CWA and Cameroon Catholic support ministry

Several years ago, a group of Cameroon women in the parish or county region came together to begin an ecclesial group.   We started a chapter of the CWA (Catholic Women’s Association) here at St. Edwards.   It involved our joining into an existing ministry branching out from Cameroon and Nigeria, which is making efforts to form parish groups on USA’s east coast, to where more Cameroons have moved.   The first one in the region came in 2006-07 in Burtonsville.  Ours followed afterward.

 

The Burtonsville Maryland start at Resurrection Parish was honored last Sunday, with a bishops visit there.   It was Bishop George Nkuo from Kumbo diocese.IMAG1323

My own closer involvement with Cameroons in St. Edwards began with a wedding of a couple in the parish, one that brought many Cameroons into our church.  That bride and many other Catholic women soon were gathering, upon my invitation, twice-a-month, after the 1130 St. Edward Sunday Mass for rosary, doctrine and Bible study, lunch, charity planning, and socializing. I have joined and led them for several years now.

This past Sunday was a Mass and social time for hundreds of CWA CMA chapters and of other Cameroon men and women Catholic organizations in the DC/Baltimore area gathered in Burtonsville.  The bishop from Cameroon was the celebrant of an almost 3- hour Mass, filled with all sorts of ethnic traditions, songs, testimonies, and prayer in the Eucharistic Lord.   It was long for me, of course, but it was a rich experience.   It was another act of support I could give for a group of vigorous Catholic African immigrants, whom I value as an asset to the local Church.   I was one of only two white persons of color in the celebration, but that was fine with me, as I act in solidarity with these new members to the Catholic USA community. IMAG0461  I am getting used to being with them now.  Above is a picture from an African style wedding celebration from a few months back.  The program from Sunday also shows above.  In it you see one of about 20 songs we sang in worship. IMAG1324_1n

I did not take photos within last Sunday’s celebration.

The Rising Up Life. Homily 5-7

How do we live a Rising Up life?  By the buoyancy of the Easter Lord Jesus.  We engage Him daily into our lives.  We do it by prayer, spiritual reading, service to the Gospel, and by loving in a God- breathed way in activities and relationships.  That’s for starters.    It’s the success formula and story of many a saint, such as the single Canadian woman Blessed Marie Leonie Paradis, whose feast is May 3rd. She came from a poor but religious family. Her pursuit of holiness as a Catholic inspired her to become a learned woman of the Faith, going on to teach in places in Canada as in New Brunswick and Montreal, and in the USA in New York and Indiana.  She founded an Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.  Many others took up an imitation of her zeal for God and love of people.IMAG0460_1

What Marie-Leonie found was of how to let the Risen Lord into her being, so that He might be her inspiration.  She learned to live in tandem with Him.

Indeed.  The Risen Lord seeks avenue to live in His people.  This is the new life.  The prophecy was that God would put in us a new heart and spirit– Yes, His very Self in us.    I in you and you in me, as John’s Gospel tells of Jesus of this rising up life.

How do we say YES to the LORD today to the new life?

We hear about a changed Peter in the Acts 2 reading today for the opening Sunday Scripture.  He now lived in Jesus and we hear how his convicted teachings were so moving that his hearers “were cut to the heart.” They took Peter’s exhortation rather seriously–about becoming saved from their corrupt generation–and it says 3000 people expressed their repentance in baptism in that afternoon described.

A changed new life in the Risen Lord Jesus has the holy power to touch others and make a real difference– whether in St. Peter, Blessed Marie Leonie or in you and I.

So how do we say YES today to being joined in the Easter Lord Jesus, and Rise Up more in the New Life?

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Deciding to be married in the Church

imagesQVCV16ZLI feel like a lot of Catholic couples (or Catholic/non-Catholic ones) have made a left rather than a right, in their choices to be wed or to live together, but not as in a sacred union in the Church.

Did you notice the sign was wrong in the pic?

To be right with God in love and sexuality with a partner, the Catholic person(s) needs to be in a heterosexual union that is wed before the Lord in His Church as the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.   Yet the norm in the Catholic realm of young adults right now isn’t for that–but distinctly something other than Holy Matrimony.  People are making a left when they should be going right.

OK– it could be that a percentage may just be reluctant to enter Matrimony over their great respect for it, and they are working up to it.    Maybe another small percentage have a financial issue that is strapping them temporarily to a situation that they wish they were practicing.   Yet, we are talking about a whole lot of others, who were raised Catholic, that are unwed and living together now, and perhaps not for the first time with someone.  Or– they are wed, or going to be, but decided to go secular only with the union (sorry, but getting wed by a rent-a-rev at a park or hotel is still a secular affair, with just a religious decoration on top).    Some Catholics have parted ways with a Sacrament-led life in Christ, not seeing its integral connection with our Lord.   So they wed in some other way outside the Church (and of a special union of grace in Jesus).  Sad.

We are called to live holy lives before the Lord God, especially in the realm of love and relationship to a special someone.    To make a covenant of love in a church is the right setting for a marriage promise.  God has made a covenant of love with us, and He has used the Church for its main expression in Christ Jesus.   He awaits our covenant answer to Him.   We can give such a blessed gift by uniting and dedicating our love to our special someone (spouse) as in and unto Christ Himself.  A covenant love response– to the new commandment of Love– “love one another, as I have loved you.”  We can love the other another as in Christ, and to do so in a sacred sense as Jesus did it.   His laying down His life as groom to spouse made it possible for the Church to be born.  Thus, our laying down our married lives can make it possible for God to enter in to them and show His love in-the-middle.

I know that there are various ‘exceptions’ that people will give for not being wed in Church– and I won’t address them each here– but I will instead celebrate a couple who decided to wed in the Church last Saturday, after being wed civilly for years.   They came to a mutual understanding and mutual conviction with God that this was what He had called them to do.    They are both Catholics.   They entered Holy Matrimony on April 22nd, 2017 at St. Edward’s parish church.  Hurrah for them.   They want to live their love together for God and in God from now on.    God has put it on their hearts.IMAG1221_1

Marriage is a vocation.  It is a true calling from God to serve Him in this special way.  He takes the love shared in the bond and unites it to Himself, making it for true treasure in Heaven, for in it He is glorified.   “Love one another:  this is My New Commandment,” Jesus said, adding, “No greater love, than for one to lay down their life for another.”   thtt

I think of all the fruits of the Spirit that can be lived in such a union:   love, peace, patience, gentleness, self-control, joy, meekness… as the Bible describes it so.

