Monday, January 26, 2015

A father...


By Bobby Quitain

To close my talk last night with the men and women of BCBP, I read in part the speech of Adam Mitchell from the movie "Courageous" which goes...

“I now believe that God desires for every father to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. But more than just being there or providing for them, he’s to walk with them through their lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their father in heaven.

A father should love his children and seek to win their hearts. He should protect them, discipline them and teach them about God.

He should model how to walk with integrity and treat others with respect and should call out his children to become responsible men and women who live their lives for what matters in eternity.

Some men will hear this and mock it or ignore it.

But I tell you that as a father, you are accountable to God for the position of influence he has given you.

You can’t fall asleep at the wheel only to wake up one day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value but the souls of your children do.

Some men will hear this and agree with it but have no resolve to live it out.

lnstead, they will live for themselves and waste the opportunity to leave a godly legacy for the next generation.

But there are some men who, regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did not do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same, and, whenever possible, to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives but who desperately need help and direction.

We are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous to join us in this resolution.

In my home, the decision has already been made.

You don’t have to ask who will guide my family, because by God’s grace, I will.

You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ, because l will.

Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? I will.

Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will.

Who will pray for and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do?

I am their father. l will.

I accept this responsibility, and it is my privilege to embrace it.

I want the favor of God and his blessing on my home.

Any good man does.

So where are you, men of courage?

Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord?

It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you and to say, “I will. I will. I will.”

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, January 25, 2015 with Reflection


1ST READING - Jonah 3:1-5, 10
The word of the Lord came to Jonah, saying: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.” So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the Lord’s bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. 10 When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.
P S A L M - Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R: Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, 5guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.(R) Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord. (R) Good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. (R)
2ND READING - 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
29 I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, 30 those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, 31 those using the world as not using it fully. For the world in its present form is passing away.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.
Mark 1:14-20
14 After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 15 “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” 16 As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. 17 Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. 19 He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. 20 Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

SABBATH


TEACH ME YOUR WAYS, O LORD

There are some hard lessons to learn in life. Some mistakes and missteps don’t lead to happy endings but to grief. Certain acts done impulsively don’t produce desirable results. But, as they say, the tragedy is not in falling but in not getting up after the fall.

        Jonah is a regular guy, like you and me. A bit stubborn, he refused to obey the command of the Lord to prophesy against Nineveh. He knew what was coming. He predicted rightly that Assyria would be used by God to punish Israel. He trusted his feelings.

       As a counselor, one of the things I learned is to be in touch with my feelings — to define them, label them, and accept them. I sympathize with Jonah for feeling what he felt and I don’t judge him for that. But although feelings have a role in discerning what is best thing to do, and that no decision can be made without factoring in feelings, in the end, the will, aided by the mind and heart, needs to come up with a decision. And this is where Jonah was sorely lacking — deciding to do as God would have him do, feelings or no feelings.

       God knows how many times I was told to do things I didn’t want to do. My first assignment as a 21-year-old religious, fresh from philosophical and college studies, was in a place everyone was wary of. My feelings told me to rebel, to dislike, to refuse, to reject — exactly like Jonah did.
       
Thankfully, there was no whale anywhere near to swallow me whole. But I was swallowed whole by sadness and self-pity, and I didn’t know which among the two possibilities was worse. But I did learn one lesson the hard way. And that lesson is “God knows best!”

        Teach me Your ways, O Lord! Doing a Jonah, refusing and rebelling, would lead to grief, not greatness. Instead, listening, obeying and doing as told leads to wisdom. Is there anything wiser than learn sooner, not later, that “the world in its present form is passing  away”? Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: When asked to do something that you don’t want, how do you respond?

Give me a humble and obedient heart, Lord, that I may follow Your leading, even if it’s hard for me to do.

St. Peter Thomas, pray for us.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

think:


 Jesus prays before the major events in His life unfold because He wants to be sure that He is working according to the Father’s will. Let us follow His example and bring to God in prayer all of the life decisions, big and small, we make each day.

Are you ignoring the Holy Spirit?

Struggling to win the spiritual
battle that rages within your soul?

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jesus was a Jew, why are we Catholic?

source: http://catholicsay.com/jesus-was-a-jew-why-are-we-catholic/


Question:

If Jesus was a Jew, why are we Catholic?

Answer:

Jesus was a Jew both ethnically and religiously, he completed the religion by serving as the Christ whom the Scriptures long foretold even though majority of the Jews did not believe in him.

Christianity is the completed form of the Ancient Jewish religion, it is a pity that many of those who were ethnically Jewish did not recognize his role as Messiah, for this many did not accept Christianity, the completed form of Judaism. Instead they remained incomplete with the religion.

It wasn’t long before it was understood through the direction of the Holy Spirit that one did not need to be ethnically Jewish to be a follower of Christ, thus the Apostles began to preach to, and baptize many Gentile converts to the Christian faith. So Paul speaks about ethnical and religious Judaism :For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal.” Romans 2:28-29

As time went on, unfortunately some Christians broke away from the Church founded by Christ, so that a name became necessary to distinguish one Church from another. It was later decided that, the Church Jesus founded be called “Universal” from Greek Kataholos which means “according to the whole”, this is how the term “Catholic” was applied to this Church.

