Friday, November 29, 2013
St. John the Baptist was born with a purpose, God ordained this purpose from the foundation of the world.
We see that Isaiah foretells St. John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah.
Isaiah 40:1-5 states, "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
St. John the Baptist was the herold before the Lord. Matthew 3:1-5 states, "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.' Now John wore a garment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey."
This was known before his conception. We see the same thing with the Virgin Mary.
These singular graces given to St. John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary were given for all of us.
We too share in these gifts because it was meant for the whole world.
John the Baptist was born without Original Sin. He was conceived with Original Sin, but he was born free of this fallen nature.
How can this be? Luke 1:13-15 states, "But the angel said to him (Zechariah), 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth; for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb".
Luke 1:44 states, "For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy".
This fullfulls what the angel had said. At this moment, St. John the Baptist was given an infusion of Sanctifying Grace that cleansed him from the Original Sin.
This was not a baptism, but a singular grace given. This event was a preparation for St. John the Baptist to be the herold of the Messiah, the forerunner of Jesus.
Another significant correlation concerning the birth of St. John the Baptist is the timeline of the fulfillment of this word and the Wise men following the Star of Bethlehem. Both those events point to the birth of Jesus Christ.
October 3 B.C. The Day of Atonement-Yom Kippur, the busiest Temple day of the Temple year (Luke 1:10) sometime late March early April. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Zachariah and announced the coming of John the Baptist.
September 3 B.C. The planet Jupiter was in conjunction with Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo-Leo the Lion. This would be the star the wise men would follow leading them to Bethlehem. They followed the star for about 16 months until the Star rested over Bethlehem for six days beginning on Dec 25, 2 B.C.
March-April 2 B.C. "In the sixth month (since the announcement of John the Baptist-October 2 B.C.), the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom there will be no end."
March-April 2:B.C. Mary hastens to visit Elizabeth who was in her sixth month of pregnancy.
June (25) 2 B.C. Birth of St. John the Baptist.
This sign of grace given to John was very important in God's plan of salvation.
Jesus said of St. John the Baptist, "Truly, I say to you, among those born of woman there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" (Matthew 11:11).
St. John the Baptist was the last of the Prophets of the Old Testament, he died before the reign of Christ which would begin on 3 April, 33 A.D.
The death of St. John the Baptist can be found in Matthew 14:1-12.
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There are a number of groups out there who will see Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Buddha, or other gods, placing them on the same par.
Some even would think that they are the same person pictured in different cultures. This is all wrong.
There are many religions but only one founded by the true "God/Man" Jesus Christ.
Consider Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses states, "A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen".
Matthew 17 speaks of the Transfiguration in which Jesus transfigured before Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elijah both appeared there speaking with Jesus concerning what was going to happen. Finally, a bright cloud did cast a shadow over them and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him".
I see a specific connection from what Moses said with what God the Father said, "listen to him". Recently, on one of the deepertruth radio shows, an individual called in to the show referring to himself as an Atheist.
I want to answer why I think prophecy is important to know the truth. What does the prophets of the Old Testament reveal in the light of the New Testament? The following are Old Testament prophecies with the New Testament fulfillment: The Old Testament will be in blue, the New Testament in red.
Jesus early years
Isaiah 11:1, "But a shoot shall spout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him". Jesse: David's Father. Stump: After the Babylonian exile, only a stump of the Davidic Dynasty will remain; from it will arise the new shoot, the Messianic King. Also the root meaning of the word bud refers to the word NESER which hits the root of NAZIR which translates to NAZARETH. Jesus would be called Jesus the Nazarene!
Matthew 2:23, "He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, 'he shall be called a Nazarene".
Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall call him Immanuel".
Matthew 1:24-25, "When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus".
Micah 5:1, "But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is from old, from ancient times".
Matthew 2:3-5, "When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 'where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage".
Isaiah 60:6, "Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord".
Matthew 2:7-11, "Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem.... and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh".
Hos 11:1, "When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son".
Matthew 2:13-15, "When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you... He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, 'Out of Egypt I called my son".
Jeremiah 31:15, "Thus says the Lord: In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more".
Matthew 2:16, "When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and it's vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi".
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Isaiah 40:3, "A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God"!
Matthew 3:1-3, "In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, 'Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand"!
Isaiah 42:1, "Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit".
Matthew 3:16, "After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, 'this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased".
Isaiah 9:1, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone".
Matthew 4:12-16, "When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulen and Naphtali"...
Isaiah 42:1-4, "Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench. Until he establishes justice on the earth; the coast lands will wait for his teaching".
Matthew 12:15-21, "When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many people followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make him known".
Isaiah 6:9-10, "Listen carefully, but you shall not understand! Look intently, but you shall know nothing! You are to make the heart of this people sluggish, to dull their ears and close their eyes; Else their eyes will see, their ears hear, their heart understand, and they will turn and be healed".
Matthew 13:10-13, "The disciples approached him and said, 'Why do you speak to them in parables?' He said to them in reply, 'Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand".
Psalm 78:2, "I will open my mouth in a parable, I will utter mysteries from of old".
Matthew 13:34, "All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables to fulfill what had been said through the prophet".
Isaiah 29:13-14, "The Lord said: Since this people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, through their hearts are far from me, and their reverence for me has become routine observance of the precepts of men, therefore I will again deal with this people in surprising and wondrous fashion: The wisdom of it's wise men shall perish and the understanding of its prudent men be hid".
Matthew 15:1-8, "Then Pharisees ans scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 'Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash their hands when they eat a meal.' He said to them in reply, 'And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God sail, Honor your father and mother and whoever curses father or mother shall die. But you say, Whoever says to father or mother, Any support you might have had from me is dedicated to God, need not honor his father. You have nullified the word of God for the sake of your tradition. Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy about you when he said: This people honors me with lips, but their hearts are far from me; teaching as doctrines human precepts."
