call me good" and says that "no one is good but God alone."  What are we to make of this?  When Jesus asks "Why do you call me good," He is challenging the man to see what the man understands of God. If Jesus was not God and was correcting the man, He would have said, "I am not God, so I am not good."  Instead, He asks the man just like He would ask the disciples "who do you say that I am? (Mark8:29)"  The question is meant to challenge and bring about reflection.

Moreover, Jesus tells Him, "You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." The man answers that he has followed these since his youth. However, Jesus points out to him that he has failed to observe something else, He says, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."  The man's face dropped in disappointment and he left away sad because he was wealthy and had a lot of things.  Jesus then tells the rest that it is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.  In fact, a camel can pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to reach heaven.  Jesus used hyperbole to get His point across.

Those around Him became upset and asked, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus answers, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."  We often hear this today. People lave the Catholic Church claiming the teachings are hard or archaic. They are like those who asked Jesus "Then who can be saved?"  Nobody said it would be easy.  This Gospel ties in with the first reading in that the word of God is more important than jewels, thrones, and scepters.  When Jesus says to "go and sell possessions" He is telling us not to be attached to material things. The man Jesus spoke to was a wealthy man and he felt he earned salvation just for following the commandments.  We cannot be saved in this manner.  Blindly following rules and commandments like a Deontologist or person who does things out of mere duty does not save unless we put them to genuine practice (1 Corinthians 13).  Today we see workers, cops, docotors and others blindly follow rules setting morality aside.  This is wrong.  We see people record with cellular devices as they witness an assault or robbery. We see priests,deacons and others deny ppeople a blessing, sacrament or even consideration to join a seminary for petty reasons just becacsue they have to follow the rules and regulations.  This is cowardice. This is not of God.  Faith without works is a dead faith and saves no one (James 2:14-26).  Having wealth and possessions is not evil in itself, but it can become evil if we solely live for them (1 Timothy 6:10). We must be ready to give them up whenever and not suffer because of that (1 Corinthians 7:31).

Many atheists criticize the Pope and overall clergy for having golden chalices, pectoral crosses, vestments, and ornate buildings. While they have a point in that these things may be too extravagant, they do not understand that these men do not own these things. When bishops pass away, their rings, crosses, crosiers, etc get passed on to future bishops. Similarly, religious habits are "recycled."  Chalices and other items remain in the churches they are used in. Some are even given away to other churches that need them.  As for being ornate, well this is our way of giving to God the best we can craft (Proverbs 3:9). Does God care whether we use gold, wood, glass, cotton, or silk?  Not at all, they belong to Him already (Haggai 2:8). However, each of these items can be used to show God how much He means to us. We craft them beautifully to show what we think of the glory of God. If we dress up nice for parties, to meet leaders, why not have nice things to worship God?  Pope Francis has been trying to change the image of a "wealthy papacy" by using simpler things, but he has not gotten rid of them.

Each one of us should live simply and if we have wealth, we should remember that it is a blessing from God. God allows us to have it so we can use it for good; to help others and so forth.  I know it is hard to do. We are raised by our nations and their cultures to believe that we have to work hard, save and live in a secure retirement. This creates an atmosphere of competition and greed.  We forget that God is the one who controls all things (Mark 4:18-19). Each one of us can save a fortune and then die before we can enjoy it (Luke 12:15). This is why it makes sense to not be attached to it and trust in God's providence (Hebrews 13:5). What we do have, we should put it to good use and not store them up (1 Timothy 6:7-10). It is hard to give. I have learned this from the slow response to my fundraiser from Catholics and others who visit and use my content.  Even our parishes suffer closings because we do not support them.  No one likes to give without asking what it is going to be used for. We are often suspicious and rightfully so.  So many people out there take advantage of our generosity; however, we must remember that it is the act of giving that pleases God.  If the person we give to misuses what we gave, then he or she will be accountable to God for that.  Similarly, we too will be held accountable if we do not help others with what we have whether great or little (Proverbs 21:13).

We can follow all the commandments, pray every day but if we do not help and love others then all of that faith was in vain (James 1:22, Mark 4:24).  It was never put into genuine practice via caring for others and being detached from material wealth. Not everyone who shouts 'Lord Lord' will be saved (Matthew 7:21). So let us focus on the word of God who is Jesus, follow His will which entails both loving God and neighbor. Let us give to others in need freely without question or concern trusting Jesus' words that we must help others without using a litmus test (Proverbs 11:24-25). God will reward you for helping others.  May Jesus be praised forever!      


