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.

A Day To Remember: September 11, 2001


I had pre-ordered Bob Dylan’s Love and Theft, it’s release date was…..you guessed it. September 11, 2001. The store I had ordered it from closed and I had to wait until the next day to get it.

MississippiLove and Theft

Here’s a tribute to those who never got to hear it, who gave their lives, to a cause greater than themselves.

May God bless those families who lost loved ones.

Let us never forget.

God Bless America

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! 

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.

The Pendulum Swings…Both Ways


I suppose most have heard the news of the day regarding religion from these stories:

So, what’s going on? The first article states:

“Immigration is playing a key role in shifting the religious balance in the United States, said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. It’s not that the United States will become increasingly less Protestant; it’s that the United States will become increasingly less white, and the big pattern there is among Latinos,” Lugo said. “The vast majority of immigrants to the US — over 70 percent — are Christian,” Lugo said.”But while native-born Protestants outnumber Catholics by two to one, among immigrants, Catholics outnumber Protestants by the same ratio,” he said.”

The first article goes on to say:

Around one-third of the survey respondents who said they were raised Catholic no longer describe themselves as Catholic.

But Catholics still make up around 25 percent of the US adult population of 225 million, thanks largely to the high number of Catholics among immigrants, mainly from Latin America, the study showed.

Let’s see what article two says:

The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, a massive 45-question survey conducted of 35,000 American adults 18 and older, revealed evangelical Protestants outnumber Catholics by 26.3 percent of the population (66 million) to 24 percent (54 million).

Why is it “us” against “them”?  There is one group of Catholic Churches. Protestants are everything from Anglican to “snake-handling” Free Will Baptist! Of course we’re out numbered!

While one in three Americans are raised Roman Catholic, one in four adults describe themselves as such, a loss of 10 percent despite the huge numbers of Hispanic Catholic immigrants swelling American churches, survey researchers said.

We must become better teachers/catechists, if we are to pass the faith on to our children!

Those who leave either drop out of church entirely or join Pentecostal or evangelical Protestant churches, Pew Forum director Luis Lugo said.

One out of every 10 evangelicals is a former Catholic, he said. Hispanic Catholics are leaving at higher rates; 20 percent of them end up in evangelical or Pentecostal churches.

I wonder why this might be (besides bad catechises)?

“It’s a desire for a closer experience of God,” he said. “It’s not so much disenchantment with the teachings of the Catholic Church but the pull of what they see in Pentecostalism.”

That says a lot, doesn’t it? Pentecostalism, emotionalism, expression, individualism.

So….what’s your take on this?

Public Policy Alert for Knights of Columbus in the U.S.


Congress considers transforming AIDS relief into a massive abortion program financed by U.S. taxpayers

ACTION:

A Congressional committee is about to take America’s overseas AIDS relief program and use it as a vehicle for population control and abortion promotion.  Knights are urged to write to their members of Congress (especially if they’re members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee) to oppose this change.  See additional details at the bottom of this e-mail alert.

BACKGROUND

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is due for reauthorization in 2008. In 2003 this bill was passed with bipartisan support and has a proven record of success in saving lives.

Last month, however, the House Foreign Affairs Committee proposed a reauthorization bill (the “Global HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008”) which would drop the program’s exclusive focus on HIV/AIDS, and define HIV/AIDS and pregnancy as a “dual threat” to women’s lives.

The $50 billion authorized by the bill would then be used for both AIDS relief and what are termed “women’s reproductive health services” and “family planning services.” Although the bill’s definition of “reproductive health” does not mention “abortion,” abortion advocates have long interpreted “reproductive health” and “family planning” to include abortion.  Women seeking solely HIV/AIDS treatment could unexpectedly find themselves subjected to abortion counseling.

MEXICO CITY POLICY

Currently, the Mexico City Policy provides that no U.S. population assistance funds can be given to non-governmental organizations unless they certify that it will not perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning.  But the Mexico City Policy does not apply to AIDS relief legislation.  The insertion of “reproductive health” and “family planning” in AIDS relief legislation is a ploy to redirect AIDS relief money to international abortion organizations, and represents an end run around the Mexico City Policy restrictions.  Foreign abortion groups that cannot currently obtain US funding for family planning would be able to do so under this AIDS relief legislation. 

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES AFFECTED

Catholic health institutions deliver approximately 25% of all HIV and AIDS care worldwide, and this bill places Catholic participation in jeopardy. Men, women and children seeking treatment for HIV and AIDS by Catholic providers in the world’s poorest regions could lose their access to treatment.

On February 6, Bishop Thomas Wenski, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, President of Catholic Relief Services, wrote to the Foreign Affairs Committee, welcoming the major increase in funding for AIDS relief, but said that they were “deeply troubled” by inclusion of ‘reproductive health’ and ‘family planning’ services . . .” 

That is why the National Right to Life Committee and many other organizations are asking that the legislation be changed, and we ask that you do, too.

Click here for the full text of Bishop Wenski’s letter and a fact sheet.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Contact members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee by phone, FAX or e-mail.  This is especially important if your own representative in Congress is a member of the committee.  Click here for a list of committee members.

Even if your representative is not on the committee, it will also be helpful to contact your representative and your U.S. senators by mail, Fax, e-mail or phone.  Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121 or call your representative’s local office. 

MESSAGE:

“When you reauthorize the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), please do NOT link the AIDS/HIV program to family planning and abortion.  PEPFAR should keep its bipartisan focus on saving human lives.  Those suffering from HIV/AIDS should not be sacrificed to the cause of abortion and population control.”

WHEN:

Due to the death of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, markup of this legislation has been postponed until February 25.  Immediate action will ensure that your voice is heard before the committee action is taken.