So Jesus was a Jew to complete the Jewish religion by creating a Church that would fulfill it and be open to people everywhere irrespective of their tribe and culture.

.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

10 Ways We Can Fast

Jesus said: “Unless you do penance you will all perish,” (Lk. 13:3).  The first preaching of His Public ministry Jesus exhorts us to conversion: “Be converted for the Kingdom of God is at hand,”(Mk. 1:15). The Church which is the Mystical Body of Christ generously offers us a season of grace which has as its purpose conversion every year.  This is the forty days of Lent.
The Israelites spent forty days in the desert; Moses fasted forty days on the Mountain; Jesus spent forty days in the desert fasting. The Church encourages us in the Season of Lent to dig deep into the inner recesses of our hearts and beg for conversion of heart.
This conversion can become a reality by undertaking three traditional practices: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. (Mt. 6: 1-18) In prayer we lift our minds to God; in almsgiving we go out to meet the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters; in fasting we dig deep into our hearts and beg the Lord for the grace to relinquish our attachment to sin!
This being the case, what might be some concrete ways that we can practice fasting? An important note is the following: fasting is not a mere diet, with the simple desire to lose a few extra pounds. Rather, the purpose of fasting is to please God, convert our hearts as well as to beg for the conversion of others. In other words, fasting must have a horizontal or supernatural intention!

Ten Specific Ways We Can Fast

1. Eat less and receive the most Holy Eucharist more. By this practice we give more importance to our spiritual life and the salvation of our soul. Jesus said: “Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”(Jn. 6:27—Discourse on the Bread of Life)
2. Control your tongue. Saint James says, “We should be slow to speak and quick to listen.” Read James chapter three—one of the best exhortations in the world to work on controlling our tongue!
3.  Heroic Moments.  The Founder of Opus Dei has coined the phrase, “The Heroic moment”. By this Saint Jose Maria asserts that as soon as we hear the alarm-clock we should spring from bed, pray and start our day. The devil of laziness encourages us to push the Snooze-button! I do not believe the Snooze-button exists in the vocabulary and practice of the saints. What do you think?
4.  Control those wandering eyes.  The eyes are the mirror to the soul. The holy King David plunged into sin and more sin leading to murder for the simple reason that he allowed his eyes to wander. His eyes wandered and gazed upon a married woman—Bathsheba. Adulterous thoughts led to physical adultery, to denial of his sin and eventually to killing an innocent man—the husband of Bathsheba.(II Samuel 11-12) Let us strive to live out the Beatitude:“Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.”(Mt. 5: 8)
5. Punctuality. Jesus says, “He who is faithful in the small will be faithful in the larger things.”(Mt. 25:23) Being punctual and on time is a sign of order, respect for others, and a means to accomplish tasks well and on time.
6. Listen to Others.  It is all too easy to interrupt others when they speak and try to impose our own ideas even before the person has finished his idea. Charity, which means, love for God and for others, teaches us to respect others and allow them to speak without interrupting and imposing our own ideas. Listening to others is also an act of humility—putting others before ourselves!  “Jesus meek and humble of heart make my heart like unto yours.”  (Mt. 11:28-30—Jesus describes His Heart as meek and humble…)
7. Be Thankful Rather Than Complain.  Never allow a day to pass in which you do not thank God. We should constantly be thanking God. Furthermore, we should make it a habit to frequently thank others. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever,” (Psalm 118:1).
8. Smile, even if you don’t necessarily want to. This indeed could be a great penance—to smile at somebody even when you are tired, carrying with you a headache or a cold. This is heroic virtue.  A smile is something small, but it is contagious. Indeed a sincere smile can lift those who see it from desolation to a state of consolation. One of the most evident signs of being a follower of Jesus is the smile of joy radiating from the face. “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4)
9. Pray, even when you do not feel like it. Many of us unfortunately base our spiritual life on mere feelings which are ephemeral, transitory and passing like the dew that evaporates by the morning sun. Our best example is of course Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (Lk. 22:39-46).  When Jesus was experiencing a mortal agony and desolation that drew huge drops of Blood from His pores, He did not really feel like praying. Nonetheless, Jesus prayed all the more fervently. Therefore, let us practice fasting and penance in our lives and have a set time and place to pray and to pray at times even when we do not feel like it. This is penance and true love for God! This is a sign of true maturity in the faith!
10. Encouragement. “Barnabus” actually means “Son of encouragement”(Acts 4:36). Let us get out of our egotistic shell and focus more on God and seeing Jesus in others—in imitation of the Good Samaritan. (Lk. 10). Let us learn to be a Simon of Cyrene and help our brothers and sisters who are carrying the weight of a very heavy cross. Let us lighten it by encouraging words, motivational gestures and by a heart filled with love and compassion. Remember the Golden Rule:  “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.”(Mt. 7:12) In the difficult storms of the earthly battle, a word of encouragement can indeed be a powerful wind in the sails!
Prayerfully read through these ten suggestions on how to fast—how to deny yourself—and choose at least one or two that you can start to practice right away. May Our Lady, Mother of Good Counsel, encourage us to deny ourselves and say “yes” to the love of God by serving our brothers and sisters with a generous heart! (Lk. 1: 38—Mary’s  “Yes” to God).
Fr. Ed Broom, OMV