Readings:  Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Sunday, October 3, 2021

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time - The Sanctity of Holy Matrimony

 Dear readers: Please help keep this evangelization work alive. So far a few have donated, but I have not met the goal. In December, I have to pay for the renewal of this domain name, so I need your help.  I also want to expand this work so it can reach even more people.  Please help me meet my campaign goal by donating at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus.



Reflection:
Today's readings touch upon the family; specifically marriage, divorce, and children.

In the first reading, we read from the account of creation found in Genesis.  God sees that man or Adam is alone and has no suitable partner. Adam is a unique creation. All living creatures come "out of the ground" which fits with the theory of evolution well (Genesis 1:1, Genesis 3:19). Adam comes from the same matter the Earth, plants, and non-human animals come from, but he has something different.  This is the breath of God (ruah), the soul (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Matthew 10:28, Genesis 2:7). This soul makes man sentient, capable of intelligence, morality, emotions, and so forth. He is like a "god" but not like God (Psalm 8:5). Genesis makes it clear that God is the creator and man cooperates with God by naming the creatures in the creation and caring for them. However, man despite being an "animal" as well is not compatible with other non-human animals (Leviticus 18:23). God creates a partner for man while he is in a deep sleep. I see this "deep sleep" as a man setting aside himself to accept God's will via the love and partnership of his partner; this sleep is God preparing man (Isaiah 29:10).  This partner God creates comes from a rib.  Now, this is of course allegorical language. The "rib" is meant to convey the message that Adam and his partner are equal and love since the rib is close to the heart (Proverbs 22:2, Acts 17:26, Romans 2:11, Galatians 3:28). They stand rib cage by rib care or side by side.  The use of a rib also shows that both Adam and his partner are ONE; of one flesh. This partner is called "woman." God made this woman and named her Eve.  There was no Adam or Steve, no Eve and Eva, only Adam and Eve.  Two distinct genders of the same species. This union of Adam and Eve, man and woman constitute a union blessed by God.  The two become one flesh that cannot be separated.  This brings us to the Psalm which asks God to bless us all the days of our lives.

We must ask God to bless us every day, especially if we are in a married situation (Psalm 67).  I will explain this in my section on the Gospel reading. As the responsorial Psalm states, we must always walk in God's ways (Deuteronomy 5:33).  Our ways are paths full of cracked sidewalks, sinkholes, and quicksand that stifle us, so to speak (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25). With God's blessing, we will have our harvests, growing and united families.  As Blessed Mother Teresa used to say constantly, "The family that prays together, stays together." This is why asking God to bless us is important. Prayer reminds us that we need God (James 4:10). We cannot live life alone without God.  The Covid-19 Coronvirus pandemic we are facing now is a great reminder that we are nothing without God. Our work, science, advances cannot adequately face nature. Even with a vaccine, this virus is still outsmarting humanity. We need God.  God is the only one who can get us out of this pandemic and the pandemic of sin. Despite our abilities, we are still "lower than the angels" as the second reading describes.

In the second reading, we read of Jesus who was made "for a little while, lower than the angels."  What does this mean?  Is Jesus some weak demi-god like the mythological being Hercules?  Not at all.  Here the passage is referring to Jesus' human nature. Remember, Jesus has one personhood and two natures: divine & human.  Despite being God, Jesus' body was truly human in all things except sin (Philippians 2, Hebrews 4:12).  It got old, it grew, it got dirty, it got hurt, it got cold and hot.  Jesus did everything we do today whether it is eating, drinking, walking, taking baths, and yes, using the bathroom.  He was one of us!  This is why He is described as being "lower than the angels."  How lower?  Well, due to our capacity to expire or die. We all die. This is part of being human and possibly the main thing that distinguishes us from angels. Angels are pure spirits, they do not die.  Our souls are also spirit and do not die, but they are not angelic (Matthew 10:28, 1 Corinthians 15:53). When we die physically, we do not become angels.  I know some parents like to tell this to kids, but it is erroneous.  The fact that humans are "lower than angels" does not mean they do not have value. Jesus died for humans, not angels.  This shows that humans are God's favorite creatures.  Then when you add the fact that God has angels protect us like bodyguards, you get the point as to how much he values humanity.  Jesus became one of us to elevate us to the Father.  Because of this, Jesus has become our brother as well.  This shows us how much God also values the family.

