Category Archives: New Testament

It’s the Feast of the Transfiguration! The Apostles Saw the Face of God and Lived!

Here is the picture and explanation from http://www.morningoffering.com

Transfiguration

Feast of the Transfiguration

The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord takes place on August 6th, an event mentioned in all three Synoptic Gospels. After revealing that he would be put to death in Jerusalem, Jesus took the three disciples of his inner circle to the summit of Mount Tabor in order to reveal his glory to them. Peter, James, and John saw Jesus transfigure before them, radiant in the fullness of his glory as he truly was, the Son of God. Next to Jesus were Moses and Elijah as witnesses to Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Testament law and prophets. St. Matthew writes of the event by saying, “He was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow.”

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Filed under Adoration, Catholic, Faith, Gospel, Jesus, Liturgy, New Testament, Transfiguration

Have to Get It Right!

Matthew 5:48   “You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Want to know what you need to do (and, if you are anything like me, you’re probably not doing it very well at all.)  Read Matthew Chapter 5.  You know, the one with the beatitudes, plucking out eyes and cutting off hands, and anger, and adultery, and divorce, and swearing, and retaliation, and loving one’s enemies.  One can’t read this Chapter without realizing what little worms we are when it comes to the whole perfection thing.  I read Chapter 5 before and after going to confession.  This and Chapter 25 are all I need to trot myself off to the confessional.  Add the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and I can go all gooey on the inside contemplating my long stay in Purgatory.

And yet. . .

God gives us grace and forgiveness and mercy to help us to prioritize the pursuit of holiness in our lives.  Pursuing holiness begins with having a strong, true, and ardent love for God and for our neighbor.  It means praying and fasting and making each word and act and little daily sacrifice the means of proving our love for our Savior who died on the cross for Love of us.  An effective love can transform a dry, cold heart into a furnace of charity.  Then we can burn with Love of God even while we must live here below.  I hope you, like myself, pursue this ardent charity.

We got to get this right.

“Lord, with your loving care, guide the penance we have begun.  Help us to persevere with love and sincerity.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.”  Liturgy of the Hours: Evening Prayer for the Friday after Ash Wednesday.

 

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Filed under Almsgiving, Beatitudes, Catholic, Charity, Faith, Fasting, Gospel, Holiness, Liturgy of the Hours, Love, New Testament

Righteousness – A Word Study

Just finished reading Chapters 3 and 4 of Matthew’s Gospel.  There is so much there that it would take pages to discuss.  It is about His baptism by John and His temptation in the desert.  Satan was tempting Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.  He wants Him to embrace an earthly and political mission and thus subvert from His real mission of suffering and dying for our salvation.

Unlike us, Jesus could not have sinned at any time during His earthly life.  His “temptations” were entirely the suggestions of the devil and had nothing to do with any kind of inner struggle or disordered desire of a fallen nature.  We, of course, experience temptation because of our fallen nature.  However, just because He couldn’t sin, doesn’t mean that He didn’t show us how the devil should be treated when he comes around with his “suggestions.”

According to St. John Chrysostom, Jesus gives us a perfect example of Christian obedience.  Earthly life is our wilderness.  Our goal is to get to the “land” of heaven.  This life is like a probationary period for us.  God wills that we  overcome temptations (from the world, the flesh, and the devil) through the practice of penance and obedience to God’s word.   We must desire Christ’s humility.  And this is how we can increase the gift of righteousness:  penance, obedience, and humility.

Righteousness is a gift from God.  The word itself is used 7 times in Matthew and 85 times in the rest of the New Testament.  Christ first gives us this gift in Baptism when we are restored in our relationship as an adopted son or daughter of God.  It always means (from the Greek) the uprightness and faithfulness of God and His people.  It is part of the unique covenant vocabulary that runs throughout the old and new testaments.  God’s righteousness is because He is holy and is revealed as He takes care of Israel.  Now, He has demonstrated His righteousness through the saving work of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus wants us to be righteous, like He and His Father, are righteous.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.  Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.”  Jn 4: 7-8, 10

And, I might add, fill you with righteousness.

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Filed under Almsgiving, Catholic, Faith, Fasting, Gospel, Holiness, James, Jesus, Lent, New Testament

Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return. (Gn 3: 19)

About three years ago, my husband and I began to read the Gospels, (out loud) two chapters at a time, on Ash Wednesday.  We found that by doing so we could read all four Gospels by Holy Saturday.  The first time, we continued after Easter and read until the end of the NT.  Then we began the New Testament again and read it through 2 chapters a night.  Then, we began to read the Old Testament, the same way.  We are only to the end of Wisdom, so we have set it aside and began the Gospels again tonight.

Everyone else reads other books for their spiritual reading during Lent.  We just stick with the Gospels.  Doing so, we have had great Lents for the past three years.

So after dinner tonight, we began.  Matthew Chapters 1 and 2.  What is Jesus’ ancestry and where was He born?  I especially like the verses about St. Joseph dreaming of angels.  He was such a man of faith!  That we would have just a bit of his faith and humility, we too could dream of angels.

Finally, today’s liturgy is an invitation to penance.  The predominant thought of the day should be that while physical penance is okay, we need spiritual penance–humility, recognition of our faults, a steadfast heart, and the reformation of our lives.  The Lord wants us to be converted to Him with all our hearts, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning.  He wants us to “rend our hearts; not just our garments.”

Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil.  As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this day holy by our self-denial.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  (Liturgy of the Hours for Ash Wednesday-Evening Prayer)

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Filed under 40 Days for Life, Fasting, Gospel, Jesus, Lent, Liturgy of the Hours, New Testament, Old Testament, Sacred Scripture

Who Did You Go Out to See?