Jesus is the Partridge in the Tree of Eden calling us to love in union with the sacred nature of who we are.   (For the practicing couple, it makes them a Partidge family? Well, it makes them a holy family, surely.)

 

 

‘Twere True? ‘Tis True

Long Teaching      There is a Part One, Part Two, and a Part Two all in here

Part 1

I heard a phrase this week: “If ’twere true, then it’d be most obvious.”  That twere word is from an old-fashioned English usage as in meaning if it were true (’twere), then it would be ( it’d be or ‘tidbe) thus and such.  I haven’t heard those phrases used in a while… but some folksy speakers favor them still today.  Listening to S.C. nominee Gorsuch speak this week shows that the homespun terminology is still much in circulation.

But how I heard the ’twere phrase was not in a good light.   It was used by some Christian anti-Catholic person, one who unfortunately, was speaking publicly in dead-set opposition to a Living Jesus with us in the Blessed Sacrament.  They said that the Eucharist couldn’t be real because the amazement and convincing factor wasn’t there, in their view.  So, in the folksy, olde-fashioned sentence, they said “if ’twere true, then it’d be most obvious,” meaning that they were trying to debunk the Eucharist*, saying “it,*” was not really Christ Jesus, in their demanding that, if “it*” were true, some special effects would be seen and felt to support the claim of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, in our Catholic belief and practice.  

Cut to chase, the Eucharistic Jesus isn’t exciting enough for them to be real.  “It” seems too ordinary to them.  

What a short-sighted point of view this seems to be.   The “it” actually is a Person: Jesus.  There view does slight the Lord in some certain way.  

I am reminded of the account in Mark 6 when people also dismissed Jesus by saying that “they knew” how he was only (merely) a carpenter, just an ordinary relative from Nazareth, son of Joseph.  They “knew” it.  They made noise that Jesus could NOT be anything more (and surely not Messiah).   We know now how very wrong they were in belittling Jesus.  

Same thing with belittling Him as Sacrament and Bread of Life among us today. That’s a big mistake to make. It leaves out a major, personal experience of Christ from their lives.  Yet we Catholics will need to be the witness to His Real Presence, so that all Christians can be led to Him, the Bread of Life, for their full nourishment.

To those statements above of expecting a sign, or refusing to believe, I thought: ‘Like what special effects are they looking for to have prove to themselves the Eucharist is really Jesus?! A tingling sensation? A taste of true blood? A stupendous, instantaneous, miraculous healing to the communicant?’ What ‘special effects’ were they seeking of Christ or of the Church’s relationship to Jesus as Eucharistic Lord for our pilgrimage Home?   In their current faith practice, is it all a big feelings kind-of-experience they demand to have called their Christianity?  There is fault in that orientation, if so.

There are clear descriptions in the Bible (as proof) for the Real Presence, too, if they are searching.  I wondered:  How more clear in The Word can it be that John the Baptist or John the Apostle call Jesus the Lamb of God, or that Jesus calls Himself as “the Bread of Life” or the “Living Bread of Heaven,” as for us to “take and eat?!” of Him? ! (John 6, Luke 22)  Or, that He offered Himself purposefully on the exact Jewish Passover for sacrifice (John 13, Matt. 26), which was unnecessarily dramatic of Jesus if twere only a symbolic gesture He was making.  Yet, what if the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus, is Real Presence Blood to save us from death in sin?   Hebrews 9:11-28 has something to say about that, of this Church today in a living practice of Christ’ offering, as while we seek His Glory to come.  (Read it.)

Experientially, at each Mass, I get a sense of the blood on the doorpost of our hearts being applied onto us and into us, who want to be saved from death and our sins.  This, of course, is an update to the exodus story, as we live under the Exodus march now of Jesus.  As the author of Hebrews writes to the believers to experience in their present-time:  “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Heb. 9:14)

Oh my!   The anti-Catholic said “if ’twere true”– scoffing as he said it… but hallelujah, “TIS TRUE.   JESUS IS AMONG US IN HIS BODY AND BLOOD in the work of salvation, and He is building us up to serve Him for His kingdom!  The “I AM with you always” so promised Jesus at His Ascension (Mt. 28:16-20).  Jesus IS Sacrament and Paschal Mystery for us now, so that the great I AM has been and is now and will be ministering to us of His feast of salvation.

As for a convincing proof of Himself as Bread, back in Jesus’ public ministry in Israel, do your remember the big deal Jesus made of it about Himself.  In John 6, it says how even many disciples and the apostles did not get it, of what Jesus did after the Miracle of the Loaves.   Due to that, Our Lord said:  “You had your fill of the miracle loaves, but do you still not believe?”   The people had missed the sign (sacrament) unveiling of Jesus.  So, even with much of an amazing thing occur on the hill with the multitudes with all them getting fed from practically nothing at hand, they still didn’t believe.   Why not?  Because it was not to be any special effects or spectacle that would win hearts.  Jesus knew it was all about faith and its desire to catch on and believe.   In that John 6 dialogue text, Jesus asked His apostles, ‘as many have left, over this hard teaching, do you also want to leave?’  Peter spoke for the Twelve that they were staying; faith helped them see the Living God before them in Jesus–and in His signs.  ‘You offer Everlasting Life, Master!,’ says Peter, indicating that he and the band of apostles were remaining with The Lord.

So, it is true that some sincere disciples for Jesus today can get it wrong, at first, about Jesus as the Sign of God, the Sacrament for a living encounter in the Divine.   But we wish for them to “get it.” (Only by Grace did we, too.)

These denials of fundamentalists and charismatic Protestants and other non-Catholics about the truth of the Eucharistic Christ today are familiar.  Many do say something like the man did (If t’were true, tid’be most obvious); but they are exercising their prideful demands a bit too far.  Faith seeks understanding, and we hope they will arrive there to know Jesus as Sacrament.

There’s hope people will come to The Eucharist.  The Holy Spirit will be looking to draw them in to glorifying God by such an embrace of Jesus Real Presence.

