The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Friday, January 30, 2015

4th Sunday Ordinary B - Teaching with Authority

H4th Sunday Ordinary B   -   Teaching with Authority

-         Dt 18:15-20
-         1 Cor 7:32-35
-         Mk 1:21-28

In today's Gospel, we read that Jesus'  teaching "made a deep impression on the people because unlike the scribes, (that is, the official teachers) Jesus taught them with authority." Jesus spoke with such authority that even the demons obeyed His command. The bible tells us in numerous places that Jesus then passes this authority on to His Church.

Knowing that He would soon be going to the Father Jesus entrusted His mission to His closest disciples - the Apostles. He first ordained them priests who would act on His behalf when in Luke Chap 22 we hear Him tell the Apostles "This is my body" and "This is my Blood" and commanding them to "Do this in memory of me".

By commanding them to do the same He thereby gives them the power to celebrate Mass in which the Bread and Wine will be changed into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself. Then knowing that after He returns to heaven the faithful would be left leaderless, Jesus establishes a church with a leader who would continue His work and guide the people.

In Matthew chapter 16 Jesus makes Peter, the first Pope, the head of His church on earth when He says "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church". In John chap 21 Jesus tells Peter to guide the flock and to teach them when Jesus tells him "Feed my sheep". In Matt chap 28 Jesus tells the Apostles that He will never leave His church when He says "I will be with you always, until the end of the age."

And then Jesus gives His Apostles, who are the first Bishops, the authority to act on His behalf in spiritual matters in His church when in Luke chap 10 He tells His Apostles "Whoever listens to you, listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me." In John chap 20 Jesus gives the priests of His Church the power to forgive sins in His name when He said "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. He breathed on them and said to them "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them.  Whose sins you shall retain they are retained."  This breathing on them is quite significant because the only other time that God breathes on anyone is when He created man. 

Jesus gives to His Church the power of loosing and binding or in other words to make decisions and to rule His church on earth on Jesus' behalf when in Matt Chapter 18 Jesus says "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven".

The apostles ordained others to help them. The church began to spread throughout the world.  Bishops were ordained here and there and they in turn ordained priests and deacons to help them.

We read in Acts 6 "the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them", and again in Acts  13 "they laid hands on them and sent them off". Paul ordained other priests to assist him as we read in Acts chap 14. "After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.

They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith saying "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God."

 They appointed priests for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting , commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith." And this handing on of the faith and the authority to preach the truth in Christ's name by appointing and ordaining priests in every church continues even to this day. Father Kaz and I are both ordained ministers of the church. He is a priest and I am a deacon. We were ordained by a Bishop.  This Bishop was also ordained by a Bishop who was Himself ordained by a Bishop who was Himself ordained by a Bishop.

Bishop after Bishop after Bishop going all the way back 2000 years to the Apostles and to Jesus Christ Himself.  It is an unbroken link to the very first beginnings of the church.  Just like a genealogist would do we could trace our spiritual roots all the way back to the Apostles who were ordained by Jesus. This handing on of the teachings of Jesus Christ and His teaching authority over the centuries by ordaining ministers without a break in it's 2000 year old history is called Apostolic Succession.

What authority does the Church have to ordain minsters? It has no authority except that which was given to it by Jesus Christ.  The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus gave His authority to His Holy Church at the very beginning and that Christ' power is handed down to the Church from generation to generation through this Apostolic Succession.

The church was a reality and was flourishing 400 years before the bible even came into being.  In fact, it is through the authority of the Bishops of  the Roman Catholic Church that we even have a bible. In the 4th century after Christ, it was the Bishops of the Catholic Church who gathered together and decreed which books were divinely inspired and which ones were not. This was ratified by the pope.

1 Timothy 3:15 the Bible tells us that "the Church of the living God, is the pillar and foundation of the truth." From the very beginning the Catholic Church has been celebrating the Liturgy of the Mass with the Holy Eucharist as the central part of our liturgy. Holy Communion, where we receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself. This is not a symbolic gesture but rather the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ Himself as Jesus says in Luke Chapter 22 "This is my Body".