Finally, in the Gospel, there are two versions, a longer and a shorter one.  Jesus is asked by the Pharisees, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"  They did this to test Him. Jesus came across as a reformer of sorts.  The Pharisees were the "conservatives" of the day who saw Jesus as some progressive liberal who was changing everything.  This of course was not so.  Jesus was neither liberal nor conservative.  Today Pope Francis faces the same criticism for changing the approach of the Papacy upon the world.  Anyhow, Jesus asks the Pharisees "What did Moses command you?"  They answered him, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her."  These words are significant because they show the problem we see today.  The "law" verse "the heart."  Jesus tells the Pharisees that their hearts are hardened (Isaiah 6:10, Jeremiah 16:12). They have become so legalistic that they forgot what God said about marriage (Mark 2:23-27).  Jesus continues, "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together,no human being must separate." In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them,"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

So here, Jesus repeats what we read from the book of Genesis in the first reading.  God made man and woman, male and female.  Both are of one flesh and joined by God.  Man cannot separate this union.  Jesus then makes it clear that divorce is sinful and that anyone who "divorces" his or her partner via the law of men and marries another commits adultery.  God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16).  Divorce is a big problem in society.  Studies show that people divorce within the first 4 months of marriage.  Many young people today are even opting out of marrying and are just moving in together.  Because of this, the sacred institution of marriage has been weakened.  Marriage has become just something that we do, a social ritual that has no significant meaning or value.  Furthermore, today we are now allowing marriages that do not reflect that union between one man and one woman.  So-called "same-sex marriage" is now the "law of the land" in America.  There is confusion in the culture of what love really is and what constitutes a natural marriage.  A marriage between a male and female is complementary. This union brings forth new life in the form of children. Anything else is artificial and unnatural (Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27).  It is destructive and irrational.

Unions without a mother and father are hurtful to children whom Jesus said to come to Him.  This is why we must pray for the family and for all marriages.  It is in the union of one man and one woman where the love between the three persons of the Blessed Trinity is reflected in the world.  This is why Satan hates marriage and has been focusing his attack against humanity via marriage.  Remember, it was the serpent to brought Adam and Eve to argue as to whether or not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3).  It was this serpent who instigated the fall of humanity by attacking this union of man and woman, the one flesh. This is why the attacks on marriage today whether via divorce or other strange unions are demonic in nature (Ephesians 6:12).  We must continue to pray and push forth legislation that will protect marriage between one man and one woman.  The Supreme Court is NOT the Supreme Being.  Hopefully, with the newer conservative justices, we must push for this law to be overturned just like Roe V. Wade.  We must also pray for our bishops. Many of them are being led astray by demonic forces. We can see this via their opinions and attempts to thwart Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  There are many forces at work in the Vatican that is trying to accomplish the work of the Serpent.  May God bless us all, and send St. Michael to guard over the Church during these difficult times.  



Readings: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

        

Sunday, September 26, 2021

26th Sunday in Ordinary time - Let Us Cut It Out!

Urgent: I dislike putting these messages here, but I need your help.  Not enough donations have come in. Please help me reach my campaign goal so that I can maintain and expand this work for about 4-5 years more.  You will help to keep this work going and growing.  Please donate at, www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus. Thanks. 


Reflection:

Today's readings are about envying others who do things in God's name and "cutting" out what may send us to hell.

In the first reading we read of God coming down in a cloud and speaking to Moses.  We are told that God takes some of the spirit that was on Moses and gives it to seventy elders.  When He did this, those elders began to prophesy.  Two of the men, Eldad and Medad were not present but still received this spirit.  They too began to prophesy.  Joshua then tells Moses to stop them. Moses replies, "Are you jealous for my sake?  Would that all people of the Lord were prophets!  Would that the Lord might bestow His spirit on them all!"  He says this because Joshua felt that there was a sort of competition going on. To him, Moses should have been the only one prophesying.  However, Moses says that it would be better if all the people were prophets for the Lord and that each had His spirit. This ties in with today's Gospel.  We must not be envious of others nor prevent others from spreading God's word (Galatians 5:26). God gives to each of us gifts which bring joy to us and others as we read in the Psalm today.