In seeking such a demanding physical proof of God (sign, on their terms), maybe by faith they can really become surprised, because God IS offering a physical manifestation of His works in the 7 Sacraments.  It’s just not of the double-wow factor.   Jesus comes meek and humble among us.  That’s so vital a lesson to see in the Gospel story. Jesus says: “Come to Me… for I Am meek and gentle of heart… I will help your soul find its rest.”  That is the same Lord of the Gospels Who is Sacrament today.  We meet Him on those humble terms.  We kneel often in His Sign Presence to us, as in Mass or Reconciliation or in a Matrimonial union or Holy Orders consecration.   It’s a humble thing to experience God in Christ in Sacrament..

Part Two.   ‘TIS THE LAMB LEADING US!  IMAG0206

Our Lord And Savior Jesus presented Himself humbly before the Father.  See our Mediator kneeling in the Garden of Gethsename in our illustration on the page.

He kneels in a humble offering to God, doing so in the time directly which had followed the First Mass, the Last Supper.  Only in our own exercise of humility will we take note of God come to us in all humility.

Jesus Himself in His public ministry (as told in the gospels) was not touring around like a rock-star of today.  He did not have elaborate clothes, house musicians, magnetic appeal, and an oversized, look-at-Me personality.   As some Nazarenes commented of Him:  ‘You’re just a poor carpenter’s son, and a lone carpenter yourself now and widows son (with Joseph gone), and merely a relative of people we know, a man of no privilege (Mark 6).  How at all could you, Jesus, be God (?), the Messiah?’ they scoffed.

This denial of Jesus Christ as God in the flesh was a regular thing as Our Lord was in ministry, and that of some of the Jews rejecting Him when He came is clearly told in the New Testament.

Later, the rejection of Jesus as God in the flesh was the break of the first heretics of Christianity.   Interestingly, there is a tie-in to the same rejection of Jesus as Eucharist.  This has also been going on from early on in Christianity, though very much more in recent decades and centuries.   Many non-Catholic Christians insist on living apart from the Sacraments of the Church of the 2000-year-old Church begun by Jesus.  Why such resistance??

Refusal to acknowledge Jesus as Sacrifice and Sacrament in the Eucharist has been going around for centuries, even so in the time of Christ ministry itself (e.g. “How can He give us His flesh to eat?!” –John 6) ‘and many no longer followed Him (after His Bread of Life teaching).’

The connection of God coming as human and as flesh/sacrament are much related– The Word is Flesh; The Word is also Eucharist.  He is the same Word, expressed as flesh.   Think of the many times in bible stories when people would not acknowledge Jesus as God among them, because He was of the flesh.  They couldn’t imagine God as flesh, therefore, they would not believe.  The Lord in flesh was an automatic disqualifier for them.   Even the crucifixion of Jesus was about some Jewish leaders asking for the death sentence for a man claiming to be God among them as a man.   But, oh how wrong those Sanhedrin were!

Jesus said that He was giving His flesh for the life of the world, and that His Body offered was becoming Eucharist for the faithful:  God was extending His visit as flesh and His Presence to us via Sacrament.   The God Who became small as an embryo once was even becoming present as hosts and parts of bread transubstantiated.  Amazing this Lord of Heaven is!

It is important, then, to see how the objection of Jesus as God/man is tied together with the objection to Him as the Eucharistic Sacrifice today.  They are closely related.  As a person like this twere person goes so vehemently against Jesus as Bread of Life Sacrament, I suppose that they would have also missed Jesus as the Man of Galilee too.  Jesus just wasn’t spectacular or obvious enough for some people, I suppose. 

The recognition of the mystery of God among us is by faith, and that recognition is a Gift.  This is so true a point.   At some time in our lives we Christians all need to become like Thomas the apostle, who was missing from the assembly, and to come in and see what the others had said was true.   Thomas examines “the Body and Blood Jesus– even the nailmarks–and gets that it is all indeed true, so to exclaim “My Lord and My God.”  Believers outside of the Eucharist need to come in to those believers with the Eucharist and to recognize Jesus as the Eucharist, so to say “My Lord and My God” to the Blessed Sacrament.

Jesus said something very important to Thomas upon the doubting apostles’ coming back into the fold:  “Blessed are those who have not seen (nailmarks like you have here), yet who will still believe.”  

Because it is all by faith that we see.   No tingling or sensations, no fireworks, no overwhelming feelings– just Jesus recognition. 

The Jesus received in Mass from the faithful is related to same Man of Galilee, the man so often spurned, because of denials by so many that He was God in the flesh with them.  Read the Bible accounts. They are many detailing the above rejection.   When the Lord Jesus was in public ministry, numbers of people also demanded certain signs or amazing proofs from Him, in that same special effects mode, but Jesus did not serve them in that flashy way.  In fact, Mark’s Gospel shows Jesus doing many works among them in humble ways, almost as in secret.  Faith not flash was the way into intimacy with Christ.  The Gospels all communicate how Jesus was indeed already their Sign of Signs right in their midst.  He was Sacrament; He was sign– but not to the demand of people for a spectacular sign.  He came as one of us, not to wow but to gently meet us and heal us and save us. He once concluded, “This is a people making demands but no more sign shall be given them but for the sign of Jonah ( referring to His Rising from the dead).”. That would be His major sign, but it would only be manifest to people who were in faith with Him.

Jesus comes to us, maybe more humbly in surprise to us than we could ever expect.

Yet He is here.   Humankind, in our folly, make our demands on God, rather than roll out the red carpet and ask however might receive Him in. It is all due to our want to deny our sin and our need for help and transformation, and of our resistance to let it happen on GOD’ S terms, not our own.   It’s a problem of pride.   Believers who say they belong to Christ have such problems sometimes in pride, though given by word of promise to Christ the Lord.  Yet they fully don’t know Him yet.  They also are prone to errors.  Just read the epistles of the New Testament from James through Jude, and you hear the apostles trying to keep the Church one and true and moving to deeper conversion and convictions, rather they might lose their faith.  (John’s letters are particularly strong.)

Yet Jesus IS a challenge to us.   Anyone who says He is peachy and easy and just a buddy Savior has much more to know of Him.   When Jesus came, He knew that He would experience rejection or refusal from people to Who His True Identity.  John’s Gospel leads off with the real challenge before us:  “The Word became flesh… and to as many as received Him, to them He gave right to be becoming as children of God.”