Catholics take these words just as Jesus meant them to be taken. Quite literally and that  is why the Catholic Church considers the Eucharist as the centre, the source and the summit of our Catholic Faith. In Acts chapter 2 we read St. Paul telling us that "They devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles, and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers."

 Which is exactly what we continue to do today in the Mass - we gather together as a community, we listen to Holy Scripture and to the Sermon and then receive Holy Communion or as they called it in the early days of the Church, " the breaking of the bread". The Apostolic or Early Church Fathers, that is those who were taught by the Apostles themselves or their immediate successors and were themselves ordained by the Apostles or their immediate successors as Bishops - the Apostolic Fathers tell us about the Mass that was celebrated in those very first days.

When we read their writings we can readily see that today's celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist models very closely the Liturgy of the Eucharist as was celebrated by the early church in the very first days. Our Sunday celebration is not so much focused on the preaching and the music as it is on the Eucharist. This is the centre of our celebration.

In the early church Paul tells us that they gathered together as a community. So do we. They listened to the Word of God and to the teachings of the Apostles proclaimed in their midst. We just listened to the word of God proclaimed in our midst and are now listening to the Homily.

 They devoted themselves to prayer and to the breaking of the bread. We also are devoting ourselves to prayer and soon we will be breaking the bread and receiving Holy Communion. From the very beginning of the church and for over 2000 years, the Catholic Church has celebrated the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

To this very day throughout the whole world, every hour of the day, 24 hours a day, and every day, not just Sunday, but every day,  the Liturgy of the Eucharist or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass continues to be celebrated under the authority of Jesus Christ throughout the world. 

Jesus Christ gave His church the command and the authority to do this and to pass on to others the Authority to continue to do this in His name.

Jesus Christ commissions His Church and commands it to spread the Good News. In Matthew Chapter 28 "All power in Heaven and earth has been given to me....Go...make disciples of all nations... teaching them to observe all that I commanded you". So it is under the authority of Jesus Christ that the Catholic Church worldwide endeavors to continue to  do exactly that... to do this in Memory of Me and to teach, not just our local church, or not just the church in this country but all over the world, teach all nations to observe all that He has commanded us to do.

God rules, instructs and sanctifies His people through His Church. Under her teaching office, the Catholic Church preserves the Word of God. Following His command the Church is the custodian, keeper, dispenser and interpreter of the teachings of Jesus Christ. And she accomplishes all of this under the protection of the Holy Spirit.

God Bless                              Deacon Bernie Ouellette

Short version

It is understandable that we resent those who have exercised their authority badly. We feel let down, we feel that our trust has been abused; we feel we can’t rely on anything any more. Those who fail to carry out their responsibilities let us all down; they give everyone a bad name.

But what about Jesus and the way he exercised authority? Here is the Son of God; the Lord of Creation, the one with all the power that ever could be vested in one individual, so it is important that we look to see how he exercises it? And the short answer is that he exercises authority with gentleness. He who could rule all, doesn’t. He who could destroy even the evil spirits doesn’t, he simply rebukes them. He who could call armies of angels to defend him doesn’t, instead he allows himself to be taken into custody, tried, tortured and executed.

It is what Jesus doesn’t do that is more astonishing than what he does do. You will notice from the Gospel, it wasn’t the casting out of the evil spirits that astonished the people it was his teaching. Not his actions but his words. It is no wonder that the people were astonished. Jesus truly is the prophet foretold by Moses, the Son of God who speaks the words God has put into his mouth. And these words are words of love, words of truth, words of peace, and words of gentleness.

And yet, can we say that He was nice? His words were not the sign of weaknes, or permisivism, not a naive acceptance of sin, or perversity. He was gentle but not naive, He was preaching love but basing on the truth, was telling the words of peace but brought the sword and the fire. He was preaching the conversion and repentance, because the only reason of His incarnation was to safe the humanity from the REAL POWER OF SATAN, and not to make our life nice !!!!

This is why He was preaching with authority especially to those who wouldn't accept and admit their sinfulness, to the Pharisees ...

