Category Archives: God

Deep into Scriptures: Palm Sunday

Hello,

I hope everyone is having a great lent and looking forward to Easter. I hope everyone has a blessed Holy Week in anticipation to the days of days Easter. I found this video by Bishop Robert Barron explicating some very interesting biblical nuances of Palm Sunday.

Cheers,

Caleb

More from Bishop Robert Barron: Word of Fire

Happy New Year: 2016!

london-new-year-fireworks-wallpapers-1024x768

Happy New Year Everyone!

As we boldly embark into 2016 may it be a year full of blessings, hope and growth. As we welcome the New Year I will like to share this reflection from Divine Office:

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron and his sons, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel; you shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them”

Num 6:22-27

Baby-Jesus-and-Mother-Mary-with-Angels-Wallpapers

Today is the Octave of Christmas, the Solemnity of Mary – the Holy Mother of God, and the World Day of Peace. As we remember the ancient blessing God gave the Israelites, may we be reminded of the Incarnation. For through the Incarnation of the Son of God through Mary His Mother, the peace that the world cannot give begins to be among us. Mary’s “sorrowing heart was enlarged to make room for all men and women, whether good or bad,” she offers “her maternal affection to each and every person… a source of hope and true joy.”

-Written by Sarah Ciotti

Many Blessings for 2016,

Caleb

The imperial roots of the Gospels…sort of

In today’s Advent reflection Bishop Robert Barron explains the roots of the word Gospel. I thought it was quite interesting and decided to share it with you:

Advent Reflection Day 18

“In Greek, the word “Gospel” is euangelion. Eu means good and angelion means tidings or message. This is where the word “angel” comes from, meaning simply “messenger.”

Now we automatically associate this word with religion, as in evangelization or evangelical. But at the time of the Gospels, the term euangelion was associated especially with military victory. It was the good news of triumph in battle. More to it, euangelion was associated with the deity and accomplishments of the emperor of Rome. By Jesus’ time, it had become a commonplace that the Roman emperor was considered a god. Thus when an emperor was installed, euangelion was proclaimed. And when the emperor would write a new law or win a military victory or in any other way assert his command, it was announced as euangelion.

So can you see how dangerous it is to announce the record of Jesus as a “gospel”? This good news has nothing to do with the Roman emperor and his army. It is proposing, in effect, a new emperor. And then for good measure, the writer Mark adds that he is writing the “gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Well, those were fighting words, for “son of God” was another title reserved for the Roman emperor.

Do you wonder now why Christians were persecuted for the first three centuries of the Church’s life? Do you wonder why every single apostle except for John was martyred? Do you wonder now why they threw Christians to wild beasts? It’s because they announced the true euangelion.

But what, or who, was this new emperor intending to fight? And what would be the nature of his military victory? John the Baptist provides us a clue. He preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But one was coming who was greater than John, one for whom John prepared the way, and that greater man would baptize in the power of the Holy Spirit. He would take on all of human sin and swallow it up in the divine mercy.

That’s the new emperor, and that’s the dangerous good news”.

Bishop Robert Barron


Robert Barron is the newly elected Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles as a great apostolate called Word On Fire. I have posted many of his videos which touches subjects from theology and arts to pop culture and movies.

The Witness of the Early Christian Church: St. Ignatius of Antioch

In his conversion story to the Catholic Church from Calvinism Dr. Peter Kreeft conveys a story in which a professor warned him that “some day you are going to meet a Roman Catholic and they are going to say you that you are in the wrong church because our church was founded by Christ and is 2,000 years old and your church was only founded by Calvin and 450 years old”. The professor argued that they better be well equipped to respond to such allegations. That Catholics were wrong that the reformation actually restored Christianity in its early form. That Christ found a church and that it was a protestant church, but like an Ark after 1,500 years of sailing it accumulated barnacles on its hull. What the reformers did was to scrap off those barnacles; they didn’t make anything new they restored something old. Dr. Kreeft was elated by the professor’s response and follows up with a question:

“If I took a time machine and when back 1900 years to the early church like around the one hundred you are saying to me that I would find it that it was a protestant church and if a Catholic and I both took the same time machine I would feel more at home than he would? The professors said “exactly”.

He was elated because at least he would have empirical proof to disprove the historical claims of the Catholic Church all he had to do was to read the accounts of the early Christian and show that they weren’t Catholic. And so it began, as many others before him, Dr. Kreeft was on the way to Rome.

So, what is it about early Christians that speaks so deeply and faithfully about the catholicity of the Church that Christ founded?