Even while getting rejected as the Son of God meekly ‘sneaking’ (past our prideful eyes) into our world and history, Jesus continued to affirm His identity as The I AM.  He was God in human existence with us, and the God of eternity.  He said basic things (as recorded further in John’s Gospel) such as “he(she) who believes in Me (as such) has eternal life.”. “I AM the Bread of Life… anyone who eats of Me, this bread, has life eternal, and anyone who does not, does not have eternal life.”   Jesus says this.   The gospel records it.

‘Tis True.

Ah, the Irish like this word, ‘Tis!      And with the Real Presence, we Catholics can say of its truth:  ‘Tis!!

It also says clearly in John than many people left Jesus, because of not accepting who He was or what He said, as in looking for a different Messiah.  In His teaching on the Eucharist, particularly, they left Him. (See John 6.) These were those ’twere true, then followers.  They stopped following the Real Jesus due to stipulations, one might say.  Could they have been saying;  “Jesus, you are too much of the ordinary and sublime to actually be the Divine One you claim to be.’

Oh how wrong they were then.  And now.

Part 3.   Our Catholic testimony.   People undeserving but who have been blessed to see.

What the non-Catholics (who kid us about wafer worship) just don’t know!  Jesus is Eucharist for His people on the journey home to Him.   This is so dear to us who are Catholics.  It also startles us about Jesus.  Our God Who becomes small, whether as baby and man, or as Eucharist host– He does risk being missed or unnoticed or even disrespected or rejected.

By grace, we in the Catholic Church (and other Real Presence believers) have recognized Him, like those who did when on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24).  Praise be Jesus for His revelation to His people, and for His Gift to the Church.  The hidden part of the Emmaus story is of persons who had walked along as if without Jesus, and even heard His words, still had not caught on Who He was until the breaking of the bread.  Then, they knew Him.

We Catholics claim and believe God is with us, and even in ordinary-style signs and sacraments.  The Lord is right here among us, yet He still can be missed, as by those who will not see.  He is Sacrament to continue a physical reality with His Church, yet people just will not abide with Him in this Way.   I think of many ex- Catholics who have voted so with their departure from Mass-going. They had been right near Jesus, even to receive Him in as gift, but have departed away from this intimacy with Jesus to prefer some other place or experience.  Sad.  

Some of the younger generations are going off preferring a more dynamic, entertaining style of Jesus.  Even some of the older folks, too.  Yet the Word says “He came meekly.”  Notice it in Him as the babe in Bethlehem (Mt. 2).  Or the man of Galilee walking up to John the Baptizer (Mt. 11).   Or the man preaching on the hillsides (blessed are the meek–Mt. 5).   Or the one describing Himself:  “I AM meek and humble of heart.  Come to me, and rest. (Mt. 11:29).”   This One Person also proclaims I AM Food in John 6, to “eat and drink of Me,” as does He say in the Last Supper Gospels.

‘Twere true?   It really is true that the Humble Jesus, as in Mystery among us as Eucharist, is missed, or even dis-missed by people today.  Yet He is Real-ly there. Those who seek, find– says Jesus.  May they find Him as Eucharist among us.

How I love the EWTN tv show that has all the testimonials of people of other religions or denominations who have come to recognize Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread.   The show is called “Journey Home.”   Other live call-in radio shows on EWTN’s network feature many more such testimonies.   Catholic Answers Live is full of Eucharistic Jesus confessors.  ‘Tis True, they say.

Of my hurts as a priest is to know of former Catholics or former practicing Catholics who are not with us in Sacred Liturgy now.  I dearly pray for them to Come Home.

‘Twere is probably a poor relative of ’twas, as in “once before, He was my Eucharist, but not now.” As in someone saying: “I don’t want Him to be.  I want something more amazing or appealing.”   Would they demand it to not be so, of this Eucharist not to be Him?

As the destiny of the believer is to gather around the Throne in praise of the Lamb, in the Liturgy of Heaven, going to Mass is a getting ready and acquainted with the Lord as He is worshipped forever.   The Holy Mass is our connection even now to Heaven’s liturgy, as they go on simultaneously.   Scott Hahn’s book “The Lamb’s Supper” is a great read for someone to see the message of the Book of Revelation as of a communion of the Church triumphant in Heaven, united to believers of the Church Militant (fighting the good fight soulfully on earth’s pilgrimage) and the Church Suffering.   All are united into the Sacrifice of the Lamb, and we are made worthy only in the Lamb’s Offering.   Again, this is all about the meaning and mystery of Holy Mass.

As John’s Gospel proclaims, Jesus is God in the flesh… and then Jesus says “my flesh is real food, eat it in remembrance of Me… this is My Body…My Blood for you.”   In each Mass, we acknowledge this Truth.  ‘Tis True.   Blessed is the Lamb Who was slain, who reigns now.  This is the celebration of Heaven, of and in and by The Lamb Jesus.

And on earth we pray in every Mass:  “Lamb of God… have mercy on us… grant us peace.”

Mary, our model believer, embraces the Word made flesh among us. At the start to finish.IMAG0820_1IMAG0244

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Twere.  ‘Tis.   Two shall be one, Bride to BrideGroom.

Twain is another old English language word with a tw start.  It’s used in phrases like “never the twain shall meet” but also in wedded lines like “twain thee, one love now.”

Which shall it be of the Eucharistic Lord Jesus: Never the twain shall meet (me and Jesus as Bread of Life)–or– twain us, one Communion and bond, Lord?

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I think I will sign off on that.  (I’d tweet off, but this is a blog!  If it ’twere a tweet, then this message would have been over in the first sentence! )

Photo:  San Juan Cathedral in the week of Epiphany.  I con-celebrated some Masses here.   In Spanish.

1st Sunday of Lent thoughts on Gospel; 2nd Sunday off from preaching– more guests in the pulpit.

The 2ND Sunday of Lent has guest clergy preaching on the Transfiguration of Jesus. I have thought that this day of Jesus’ life is befitting as a Holy Day.  It’s just a huge event!  We’ll, at least it gets a Lenten Sunday for some emphasis.

The First Sunday of Lent. Thoughts.

