The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Convincing the world of sin …

For the followers of the "enlightened agenda", the Pope becomes persona non grata when he tries to convince the world of human sin. Objections of this sort conflict with that which Saint John expresses in the words of Christ, who announced the coming of the Holy Spirit who "will convince the world in regard to sin" (cf. Jn 16:8). What else can the Church do? Nevertheless, convincing the world of the existence of sin is not the same as condemning it for sinning. "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." Convincing the world of sin means creating the conditions for its salvation. Awareness of our own sinfulness, including that which is inherited, is the first condition for salvation; the next is the confession of this sin before God, who desires only to receive this confession so that He can save man. To save means to embrace and lift up with redemptive love, with love that is always greater than any sin. In this regard the parable of the prodigal son is an unsurpassable paradigm.

from: “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” of John Paul II, p.34-35

The loss of the sense of sin stems from the loss of the sense of God, says Benedict XVI.

"Where God is excluded from the public forum," the Pope said, "the sense of offense against God -- the true sense of sin -- dissipates, just as when the absolute value of moral norms is relativized the categories of good or evil vanish, along with individual responsibility."

The Holy Father made his observation today when addressing bishops from the Western Catholic Conference of Canada, who were making their five-yearly visit to the Vatican.

Benedict XVI continued: "When the need to seek forgiveness and the readiness to forgive are forgotten, in their place a disturbing culture of blame and litigiousness arises."

to follow on: Zenit

Monday, December 25, 2006

Readings: Isaiah 52:7-10 Hebrews 1:1-6 John 1:1-18

The Word

We use words as a way of communicating self. And there are many different kinds of words: superficial, deep, constructive, destructive, factual, emotional, funny, sad, encouraging, discouraging, loving, abusive...

God's Word is special. It is creative (as ours too can be). God's Word does not just communicate an idea. It is active; it brings things into existence. Everything that exists flows from the creative Word of God. In a special way it brings into being; it gives life.

Gospel Jn 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,

grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

When our hands are full of mercy and goodness,
when our lips are full with compassionate smiles,
when our hearts are pure, uncomplicated
and receptive like the crib in Bethlehem,
when our lives are honest
and our bread shared with the poor

Then into our homes will enter
the Blessing of the Newborn Child
and we will meet Him in all our brothers

and we will feel God's presence among us
and see His glory in our lives.
25.XII. Christmas – Midnight

Well known history of The Christmas Truce of the I World World

The Christmas truce of 1914 is one of the most remarkable incidents of World War I and perhaps of military history. It lasted as long as a week, and took place despite orders that those who fraternized with the enemy would be shot.

It is the Christmas Eve 1914. Not far for Ypres in Belgium in the trenches the soldiers of two armies German and English are preparing their first Christmas celebration out of their countries. English soldiers get from the 17 years old princess Mary nice boxes with candies and cigarettes, German soldiers get also the gifts of chocolates and cigars from their Kaiser Wilhelm.

British Daily Telegraph correspondent wrote that on one part of the line the Germans had managed to slip a chocolate cake into British trenches.

Even more amazingly, it was accompanied with a message asking for a ceasefire later that evening so they could celebrate the Christmas and their Captain's birthday. They proposed a concert at 7.30pm when candles, the British were told, would be placed on the parapets of their trenches.

The British accepted the invitation and offered some tobacco as a return present. That evening, at the stated time, German heads suddenly popped up and started to sing “Stille Naht”, “O Tannenbaum” and other German carols. Each number ended with a round of applause from both sides.

The soldiers started to go out of the trenches and to meet one another in no-man's land. Men exchanged gifts and buttons. In one or two places soldiers who had been barbers in civilian times gave free haircuts. One German, a juggler and a showman, gave a performance of his routine in the centre of no-man's land.

Captain Sir Edward Hulse of the Scots Guards, in his famous account, remembered the approach of four unarmed Germans at 08.30. He went out to meet them with one of his soldiers. 'Their spokesmen,' Hulse wrote, 'started off by saying that he thought it only right to come over and wish us a happy Christmas,

Scots and Huns were fraternizing in the most genuine possible manner. Every sort of souvenir was exchanged addresses given and received, photos of families shown, etc.

Finally they sing Latin carol „Adeste fideles”. For few hours peace won in the middle of the most atrocious War.

One, older German soldier asked:

“Why we can not simply cease this stupid and hopeless war and go home, to seat with our families and enjoy the nativity of Christ, Who is the King of peace?” Sergeant Tom from the Scots Guards answered: “You have to ask this question to your Keiser Wilhelm”.
And the German soldier reaction was: “No we have to ask first at all our hearts”.

I think that it is a good time for us to ask the same question in our hearts.

Why we can not simply cease this stupid and hopeless unending war in our lives, seat with our families and enjoy the nativity of Christ, Who is the King of peace?”

In our age of uncertainty, it is comforting to believe, regardless of the real reasoning and motives, that soldiers and officers told to hate, loathe and kill, could still lower their guns and extend the hand of goodwill, peace, love and Christmas cheer.