The responsorial Psalm tells us that God's law is perfect and refreshes the soul.  Every decree from God is trustworthy.  The fear of the Lord or respect for Him is pure and endures forever.  As servants of God we must be careful with God's laws and follow them.  We must not let sin rule over us and must be blameless and innocent, free of sin (Matthew 5:48).  This means living unattached to things of this world like the second reading tells us.

We must not be like those rich people who whine and complain when they lose money or something does not go their way.  Material things should not define us (Hebrews 13:5).  They should not be relied upon unless for necessity (IE food etc).  So many people buy expensive cars, homes, clothing etc believing these will bring them status or joy.  It never ceases to amaze me how many rich people, especially singers, athletes and actors buy expensive mansions and then sell them within three to five years.  They sell them because they are expensive to upkeep.  Then when you add property taxes, it can get even more hairy to keep a mansion.
This is why we must not story up treasures that we clearly cannot take with us when we pass on (Luke 12:33, (Matthew 6:19-21).

The reading tells us, "Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud."  This phrase speaks well to what Pope Francis has been telling us, especially during his visit to the United States.  Unfortunately, some so-called "conservatives" have criticized him calling him a Marxist. He is no such thing. What he has reminded us is that greed is evil (Proverbs 11:28,Luke 12:15) . Capitalism is not a perfect system for all and is not a perfect system period.  Many people are left out of the "trickle-down economics" and the capitalist process.  There is something wrong when less that one percent hold almost all of the world's wealth.  Our Holy Father is calling attention to this; not to destroy capitalism, but to make it better and fair for all so that it focuses on the common good and not just the bank accounts of a few. In the medical field, notice how lately (past 50 years) we find treatments but no cures.  This is not a coincidence. A "cure" is not big business as it will only bring in profits once.  However, a treatment will bring profits all the time because they occur more than once. This is why the Pope speaks strongly against the abuse of capitalism. The things of this world will not last (Matthew 24:35).  We can live in luxury and pleasure  fattening ourselves up, but in the end, all of that stays here while our bodies rot in the grave (Matthew 6:20). We must cut out what is evil in our lives as the Gospel tells us.

In the Gospel, we see a similar scenario as in the first reading with Moses.  John tells Jesus that he saw someone driving our demons in His name and that they tried to stop him because the man was not part of the disciples.  Jesus' reply is interesting. He does not say, "Good."  Instead, He says, "Do not prevent him.  There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.  For whoever is not against us ifs for us."  This speaks volumes even today where in many parishes there is sometimes a competition going on among the laity, among the clergy and even among both together. How many times have we become envious of others and their work in the Church?  I myself have been targeted at parishes and social media for my work; usually from "traditionalists" or "liberals."  These have interjected during my work with atheists and have tried to discredit me so that atheists would ignore me.  It brings up the question: who are they following, Christ or Satan?  Why impede the conversion of atheists with slander? They in their delusional understanding of the faith believe that only they truly profess and witness to the Catholic faith.  These are the postmodern Pharisees.  

Even outside of the Church, some of us may be bothered when we see "pastors" and others doing things in Jesus' name. We call them heretics and other bad things. This is wrong.  While these people are separated from Christ's true Church, they are still following Christ.  Jesus said He had sheep in other folds that still hear His name and will come join the one fold (John 10:16).  This is why ecumenism is important. Those who are against ecumenism and believe that we are a "militant church" that is at war with the world do not understand Christ nor Catholicism.  The term "militant Church" does not mean that we fight our brothers and sisters who are not Catholic.  We are not called to be Cain killing Abel in the world, so to speak.  It means that we are in a fight for our lives against the powers that be in this world that fool us into thinking money, power, the flesh etc are what bring eudaimonia or joy that never ceases (Ephesians 6:12). The Pope is not a heretic for praying with people of other faiths or for visiting a Protestant worship location or Mosque.

These people, while having different doctrines are worshiping the same God.  There is only ONE God up there listening to His children (1 Corinthians 8:6).  Some of our ancestors in our respective cultures may have named Him using different titles, or may have described Him based on culture, but that does not change the fact that there is only One God, One Creator. Lastly, we must protect our children.  The Holy Father told us at the World Meeting of Families that we must protect children who are our hope and future.  Jesus says, "whoever causes one of the little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea."  These are strong words from Christ. They reflect how serious He was about protecting the little ones.  Unfortunately, some in our Church have offended these little ones in awful and evil ways. We must pray for all those involved, including the perpetrator.

