Jesus Comes Home: Mark 6: 1-6


He departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.  When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter,  the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.  Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. He went around to the villages in the vicinity teaching.

This passage must drive universal salvationists, as well as hyper-Calvinists loony. What do I mean? Well this passage of scripture, places limits on the unlimited God . What’s going on?

Well, we have here yet another paradox presented to us. Much as the paradox Jesus Himself was; all man and all God, at the same time. We see here the example of the All Powerful God being limited by man . How can this be?

Anytime we have a paradox, it is helpful to not to draw any hard-line “either/or” conclusions. But what needs to be done is to weigh the paradoxical statements  seeing indeed, how they work together.

A great example of this, of course, is the Incarnation  itself. The All Powerful God chose to work through humanity, instead of around it. As a matter of fact, God has always chosen to work through humanity, using their actions and decisions ; starting with Adam and Eve in the garden.

When God created mankind, he gave him what we call free-will . The ability to make choices. Good or evil. God allows us to make these decisions, because of the love He has for His creation. Grace is offered to all, some receive it, others don’t. God doesn’t force His grace upon anyone , yet it is always present.

It’s the same in this case. Jesus comes home, to His native place, to teach and proclaim the gospel. And His relatives refuse to realize who Jesus is. They reckon in their human understanding,Is he not the carpenter,  the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? They thought they knew all there was to know, and refused what God was offering to them; Himself. They had heard of His mighty deeds, they were hearing is wisdom, but still the refused. In fact it states, they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”

And Sacred Scripture goes on to say, So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there because of their lack of faith. A cooperation with one another. God with man and man with God. Not a fifty-fifty relationship, but 100% cooperation  with one another.

What is so prevalent in Christianity today, is the same attitude that Jesus hometown realitives had; just enough knowledge about who Jesus is, as to be completely wrong about  who He is!

Many Christians will not go to the polls and vote  this election day, reasoning that “God establishes governments” and therefore, He doesn’t need my help. And on one level, this is indeed true. But God has chosen to limit His All Powerfulness – for us to be able to participate  in His on-going salvation history story.

Remember when Israel asked God for a king ? The people chose Saul, yet God told Samuel He had someone else in mind. What is the immediate difference from that of the people and that of God? The people looked on the outside  appearance, and God looked upon the inside ; the heart.

Look closely at the candidates and their actions , for their actions will indeed reveal what is within their heart  (Matt. 15: 19-20). And your actions will reveal what is within yours. Will you use  this election as an excuse for your inactivity? Will you let  the the liberal agenda be imposed on you, because you didn’t want to impose your “christian” agenda on them?

Wake up Christian’s !! God wants to use you. He wants to use you in this particular way, to change the world . This is one of the few direct ways, that us “little folks” have the chance to effect the whole world. Let’s not squander it . Let us go forward, in the name of our Father, and reclaim this land for Him. He was gracious enough to give it to us in the first place, let’s reclaim it for His glory .

Our inactivity will jeopardize this country , just as our inactivity will jeopardize our standing in God’s kingdom. Render to Caesar what’s Caesar’s and to God what’s God’s. Isn’t it all God’s? Another paradox, or a call for God’s children to be active in the affairs of this world ?

So this week, let us make history  and not become history! Go and vote ! Vote Pro-life , Pro-family ; for these issues are Pro-God ! Economies will fluctuate, leaders will rise and fall; but life, and the family were here before  those things; and will remain after  these things have passed.

Blessings to you this week!

Amen.

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Happy Birthday Humanae Vitae


Pope Paul VI’s encyclical turns forty today!

If you’ve never read it check out the link. It’s an insightful and prohpetical letter.

Here is the opening:

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.

The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.

Enjoy! 

Jesus Chooses His Mother: Part I


In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her he said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”  Luke 1:26-31

Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.  

The greeting of the angel Gabriel to Mary is of great importance to understand in the context of salvation history. Let’s look at this section of sacred scripture to see how.

First the  Hail” or, as it is also translated “Rejoice” would’ve for Mary, and should for us, call to mind the Old Testament passages that refer to “Daughter Zion” and her “faithful children” rejoicing in the coming Messianic age. For God has chosen to dwell in their midst (Joel 2:23-24; Zeph. 3:14-17; Zech. 9:9).

 

 Chosen to be the virgin mother of the Messiah, Mary is greeted with this word, for she would indeed become the “daughter” who would bring God’s Messiah to the faithful “children”.

Next, the word “full of grace” happens to be one word in the Greek text (kecharitomene) which has a very different expression of the same words Luke uses of Stephen in Acts 6:8 (pleres charitos). Kecharitomene indicates that God has already graced Mary previous to this point, making her a vessel who, has been and is now, filled with the Divine Life.

Different translations such as, “favored one” or “highly favored” are possible but fall short in meaning, because of the special and unique role that Mary accepts at this hinge-point of salvation history. Since God endowed Mary with an abundance of grace, preparing her for this call to divine motherhood, the best translation should be the more exalted one.

This better explains the reaction of Mary after the greeting. But she was greatly troubled at the saying and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.

I mean, look at the text, Gabriel had not mentioned anything to her at this point, of God’s plan for her. So why would she become greatly troubled by the saying and the greeting? It only makes sense in this context.

Again, this is no call to “worship” Mary. Mary calls us to worship her Son, Jesus.