Are we able to do the same?

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, How much do I owe you?

You don't owe me anything, she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness."
He said..... "Then I thank you from my heart."

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also.
Many years later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled! They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case. After a long struggle, the battle was won.

Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words.....

"Paid in full with one glass of milk. Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness." (Signed) Dr. Howard Kelly.

Blessed are you among women

The service of Mary at Elizabeth’s house is full of humility and sincerity; it is natural and human because Mary is human, humble and sincere. It is, maybe for this reason that we are surprised and embarrassed hearing about this, because our life became already too complicated and not sincere and not humble. God won’t from us any kind of a special and extraordinary actions and activities. He became a man in the simplicity and even austerity of a manger; He lived among us accepting all human conditions and limitations but sin, and He gave us the natural human feelings and emotions like sincerity, honesty, genuineness, openness, cordiality, helpfulness, kindness. And finally He expects that all this will be an experience of our daily life. He gave us even His own Mother to be our Mother with all her maternal tenderness.

This we can see in today’s Gospel when Mary is visiting Elizabeth to help her older aunt, because Mary understands, is compassionate and kind in all her acts. She comes to help, to be useful, to serve and to be careful, vigilant, and watchful. She will be the same during the wedding in Cana of Galilee. This is Mary, the Mother of God.

And Jesus … Even before he is born, He already comes to serve and not to be served. It is through service we will recognize him as Lord. Later on he will tell his disciples, "You call me Master and Lord and you are right and yet I am the one who washes your feet. You go and do the same" (John 13:13-15). Today’s Gospel is certainly teaching us how to be sincere and helpful, cordial and kind. How to say each day “Yes” to all and everybody I am encountering in may daily life?

It’s a kind of invitation to follow. Jesus does not only do all this for us while we sit back and wait to be "saved". He invites us to say with him to the Father: "Here I am! I am coming to obey your will."

We are about to celebrate Christmas very soon, this very night. Probably all our other preparations have been made or we are up to our eyes making them. But have we made the most important preparation of all? Yes, to the Father, Yes, to Jesus, Yes to all that we will experience in the coming year, Yes to every call that God makes and will make of us, Yes to everybody whom I will meet in my life?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

III Sunday of Advent

17.12.2006 III Sunday of Advent

The joy of Gaudete SundayRejoice Sunday is only comprehensible if we do prepare our paths for God. first and second readings are announcing this joy because of the coming of our King and our Lord. The Gospel is showing us on what our joy should be founded. Rejoice Sundayis telling us not about an empty and meaningless or superficial joy which we can find in the world, but rather about the joy which is the effect of the internal conviction of the justice andhonesty of my life. I can and I will be truly joyful only if my conscience will not reproach me for anything.

What should we do? What should I do?

This Sundays Gospel once more presents John the Baptist. He has a particular place of honor in our tradition. He was the kinsman of the Lord. He was the forerunner, the one who said that the Messiah was coming. He is the one who pointed to Jesus and called him the Lamb of God. He was the one who lived as a radical prophet, wearing animal skins and eating locusts and demanding a radical change in the way people lived. Our generation likes to closeeyes to this aspect of Johns life, but it is this aspect, this demand for continual and radical change, that fascinated the people of the centuries.

In todays Gospel the people gather around John and ask, What is it that we should do? not "What should others do to prepare for the Kingdom?" They do not ask howthe government should change to prepare for the Kingdom nor how the church should change to prepare for the Kingdom, but, simply and perhaps what is more difficult, "What should I do?"

John told the people to be charitable. They should give the poor their surplus. The tax collectors were told to be honest, not using their positions to enrich themselves. The soldiers were told to stop harassing and intimidating people.

John the Baptist challenged the people to be loving. He also challenges us. He challenges us to adopt a whole new attitude in life, an attitude of sacrificial love. This is the love that others will witness in us as a sign that the Kingdom of God is near. St. Paul put it this way to the Philippians. Let your gentleness be known to everyone, for the Lord is near.

What is it we should do to prepare for the Lord? The first thing we should do is to look at how we treat other people and then make an effort to be kind, considerate, loving, just and honest.

Bruno Ferrero in his small book Sunshine tells a short story about a monk who once, while walking through the forest, observedthe bird of one species was feeding the sick young of a bird of another species. The monk was astonished at first because it was rather strange that onewouldanother in this way.

But finally he said:

OK. God is giving me a sign. If even animalscare of other animals, so God is showing me that whatever happens, He will certainly always send somebody to help me. It is notthat Iso muchmy daily needs. Whatthen should I do? I dont need to take such care of myself, butshouldand absolutely relyGods help.

Then he stopped doing anything. He just sat in the forest for many days waiting forhelp. Many days later he was so exhausted that he was unable to even lift up his hand. Very weak, he fell asleep and indream he saw an angel, who was looking at him very angrily so the monk stood up and started to reprimand the angel saying, God gave me a signthat bird, that I have to be totally trustful and rely on God like the young of the strange bird which was fed by the other bird. According to the sign I received from God, you were to help me so why didnt you help me? The angel answered. "Yes, the sign was there for you, but it was meant to show you how you have to help others not that you just wait for them to help you.