We look at the temptation of the human race in the opening reading of Sunday, and it leads us to ponder the Gospel message of Jesus under heavy temptation (but of how He prevailed over it).   Jesus is presented much as the “new Adam” in the Gospel, as, after He is anointed in the Spirit for His Messianic time of ministry, and told He is the favored One of the Father (of the human race), then He is tested.  Jesus is tempted in some huge ways out there in the desert (following His over-a-month fast); however, Jesus does not succumb to these temptations; rather, He wins out over them.  They were major temptations to Jesus to become all self-focused (self-obsessed) in His person, but Jesus would not do it.   His attention was outward and upward; serving us in HIs life and glorifying the Father in it all.   The devil must have been stupefied that this blessed man of Nazareth had turned down his offers– who turns down such things?!  (he would ask)  The devil would flee from Jesus here in this moment of his being rejected; but he would come back another time for more distraction, accusation, and attack.

I will comment briefly on one of the devil’s attack on Jesus.   He tempted Jesus to misuse His power in self-direction to turn desert stones instead warm, fresh bread.    The devil’s tactics was to play on Jesus’ hunger and practical desire for the satisfaction of food,  After all, what’s wrong with that?—was the cunning temptation.

“Man does not live on bread alone” was Jesus’ reply.   He completed the sentence by saying that “we live to live upon God and in giving our Maker pleasure.”

Jesus would live in that manner of life and faith for all the rest of His earthly ministry.    He would be utterly faithful to the call.   He longed for the pure bread of Heaven and to be with the Father and Spirit concretely.

I wonder if Jesus remembered the temptation to turn rocks into stones when He reached the end of his ministry 2 1/2 to 3 years later that from the start of the Church.      For Jesus had a special surprise coming soon.   He was to NOT turn stones to bread to satiate his hunger, but He was to later turn bread into His Body.

Jesus would come to be THE sacrifice for sin for all humanity, and hooray–  and He WOULD be  give us a communication of His love at Calvary of One would worn turn Himself to bread.   (Stones was an easier miracle or trick; a person out of turn Himself into becoming bread, not that was a FEAT.)

So I was just caught up in the drama between the devil asking Jesus to make bread (a selfish act in it s situation) towards the Savior making Himself out to be bread (and wine) later in ministry.

The devil wanted to tempt  Jesus to be inward and self- centered, but The Master had other plans to be humble and other- centered.  He would become bread Dorothee’s’ hunger.  That was an amazing response.    No to rocks being bread, but of a plan  on  becoming the “true bread” from Heaven offered out in Himself. Wow.

It was a short, dynamic advice.  Jesus would be giving out Himself as the New Manna.    HE would be bread.

So, we reflect on today’s Gospel of Luke story and we hear a Gospel later in Lent of Jesus becoming food for eternal life Himself.

Quite an interesting turn ahead for Our Lord.

 

More on Basic Definitions of Grace

It’s a “Year of Grace” theme in 2017 in the Church.  You’ll see Bible quotes on grace in the bulletin and articles/homilies on grace in this blog.  Carrying on from Sunday’s homily, we talk of some basic definitions of Grace.

From your catechism classes when you were growing up, you probably remember that there are two kinds of grace, sanctifying and actual.  What makes those two kinds different?  Sanctifying grace stays in the soul. It’s what makes the soul holy; it gives the soul supernatural life. More properly,  it is supernatural life.  Actual grace, by contrast, is a supernatural push or encouragement. It’s transient. It doesn’t live in the soul, but acts on the soul from the outside, so to speak. It’s the supernatural kick in the pants. It gets the will and intellect moving so we can seek out and keep sanctifying grace.

We can fall into mortal sin and deny the work of sanctifying grace.  It’s our free will to reject God, but the Bible says it is the unpardonable sin if we’ll take it that far (blasphemy of the Holy Spirit– one’s un-cooperating with God’s work to be sanctified).   If we die in this state of mortal sin, then we have not the sanctifying grace to help us exist with God in Heaven.  It would be like trying to live more than ten minutes at the sea bottom with no means for breathing air.  Grace is the air of existence with God.

Only the fictional people of Sponge Bob and his Bikini Bottom pals do seem to get by in the underwater world, but in real life we cannot.   (By the way, do you remember my blogs from over a year ago when I mentioned how that kid’s show covers the 7 deadly sins in its characters, covertly?  Really!  Even Sponge Bob knows the lessons about humankind’s needing to live in grace! He wants to become holy!)

If we humans would want to live in the deep blue existence of a Holy God, then we will need ‘equipment’ we aren’t provided with naturally; we need something that will elevate us above our nature, something super- (that is, “above”) natural, such as the oxygen tanks of Grace.  In this comparison of air to grace, and living underwater to heaven, the lesson applies to our soul. In its natural state, it isn’t fit for heaven. It doesn’t have the right equipment, and if you die with your soul in its natural state, you won’t last 5 minutes nor 5 seconds in heaven; it won’t be for you. What you need to live there is supernatural life, not just natural life. That supernatural life is called sanctifying grace. It is holiness.

The reason you and I need sanctifying grace to be able to live in heaven is because there one is meant to live perfectly and in absolute union with God, the source of all life (cf. Gal. 2:19, 1 Pet. 3:18).  Now the cool thing is that God decided that we would first receive sanctifying grace down here, so to practice a start into the Spirit-assisted life of the supernatural (which we call the Christian Way– so to not have anything confused with aliens from outer space or ghostly things seen on the Horror cable tv channel)!

Heaven comes down in Jesus and Grace enters our soul in our union to Him.   God in Christ reaches out to us with the saving assistance we so desperately need.  And, He tells us, that our need isn’t just for ahead in paradise living, but that we are to learn how to live by grace while here on earth.  We need conversion of life to be grace dependers.

Actual grace would then be all that holy help and inspiration from God to motivate us into holiness/wholeness of life.  Are you recognizing those blessings coming your way?  One, I am sure, is the arrival of a parish mission to stir up and/or rejuvenate St. Edward’s people here.  Fr. Blaise Czaja comes from March 5-8 in 7 p.m. talks.

We Christians are beginning to breathe into the eternal.  Eternal life actually starts here, in our consent and decisions for God’s reign over us.  We learn to accept Christ and His way in us. St. Paul wrote down many things about this.  Romans chapter 8 has verses describing this activity:  “If Christ is in you…the spirit is alive because of righteousness… Led by the Spirit. (you) are children of God (now)…You received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, Abba, Father.. You are under grace….the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus as Lord (of our present to future existence).”