Do I accept His authority?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – B

Reading 1     1 Sm 3:3b-10, 19

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, "Here I am."
Samuel ran to Eli and said, "Here I am. You called me."
"I did not call you, " Eli said. "Go back to sleep."
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. "Here I am, " he said. "You called me."
But Eli answered, "I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep."
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, "Here I am. You called me."
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, "Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening."
When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, "Samuel, Samuel!"
Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

Gospel                      Jn 1:35-42
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God."
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
"What are you looking for?"
They said to him, "Rabbi" - which translated means Teacher -, "where are you staying?"
He said to them, "Come, and you will see."
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
"We have found the Messiah" - which is translated Christ -.

Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
"You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas" - which is translated Peter.


The notion of vocation in the Gospel should not be restricted to the priestly or religious vocation. In the case of Jesus it is a vocation to the discipleship, vocation to follow Christ, to become the child of God. We all are called to follow this path.

Jesus calls us to follow Him and finally to enter eternal live. This is the reason why He became a man. His vocation is much more serious and much deeper then we expect means the happiness in this life.

He is not a magician satisfying our desires and caprices, His goal is not to make our life sumptuous and luxurious. He is our Saviour; His goal is to liberate us from the slavery of sin, from the power of evil. This is our vocation; this is what He is calling us for.

And so, when the disciples of John are interested in the person of Jesus and would like to follow Him, He asks them an honest question: “What are you looking for?” or what are you expecting from me, what are you searching for? Are you expecting from me to fulfill your expectations or your desires, your caprices?

And  they ask another question: «where are you staying». We would like to know where you are, who you are. This is quite honest request. And so, His answer is "come and see".

This is exactly the same or similar situation when Jesus is calling me and you. He asks precisely the same question: "What are you looking for?” what do you expect from me, what do you expect from God? If you would like to see what I can give you, come and follow me, come and see.

But the misery of our times is that people nowadays answer: "I don't have time, I am too busy, too tired, I have so much to do to assure the financial security and prosperity of my life …" or very often in our society of immediate gratification the answer is: "you Jesus cannot offer me anything, because I need what you won't like to give me and I need it NOW !!! I am not interested in your proposal; it's not answering my expectations and my idea of a happy life. If you won't make my life happy according to my standards so ... I am not interested and I will not buy it.

In the first reading Samuel called by God answers: "Speak, for your servant is listening." In the Gospel the two disciples of John the Baptist "they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day." And as we know they stayed with Him until the end of their lives, until their death.

We, we are doubting, we are reasoning, discussing, waiving or ignoring. We have some serious problem in trusting God. We declare that we believe in God, but at the same time don't believe God, we don’t trust Him.
In the wordy declaration we repeat in "Our Father … may your will be done" and at the time we try to do always so He follows our will.

I am not accusing anybody, I am not blaming anybody, I am just trying to find the reason why we are so unhappy having apparently everything to make us happy?

And this is true for the priestly vocation when some people are searching their self-realization only and if it doesn't work they quit, they abandon; they are disappointed, frustrated and angry with God.

This is the same for the religious vocation where some people are deciding to enter the religious life only to satisfy their expectations and if this doesn't work they are upset and depressed. God didn't follow their expectations, so they abandon Him.

But this is the same with the vocation to the family or marital life. If this is not answering our "immediate gratification" mentality, we quit, we divorce, we abandon.

So when Jesus is asking you: "“What are you looking for?” or what are you expecting from me, what are you searching for?" answer honestly. When He is proposing: "Come and see" don't delay, go and see where He is and stay with Him, like Simon, and Andrew, and John, and Matthew, and so many others.

Because as St. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 1: 27-29):
"God chose (called) rather the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
he chose those who by human standards are weak to shame the strong
those who by human standards are common and contemptible -- indeed those who count for nothing – He choose (called) to reduce to nothing all those that do count for something, so that no human being might boast before God."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Baptism of the Lord