What should we do? What should I do? What is the deepest source of the true joy?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Homily from Father Joseph Pellegrino

2 Sunday of Advent - John the Baptist in the Mall

I heard a story about a man in one of those high price shopping malls like the International Plaza in Tampa. The man caused quite a commotion among those doing their Christmas shopping. He would sit near a beautifully decorated fountain near the mall?s food court and would talk to people who would relax on the benches next to him. He wasn?t offensive, not really. In fact, there was a certain kindness and sincerity about him that drew people to him.

But he was not good for business. He would ask people why they spent so much money for Christmas, and why they allowed themselves to become so obsessed and stressed over this tinseled holiday. Sometimes he would tease, ?We like out Christmas with a lot of sugar on it, don?t we?? Then he would say, ?Christmas is about hope and love, isn?t it? The best gifts we can give is to give kindness and compassion to each other. Why don?t you forgive or reconcile with family or friends you?ve lost over the years? The Spirit of the Christ child should embrace the entire year, not just Christmas.?

Many of the people who listened to him would nod in agreement. Some decided to quit shopping for the time being and go home to be with their families. Others went and bought an extra toy or some clothes for charity. Some even left the mall to find a quiet place for a few moments of prayer.

Soon, word got out to the store managers about this man. They had security escort him from the premises. They realized that he wasn?t really hurting anyone. But he had to go, they said. He was ruining everyone?s Christmas.

If John the Baptizer were to appear in our time and place, he probably would go to a mall during Advent and say the same type of things as the man sitting near the fountain. He would talk about the coming of Christ and about God becoming one of us. He would shake us out of our Christmas routine and syrupy feelings with the notion that peace on earth to all people of good will means forgiving those who have offended us. He probably would remind us that we say ?Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,? when we say the Lord?s Prayer, and then tease us by asking us whether we mean it.

The preaching of John the Baptist would not be conducive to the Christmas Spirit. His only concern would be preparing the way for the Savior. He would warn us that all the other things that we busy our lives with, particularly at Christmas, are secondary and superfluous to the reason for the celebration.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

1 Sunday of Advent
Jeremiah 33:14-16;
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2;
Luke 21:25-28,34-36
Why God does need our hands?

A Master and his disciple were walking through the deserts of Arabia. The Master used each moment of the journey to teach his disciple about faith. ?Entrust your things to God, because He never abandons His children? ? the master repeated many times during the day.

When they camped down at night, the Master asked the disciple to tie the horses to a nearby rock. The disciple went over to the rock, but then remembered what he had learned that afternoon. ?The Master must be testing me. The truth is that I should entrust the horses to God." And he let the horses loose.

In the morning he discovered that the animals had run off. Indignant, he sought out the Master.
?You know nothing about God! Yesterday I learned that I should trust blindly in Providence, so I gave the horses to Him to guard, and the animals have disappeared!?

?God wanted to look after the horses,? answered the Master. ?But at that moment he needed your hands to tie them up and you did not lend them to Him.?

Last week we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King and the last Sunday of the outgoing Church year. Today is the First Sunday in Advent and the beginning of a new Church year. Why are these four weeks before Christmas called "Advent"? The term comes from a Latin word ad-veniat - meaning 'coming or arrival'. We immediately think it refers to the coming of Jesus at Christmastime and that is correct. But it is not the whole story. In fact, we can speak of three comings of the Lord and all are referred to in the Scripture readings today.

Three 'comings'

The First Reading from the prophet Jeremiah refers prophetically to the coming of Jesus, our King and Saviour: "I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David who shall practise honesty and integrity in the land." That is the coming of the Child Jesus in Bethlehem, which we anticipate and prepare for in these four weeks. That is what we may call the First Coming.

The Gospel speaks in ominous terms of the end of the world and what we refer to as the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of time. "And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."

However, there is still a third coming which forms an important and indispensable link between the First and Second Comings. That is what is spoken about in the Second Reading. It is the welcoming of Jesus into our lives in the here and now. This is something which takes place every day. By it we both acknowledge the First Coming of Jesus in Bethlehem and prepare for the Second Coming at an unknown future date.

For this reason we have to stay alert and be watchful because He is constantly coming even in the most invisible ways. This is the deepest sense of Advent, the time of waiting for God.

Efrem Jonescou a writer did make a special arrangement of the Samuel Beckett famous play ?Waiting for Godot?.

In his play, Jonescou writes about a certain man living on a huge mountain of garbage. He is busy, but in reality he is doing nothing. Many people visit him regularly. They try to invite him to the restaurants or to a cinema, or to their houses but he constantly and stubbornly refuses to do anything else, explaining that he is waiting for the mysterious Mister Godot. He can do nothing else because Mister Godot could come at anytime and so he has to be ready. We ?as Catholics- we are similar to this man, especially during the time of Advent; we are waiting maybe not for Mister Godot but for God until He comes ?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Radaractive: God versus Science

The Journey of the Mind

When we consider ideas, our starting point within our minds is our worldview. If I have a worldview that is not far from the idea that is presented from me in terms of what I have logically accepted as the realm of possibility, then a new idea is readily accessible. I may or may not accept it, but I can grasp it and give it due consideration. If the idea is in Chicago and my mind resides in Northwest Indiana, I can agree to go there and check it out with no problem.

