Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why Silencing Christians will Continue



Why Silencing Christians will Continue | Crisis Magazine



"The older notion of “free speech” as a search for the truth through
reasonable argument is being replaced. We no longer want to hear speech
if it “offends” someone’s feelings or self-defined identity."

The Gospel is Very Clear




Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Catholicism: Scandalous in Every Age


Catholicism: Scandalous in Every Age

"I don’t know what the word “conservative” means, if we are talking about the teachings of Jesus and of the Church. That’s because those teachings transcend politics, and are always going to be a scandal, no matter what culture encounters them."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spread 'joyous wonder' of Easter, says Pope Francis



Spread 'joyous wonder' of Easter, Pope tells Christians :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

A Yard of Weeds: Coming Home to the Catholic Church.


weed


"Joining the Church — the mystical body of Christ — through the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are only the beginning. I am now a seedling having broken into new life and must now reach toward my God-written destiny. I am surrounded by a forest — the Church –, those still on their journeys and those who have gone before us (the saints), who stand like towering sequoias who nurture, protect, and guide us along with the Holy Spirit."

A Yard of Weeds: Coming Home to the Catholic Church.

and

Read his wife's conversion story too.

Monday, April 21, 2014

"The Church of Mercy" Homiles of Pope Francis



New book of Pope Francis' homilies during his first year as head of  the Catholic Church!




"In the year since he was elected, Pope Francis’s simple message of mercy, service, and renewal has spread to every corner of the world. Through his gentle demeanor, selfless actions, and welcoming call for service to others, Pope Francis has captured the attention of a world longing for an authentic message of hope—we want to hear what he has to say.

Collected from Pope Francis’s speeches, homilies, and papers presented during the first year of his papacy, The Church of Mercy is the first Vatican-authorized book detailing his vision for the Catholic Church. From how to be citizens of the world to answering God’s call for evangelization, Pope Francis's deep wisdom reminds us that the Church must move beyond its own walls and joyfully bring God's mercy wherever suffering, division, or injustice exists.

Named TIME Magazine’s 2013 “Person of the Year,” Pope Francis is helping the Church continue toward an authentic Christianity that is faithful to the Gospel and resonant with the world’s greatest needs. The Church of Mercy encourages each of us to ignite the flame within to help share the light of Christ and revitalize the Church.  (Amazon.com)

Return to Your Own Galilee and Be Surprised by the Lord


Father John Paul, in his homily on EWTN today, discusses Pope Francis' Easter message about returning to your own 'Galilee', where you first met the Lord and learned of His Love for you.

 Fr. John Paul reminds us to always be ready to be surprised by the Lord.


Easter Season Celebration of Faith and Joy

 

Ways to keep the Faith: A checklist for the Easter season It should be eight weeks of continuous celebration and joy

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pope Francis' Easter Vigil Homily

Jesus Christ

"Go back to 'Galilee',
that place where you first met Christ. 
Return to your First Love.
Rekindle that fire." ~ Pope Francis



Pope Francis' homily at the Easter Vigil this evening in St. Peter's basilica:
"The Gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ begins with the journey of the women to the tomb at dawn on the day after the Sabbath. They go to the tomb to honour the body of the Lord, but they find it open and empty. A mighty angel says to them: "Do not be afraid!" (Mt 28:5) and orders them to go and tell the disciples: "He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee" (v. 7). The women quickly depart and on the way Jesus himself meets them and says: "Do not fear; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me" (v. 10).
After the death of the Master, the disciples had scattered; their faith had been utterly shaken, everything seemed over, all their certainties had crumbled and their hopes had died. But now that message of the women, incredible as it was, came to them like a ray of light in the darkness. The news spread: Jesus is risen as he said. And then there was his command to go to Galilee; the women had heard it twice, first from the angel and then from Jesus himself: "Let them go to Galilee; there they will see me". 
Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began! To return there, to return to the place where they were originally called. Jesus had walked along the shores of the lake as the fishermen were casting their nets. He had called them, and they left everything and followed him (cf. Mt 4:18-22).
To return to Galilee means to re-read everything on the basis of the cross and its victory. To re-read everything – Jesus’ preaching, his miracles, the new community, the excitement and the defections, even the betrayal – to re-read everything starting from the end, which is a new beginning, from this supreme act of love.
For each of us, too, there is a "Galilee" at the origin of our journey with Jesus. "To go to Galilee" means something beautiful, it means rediscovering our baptism as a living fountainhead, drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience. To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters. That flame ignites a humble joy, a joy which sorrow and distress cannot dismay, a good, gentle joy.
In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also a more existential "Galilee": the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission. In this sense, returning to Galilee means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him. It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.
Today, tonight, each of us can ask: What is my Galilee? Where is my Galilee? Do I remember it? Have I forgotten it? Have I gone off on roads and paths which made me forget it? Lord, help me: tell me what my Galilee is; for you know that I want to return there to encounter you and to let myself be embraced by your mercy.
The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of his resurrection. This is not to go back in time; it is not a kind of nostalgia. It is returning to our first love, in order to receive the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth.
"Galilee of the Gentiles" (Mt 4:15; Is 8:23)! Horizon of the Risen Lord, horizon of the Church; intense desire of encounter… Let us be on our way!"


