Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On the sixth day, human beings were created and Jesus was crucified.

   It is rather fitting.  Death entered into the world from those created on the sixth day and on the sixth day, God Himself experienced death.  On the sixth day, human beings were given a way to escape the death that they inflicted upon themselves.
   I always used to think that Saturday was the sixth day, but that is incorrect.  The first day of the week is Sunday.  Just look at a calendar.  The first day of every week is Sunday.
   Many times, God uses symbolism.  Jesus was resurrected on the morning of Sunday, the first day.  This symbolizes a new creation.  He is a new creation and if we align our self with Jesus, we can be brought into this new creation.  Creation started on the first day, so a new creation occurred on the first day as well.
   “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” – [2 Corinthians 5:17]

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Do we live the ‘one flesh’ union in our marriages?

   Jesus said, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” – [Matthew 19:4-6]
   Surely, the ‘one flesh’ union that God spoke of from the beginning was never intended for separation.  This was Jesus’ response to divorce, but it also poses an insight for married couples.  Do we live the ‘one flesh’ union?  If we were two and now one, do we act like so?  Do we keep things from our other half?
   Of course, there are other ways to deny the ‘one flesh’ union.  Lusting for another is one way, but also clinging to one’s parents or friends at the same level as one’s spouse does as well.  Sure, we are to honor our parents, but we are to leave them to be joined to our spouse.
   People seem to enjoy poking holes in theological ideas like the 'one flesh' union.  The questions about an abusive spouse, annulments, and others come up.  As for annulments, Jesus said, “what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”  Annulments are an investigation of whether God created a union from two people.  As for an abusive spouse, if your left hand uncontrollably hurt you, would you not look for a way to prevent it from hurting you?  Remember that separation is valid and so may be legal divorce, but attempting remarriage while already in a union joined by God is where sin occurs.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What is your greatest responsibility?

   Determining our greatest responsibility is a great thing.  It can help us to prioritize our life in a way deserving of our greatest responsibility.  But it can be painful.  Oftentimes, we have to admit that we are not prioritizing our life correctly.  And we do not like to be wrong, especially with our greatest responsibility.
   If we are unwilling to change, there is little point to determining our greatest responsibility.  Sure, we figure it out, but it may require us to change.  We will be even more responsible once we know and then not acting upon it is more of a sin.
   So, if we are still willing to determine our greatest responsibility, let’s first look at the most important person(s) in our life.  Friends, family, co-workers?  Well, it would have to be God.  We were created by God.  We are loved fully by God.  He keeps us in existence and walks with us.  He even died for us.
   So, is God our greatest responsibility?  Our relationship with God must be our greatest responsibility.  However, it comes through many ways.
   The most obvious is we need to communicate with God.  Relationships that lack or have poor communication are poor relationships.  So, we must pray.  We must listen as well as talk.  Within this relationship, we have accepted responsibilities.  Marriage, children, religious life…  All of these were responsibilities that come from God that we accepted.  Everyone is given additional responsibilities, too.  These are as different and diverse as we are, but everything is based upon our relationship with God, our Creator, our Savior, and our Brother.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Before we can speak Christ, we must be Christ.

   I am taking this from Fr Simon of Relevant Radio.  Jesus did not start preaching and teaching once He started talking.  No, He first spent 30 years in ordinary family life.  Only after spending this ordinary time of His life did He begin preaching, teaching, and healing.
   If we want to bring others to Jesus, we must first make sure that we mirror Christ to the best of our ability.  Sure, we can invite them to know Jesus and tell them about Him, but at some point talking will only get you so far.  If we mirror Christ, they will see the teaching in action; they will see Jesus.
   Mother Theresa was asked by some of those she helped why she helped them, like bathing the feet of a dying person.  She responded that she was doing what Jesus asked her to do.  They then asked if He would love them, too.  She was Jesus to them and that made them desire Jesus.
   Sure, we can speak Christ, who is love, but only after we show love, do others see Christ.  Both our actions and our words need to be united in the same love.  Sometimes, words are not necessary.  Sometimes, they are required.  But love is always needed.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Are we supposed to judge?

   This is a tricky question because it does not specify what we are talking about.  Certain things should be judged, like food.  You should judge if it is suitable for eating.  Eating rotten food is not good.  Interiorly, we should judge what we say before we say it to fit the circumstances we are in.
   When we speak of judging, though, we commonly mean judging others.  So, are we supposed to judge others?  No.  Jesus said, “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” – [Matthew 7:1-2]  We do not judge so that we might not be judged the same way.  Judging others is, as I have heard it, above our paygrade.
   Well, Christians are commonly thought to be judgmental.  Are these just bad Christians?  In some cases, but Christians are thought to be judgmental for other reasons, too.  We are supposed to be careful of what we do and, in doing so, we judge our actions.
   Many times judging actions is construed as judging others.  Someone who steals has acted improperly and judging the action of stealing has nothing to do with judging the person who stole.  If we were able to judge the person, we would do so prematurely.  They are on a journey and God will judge them when their journey on Earth ends.
   Sometimes, we are thought to be judging others when we do nothing.  Our mere presence and faith reminds others of what they are doing.  Their conscience begins to judge them.  There is a judgment going on, just not one from us.  And so it is with the Church.  The Catholic Church’s existence enlivens consciences and makes people feel judged.  They are right, but they fail to realize who is doing the judging in this case.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Today, we celebrate the Transfiguration of Our Lord.