On the other hand, if my mind is allegorically out living on an island in the Pacific, such an idea is far from my worldview and is very nearly unthinkable. I cannot easily grasp and consider and idea that is in Chicago, so to speak.

To me, people who only can see the world from a completely naturalistic point of view are stuck out there on an island. Such a limited point of view keeps them from being able to even consider supernatural options when questioning the whats and wherefores of life and the Universe. Yet the majority of the news media personnel and perhaps of the scientific community have placed their minds way out there.

Time-Warner Corporation publishes Time Magazine. Time loves to publish articles that promote evolution and deride Christianity. Ted Turner, that bastion of atheism, is behind much of what Time-Warner now controls, including CNN and HBO. No one is going to charge them with being conservative, that is for sure! So Time Magazine is allegorically being published from, you guessed it, Hawaii!

My intention is to blog the article beginning tomorrow or even late this evening and discussion will hopefully follow. Looking forward to hearing from all of you islanders out there!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Jesus Christ the King of the Universe ? 25-26 November 2006

The main issue of today?s Gospel is not the problem of the political power or even the discussion about the legitimacy of Jesus Christ as a King of Israel. The main question is rather the understanding of the TRUTH. The Gospel finishes by the words of Jesus: ?For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." The next verse of the Gospel (38) is Pilate cynical question: ?What is truth??

The Gospel speaks of a strange confrontation between Pilate, the Roman Governor, and Jesus. An encounter between
- a man who feels, as the chief authority of a colonial regime, that he has unlimited power and
- Jesus, a traveling preacher who seems to have none.

This is a strange confrontation between two visions of the world ?.
The vision
- of Pilate, who tries to be politically correct, and who relay on the understanding of the power as a demonstration of the physical force, and ?
- Jesus, Who seems to be powerless

"Are you the King of the Jews?" asks Pilate. He is irritated when Jesus asks in return if it is an honest question or just an echo of rumors and accusations heard from others. Pilate is decidedly uncomfortable that Jesus, a member of a despised and subject people, speaks to him as one equal to another, as one human being to another. The balance of power is shifting and Pilate does not like it.

Real power and real authority are not in positions or titles but in the inner strength of the person. Real power is in the TRUTH, which is behind it.

- Jesus does not speak down to anyone as Pilate is trying to do. Jesus' power and authority is not dominating but enabling and empowering. Only the weak feel the need to dominate. Somebody who is strong with the strength of the internal truth doesn?t need to dominate.

- Although Jesus does not explicitly respond by saying, "I am a king", he does speak very clearly about "my Kingdom" or "my Kingship". He says it is "not of this world".

This discussion and confrontation between Pilate and Jesus, however is rooted deeper in the confrontation about the truth.

The cynical question of Pilate: "What is truth?" is revealing the main and crucial question of the whole humanity. This question is present in all contemporary discussions about the impossibility of the truth and its relativity. Nowadays, in our contemporary societies we are facing the same problem of the relativistic approach to the truth, the situationism, the ethical, moral and epistemological subjectivism. Everybody is able to have its own, private truth. There are as many truths as people living in the society. All and everything is admissible and equal, democratically we can vote about the truth of most fundamental values of human life. Even the love itself depends of the understanding of the TRUTH. So the most fundamental question is the question of Pilat, but reformulated : ?What is the truth ?? or Who is the TRUTH?

Jesus answers the question of Pilate and at the same time all our questions stating strongly and clearly: ?I am the Truth, I am the Way, and I am the Life. Whoever would like to come to the Father has to pass trough me!!!? (John 14, 16)

The truth that we must all seek and obey cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own internal consistence, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.

Pilate, who cynically dismisses any claim to know the truth, and allows Jesus' fate to be determined democratically by the will of the majority ? is the example of our democratic societies, which are voting about the fate of the unborn children, and the old and sick members of these societies.

Jesus reminds Pilate that his legitimate political authority comes to him, not from the people, but "from above," that is to say, from certain moral values rooted in God, which should be practiced in the daily life of all political authorities.

Jesus our King, dying on the cross, was the victory of truth, of justice, of compassion and, above all, of love. The greatest love any one can show is to give his life for his friends. This is the power of our King, a power that nothing else can overcome.

Yet Jesus is not really our King unless we are consciously his subjects.

?Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice? - says Jesus in today?s Gospel, and I ask myself: ?Do I belongs to the truth, do I listen to His voice??

During a session of the UN a certain cardinal presenting Vatican?s position in some moral questions was attacked by some politicians. In an answer he said, ?I prefer to be crucified for the truth than crucify the truth in my life and in my speech?. And, how it is in my life?