If sanctifying grace dwells in your soul when you die, then you’lol have the equipment you need, and you can live in heaven (though you may need to be purified first in purgatory; cf. 1 Cor. 3:12–16). If it doesn’t dwell in one’s soul when they die—in other words, if their soul is spiritually dead by being in the state of mortal sin (Gal. 5:19-21)— they are not equipped for life in heaven.  They face the real probability of face an eternity of spiritual death: the utter separation of their spirit from God (Eph. 2:1, 2:5, 4:18). The worst part of this eternal separation will be that one would have caused it to be that way, having not caught on in earth how all people in the flesh were dying away a little more and more each day when not living in Christ and the Grace of God.  (Of course, God in His mercy knows who was rebelling and resisting Him, or not– He knows the soul’s state and He is its ultimate Judge.)

So it’s important for us to catch up on Grace Lessons 101. How are we valuing Grace from God in our lives and letting it prepare us for union with God above?

Questions: What ways are you yielding to actual grace? How do you recognize it? Are you looking or seeking for it?

How do you value the Sacrament of Reconciliation in all this?  Do you receive pushes or nudges to head to a Reconciliation Room with a confessor, where the guilt for your sins is remitted (John 20:21–23)? Through the sacrament of penance, through your reconciliation to God, you receive sanctifying grace. But you can lose it again by sinning mortally (1 John 5:16–17).   Mortal sins do serious harm to our souls ( hence, the name)– see what Proverbs 6, Galatians 5, or 1 Cor. 6 say.  1 John 5:17 tell us that venial sins are less alarming, though we still work to curb them, too.

Our grave matter needs to be brought into the Light . God will offer you the help to keep living and breathing in the Holy Spirit, in your new dawn and new nature in Christ– and you very much need to cooperate. This Sacrament is invaluable to that pursuit of holiness. God is ready; we must come to seek His aid.

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A source of this information on grace here (and upcoming) is from Catholic Answers.  It is quite an informative web site.

 

 

Grace: What it is, What it does (homily)

The eye for an eye, tooth for tooth way of doing things once was seemed a fair way to handle things.  The revengeful response of this-for-that, I’ll hurt you because you hurt me, I’ll not care for you because you never seemed to care for me way of doing things–this all seemed fair once upon a time.  But Jesus came.  Grace came among us in His Person, the Second Member of the Holy Trinity, and He introduce humanity to our original design and living as neighbors, and He elevated humanity in HIs coming to share in the Grace of His own Sacred Heart among us, and His own Spirit.

Things changed for the earth.   Grace happened upon us.   A New Covenant, a New Life dawned to the people of the world in Jesus.  We now could accept grace as the new normal.  God came to us (in Christ) in an unconditional favor and He showed how far love could go when powered by grace.   Today’s Gospel teaching of Jesus introduced some ideas of grace-led living:  if someone asks your help to walk a mile with them, then say yes and even offer to go a second mile…. if someone genuinely needs an article of clothing, then give what extra you have, or even the shirt off your back. … if you’re struck on the right side for doing good, then you might have to resist evil or bad a second time on the left, in tolerance or non-violence– to not resort to that level where and when hatred and division and war starts out.  Can you be the peacemaker?  Can the cycle of harm be stopped by your own brave and good actions?

Rather than humanity being AT ONE ANOTHER, Grace comes to have us be helped to come together under God again. Jesus brings peace and favor on earth for people of good will.

Major examples of this..

There was a person who had been the next one in a string of generations of family who had to face a ‘family curse’ as he put it.   His great-great grandfather, then his great grandfather, his grandfather, and his father all struggled with something that they each gave into–each succumbed to the temptation.  But with this person of the new generation, he said:  “Enough.  It ends with my generation.  I will plead my Lord for the way to not continue in that path, whatever it takes.”

Praise God, after much prayer, sweat and tears, he conquered.  It took a dear, authentic, help-me-God faith.  He became the blessed peacemaker, and the help of God broke through the defenses of pride.

That above account is an example of the spirit of Grace in a person.

In another example, a person at a job, working with numbers of fellow Christians, became agitated in her spirit that their firm was cooperating in an evil regularly, with everybody turning a blind eye to it, since the boss did not have scruples or the moral fortitude to admit the wrongdoing he started, justifying it by saying “other firms do it, so we have to compete in the same way.”  It had gone on long enough, and this woman with the conscience wanted to bring the immoral practice up at a meeting.  She knew that her official complaint about it perhaps could cost her this well-paying job.  The exposure of the dark dishonest practice brought immediate wrath upon her from the boss and she was terminated by that person, in some set-up false charge manipulated against her.  Yet in that workplace, in the aftermath of it all, the rest of her colleagues began to muster the same courage, which they tabbed “grace under pressure,” to get that immoral practice at their firm stopped and the fired woman’s dignity restored back.  It took a while for it to happen, but the immoral practice was stopped at the firm. The woman’s resume was fixed.  Still, her life and career were scarred from that episode, but she ways that the ongoing conversion in God’s grace to her soul is going right.

Jesus came in Grace to the world, when the plan of spilling it out generously for us all to practice.   His lavish generosity of favor outpoured to us, though so undeserved by us, is the story of his recovering humankind to our original path and destiny.  We are made to be grace-full.

While a world wants to go at one another, Jesus inspires us, as in today’s Gospel message, instead to share grace to our neighbor and to receive grace back.   God will live in those united hearts and remake humankind.   In it all, we can be fit for Heaven eventually, which is The Place of Grace.

One cannot live in Heaven, but for the learned way of cooperating and living fully in Grace.

We continue our Year of Grace theme in 2017 with some basic definitions of Grace.

If you took your parish’s catechism classes when you were growing up, you at least remember that there are two kinds of grace, sanctifying and actual. That may be all you recall. The names being so similar, you might have the impression sanctifying grace is nearly identical to actual grace. Not so.

Sanctifying grace stays in the soul. It’s what makes the soul holy; it gives the soul supernatural life. More properly,  it is supernatural life.   In the Sacraments and by means of the open heart to God, Jesus starts the work in us for the supernatural– no not sci-fi horror type, but the elevated way of living that grace affords us to go beyond our natural selves, which are harmed by our sin and brokenness.  Grace can perfect us, even win over eventually of our nature, and we become blessed people, souls in holiness embodies by our humanity on the way to utter salvation in God.