Their witness is one covered in the blood of martyrs and embedded in an intense and unflinching love for Christ and his Church. These are the Christians who heard the gospel from the apostles and were entrusted by them to boldly preach the name of Christ to all nations. Their writing gives us a first hand account of what it meant to be a Christian in the first century, but above all they give us a witness of how to be a Christian in the middle of persecutions and even in the confusion of heretical teachings:

st-ignatius-of-antioch-3

“Pray unceasingly for others; in their case there is hope for repentance, that they may obtain God. Permit them to become disciples by [seeing] your works. With regard to their expressions of anger; be meek; with regard to their boasts, be humble. Meet their blasphemies with your prayers and their deception with your steadfastness of faith. Meet their unruly life with your gentleness, and be diligent not to imitate them. Let us be found to be their brothers in gentleness and diligent to be imitators of the Lord. Who has been more wronged? Who has been defrauded? Who has been rejected? This is so that no wee of the devil may be found among you but that in purity and sobriety you may remain in Jesus Christ both bodily and spiritually”.

St. Ignatius of Antioch
Letter to the Ephesians

Their writings give us a clear description of the universality of the Church, the authority of the Bishop, and the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome in addition to a firm believes in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. One of such witness is St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was martyred in Rome during the reign of the Emperor Trajan earlier around the year 110. He was the third bishop of Antioch (a city in modern day Turkey) and knew the apostle John, the beloved disciple. On the way to his execution, he wrote six letters to different churches and one to St. Polycarp another witness of the early Church. His writings, reflect an intense devotion to Christ and an ardent love for his fellow Christians. He fervently talks about the unity of the Church under the bishop and the universality of the Church:

“See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church”.

Letter to the Smyrnaeans

 and the supremacy of the bishop of Rome:

” Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church that has found mercy in the greatness of the Most High Father and in Jesus Christ, his only son; to the Church beloved and enlightened after the love of Jesus Christ, our God, by the will of him that has willed everything which is; to the Church which also holds the presidency in the place of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and because you hold the presidency of love, named after Christ and named after the Father; here therefore do I salute in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father”.

 Letter to the Romans

 On the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist:

Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ, which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God… They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes.

Letter to the Smyrnaeans

The early writings of Christians are a treasure for all. They tell the stories of people who were in love with Christ to the point that they gave their lives for the Cross. It is our history and they serve as a reminder that Christ is with us until the end of the age:

“…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20

To ignore them is a tragedy.

I highly recommend Dr. Peter Kreeft talk “Seven Reasons to be Catholic” distributed by Light House Media.

I strongly encourage readers to go the source! That is go out and read the Apostolic Fathers in their own words:

The epistle of Ignatius of Antioch.

St. Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna

Clement of Alexadria: The Exhortation to the Greek The Rich Man’s Salvation. To the Newly Baptized

Among many others…

Another great books are: Four Witnesses and the Apostasy that wasn’t both books by historian Rod Bennett.

 

Ocean of Mercy

“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come”.

2 Corinthians 5:17

This is a powerful short video from Chris Stefanick about God’s mercy. Given that today as Catholics we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday I thought to share with all of you…hopefully you like it and share with others especially young people!

Jesus I trust in You!

Mental Sufferings of Our Lord in His Passion by Cardinal John Henry Newman

EVERY passage in the history of our Lord and Saviour is of unfathomable depth, and affords inexhaustible matter of contemplation. All that concerns Him is infinite, and what we first discern is but the surface of that which begins and ends in eternity. It would be presumptuous for any one short of saints and doctors to attempt to comment on His words and deeds, except in the way of meditation; but meditation and mental prayer are so much a duty in all who wish to cherish true faith and love towards Him, that it may be allowed us, my brethren, under the guidance of holy men who have gone before us, to dwell and enlarge upon what otherwise would more fitly be adored than scrutinised. And certain times of the year, this especially, call upon us to consider, as closely and minutely as we can, even the more sacred portions of the Gospel history. I would rather be thought feeble or officious in my treatment of them, than wanting to the Season; and so I now proceed because the religious usage of the Church requires it, and though any individual preacher may well shrink from it, to direct your thoughts to a subject, especially suitable now, and about which many of us perhaps think very little, the sufferings which our Lord endured in His innocent and sinless soul.

To continue reading please click here.

 

He loves you with a love that caused his heart to stop.

As we reach the summit of Holy Week I would like to charge again a mediation on John 15:9-11 by Fr. Vincent Serpar:

“Jesus said to his disciples:

As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete”.

John 15:9-11

Nowhere else do we find Jesus expressing such intimacy and vulnerability. What he said to them on Holy Thursday night he showed them on Good Friday. What he said to them he says to you this very moment! He loves you with a love that keeps your heart beating. He loves you with a love that caused his heart to stop. What are you going to do about it? What are you going to do about it?”

-Fr. Vincent Serpa
Chaplain of Catholic Answers Apostolate

From Fr. Vincent Serpa’s book “Just a minute, Sixty Seconds a Day with the Gospel”