By 

Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. He blogs regularly atFr. Broom's Blog.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Pope denounces ‘scandalous inequalities’


With the wind blowing around the Pope and rain falling as a tropical typhoon again approached Tacloban, Pope Francis is speaking without a written speech in a homily from the heart and reminding all of us that Jesus of Nazareth has endured all the human trials and tribulations and suffered as we do. He became as one of us so God would be among us understanding and in union with all our hardships.
Jesus of Nazareth was executed on the cross for his compassion and oneness with the poor teaching, equality, justice and non-violence.
He gave us value and dignity in doing this and every person is therefore precious, he said. Many thousands of the faithful covered with yellow raincoats, bravely endured the rain as another tropical storm approached. It was a reminder of the terrible, most powerful super-typhoon to hit land in living memory. The people of Samar and Leyte suffered and endured great pain and loss.
In all the tragedies, Jesus is as a great brother, with his Mother, Mary, they are with us and we are not alone who in this time of tragedy like what happened here we are feeling that we are all brothers and sisters because we help each other. “When I saw this tragedy 14 months ago I felt I had to be here with you,” he said. “Now I am here, a bit late, but here.” He echoed the words of Jesus when he calmed the storm and told his followers “Do not be afraid.”
“This is coming from my heart and sorry if I have no other words to express this, Jesus will never let you down and the care of Mother Mary will not let you down. We will always walk together as brothers and sisters united in the Lord,” Pope Francis said.
With his message of love and compassion for the poor and the outcasts, Pope Francis has made a powerful impression of light and goodness in the dark world of irresponsible rich, government corruption and the shocking poverty it has created.
In a previous speech, he called on government to end corruption and poverty and denounced the “scandalous social inequalities.” In his speech to politicians he called on them to “hear the cries of the poor, and break the bonds and oppression that give rise to glaring and indeed scandalous social inequalities.”
Those chains of oppression and inequality and brutal cruel torture were clearly seen in the photographs that were on many a newspaper and social media across the world showing a little girl handcuffed to a post in a Manila government child detention center known as Reception Action Center (RAC), just a short distance from City Hall.
Her eyes filled with tears and crying her heart out. It caused outrage and anger. Other photographs released by Mail On-line on the same day the Pope arrived in Manila show Francisco, his namesake, lying naked and starving in the same center. Secretary Corazon Soliman said she will close it down.
The same Mail On-line story showed an 8-year-old held behind bars with older boys. Sexual abuse is rampant in the cells and the younger ones are forced to preform sex acts on the older. Even girls held in the same facilities have sexual encounters with the inmates.
A government social worker told Mail Online that the children were rounded up and held in detention centers in advance of the Papal visit to stop them begging from the Pope. Catherine Scerri of Bahay Tuluyan, a street child center in Manila, said Social workers were doing it as they had done before many times.
This is outrageous child abuse and illegal detention in sub-human conditions. These truths are supported by extensive photographic evidence. The plight of the children in prison have been published frequently in this column in The Sunday Times and available on www.preda.org and Preda Foundation Facebook.
Government officials countered by saying some of the pictures were from past months confirming that the child abuse exposed in the government centers was not an isolated incident as others tried to claim. No one has been held responsible or called to answer before the law for the outrageous abuse of our children. These are the little brothers and sisters that Pope Francis says he is in solidarity with as one family.
During his speech on the family he repeated to the people in the Mall of Asia complex, where a Preda representative was present, “protect your children”.
The immediate motive of the Pope’s visit is his concern for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) fourteen months ago. He is expected to publish an encyclical on climate soon. Why such great climate disruption? What is happening? The hundred years of burning coal, oil, wood, creates a shroud of CO2 and methane gas, around the planet. The sun is beating down and heats the earth, the hot air cannot escape trapped beneath the shroud of gases. The ice sheets are melting fast, the sun’s rays cannot be now reflected back into space and instead they heat the oceans and waters rise up to flood millions of homes.
With a warmer world the more ocean water will evaporate to fill the skies, the cold and hot air streams collide and gigantic rain and wind storms and typhoons come raging in destroying everything and everybody in their deadly paths.
As I write this the rain is pouring down in Tacloban and Pope Francis has referred to this terrible dangerous situation of climate change and global warming which created the greatest storm that hit Tacloban.
He comes to heal the wounded, comfort the bereaved, call for justice for the most vulnerable of all —the poor and the jobless, the hovel dwellers and the downtrodden. We all need to put our faith into action and be fully alert, aware and alive, to save the planet, the poor and ourselves.
shaycullen@preda.org