Home-made religion

John the Baptist was a very fierce man. This might be what you would expect of a man who lived most of his life in the desert. He knew all about hardship and he had the marks of penance on his body. Much of his message was taken up in condemnation, condemnation of those living a life of luxury and giving no thought to the life of the Spirit.
But if John was so fierce why did so many people come to him, people from all over Palestine? If I preached fierce condemnatory sermons each week you would soon get fed up, so why did the people flock to hear John.
They came because he had a message of hope and truth. Yes, he was fierce, but he was also truthful. He tapped into something deep inside each person. He knew that each one of us is profoundly aware of their own guilt and wants to repent and he drew this out.
But he was also able to tell them that one of their deepest yearnings was also about to be filled, a Saviour was about to come. One who would reach out to them with the hand of healing and Salvation. They came to John because he had a message of hope and Truth, and the hope he pointed to Jesus Who is the Truth.
Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus asked John to baptism him "to fulfill all righteousness." The words "to fulfill all righteousness" meant to live by God's will, to do all God commands.
The baptism of Christ reminds us about our own baptism. At his baptism, God identified Jesus as his "beloved son." At our baptism, we become sons and daughters of God, identified as "Christian." We have no more noble title. Jesus became the suffering servant. We are called to serve. We have no more noble task than to do God's will, to serve others, to do all God commands.
And what indeed we do with our baptism, with our faith, with our moral obligations? 
Famous German theologian Karl Rahner in his book “Foundations of the faith” writes:
“True religion, as a religion of the transcendental God and not the religion of my own subjective imagination cannot be rooted only in my subjectivity or depend only on my individual projection. It has to be a religion of objective and indisputable moral and ethical values rooted ultimately in God, Who is always out of me and finally out of my understanding. If the religion is only an expression and interpretation of my personal understanding and my private acceptation, it is always subjective and week, and finally it is a kind of home made religion. And what is the value of such a homemade religion? The value of such a homemade religion is the same as the value the home made currency. Means null, literally zero!!”
And this is what we precisely do nowadays with our baptism. We create a kind of homemade religion, which is absolutely subjective and depending only on my private acceptation and rejection depending on my private and subjective caprices.
Very often contemporary Christians see the religion rather as merchandise in the supermarket. Many people declare their adherence to the Catholic Church, but they “privatize” faith making it “more human, soft and flexible.” They accept God as long as He is obedient to them, accommodating, submissive and yielding to their desires.
They say I believe in God, I believe that God exists but I don’t believe God, I don’t trust Him, I don’t accept all or at least some commencements. Their decisions are not an effect of the commandments of God and the teaching of the Church but their personal convictions, they agree that robbery is a sin, but they reject for example the moral teaching in the domain of sexuality.
Sociologist Chuck Colson, who has examined this trend, says that "instead of adhering to a specific set of doctrines, they feel free to pick and choose from all the various belief systems, or to create their own tailor-made religion." 
This is dangerous ground. The true believer knows that Jesus Christ is the only way to God (Acts 4:12), and that the Bible, God's inspired Word, is the only true source of instruction (2 Timothy 3:15-16). The true believer knows also that sin is a terrible reality and not only the invention of some ultra superstitious priests. They know that: “Whoever says, ‘I know God’, but does not obey His commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist” (1 John 2:4)
All beliefs and practices relating to spirituality must be based on biblical truth—not on how appealing they may sound. Don't trust a homemade religion that contains a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Make your faith all about Jesus, and test everything by God's Word which was given to the Church “knowing this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20).
So, what did I do with my Baptism? Do I live by God's will, do I follow all God commandments or rather my personal, tailor-made caricature of faith?
Baptism of Christ Sunday reflections
We come today to the end of the Christmas season. And we have the third great ‘epiphany’ or showing of God in the human person of Jesus. The first ‘epiphany’ was at the birth of the child Jesus in the stable at Bethlehem when he was visited by the shepherds representing the poor, the marginalized and the sinful for whom Jesus had specially come. The second ‘epiphany’ was when the ‘wise men’ came from ‘the East’ to worship the newly born Jesus. They represented all those peoples and nations who were being invited to be numbered among God’s own people through the mediation of Jesus as Lord.
Today we celebrate the third great ‘epiphany’ of the Lord in Jesus Christ. The time is much later. Jesus is now an adult, probably about 30 years of age. We are brought to the banks of the River Jordan somewhere north of Jerusalem where John the Baptist, a cousin of Jesus, is living out in the desert. The desert in some ways is a place where God can be found, although for Jesus it was also a place of trial and temptation. 