He is not our King if we do not listen to him, love him, serve him, follow him. He is not our King if we do not actively identify with the goals, the aims of his kingship. We come under his kingship not just because we are baptized or because we carry the name Christian or Catholic nor even because we involve ourselves in various religious activities. We can say we really belong to his kingship
when we try to walk with him,
when we try to live our lives fully in the spirit of the Gospel,
when that Gospel spirit penetrates every facet of our living.

Monday, November 20, 2006

33 Sunday of the Ordinary Time ? November 19, 2006 Edmonton

A tramp named Jim would visit a church every day at 3:00pm and pray for ten minutes. The parish priest -let we call him Fr. Roddy- asked him once, why he did this every day at the same time.
The tramp answered that he did so because he knew that Jesus died for him at 3:00pm. Jim said that he kneels down and then says ?Hi, Jesus, it?s me, Jim?. Then Jim explains to Jesus what is going on in his life and left the church.

After a number of years the visits suddenly stopped, and naturally Fr Roddy wondered why.

One day he was in Central Hospital and a doctor told him that people were being miraculously healed on one of the wards, and all because of an old man. When Fr Roddy walked into the ward he nearly fell over at the overpowering presence of God. Then he saw Jim in one of the beds. ?Jim,? he said, ?this is amazing. People are being healed and there?s such a feeling of God here.?

Jim looked up from his bed and replied, ?It?s nothing to do with me, Father. Every day at 3:00pm a man stands at the end of my bed and say, ?Hi Jim. It?s me, Jesus.?

Don?t be afraid of the end of the world if you meet Jesus already in your life.

The first reading from the Book of Daniel talks about the end of time being a time of unsurpassed stress where some who die shall be in everlasting horror and disgrace. The Gospel reading from the Apocalyptical sections of Mark presents the end of time as being the day of tribulations, when the earth will shake and even the stars will fall out of the sky. Scary stuff, this end of the world readings.

The early Christians did not look at the Second Coming and End of Time with terror. Instead they saw it as a time when the Lord would return to his people and correct the injustices of the world. Good people, Christians, were being put to death for the Lord in the most horrible ways. Throughout the world, little children were starving to death while rich people ate heartily. The conquering Romans, like the Greeks and Persians before them, had no respect for any life other than their own and killed the population of whole cities, men, women and children viciously and randomly. During the first tree centuries of Christianity 7 million Christians was killed.

This is not what God created the world to be. The world was suffering from sin. Therefore, the Christians prayed, ?Come, Lord Jesus, Maranatha. Come and recreate your world into your image.?

The world has not changed all that much in its barbarity. People are still killed for whom they are. Just a few years ago we heard about genocide in Europe, in Bosnia, and in Africa in Darfur. Here, in our country, good people are still persecuted when they refuse to join the latest mores of society. If you are not in favor of gay marriage and abortion you will be held up to scorn by many in the academia and the media. The world has not changed that much. People, who hold their convictions tightly to themselves are still persecuted, even put to death in some parts of the world. As I said during the first tree centuries of Christianity 7 million Christians was killed but do you know that only during the last century (in the XX century) 450 million people ? Christians was killed. The world has not changed all that much in its barbarity.

And children are still hungry. Each 3 seconds somewhere in Africa, South America, throughout the world somebody is starving to death.

Are you afraid of the end of the world? Each and every day Jesus is knocking on your door. Don?t be afraid to meet HIM (Jesus) in your daily life, so you will not be afraid to meet Him at the end of your days.
Did you meet Him already? If you didn?t yet ? the end of the world might be for you an absolute surprise.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

32 Sunday in Ordinary Time ?. November 12, 2006 Edmonton

Ruth went to her mail box and there was only one letter. She picked it up and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope again.

There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address.

She read the letter:
Dear Ruth: I?m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I'd like to stop by for a visit.
Love Always, Jesus

Her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table.
"Why would the Lord want to visit me? I'm nobody special. I don't have anything to offer."

With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets.
"Oh my goodness, I really don't have anything to offer. I'll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner."

She reached for her purse and counted out its contents. Five dollars and forty cents. 5,40
?Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least."

She threw on her coat and hurried out the door. A loaf of French bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk ... leaving Ruth with grand total twelve cents to last her until Monday. Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.

"Hey lady, can you help us, lady?"

Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn't even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags.

"Look lady, I ain't got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out her e on the street, and, well, now it's getting cold and we're getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us. Lady, we'd really appreciate it."

Ruth looked at them both.
They were dirty, they smelled bad and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to.

"Sir, I'd like to help you, but I'm a poor woman myself.
All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I'm having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him."

"Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand. Thanks anyway."
The man put his arm around the woman's shoulders, turned and headed back into the alley.
As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart.

"Sir, wait!"

The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them.
"Look, why don't you take this food. I'll figure out something else to serve my guest."

She handed the man her grocery bag.

"Thank you lady. Thank you very much!"

"Yes, thank you!" It was the man's wife, and Ruth could see now that she was shivering.
"You know, I've got another coat at home.
Here, why don't you take this one."
Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman's shoulders.
Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street...without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.
"Thank you lady!
Thank you very much!"
Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried too.
The Lord was coming to visit and she didn't have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox.