Vatican declares Knights of Columbus founder “venerable”


New Haven, CT – March 16, 2008   Pope Benedict XVI Saturday approved a decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. The pope’s declaration significantly advances the priest’s process toward sainthood and gives the parish priest the distinction of “Venerable Servant of God.” If canonized, Fr. McGivney would be the first American born priest to be so honored.

“All of us who are members of the Knights of Columbus are profoundly grateful for this recognition of the holiness of our founder,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “The strength of the Knights of Columbus today is a testament to his timeless vision, his holiness and his ideals.”

Worried about the religious faith and financial stability of immigrant families, Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus with the help of several men of St. Mary’s Parish in New Haven in 1882 to help strengthen the faith of the men of his parish and to provide financial assistance in the event of their death to the widows and orphans they left behind. He was also known for his tireless work among his parishioners.

Born in Waterbury, Conn., Aug. 12, 1852, Michael Joseph McGivney, was the first of Patrick and Mary (Lynch) McGivney’s 13 children, six of whom died in infancy or early childhood. His parents, natives of Ireland, had immigrated to the United States during the 19th century. Patrick was a molder in a Waterbury brass mill, where Michael himself worked for a brief time as a child to help support his family.

From an early age, however, he realized a calling to the Catholic priesthood. After studying in several seminaries, he was ordained in that Baltimore’s historic Cathedral by Cardinal James Gibbons Dec. 22, 1877. He took up his first assignment, as curate at St. Mary’s Church, New Haven, Conn., Jan. 2, 1878. Father McGivney was named pastor of St. Thomas Church in Thomaston, Conn. in 1884. He became seriously ill with pneumonia in January 1890, and died Aug. 14, 1890 at age 38.

The cause, or process, for Father McGivney’s sainthood, was opened by Hartford Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin, in December 1997. The cause was presented to the Vatican in 2000, where it has been under review by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. With the pope’s recent decree, and the authentication of a miracle at Father McGivney’s intercession, the priest could be beatified. A second miracle would be required for canonization.

Still maintaining its headquarters in New Haven, the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic Fraternal Organization with more than 1.7 million members in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America, the Caribbean islands, the Philippines, Guam and, most recently, Poland.

Is It A Ministry Or A Job?


If you are doing it because no one else will, it’s a job. If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it’s a ministry.

If you are doing it just well enough to get by, it’s a job. If you are doing it to the best of your ability, it’s a ministry.

If you will do it only so long as it does not interfere with other activities, it’s a job. If you are committed to staying with it, even when it means letting go of other things, it’s a ministry.

If you quit because no one praised you or thanked you, it’s a job. If you stay with it even when no one seems to notice, it’s a ministry.

If you do it because someone else said it needed to be done, it’s a job. If you do it because you are convinced it needs to be done, it’s a ministry.

It’s hard to get excited about a job. It is almost impossible NOT to get excited about a ministry.

People may say, “Well done,” when you do your job. The Lord will say, “Well done!”  when you complete your ministry.

An average church is filled with people doing jobs. A great church is filled with people involved in ministry.

(Author Unknown)

A Legacy of Faith:The Last Thoughts From My Grandmother


This is a letter written by My Grandmother, Ollie Mae Wilbanks, shortly before her death on August 2, 2007. I love you and I miss you Mam-maw.

“My first thoughts are how I wish I had something to leave each of you to make your life as rich as mine has been for me. This is it.

I do leave, or have tried to leave a pattern of faith in my Lord Jesus Christ for each of you to follow. Only make it stronger and each of you do a lot more for our Lord than I have. I just hope and pray that each one will receive a crown and many stars to meet Jesus with when you go home. I probably won’t even have a crown. I feel I do so little for Him. But you have so much more time to do things for Him. I was 32 years old  before I became acquainted with my Lord and Savior. I feel I wasted many years by not going to hear His word. He did so much for me when I did get to know Him and He still does. I couldn’t live without Him. In fact, I didn’t know what it meant to live before I met and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. His love for me was worth it all. I had so many disappointments, but He lived in my heart and made all of them disappear. And the dearest thing in my life was when I could go to Him in prayer, and my prayers would be answered. I had the peace that passeth all understanding. I even loved your children, your grandchildren and  great-grandchildren and even your great-great-grandchildren with the love of my Jesus. I have even learned to love unlovely people by letting Jesus love them through me. For He is wonderful to me. He counsels me at times, He is the Mighty God of my life. He is my everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace for me. Without Him I couldn’t live. That is what I want to leave each of you. Just reach out in faith and He will be all these great things for each one who will only turn to Him and ask. He gives peace when there is turmoil. He gives a song in your heart when you are heartbroken and restores you. He is there for you when you are lonely and keeps you from being lonely. He is just the most precious One you can count on anytime. More than that, He loves you more than I can or can possibly tell you. This One, is the One I want you each to love and treasure in your hearts and teach the little ones to love Him. You can count on Jesus so much more than any human being. When we trust humans we are a great risk. When we trust Jesus it means peace that passeth all understanding without a risk. This is my prayer for everyone I leave.

Love always, Mother.

Dear Father God, place a hedge around each one I leave here so evil can’t get to them, so each one can work and get close to him and tell others who don’t know Jesus to love Him. This is the main thing He leaves us here to do. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.”