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

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.?