"That's odd. The mailman doesn't usually come twice in one day."

Dear Ruth:
It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.
Love Always,

The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.

Somebody once said: "When a man dies, he carries in his hands only that which he has given away."

We would do well also to recall the question asked about the wealthy man who died. "How much money did he leave? The answer came promptly. "All of it!"

Someone has enumerated four different types of giving.

The first is called grudge giving. I hate to part with this twenty dollars but ?. I will.
The second is shame giving. I must match whatever the Jones family is giving.
The third is calculated giving. We part with our money with what, someone deliciously called, a "lively sense of favors to come." Bingos, Las Vegas nights, and raffle tickets fit in very nicely in this category.

The final category is thanksgiving. I part with my funds precisely because God has been so wonderfully generous to me. The widow of today's Gospel fits comfortably into this area.

And how am I giving ?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

05.11. 2006 - 31 Sunday in Ordinary Time

Certain American broadcasting company announced the competition for a radio programme under the title: ?Theological and pastoral aspects of the Jesus? commandment of love in the light of the contemporary world?s sociological changes and challenges of globalisation.? Everybody who was invited to participate in the broadcasted discussion, was oblige to prepare a speech on the main topic, to present the problems we are facing in our society because of the lack of understanding of the Gospel and the indifference in human relationships.

So the people of the different specialisation prepared very scientific speeches and discourses, knowing that the main prize was quite elevated. There were all nervously sitting in an attending lobby and waiting to be invited for the recording session.

Finally one by one they were going to the recording studio, separately, along the corridor where -in one corner- somebody was simulating the cardiac arrest. The whole scene was recorded by a hidden camera. Different specialists in sociology, psychology, theology and all other sociological and human sciences, and social services were passing by and it was impossible to not see the man prostrated on the floor. Majority passed by, without even noticing the man. Some of them were glancing nervously at their watches so to finally decide to continue hurriedly to the studio, and not be too late for the discussion about love and indifference in the society. The prize was finally pretty high.

Among invited more than 40 persons, all specialists in the different sociological and social domains ?. only one, elderly looking man decided to stop, search the telephone and call the ambulance. He was obviously late for the discussion. And in the discussion he was rather week and did not impress very much the others with his discourse.

But ??. to the amazement of all he won the first prize and was rewarded by the broadcasting company.

When, afterwards, the recorded images, from the hidden camera were shown to the invited specialists along with their speeches ?. You can imagine what was their reaction?

Pope John Paul II said:

?in our commercialised world we are certainly not lacking the highly specialized scientists and sociologists; we are rather lacking the witnesses, who will be able to show the poor people that love is not an empty word.?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

29. X. 2006 - 30 Sunday in ordinary time

The question which arises from the lecture of today?s Gospel is quite simple.

Is my blindness curable?
?Jesus, son of David, have pity on me, let me see, because I am blind?

I ask you for the miracle because:

- I am blind to the beauty of the world - created by you,
- I am blind to the needs of my neighbors - living near to me,
- I am blind to my own faults, sins and weaknesses,
- I am blind to the deep sickness of my soul,
- and I am blind above all to the infinite Lord?s Love for me,

?Jesus, son of David, have pity on me, let me see, because I am blind?,

I ask you for the miracle:

? because only you can heal me,
? because only you can help me to see what is the most important in my life,
? because only you can help me to see all these wonderful things to which I am still blind.
? because miserable people are not those who are blind but rather those who refuse to see.

Friday, October 27, 2006

"Go; your faith has made you well." ? 30 Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Bartimaeus, the blind man was healed and regained his sight in a miraculous way. It is something that is not happening every day. However, the Gospel?s message can be read in ?at least- two ways. One is direct; the physically blind man was cured from his disease and regained physical sight. Beautiful and great, if only our medical services could work this way ? we would be happy and delighted.

But the other possibility of reading and understanding this passage from the Gospel is spiritual, personal, and internal. You can be healed from your internal blindness, but two things are requested. The first one is the most difficult - you have to recognize that you are blind, and the second one - you heave to express that you need to be cured: ?Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me, let me see?.

These two attitudes ?however- presuppose the deepest and the most fundamental one. In order to be cured from any kind of disease you have to believe it is possible! This is the basic and most fundamental attitude without which, nothing will happen. Maybe it is for this reason that we experience the miracles so seldom nowadays?

The coming week is recalling for us one thing more, eternal life. All Saints and All Souls Days are not the days of death and fatality, but the days of those who are already living the reality of Eternal Life. Don?t forget that you are also invited to share this reality, and only one thing is requested, that you believe it is possible.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Your god, what did he thought you?

One day, Mother Teresa took in a woman off the streets of Calcutta. Her body was a mess of open sores infested with bugs. Mother Teresa patiently bathed her, cleaning and dressing her wounds. The woman never stopped shrieking insults and threats at her. Mother Teresa only smiled.