“As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: What did you go out into the wilderness to behold?  A reed shaken by the wind?  Why then did you go out? To see a man dressed in soft robes? Behold, those who wear soft robes are in kings’ houses.  Why then did you go out?  To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.’  Matthew 11: 7-10

St. John is no “reed shaken by the wind.”  He is not diverted from the path of discipline or mindful of earthly pleasures.

He is the greatest and last Old Testament prophet.  Jesus tells us though that even the “least” saint in the New Testament outshines St. John. John bears witness to Christ by his preaching, by his baptism of repentance, and through his martyrdom at the hand of Herod.  Jesus views John as going before Him in “the spirit and power of Elijah.”

Jesus never undermines the saintly life of John because he is more than a prophet.  He completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah.  The Holy Spirit concludes His speaking through the prophets with St. John and completes the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels.  “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is He Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God. . .Behold, the Lamb of God.”  John 12: 33-36

Do we want to prepare our hearts for Jesus’ coming?  Then, we, like St. John the Baptist, must detach ourselves from earthly goods.  He went into the desert and lead a life of penance.  In so far as we are able, can we retire into the interior of our hearts to await Jesus’ coming in silence, solitude, and deep recollection?  Can we add a greater spirit of penance, generosity, and charity to our daily lives?  Can we give something up or take on something hard in the next two weeks?  The true Joy of Christmas is worth it.

We can’t doubt that Jesus came to save and sanctify us.  We can’t doubt that He is infinitely merciful and we can go to Him with complete confidence.  We can’t doubt that He loves us with an infinite Love; Love that we do not deserve and can never truly reciprocate no matter how we try in our clumsy, sinful way.

During this Advent, we are invited to listen to His voice and prepare ourselves.  I know that it is hard for me to quiet my continual chatter about useless things.  I know that my mind and heart can be like a raging sea of fantasies, thoughts and self love.  I have a hard time turning this off.  It’s hard to be calm during this season with all the distractions of shopping, parties, spending, and eating and drinking too much.

Yet, Jesus can calm the raging sea and quiet the tumultuous mind.  So, pray along with me, “Jesus, help me to quiet the chatter and calm my mind.  Teach me how to fasten my gaze upon you, so that all the rest will fade away.  Draw everything about me to Yourself.”

And, St. John the Baptist, pray for us.

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Filed under Advent, Catholic, Charity, Holy Spirit, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

A Reasonable Hope?

Just finished watching Wolf Hall and am contemplating the eternal fate of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. This is in light of the Reverend Robert Barron’s, now famous, statement that we can “have a reasonable hope that all are saved (no one goes to hell.)”

Henry was an adulterer, a murderer, and an apostate.   Historians say he wanted to be Catholic just not a Papist. However, whether or not he intended to do so, he founded the Church of England on divorce and murder. Thomas Cromwell, the King’s trusted adviser, who was partial to Protestantism, most notably Lutheranism, carried out Henry’s nefarious plans. These included the murder of Anne Boleyn, her brother, and two of her household servants, because Henry “wanted” Jane Seymour and Cromwell wanted more power. He was also responsible for the deaths of John Fisher and Thomas More because they were “Papists.” Thomas Cromwell deeply despised the Catholic Church and Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More were his way at getting back at that Church. According to 1 John 3: 14-15, “no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

I think it’s pretty unreasonable that people like Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell were saved if that means they are not in hell with Judas. (Jesus, Scriptures-both old and new- the Apostles, and the early Church fathers all tell us that Judas is in hell.) I know. I know. I shouldn’t judge individual souls. However, the only people that we can be sure are in heaven are those that the Church has officially called Saints.

In order for someone to go to hell, it is necessary to willfully turn away from God and be unrepentant and persistent in sin until the end. In light of scriptures and Jesus’ teachings about the existence of hell, why would we ever have a reasonable hope that hell is empty, except for Satan, his minions, and Judas?

I would also think it unreasonable that anyone who rejects God, denies Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life can get into heaven. Of course, when the Apostles asked Jesus, “then who can be saved?” He responded that with God all things are possible. Do Satanists, witches, pagans, people who sin against the Holy Spirit ( a sin that can’t be forgiven in this world or the next, according to Jesus,) and those who despair and have no hope, reasonable or unreasonable; do they all go to heaven?

It would appear that I have so many questions and so few answers that my head is about to explode. I guess I’ll have to heed St. Paul and work out my salvation with fear and trembling and hope in the promises of my Savior. And that is the only hope that I feel is  very, very reasonable!

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Faith, Gospel, Jesus, New Testament, Old Testament, Papacy, Sacred Scripture

One Week Later. . .

I find that I am not missing FB at all.  In fact, I was telling my daughter that I might just close my FB to everyone but immediate family and close friends after Lent and then just look at it once a day in the a.m.  There is so much more to be able to to, like write this blog and finally read all the Catholic newsletters, etc. that I receive on a daily basis.

The Gospel readings in the evening are going well.  I read out loud, Charlie follows along in his copy (and comments every once in a while.)  We are reading from the Ignatius Catholic Bible Second Edition.

More Mass, more Stations of the Cross, more adoration, more prayer.

I want to encourage all of you who are reading this, to keep up the good work of Lent, keep getting holy, and continue to ask God to use His grace and mercy to bring you closer and closer to Him during these Lenten days. Hopefully, you can say, along with me, “Gosh, it doesn’t get any better than this!”

And, just so you can see my better half–here is a picture of Charlie with his ashes and holding his study Bible.  Isn’t he the cutest?  Well, I think so, at least.  I haven’t told him, but there is nothing more attractive to me than a man who prays the Rosary and reads the Bible.  Then, again, maybe he’s figured it out for himself.  🙂

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Filed under Catholic, Fasting, Lent, New Testament, Prayer, Uncategorized