   As with anything that Jesus did, there are many ways to look at the Transfiguration.  Jesus was shown to be the Son of God to Peter, James, and John.  However, I heard another way to look at it that stuck with me.  Jesus was talking with, supposedly, dead people in Elijah and Moses.  He was talking to saints.
   When we as Catholics pray to saints, many protestants take offense to it.  Some thinking that we are treating the saints as if they are gods themselves.  Which we do not; we ask them to go to Jesus on our behalf.  Some think we are talking to dead people that cannot possibly help us.  Surely, Jesus did not talk to Elijah and Moses just for the fun of it.  Everything that He did had a purpose.
   As to the saints being “dead” people, we rely on what Jesus said to the Sadducees.  “As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, [the] God of Isaac, and [the] God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.” – [Mark 12:26-27]
   So, the saints are not dead.  If they indeed are in Heaven, then they are more alive than we are.  They have reached a fullness and relationship with God that we hope to experience.  Indeed, when we ask for their assistance, we are asking our friends in ‘high places’ to ask God on our behalf.  It’s good to have friends in ‘high places’, but it does us little good if we do not ask for them to help us.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

God is Love, everything else is commentary.

   This may sound like an absurd statement.  Surely, there is more.  But truly, what else do you want?  The infinite Creator of the universe is Love.  He created you out of love and loves you.  The most powerful being in existence loves you and wants you to love Him.  If we want more, then we have problems.
   Sure, we sometimes wonder, “If God is love than why” this or that.  Well, we need to correct our understanding of love and then everything will make sense.  Perhaps, the questions we tend to ask are the reason there is so much commentary.
   God’s love for us is why we have the Church and the Bible.  They can help to answer the reasons we are looking for.  Ultimately though, we must respond to the gift of grace that God offers us to understand the reasons.  Do we ask the question, but never seek the answer?  Are we willing to accept an answer or have we become so close-minded that no reason will suffice?
   As Jesus said, “seek and you will find”. – [Matthew 7:7]

Sunday, August 2, 2015

If God does not change, why do His rules?

   “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” – [Hebrews 13:8]  Jesus Christ is our Lord and our God, so thus God cannot change.  But things changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  This seems inconsistent.
   Ah, but what has changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament?  In short, humanity has changed.  Humanity had to mature.  Imagine giving the message of God’s love to the people of Moses’ time.  God was expected to be an authoritative supreme being.  Indeed, God is still that, but He is so much more.  Humanity just was not ready for the message.
   So, like a parent rules for their children changes as they mature, so too have God’s rules change for us, His children.  Some rules never change.  Some rules go away, while others become more situational.
   With God, most of the rule changes from the Old Testament to now are actually explained in the New Testament.  Not eating pork?  [Acts 10:9-15]  Not stoning adulterers?  [John 8:1-11]  Some were just so completely understood by all, that they were not actually clearly written in the Bible like moving the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.  We were recreated with Jesus’ Resurrection, for as Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” – [Mark 2:27]
   As humanity has matured, some of God’s rules for us have changed.  With that, we must realize that our responsibility is greater too.  It is just like children growing up.  As rules change or go away, responsibilities take their place.  God is allowing us the freedom that comes with maturity.  Are we using it wisely?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

While God is trying to win you, another is trying to kill you.

   God is trying to win you, in a sense.  He loves you and desires to be loved by you.  But the devil is trying to mess it up, so that you will not have eternal life, but die.  Why does he do it?  Perhaps, he is trying to get back at God or maybe he just hates us because we are God’s creation and God died for love of us.  No matter what his reason, we must realize what he is trying to do.
   The one thing that we must remember throughout it all is the outcome.  Eternal life vs. Eternal death.  Siding with God and loving Him brings eternal life.  Siding with the devil and hating God brings eternal death.  God wants us and the devil wants to dispose of us.
   Of course, not always do we know where we stand, though.  It is a scary thought.  Many think that, I definitely choose God.  Well, actions speak louder than words.  Do we listen to God?  Do we obey God?  Do we love God?  First, we must listen.  Only then will we know God’s will in order to obey Him.  Our love for God will be shown in how we obey Him, begrudgingly or with a smile.
   God is trying to win us, but are we allowing the devil to lead us to eternal death.  If we do not watch where we are going, we do not know.