Actual grace, by contrast to sanctifying grace, is a supernatural push or encouragement. It’s transient. It doesn’t live in the soul, but acts on the soul from the outside, so to speak. It’s a supernatural kick in the pants. It gets the will and intellect moving so we can seek out and keep sanctifying grace.

We very much need to keep in sanctifying grace, as we won’t be able to enter into Heaven without it, because everything transcends the natural there.  Even our bodies will be graced, perfected ones there–by Grace’s assistance.   Our minds will be so much more elevated there in Heaven, even permitted and able there to see God and to perceive mysteries so profound, that which will take a whole lot of ‘supernaturality.’

But we need to be disciple by Jesus.  There are lessons for the ultimate conversion.

So we start the participation in God’s grace right here, right now.  Even as we all are on a child-like level with God, we must accept the reign of God and the trustful life of letting grace in and letting our carnal self go.  If not, if we don’t go along with God’s lessons on grace but instead choose to live by the worldliness of sin and let our fallen nature lead, then we’ll find ourselves in death as like at the bottom of the ocean without air.  Mortal sins can kill the soul, take away our freedom and participation in God, so we must consider how the Sacraments, such as Confession and Communion, are important measures to practice for a grace-filled life.  Confirmation’s gift of the Spirit also is a reminder to us that we have virtues to live out, charity to serve, faith and knowledge to grow more deeply in,  and the many ways of the Holy Spirit to have us  to become like Christ and live in sanctified love.

There is such Good News here.  We Christians are soul-breathing into the eternal, and our bodies, feeling sinful or unworthy at times, are being re-worked to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit, and even to become the finished wonder of the Body of Believers, the Church, to be “bride” to Christ, as the Bible tells in its ending chapter.   Our exodus story of the New Covenant is to be made a people home with God forever, and we shall show our friendship on our pilgrim journey on earth as His Catholic believers and with our other friends of faith God leads to Himself.

St. Paul wrote down many things of how we are to live in grace by Christ’ Spirit.  It is our vocation, our “supernaturality,” as it is.    Romans chapter 8 has verses describing this activity:  “If Christ is in you…the spirit is alive because of righteousness…Led by the Spirit. (you) are children of God (now)…You received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, Abba, Father.. You are under grace….the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus as Lord (of our present to future existence).”

What can Grace do in you in easier examples of everyday living?

It can help you bear with situations with people that just seem impossible, uncomfortable, unreasonable, and otherwise hard.  They are occasions for Christ in you to live by grace.  He’ll show you.  His unconditional love is yours to borrow at times so difficult.  His noticing of people for the broken vessels they are–and putting that in your heart and eyes– will be helpful for you to see and understand better what life is throwing at you, or why it is how it is.  He also will bear you up in grace to your heart.

It can help you getting over the hump of something that has been your struggle for so long.  Maybe less human natural effort, and some super-natural effects, like Grace, can bring you peace.

Grace can bless you with a cave of the heart experience, a refuge in God– where a spirit for personal prayer,and worship, or Scripture pondering, or a shared Christian experience with others in openness to God, can give you refuge from life’s storms. That’s Grace, too.  May such Grace be yours.  Amen.

From the Silly to Serious Signs– Part two

In my last blog, we were looking at Signs of the Times of the Second Coming of Christ.

I have two more “signs” of some historic notice to highlight in today’s column.  Yet first, here is an extended review of our Catholic beliefs on the ‘end things.’  I thought it necessary.

About the Second Coming, Catholics believe Jesus will come again. We teach that Jesus could come again at any time. His return is immanent. The Church’s Creed affirms that when Jesus returns, He will judge both the living and the dead. At that time, the world will come to an end. Catholics reject the belief in any coming “tribulation period” or a “rapture of the church” common among some other Christian denominations.  We believe Jesus will simply return, judge all of humanity, and bring an end to time.”

About the related idea of a Kingdom of God reign, Catholics see the Kingdom of God as something present and visible in the Catholic Church (and to wherever God will want to extend His body of believers into His elect), but we well also speak of it as something greater yet to come in experience in heaven. Catholics reject a literal millennial kingdom period, a belief common in some other Christian denominations. Saint Augustine first articulated kingdom view in his “City of God.” Yet he meant the age of the Church would be this kingdom period.  Catholics expect the Church and the gospel to spread to the entire world before the end comes, encompassing the entire earth in the made-available Kingdom of God.   That, indeed, is what we are trying to do presently.  Each Mass ends with a clergyman’s dismissal, such as “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!”

Christ will come.  We need for people to come to know Him before He appears in Glory.

We Catholics, for our whole history, have professed our belief that Jesus will come again in a glorious Second Coming.  Our Mystery of Faith in the center of the Eucharistic Prayer of Mass (as prayed/sung by the people) proclaims it and pleads God for it: “Lord Jesus, come in glory!”  Our Scriptures proclaimed in our liturgies announces it, such as in Revelation 1:7 (New American Bible) “Behold, He is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. All the peoples of the earth will lament Him.  Yes. Amen.”  Or in Micah 1:2-4,11; 4:1,3 “Hear, you peoples, all of you; pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it, and let the Lord God be a witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. For behold, the Lord is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split open, like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place…I will again bring a conqueror to you, inhabitants of Mareshah; the glory of Israel shall come to Adullam (Canaan).”  “…In the latter days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of The Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow unto it…“And he will judge between many peoples, and will decide concerning strong nations afar off: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”  Matthew’s Gospel ending (Mt. 24:30; 26:64) are proclaim texts quite familiar to Catholic ears about the End Times- “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in Heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory…(and Jesus said to him), You have said one thing, nevertheless, I say to you another, that, hereafter shall you see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and then coming in the clouds of heaven.”

So, while no one knows the day, nor should try to know it– of this Glorious Return of Jesus– He did leave some clues to the End Times signs.  Here, as promised, are two more such “signs.”  They are taken from the same Matthew 24 text.(vs. 3-8)

A) Growth of false teachers/ antichrists and deceivers of the Gospel message in the End Times.  B) Wars, earthquakes, famines as “birth pangs” of The End being near.