If a child comes to us telling us of abuse, we must immediately report it to the police.  It is not our job to determine if kids are lying or not.  As the saying goes, "better safe than sorry."  All men have fallen short of God's grace, including the clergy (Romans 3:23). So we must not believe like in the past that priests cannot do any harm. We all have the defect found in the effects of original sin in us.  Because of this, we are predisposed to do all kinds of crazy and evil things (Colossians 3:5).  If you do not believe this, just turn on the news. You will hear all kinds of stories of beheading, rape, throwing babies in toilets, selling fetal parts, incest, parades with people having sex, States legalizing drug use, parents punching a girl to death and dumping her body on a beach, hashtags on Twitter celebrating abortion, I can go on and on, but you get the point.  We live in a beautiful world with ugly behaviors  in it.  This is why Christ tells us to "cut it out." He says that "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.  It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.  Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna."

Christ here is not saying to literally cut body parts off.  He is speaking metaphorically. Notice how He uses parts of the body that are essential to living but do not end life if they go missing. Jesus does not say to take out your heart or brain and throw them away because these organs are extremely vital to maintaining existence in the physical body.  We can lose hands, feet and eyes and still adapt to life but will face hardships of course.  The idea behind these words of Christ is to cut out what in our lives is keeping us in sin. We must go and sin no more (John 8:11).  Sin is like a cancer that keeps growing unless we kill it off or remove it. The more we sin, the more insensitive we become until we eventually set faith aside altogether (Ephesians 4:17-19). It is a cancer of the soul that effects the body and others around us (Micah 6:13, 1 Corinthians 11:27-30).  During this Covid-18 coronavirus pandemic, we have so many evils take hold. Large cities have become lawless. Murder and shootings have gone up.  We must cut all of this out. Reach out to people with the Good News and vote those out who do not share a reverence for God and morality.  So let us pray for one another and not be envious of others who preach Christ and have that Spirit of God in them. Let us protect our children and cut out what is keeping us from God.  May Jesus Christ be praised.


Readings: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Sunday, September 19, 2021

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Be Like A Child

 Urgent: I dislike putting these messages here, but I need your help.  Not enough donations have come in. Please help me reach my campaign goal so that I can maintain and expand this work for about 4-5 years more.  Please donate at, www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus. Thanks.


Reflection:
Today's readings focus on how Christ would suffer at the hands of the perfidious and how to answer our fallen human nature's drive to war and conflict.

In the first reading, we read the foreshadowing account of what Jesus would face during the passion.  He would be "obnoxious" to the people.  They will turn against Him because He rebukes their lifestyles (Mark 10:2). The people fought back against Him.  They tested Him and mocked Him because it says that "God will deliver Him" (Matthew 27:43).  Like Christ, we too will be mocked and harassed for speaking up for the truth ((Matthew 5:11, Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:9)). We will be called smugish overly virtuous people who are obtrusive and so on. This is what a follower of Christ is to expect. But God upholds our lives as the Psalm tells us today.

God is our savior (Psalm 68:19).  It is in His name that we are saved (Acts 4:12, Romans 10:13).  God hears our prayers even in bad times when we feel abandoned by Him (Psalm 116:1, Psalm 17:6, Psalm 3:4). All kinds of arrogant people will rise up against us (2 Chronicles 36:16). This is expected when we publicly profess our faith in Jesus.  These people will seek our demise, slander us, and may even put us to death.  But we must not give up or become afraid. God will help us and will be there for us (Romans 8:31).  We must live in love, not hate like the second reading tells us (Ephesians 5:2).

War, jealousy, and so forth are things found in fallen human nature (Romans 1:18-32). These are the bad effects of Original Sin which brought about disorder in the world (Romans 5:12).  Unfortunately, these will continue to plague us as we advance in our spiritual lives. We will see fellow Catholics who may be jealous of us, or we ourselves may become envious of the positions others hold in the Church. Sometimes we start wars in our communities, parishes, workplace, and of course among nations. It seems like human beings love to fight each other. We fight over anything; religion, politics, places in line, material things, for the love or attention of others, etc. These are the bad effects of Original sin.