John leads a very austere life, dressed in the simplest of clothes and sustaining himself on whatever nourishment he can find in the vicinity. He has made a name for himself as a man of God and large numbers come out to hear and be influenced by him.
The opening words of today’s Gospel tell us that he was proclaiming “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. It is important not to misunderstand the meaning of these words. It would be quite wrong to think that people simply had to come for baptism in the river for all their sins to be wiped out. That would be little more than superstition. The baptism itself was a symbolic act which had to be accompanied by an inner change. The word for ‘repentance’ here is metanoia (metanoia) in Greek. It implies a radical change in the way we look at the meaning and purpose of life and how we live that life ourselves. It calls for much more than is normally connoted by ‘repentance’ which we normally understand as ‘being sorry’ for something we have done. Metanoiais much more than just feeling sorry. It calls for a total reorganization of one’s attitudes so that such errant or hurting behaviour would simply disappear from one’s life.
And the ‘forgiveness of sins’ is more than just God just wiping out the guilt and the threat of punishment that our sins might involve. In a sense, our sins can never be wiped out. The damage they do often lasts for a very long time and cannot be undone. If I have murdered someone, they stay dead no matter how sorry I feel. If I have destroyed a person’s reputation, it may remain destroyed for ever. Hurtful words spoken cannot be called back.
Baptism of Christ Sunday Reflection
Baptism means for us what it meant for Jesus that day he stepped into the River Jordan and was washed by John. He was beginning his public life, his mission. His baptism was his initiation, his entrance into that mission. He emerged from the water appointed by the Father to do his work. In the waters of baptism we have been initiated, called and appointed. We have been initiated into a worldwide people, called to discipleship and commissioned to ministry. Jesus was already the Son of God although He was officially promoted to be the God’s Son and He didn’t need to be freed from sin. But in our baptism there is something more, we are liberated from the original sin and made the children of God and this is our true promotion, our appointment.
“This is my Beloved Son, listen to him.” The importance of this epiphany lies in the words of the Father. Jesus and Jesus alone is our teacher. In a world full of gurus, dynamic preachers, and people of every opinion imaginable each with thousands and thousands of followers; we need to look to only one place, to only one person for guidance. We only need to look to Jesus Christ. Our way to God the Father is through the person of Jesus Christ. We take these steps by responding to his call for us to take up our crosses and follow him. Any theory or practice that diminishes the need for Jesus in our lives or relegates his presence to a secondary role cannot be our way to the Father. We are not told to listen to this guru, or that dynamic preacher, or to read this or that famous writer, we are told to listen only to the Beloved Son. 
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is a very good opportunity to remember our own Baptism. The most important part of the baptismal rite is the faith commitment that we bring to it. Our sponsors may have made this promise for us many years ago but we must now claim that commitment in our own names. And that means nothing less than a deeply personal decision to follow Christ by living in a truly unselfish manner. It also means to renounce the alluring but false suggestion of Satan that self-indulgence leads to happiness.
Let us see a little bit closer some theological aspects and life implications of the Sacrament of Baptism. We know that the Baptism as all 7 Sacraments is the visible sign of the invisible grace.
What are the visible signs in the rite of Baptism? One is certainly the water - the same sign which was used by Saint John when baptizing Jesus in the waters of Jordan. The second one are the words: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”. These words are known as the sacramental formula which was given to the disciples by Christ Himself before His Ascension. St. Matthew’s Gospel is ending with the following words:
“Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."
So these two visible signs are the external symbols of the internal graces we receive in the Sacrament of Baptism. Those graces are at least four:
childhood or divinization - by the Baptism God adopted us as His beloved children in whom He is well pleased. He instituted a new relationship between me and Him, He became my Father, and I am –since then- His child. Do I realize what my dignity as the child of God is?
forgiveness of all sins and reception of the sanctifying grace of God. By Baptism God forgives all my sins and creates the conditions of an intimate Communion with Him. Only because of His Sanctifying Grace we are able to approach Him and to call Him “Our Father”.
through Baptism we are buried with Christ for sins and we are born anew  to a new life of freedom, as the coheirs of the Everlasting Life, as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
and finally we became the members of the People of God, the Church.