Finally, the woman snarled, ?Sister, why are you doing this? Not everyone behaves like you. Who taught you??
She replied simply, ?My God taught me.? When the woman asked who this god was, Mother Teresa kissed her on the forehead and said: ?You know, my God is called love. He taught me this.?

And who is your God ? money, success, wealth or prosperity?
And what did he thought you, your God?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.
God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your Mom and Dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.

Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in town. At least there aren't any who come to our church.

Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

His dad, God, appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God. Don't skip church or do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong and besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

But you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases. And that's why I believe in God.
Father Edward Oakes on the Importance of Definitions

Evolution in the Eyes of the Church (Part 1)

MUNDELEIN, Illinois, JULY 27, 2005 ( It isn't often that cardinals from another continent get space in the op-ed pages of the New York Times.

Such was the case on July 7 when Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna and principal editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, tried on the opinion page of the Times to clarify the Church's teachings in regard to the theories of Charles Darwin. His statements ignited a firestorm of commentary.

To get insight into the issue, ZENIT turned to Jesuit Father Edward Oakes, a theology professor at the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

Part 2 of this interview will appear Thursday.

Q: Cardinal Schönborn recently wrote an opinion-page article in the New York Times on evolution. What was the real point he made in that piece? Was it just a new chapter in the evolution-vs.-creationism debate?

Father Oakes: First of all, let me clear up a problem of interpretation regarding Cardinal Schönborn's essay, due no doubt to the editors of the Times.

Two days after his op-ed piece appeared, the Times ran a front-page story on the controversy whose headline read: "Leading Cardinal Redefines Church's View on Evolution." This so-called redefinition is something the cardinal most decidedly did not do.

For one thing, the Church has no "doctrine" on evolution, any more than it has a doctrine on tectonic plates or a magisterial teaching on how human consciousness arises from the electrical firings inside the neurology of the brain. These matters are both beyond the competence of the magisterium and are irrelevant to salvation, anyway.

Secondly, even if the magisterium did have an official teaching on evolution, it does not officially revise its "views" on matters of science by having a cardinal, however "leading," writing an article "in propria persona" -- on his own behalf -- and using an op-ed piece in a secular newspaper to boot.

That said, I believe that Cardinal Schönborn's essay "Finding Design in Nature" in the July 7 issue of the Times makes a valid point, roughly the reverse side of the coin of what Pope John Paul II said in his now-famous letter to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in October of 1996.

John Paul said at the time that "evolution" -- which, as Cardinal Schönborn rightly notes, the Holy Father left undefined -- can no longer be considered merely a "hypothesis" because so much data have now come in to confirm the theory.

The problem is that this very short letter brought some misinterpretations of its own in its wake -- because of the obnoxious way some Darwinians like to hijack the word "evolution" for their own atheistic purposes -- and it is those false conclusions, as I see it, that the cardinal was trying to warn against.

But, no, I do not see the cardinal's quite legitimate warning as a "new chapter in the evolution-vs.-creationism debate."

First of all, if "creationism" means six-day creation as a few Christian fundamentalists still hold, then there is no chance in the world that the Catholic Church will join that cause. But "creationism" can also refer to the total ontological dependence of the universe on God's creative act of will, and nothing in the theory of evolution can threaten that essential doctrine of the Catholic faith.

Remember that, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, even if the world happens to be temporally eternal, such an eternity of time would not undermine the created contingency of the world, utterly dependent on God's free decision to create it.

Q: Non-scientists often think Darwin's theory of evolution is accepted as scientific fact. Is that the case? If not, what is the best science saying right now?

Father Oakes: As Cardinal Schönborn rightly pointed out, the key is how one defines evolution.

If evolution simply means "descent with modification," then I would agree that evolution must be regarded as confirmed by scientific "fact" -- meaning by that tendentious word a reality that no one can afford to deny, except at the price of obscurantism.

Defined in that way, the theory of evolution claims that all life began about 3.5 billion years ago as a single-celled, self-replicating organism from which we are all descended. Since everyone now reading this sentence once began his or her existence as a single-celled organism, I hardly see how such a theory can be regarded as inherently implausible. Plus, let's not forget that the biological basis of the Church's opposition to abortion is based on the single-celled origin of human life.

And once one traces the transmission of life all the way back, using the science of genetics as one's marker, and once one follows the paths of life back to life's remotest beginnings, one sees how the various life-forms are interrelated. Moreover, using genetics, one can roughly spot when each branch of life broke off from its parent-branches.

The problem comes from the conflation of Darwinism with evolution strictly defined. Now Darwinism asserts not just the fact of "descent with modification"; it also claims to know the "how" of evolution: Evolution occurred, it claims, by means of something it calls "natural selection."

Again, if that term is strictly defined, it simply means that only those organisms that reach reproductive age get to transmit their genes; and if those genes were somehow "responsible" for helping that organism reach reproductive age, then that "helpfulness" will likely contribute to later success as well.

As with the doctrine that all life began as a single-celled organism, I hardly see how such an obvious insight can be regarded as controversial. But then again, we have to ask: How much does the concept of natural selection actually explain the "how" of evolution? Certainly, this question is a very controversial point among philosophers of biology.