This is what happens when we set aside the law of God. We become like primitive animals seeking only our selfish ambitions. The novel "The Mist" by Stephen King comes to mind. A movie was even made about it. In this story, scientists open up a dimension to another world where these insect-like creatures enter and wreak havoc upon humanity. A group of people is trapped in a supermarket and little by little they go from being civilized to uncivilized. The rule of law disappears so they become driven by the instinct to survive. Meanwhile, a fanatical and demented Protestant Bible thumper begins to capitalize on the events by associating them with the Bible. She becomes a Jim Jones type as the people begin to believe her and also become psychotic.  They fight amongst each other. Human beings often have weak minds which are impressionable, especially to evil. We call this concupiscence (Romans 7:8, Colossians 3:5, CCC 1264). However, Christ it the key that unlocks these natural disordered instincts and sets us free (John 8:36, Galatians 5:1). We must trust Jesus and allow Him to transform our fallen human nature. In the Gospel, we will read how fallen human nature corrupts the mind.

In the Gospel, Jesus and His disciples begin a journey through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know about it in order to avoid the crowds. He wanted to use this time to teach the disciples. Jesus tells them that “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”  They did not understand what He was referring to and clearly were not knowledgeable in Scripture (first reading which mentions this).  When they had reached Capernaum, Jesus noticed that the disciples were arguing among themselves.  He asks them, but they remained silent. We are told by the writer of the Gospel that they were arguing about who among them was the greatest.  Jesus tells them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all. Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”  Jesus says this after placing a young child among them.

We see how Holy Mother Church has placed the readings in such a way that they connect. Jesus is the fulfillment of what was prophesied in the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17).  He is this "Son of Man" who would be mocked and put to suffer a shameful and horrible death.  This ties into what we read in the first reading. Furthermore, the argument among the disciples is connected to the second reading in regards to human beings and their selfish ambitions and instinctual drive to hurt each other. Jesus says tells that they must be like children.  Children can go to a park with their parents and play with other kids with ease.  They play with other kids as if they knew them already. It is when they begin to "mature" that they start developing this sense of competition and inner drives to fight each other. We must be like children and be innocent (Matthew 18:4).  Trust one another just like kids trust other kids at a playground and just have fun. If we were like "kids" like Jesus suggested, we would not have wars and all of these stupid conflicts that we create for absolutely no reason.  Those who are not innocent before God like children cannot go to heaven (Mark 10:13-16).

We must be a servant to others and not seek positions of power or first place in order to gratify our egos (John 13:12-14, Mark 10:44-45). By being a servant, we show that we are secure in our egos.  Serving others does not make us weak or a "push-over."  Lastly, we must be good to children, teach them well and protect them (Proverbs 22:6). Children are our greatest asset (Psalm 127:3-5).  On the news, we hear of Planned Parenthood selling unborn children body parts and some people out there defend this.  It is just sickening. Recently a young Muslim boy was arrested simply for showing an electronic clock that he made which caused school officials to overreact due to Islamophobia. This is not how we should treat kids.  We have to receive them, protect them, and teach them well (Matthew 18:2-6). Today, MTV, Pop singers, Rap singers, and whatnot are raising our youth. They instill all kinds of crazy messages into their young minds. We must end this and restore the home as the first school and not let the "village" raise our kids. The best way to teach our kids is by being examples to them.  We must show them that to be last is to be first. We must show them that serving others is the way we should go. May Jesus be praised forever.






Readings:  Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Sunday, September 12, 2021

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Follow Christ via the Cross and Transform Faith into Work

Faith without works is dead. Our Lord expects us to not just believe, but to put that "believe" to work.  I have been trying to do this for a few years now online and need your help. Please donate at: www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus and put your faith into action by helping me continue and expand this work.  Thanks and God bless you for your help.


Reflection:

In today's first reading, we see the foretelling of what happened in last week's Gospel with Jesus healing the deaf and mute man (see: Sacerdotus: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Ephphatha - Fear not, God Opens Us Up). This first reading is also a foretelling of what Christ would go through in His passion.  He would be beaten, spat on, and humiliated but would return no response to the violence (1 Peter 2:23).  We too much "turn the other cheek" and not return evil for evil or violence for violence (Matthew 5:38-48).  God is our help and our protection (Psalm 46:1, Psalm 28:7).  Let those who hate us and oppose us come forward; let them mock us and hate us (2 Peter 3:3).  God is with us (Psalm 46).  As long as we stay in God's truth, no one can prove us wrong.  We must walk with God in this life like the Psalm for today tells us.