We will never be able to understand full the first three graces we receive through the Sacrament of Baptism. We will be able to see the fullness of these graces in Heaven once facing God as He is. But already here we have to be aware of the dignity we received, the dignity of the children of God, brother and sisters of His Son Jesus Christ, invited to participate in the Community of God.
But this dignity is also a source of our moral obligations. As Jesus commanded His disciples: “to baptize all nations teaching them to observe all that He have commanded  …”. And what does it mean? The answer we can find in today’s second reading, where St. John says:
“In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God consists in this, that we keep his commandments.”
During the rite of Baptism our parents and godparents where asked some questions and they answer on our behalf. Let us remind us these questions: 
Parents and Godparents, if your faith makes you ready to accept this responsibility, renew now the vows of your own baptism.  Reject sin; profess your faith in Christ Jesus.  This is the faith of the Church.  This is the faith in which the child is about to be baptized.
Priest:   Do you reject Satan?
P and G: I do
Priest:  And all his works?
P and G: I do
Priest: And all his empty promises?
P and G: I do
The second part of the dialog is what we know as the Creed. We repeat it every time we participate in the Sunday Eucharist. It will be maybe necessary to reflect upon this text, so to realize fully what I believe as a baptized child of God.
But we have to see clearly that from the fact of being baptized originate not only the graces and supernatural gifts but also some rights and obligations. 
As a member of the Church, the community of saints founded by Jesus Christ I have some rights … like for example the right to other sacraments, the sacrament of the Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist included or also for example the right for Christian burial.
But I have not to forget that as the child of God and the member of the Church I have also some obligations.
It will be absolutely incomprehensible to enjoy the rights without following the obligations. This is the meaning of the words of Saint John in today’s second reading: “the love of God consists in this, that we keep his commandments.”
Do we not know what the commandments are? We know the 10 commandments from the Old Testament, we know the 2 commandments from the New Testament, we know the 6 church commandments … we know our moral obligations, we know that our first and the most important obligation (at the same time our most priceless right) is the participation in the Holy Eucharist.
And what??? What is our answer? We are quite good in claiming our rights but at the same time we are rather forgetful or even neglectful in fulfilling our obligations.
I read somewhere a frightening diagnosis of the contemporary Christianity:
An atheist said:
"If Christians are the light of the world, somebody has forgotten to turn the switch on.
Since 1960, there has been a 560% increase in violent crimes, more than a 400% increase in illegitimate births, a quadrupling of divorce rates, tripling of children in single-parent homes. And what about the abortion and euthanasia, what about the other moral issues? The world does seem to be going to hell in a hand-basket.”
Very harsh characteristic of our Christian conditions, but is it far away from the truth?
I was baptized and what are the results of this fact in my life? The commandment of Christ: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” is constantly valid and legitimate, but also challenging … me too.
Sunday Reflection - Baptism of Christ Sunday 
1. Baptism is a true Sacrament initiated by Christ. The Church Fathers cite Scripture verses such as Mt 28:19 and Jn 3:5 to show that Baptism as a Sacrament comes from Jesus himself. Strictly speaking, John's baptism is not a sacrament but a ritual that involves repentance and a symbolic cleansing bath. Jesus would take John's basic ritual and transform it into a true Sacrament.
2. Baptism can be done by immersion or infusion, that is, pouring water over the head. Complete immersion has a richer symbolism, but infusion is equally valid.
3. In the form of Baptism it is essential that there be a distinct expression of God as One and Three. For validity, the person must be baptized "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." 
4. Anyone using the required matter (water) and form (formula) - and having the intention of baptizing - can validly confer the Sacrament. He does so licitly, however, only in the case of necessity. The normal minister of baptism is the deacon, priest or bishop.
5. Baptism is necessary for all in respect to salvation, whether they be infants or adults. The early writers, like us, had theories about those who - through no fault of their own - did not receive baptism. Still, they were firm in maintaining the necessity of baptism - that it is the only means given by Jesus to enter everlasting life. 
6. Even infants are capable of receiving Baptism. From earliest times Christian writers testify to practice of baptizing the children of believing parents.
7. The effect of Baptism is spiritual regeneration. The baptized person is reborn by receiving remission of every sin and the infusion of Sanctifying Grace.
Prayer of the faithful:
Almighty God, our Father, we know that your truth is revealed in your Son Jesus Christ, but very often we reject Him as your revelation, give us please the grace of the ultimate recognition of the Truth revealed in Christ and given to us trough the Church.
May the incarnation and Baptism of your Son Jesus Christ be for us always a source and example of our personal obedience to your commandments and may it reminds us of our dignity of the children of God. We ask this trough Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen

confusion ...

We are living not yet in the age of great apostasy. This is still to come, but I will dare to say that we are living in the age of a great confusion, a huge disorientation, disarray and disastrous ambiguity. Unhappily those who suppose to help us to go the straight and sure way are causing even more riddles and puzzles. I fully agree with someone who wrote on one discussion's portal: "When the shepherd is more concerned with the feelings of his sheep than their souls, there is a problem. His primary role is to show us the way to become saints; not to make us happy in this life."

In this situation -I think- the words of Pope John II are prophetic. He said in His Apostolic Exhortation, "Reconciliatio et paenitentia", (nr. 25): "In order to overcome conflicts and to ensure that normal tensions do not prove harmful to the unity of the Church, we must all apply to ourselves the word of God; we must relinquish our own subjective views and seek the truth where it is to be found, namely in the divine word itself and in the authentic interpretation of that word provided by the Magisterium of the Church."

The quest for popularity and political correctness are the very dangerous attitudes, causing much more harm to the Church than the open errors, lies and revolt. This is exactly the situation of the "wolfs disguised in the sheepskin", Jesus is warning us against.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

the only concern ...

Am I aware that:
 "For the Christian salvation isn't the main thing, it's the only thing!"

Jesus Himself tells us that if we were to gain the whole world yet lose our souls in the process, in the end we have gained nothing. (cf. Lk 9:25) In fact, we will have missed the very purpose for which God created us, namely, to share eternal life with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.

more here

Friday, January 02, 2015

II Sunday of Christmas

Sir 24, 1-2.8-12
Eph 1, 6.15-18
John 1, 1-18

In the beginning was the Word ... He came to His own and His own people did not accept Him ...

The words of today's Gospel are a repetition of what we heard on the Christmas Day. It's a great hymn of St. John, where the author, the youngest apostle of Christ gives us in full the profundity of the theological truth about Jesus the Son of God - the Word made flesh, Light, Life and Truth. These words are so beautiful and extremely profound, but it seems that they are difficult to understand and sometimes, "we let them pass by near or over our heads." However, I think one needs to grow up in a certain intelligence, to understand their depth and surrender to their inner strength and power, so that they become full of meaning and splendor for the listener. You have to let you be absorbed by its wisdom and taste them slowly and without haste, like poetry, which reveals its profundity only to experts. Unfortunately, we often cannot afford that, we are much too busy and too rational.

What John the Apostle wants to tell us, is primarily a bottomless truth about the mystery of the Incarnation, which becomes more understandable when you combine it with the mystery of the Redemption. God became man, lived in the human world, from His fullness He gave us "grace upon grace". This alone can clarify and justify the coming of God into the world in human flesh. All that we are and what we will be, all we have and we can have, absolutely everything, we have from Him and through Him ...

John in his prologue also highlights another truth. Sad and frightening truth, the truth that this God, God-Man, Who came to His creature, by this creature was rejected, unrecognized, neglected, and even  ... negated. It is, as if a product, furniture, table, car produced by a human ... told the creator: "I do not know you, you do not exist, I created you, you're just a fabrication of my sick imagination ..."

Often, that's what happens when kids wanting a freedom or "emancipation" with some incredibly perverse mentality reproach and with absurd bitterness turn to their parents, saying: "I am in the world where I did not ask to be! Why did you give me a birth? I do not know you and do not I want to know you! And then, what parents can say? How can they respond to this kind of "wisdom"?

Is it not that I'm resembling this capricious and spoiled child who wants to "liberate himself from an oppressive parental care"?

Vox Cantoris: A letter from a mother: Mary Wagner's mother to the people of Poland -- and Canada!

Mary Wagner the most famous Canadian ....

Vox Cantoris: A letter from a mother: Mary Wagner's mother to the people of Poland -- and Canada!