Friday, April 18, 2014

Fr. Cantalamessa's Good Friday Homily

 Full text of Fr Cantalamessa’s homily:

Good Friday homily: Judas' story ‘should move us to surrender' to Christ


"Peter had confidence in the mercy of Christ, and Judas did not! Judas’ greatest sin was not in having betrayed Christ but in having doubted his mercy."

Jesus the Bridegroom



"Friday of the Passion of the Lord

"There is an excellent new book by Brant Pitre on Jesus the Bridegroom (Image 2014). It has helped me understand the mystery we celebrate today and I'd would like simply to summarize the major points of his reflections, offering them to you for your prayer and meditation on this holy day...."  

 Good Friday Homily: Jesus the Bridegroom

 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

King of Kings

This is the  movie that changed my life!

 Having grown up in an unhappy athesist family, I had no religious instruction. Though fortunately,  I was baptized Catholic, due to the insistence of my grandma and the grace of God.

The movie "King of Kings" came out in 1961, but I did not see it until much later, when I was blessed to live with a Catholic family.

When I first saw this movie during Holy Week many years ago, my heart was burst wide open!  I had never seen such love as Christ's Love.

 During the last scene on the shore, with the Resurrected Jesus Christ speaking as his large shadow moved slowly across the shore, I was overwhelmed!  I remember crying from the deepest depths of my soul.

 Christ's words, "I am with you always, even to the end of the world.",  spoke to a burning hunger within me, I didn't even know was there.

Now, I always watch "King of Kings" every year during Holy Week. It never grows old, and the final scene still.... always brings tears.



Happy Birthday Benedict XVI




April 16th,  Pope B16 celebrates his 87th Birthday! We wish him many, many more! 

Join me this Holy Week in reading his outstanding book about this week in history,  what it meant to the world, and what it means for you and I today. 

"Jesus of Nazareth,  Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Where is My Heart

The question we must reflect on throughout Holy Week, 'Where is my heart?'
 Who am I as I stand before Christ?


"(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square calling on the faithful to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives.
With the some 100,000 people present to be with the Pope and mark the beginning of Holy Week, the Pope listened to the Gospel account of how Jesus’s disciples fell asleep just before he was betrayed by Judas before his crucifixion and then said: “Has my life fallen asleep?'' “Am I like Pontius Pilate, who, when he sees the situation is difficult, washes my hands?''
And speaking off the cuff instead of following his prepared homily, Pope Francis asked: “Where is my heart?'' pinpointing it as the “question which accompanies us'' throughout Holy Week.
After the ceremony Pope Francis disrobed of his red vestments, chatted to those close to him, and posed for “selfies”' with young people from Rio de Janeiro who had carried a large cross in the square.
For the occasion the Pope used a wooden pastoral staff carved by Italian prison inmates."

Full Text of Palm Sunday Homily by Pope Francis

Unconditional Love



Palm Sunday Reflection

From a sermon by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop
(Oratio 9 in ramos palmarum: PG 97, 990-994)
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.
Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority, and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity.
Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward Jerusalem, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.
In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens—the proof, surely, of his power and godhead—his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.
So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Holy Week




Father in Heaven,
ever-living source of all that is good,
keep me faithful during this Holy Week.
Help me to drink of Christ's Truth,
and fill my heart with His Love
so that I may serve You in faith
and love and reach eternal life.
In the Sacrament of the Eucharist
You give me the joy of sharing Your Life.
Keep me in Your presence.
Let me never be separated from You
and help me to do Your Will.

Amen