Walking with God in the "land of the living" is a must like the responsorial Psalm tells us.  God is always with us listening to our supplications (1 John 5:14, Psalm 66:19).  He may not answer every prayer, but He knows of them and what is in our hearts and minds (Jeremiah 17:10).  All kinds of evil can encircle us, but God will be there to save us (Psalm 22:16, Psalm 27:2).  God will rescue us from whatever may come to us, but we must be just and loyal to Him. Our faith must a living faith that works, not a dead one as the second reading tells us.

What good is belief without the exercise of that belief?  What good is faith if that faith is not put to practice?  St. Paul asks this question and states that such a faith does not save.  He is correct!  How can we be Catholic, believe in God and the teachings of the Church but refuse to help others and spread our faith?  What good is our faith in that regard?  Atheists criticize all Christians about this.  Many times when we see a homeless person or someone in need, we simply tell them "I will pray for you" instead of helping them with their material needs.  We say, "go in peace, keep warm, and eat well" as the reading tells us. This is not genuine Christianity.  We must put our faith into practice by not only believing in God but also by helping others (Matthew 5:42, Matthew 25:35-40). Today, many parishes are closing because of a lack of participation and donations. We must do our best to help our parishes grow by participating and donating.  I know many are upset over church closings due to the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, but remember, these parishes ultimately belong to each parishioner. While the bishop may be the owner on paper, in reality, the people who attend them are the owners and must care for them.  It is in giving that we receive (Luke 6:38). Last week I shared a personal story of encountering homeless people in the streets of the Bronx. I can tell you firsthand how good it is to help others in many ways, not just spiritually. Giving to others may seem strange.  Why should I give my hard-earned money to others? The act of giving shows that we deny ourselves to serve God and others as we read in the Gospel.   It may seem strange, but it is a way to spiritually mature. We may not always understand God's ways as we read in the Gospel today.

In today's Gospel, Jesus and His disciples went out to Caesarea Philippi. While traveling there Jesus asks the disciples "Who do people say that I am?"  They respond that the people think He is John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the other prophets.  Jesus then asks them, "who do you say that I am?"  Peter takes speaks first showing his leadership and tells Jesus, "You are the Christ."  Jesus then tells them not to say anything. He does this to avoid the fanaticism that would take place if people learned too fast who He really was.  Jesus then teaches them that He has to suffer greatly and would be rejected by the elders, chief priests, etc which is connected to today's first reading.  He would then be killed but will rise after three days. Peter took this news badly and rebuked Jesus, but Jesus told Him and said "Get behind me, Satan.  You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." Jesus was referring to His passion, death, and resurrection.  Peter did not understand this and rebuked Jesus.  Jesus told Peter "Get behind me, Satan" because Satan is the one who would have something to protest about regarding Jesus' passion, death, and resurrection.  It was in this moment that Jesus crushed the serpent's head so naturally, Satan would not want Jesus to carry out what was supposed to happen (Genesis 3:15, Romans 16:20, Psalm 68:21).  Peter did not understand because he did not have the Holy Spirit yet (John 14, John 13:16).  We too may not understand things until we pray to the Holy Spirit to come and enlighten us (Isaiah 11:2). Many times, we try to rationalize things via our human understanding.  Atheists tend to do this a lot.  They see things through the lens of materialism and what they believe to be logic.  This is why they have a hard time understanding God and the things of God (Romans 11:33).  We wonder many times why God allows evil.

Yesterday, we were reminded once again of the horrific attacks against America. These things do not make sense to us yet we hear so much about "God's plan" in regards to the course of events.  No one can understand God's mind and why He allows certain things that we find horrendous (1 Corinthians 2:16, Romans 11:34). We trust that all things will lead to a greater good (Romans 8:28).  As followers of Christ, we must accept the cross and be prepared to suffer and possibly lose our lives for Him (Luke 14:27). We must deny ourselves and let Christ transform us (2 Corinthians 3:18). This does not mean that we cease having an identity. What this means is that we are restored to what God designed, not the fallen state that we are in now.  Today so many are pushing for "my truth" or "my personal truth." This is nonsense. Truth exists independent of each one of us. Truth is a person named Jesus. Science is not the truth, math is not the truth, psychology is not truth.  Not even theology of philosophy.  This is because these fields of study are finite and do change as our understanding of reality grows.  Our true identity is not in our "personal truth," but the Truth, Jesus Christ. Let us trust God always; put our faith into practice; not become a "Satan" attempting to thwart God's will and be prepared to carry the cross and suffer for Christ and the Gospel.  May Jesus Christ be praised.  





Readings:  Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB




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