But leaving aside whether natural selection actually does any explanatory work, the importation of that concept into human relations has been nothing but an unmitigated disaster for the 20th century: Karl Marx, John D. Rockefeller and Adolf Hitler were all enthusiastic Darwinians.

For that reason, I would say that any application of Darwinian principles outside the restricted sphere of organic evolution is not only not "accepted as scientific fact" but that it has also been massively disconfirmed by history.

Q: Many Catholic scientists -- including Kenneth Miller, biology professor at Brown University and author of "Finding Darwin's God" -- have requested a clarification from the Holy See on this issue, claiming that from a strictly scientific standpoint, Darwin's description of biological origins is not incompatible with Catholic teaching. Do these scientists have a legitimate point?

Father Oakes: A statement from the Vatican could be beneficial, but I also see no problem with everyone just taking a deep breath and cooling off for a while.

My worry about any more statements from the Church on evolution is the way the world of journalism will inevitably distort the import of both the Church's teaching and the debate such a statement will surely provoke among theologians, believing biologists and kibitzing atheists.

But the infernal noise of journalistic debate is a feature of our times anyway, so perhaps a serene and untroubled statement by the Vatican on this topic would be timely.

Q: What would you like to see the statement say?

Father Oakes: Well, it's a bit above my pay-scale to be giving Pope Benedict and the cardinals in Rome instructions on how they can best do their jobs, but here's how I approach this issue in my own writings.

Take the law of gravity. Fortunately the Catholic Church made no official pronouncement on Isaac Newton's "Principia Mathematica," not only because such a pronouncement would have been beyond the competence of the magisterium, but also because Newton's law had to be revised when Albert Einstein was forced to redefine gravity as the warping of space-time by material bodies, and not as some mysterious attractive force inherent in matter, as Newton held.

But when Newton published his "Principia" -- which completely bowled over the educated public -- many philosophers hijacked Newton's law for their own anti-theological purposes. They declared that Newton's law meant that God was this law's "legislator."

Fair enough, it would seem, but then came the next step. Because gravity works on its own, this meant, according to some philosophers, that after God's "enactment" of this law, he could just retire and let the universe run on its own.

Unfortunately for these self-styled "Enlightened" -- but in fact benighted -- thinkers, there is absolutely nothing in the law of gravity that would justify such a philosophical move; Newton certainly resisted it. And quantum mechanics has in any event completely exploded that old-style determinism.

Similarly, what if a geologist were to claim that God either doesn't exist or is unfeeling, with no regard for the sufferings of the human race, simply because tectonic plates cause earthquakes? That, too, would be a philosophical importation introduced adventitiously into the assured deliverances of geology.

And if a neurologist were to say that, because consciousness depends on brain activity, there is therefore no such thing as a soul -- that too would be an invalid conclusion.

In other words, just because evolution is true, that doesn't mean that any of the conclusions that so many boring positivists draw from evolution is true.

Q: So it's just a matter, then, of pointing out the philosophical errors in the conclusions of some Darwinians?

Father Oakes: St. Thomas Aquinas, I believe, has given theologians the best way to deal with these illegitimate moves. When he began to meet the challenge of Aristotle's philosophy, he immediately recognized much wisdom and truth in this natural-born Greek genius, but he also knew, as a Christian, that Aristotle had to be wrong in at last some of his conclusions.

But Thomas didn't just content himself with recognizing the falseness of the conclusions. He also realized that if Aristotle were to be proved wrong, he had to be proved wrong philosophically.

Think of someone who tries to teach himself algebra without a tutor, by using one of those textbooks with the right answers in the back. He tries out a problem on his own, and then he looks up the right answer in the back. And if he sees he got the answer wrong, he needs to go back and find out where the error was made according to the standard rules of mathematics.

Otherwise he's not really teaching himself algebra, just memorizing answers that, for all he knows, could be quite arbitrary.

Now a Church statement on evolution -- especially of the kind that Professor Miller seems to be seeking -- can either content itself with pointing out certain erroneous conclusions from Darwinian theory, or it can also show how and where the false logic operates that brings some benighted Darwinians to their dreary conclusions.

It is my view that the Church's magisterial office would work best if it confined itself to the first task, and left it to philosophers and theologians to thrash out the second challenge.

[Thursday: Reconciling Science and Faith]

Sunday, October 15, 2006


A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar.

He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.

As his car passed, no children appeared.

Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door!

He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.

The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting,

"What was that all about and who are you?

Just what the heck are you doing?

That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"

The young boy was apologetic.

"Please, mister...please,

I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do,"

He pleaded.

"I threw the brick because no one else would stop..." With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car.

"It's my brother," he said. He's in a wheelchair and I can't lift him up."

Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive,

"Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat.

He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts.

A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.

"Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger.

Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home

It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar.

The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message

"Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!"

God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don?t have time to listen,

He has to throw a brick at us.

It's our choice to listen or not.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

prayer ...

"It's Your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face, O Lord".

Sunday, July 09, 2006