Jesus pointed to these things as He said in the finish of His ministry, while sitting on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and asked, ‘When will all this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time to signal your return and the end of the world?’ Jesus told them, ‘Don’t let anyone mislead you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will lead many astray. And wars will break out near and far, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won’t follow immediately. The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come.‘”
This translation doesn’t spell out what the “horrors” mean, but Strong’s Concordance communicates that the end times will be analogous to the birthing process, because  the word “horrors” comes from the word “odin” which is best translated as “the pain of childbirth” or “birth pangs.”  This means that, much like birth pangs, signs of the end times will appear with greater frequency and intensity as Christ’s return draws near.

History shows that wars, famines and earthquakes are increasing in frequency and intensity.  Let’s see the figures.  According to a Wikipedia list of wars, the past 500 years have witnessed an increase in the frequency of wars:  15th Century – 29 wars.  16th C. – 59. 17th C. – 75.  18th C.- 69.  19th C. – 294.  20th Century – 278 wars.  The first decade of the 21st Century already did witness 55 wars, putting humanity on course for 550 wars over the next one hundred year period.
According to Wikipedia, the past 500 years have also witnessed an increase in the frequency of famines: 15th Century – 6 famines.  16th C. – 10.  17th – 24.  18th – 28.  19th – 30.  20th Century – 44 famines. The first decade of this century alone witnessed 12 famines already, putting humanity on course for 120 famines for this century!
As the population of the world has grown, famines have caused more and more death and destruction in their wake.  Yet is it a population problem?  No.  It’s a greed problem and a pride problem.  We have great capacity to feed the world, even of this size now.
According to a Wikipedia list of earthquakes, the past 500 years have witnessed the following number of earthquakes described as a magnitude 7.0 or greater:
15th Century – 2 earthquakes    16th – 3 of them.   17th – 7 of them.  18th – 13 of them.   19th – 29 of them.   20th Century – 123 of them!  The first decade of this 21st Century already witnessed 144 earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 or greater, putting humanity on course for 1,440 such earthquakes over the next century.  ‘Yikes!
The dramatic increase in devastating wars, famines, and earthquakes from the time of Jesus until today is one of clearest signs of the end times.  So it is a good thing to bring yourself to be ready for the Coming of The Lord.

As for false messiahs, antichrists and the like– just think of the big opposition to the Catholic Church today.  She seems to be a target for many.  Many would like to take her down.  Yet Jesus knew this from the start, saying to Simon Peter:  “The gates of hell shall not prevail against you.”  That comment from the Savior indicates how He knew they would definitely try to defeat or stop us.  Many today will indirectly be an opponent of The Church, with persons who will claim their own authority to bring a counter-message to that of the Church, as in preaching to “itching ears” as 2nd Timothy 4:3 describes.   Many declare their own versions of Christianity today, ignoring the One Jesus founded to be kept through time until His return.  The numbers of separate churches or communities calling themselves Christian is staggering in 2017.  The teachings of Jesus in John 17 are not much followed today, bringing on all the disunity of those called as “Christian.”  The “love one another” commandment of our Lord seems to be set aside instead for selfish things.  Even Gandhi said that perhaps the world’s biggest sin (amidst a world of people calling themselves ‘decent’) is greed of self.

The Loving Oneness of Christ Jesus was meant, most of all, to be expressed in the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist.  The Pauline mandate for the Eucharistic sacrifice by priests (as himself) to be prayed with the faithful, until Christ’ Return, is not followed at all outside the original Catholic orthodox Church.  “We proclaim the death (sacrificial offering) of Christ until He comes again,” said St. Paul in 1st Corinthians 11:26 in his epistle text on the Mass of the early church in Greece.  The true Church has the Eucharist to offer (re-present) to God.  The Church has the successor to Peter and the apostles, too.  Yet many choose to stand outside of her (or one might say: HIM).   Paul said that we are to strive to be “in Christ.”  He says it 160 times in his epistles.  Yup.

That is the sad state within Christendom–our division.

Then there is the awful state outside of Christendom, of people claiming to be equal or better than ‘regular’ or historic Christianity.  This time of history is full of many cults, some of the occult movements most obviously under Satan, others in new age movements under some spirit, not to the honor of Jesus, but still there are left the millions of others in false groups (cults) that claim some connection to Christ but not to His divinity.  Those cult members and false teachers are in a dire state themselves, outside of the salvation teaching of the Lord Jesus, Who very much IS Divine.  Jesus is God and man.   Scientology followers, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Unitarians, The Way members, Jehovah Witnesses and many more such cults claim to be godly, but there is not the acknowledgement of any to Jesus being as Lord God over them, that is, not in the way as He asked of His own.  thDNHZGYSJJohn’s epistles in the Bible are all about warnings of such false teachings and teachers.  The Early Church also has her hard fought accounts versus many heresies and distortions of the Truth of Christ.   Those original orthodox believers would be aghast at what is taking place today in these above false movements.thLK3WKK6Z

If one were to put up a road sign of all this spiritual confusion, then I think the one of the intersection depicted would be it.

Yet, more worse than the false teachings or astray ways going on is what’s ahead.   Gaining force to affront the Church is the real possibility for a global false leader of huge magnitude to mislead the world and to gain a massive following.  If the smaller antichrists of Hitler and Stalin weren’t bad enough last century, then we might shudder at who and what this century might bring us.  The rise of globalization and maybe a multinational world government and controlling system on the earth could bring the AntiChrist.  One day, a single man will rule all the people and nations on the earth, so seems to warn St. John’s Apocalypse vision: “And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.” Revelation 13:7
Given the current global financial crisis and the potential catastrophe of a global war, more and more diplomatic leaders and world politicians are calling for global government.  And as human technology continues to advance and mature, we’re quickly reaching a point where global totalitarian rule will be possible.  Some great deceiver will come forth to persecute the Church and Christ’ own, while seemingly being the popular figure for worldly people to follow, right to their oblivion.  Yet there will be a people of great faith keeping obedient to Christ and His Truth and Headship of the Body.  “And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world – to every nation, tribe, language, and people. ‘Fear God,’ he shouted. ‘Give glory to him. For the time has come when He will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.’” Revelation 14:6-7 (NLT)      Or worship the Deceiver.

What an awful time of conflict that portends to be.   Let’s pray for the strength to “endure to the end and be saved.(Matthew 24:13).”

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Prophecy is telling us that Christ is coming.
“In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know His return is near, at the door.” Matthew 24:33

The time on the clock of time is ticking.  “Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11.

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