Malachi 3:1, "Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek; and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire".
Matthew 21:12-17, "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engaged in selling and buying there... The blind and the lame approached him in the temple area, and he cured them"...
Jesus entry to Jerusalem
Zechariah 9:9, "Rejoice heartily, o daughter Zion, shout for joy, o daughter Jerusalem! See your King shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass".
Matthew 21:1-3, "When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 'Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me."
Psalm 118:26, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord".
Matthew 21:8-11, "The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: 'Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest."
Isaiah 56:7, "Them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer; their holocausts and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all the peoples".
Matthew 21:12-13, "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engages in selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.' And he said to them, 'It is written: My house shall be a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves."
Jesus passion and death
Zechariah 13:7, "Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, against the man who is my associate, says the Lord of hosts. Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be dispersed, and I will turn my hand against the little ones".
Matthew 26:31, "Then Jesus said to them, 'This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed; but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee."
Zechariah 11:13, "But they said to me, throw it in the treasury the handsome price they valued me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the treasury in the house of the Lord".
Matthew 27:3, "Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, 'I have sinned in betraying innocent blood."
Jeremiah 51:35, "My torn flesh be upon Babylon (Rome), says the City of Zion (Jerusalem); my blood upon the people of Chalda, says Jerusalem".
Matthew 27:24-25, "When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water ans washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this man's blood. Look to it yourselves.' And the whole people said in reply, 'His blood be upon us and upon our children. Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified."
Psalm 22:19, "They look on and gloat over me, they divide my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots".
John 19:24, "So they said to one another, 'Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,' in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled that says: 'They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots."
Psalm 22:17-18, "Indeed, many dogs surround me, a pack of evil doers closes in upon me; they have pierced my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones".
John 19:17-20, "So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on a cross. It read, 'Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.' Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
Psalm 69:22, "Rather they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink".
John 19:28-30, "Jesus said, 'I thirst.' There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a spring of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus has taken the wine, he said, 'It is finished."
Psalm 22:2, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me, far from my prayer, from the words of my cry".
Matthew 27:45-46, "From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Daniel 12:2, "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace".
Matthew 27:51-54, "And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who has fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many. The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, 'Truly, this was the Son of God."
Psalm 34:21, "He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken".
John 19:32-33, "So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs..."
Zechariah 12:10, "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition; and they shall look on him whom they have thrust through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a first born".
John 19:34-35, "but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: 'Not a bone of it will be broken.' And again another passage says: 'They will look upon him whom they have pierced."
Isaiah 53:9-10, "A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood".....
Matthew 27:57-61, "When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he has hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb."
After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone. and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women in reply, 'Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not hear, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.' (Matthew 28:1-7)
Yes, Jesus has been raised from the dead and Jesus goes before you at every Catholic Church where you can receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.
By doing so, you renew the Covenant and He "will raise him (you) on the last day."
When you take a good look at all these prophetic texts, there can be no doubt that the prophet Moses is speaking of Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 18:15). Nobody else comes close.
Jesus established the Catholic Faith promising the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Jesus promised that he would be with his Church until he returns at the end of the age. Jesus also promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to help the Church keep true to his word.
This is what the Church has done for nearly 2,000 years.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
I see the Catholic Church being very essential for preserving the established Faith of the New Testament.
There is no question that St. Paul thought so when reading his letters.
Consider his conversion experience. St. Luke tells the story that reshaped the world:
Acts 9:3-6 says, "On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me'? He said, 'Who are you, sir'? the reply came, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do".
What was Saul told to do? Acts 9:10-19 tells the story: "There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, 'Ananias'. He answered, 'Here I am, Lord'. The Lord said to him, 'Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight'. But Ananias replied, 'Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name'. But the Lord said to him, 'Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name'. So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, 'Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit'. Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength".
"First, I give thanks to you my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is heralded throughout the world. God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in proclaiming the gospel of his Son, that I remember you constantly, always asking in my prayers that somehow by God's will I may at last find my way clear to come to you".
A great question might be asked how does Christ voice through his Church remain perfect despite the fact that we many times do not fully live up to our teachings? The Prophet Zephaniah says that The Church would do no wrong, speak no lies, no deceit is to be found, the flocks would be protected (Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12-13).
It is the offices Christ established in the Church that gives it the foundation. Jesus commissioned the Church to go to all the nations teaching them his commands.
He administers his grace through his Church. It is the Holy Spirit that keeps the voice straight and free from falsehoods. Being faithful to the Church, we are taking "refuge in the name of the Lord".
By listening to the Church, we are listening to the voice of the Lord, "Thus saith the Lord"!
Consider Malachi 1:11, "For from the rising of the sun, even to it's setting, my name is great among the nations".
The Catholic Church is sent by Christ to go to all the nations administering God's grace through the Sacraments "everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering"!
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013
St. John refers to the "Feast of Dedication" stating, "The feast of the Dedication" was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter".
This celebration would be much like modern day Thanksgiving in the United States as the Jewish people celebrates the re-dedication of the altar and reconstruction of the temple in 164 B.C.
"I heard a holy one speaking, and another said to whichever one it was that spoke, 'How long shall the events of this vision last concerning the daily sacrifice, the desolating sin which is placed there, the sanctuary, and the trampled host'? He answered him, 'For two thousand three hundred
evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be purified".
Antiochus IV profaned the temple in Jerusalem by placing a statue of the Greek god Zeus Olympias in the Sanctuary.
After three years of resistance, the Jews were able to finally win as Daniel predicted.
With Jerusalem finally back into the hands of the Jews, Judah Maccabees led his soldiers into the holy Temple finding the place totally decimated, things were stolen, religious objects were found broken to include a golden menorah.
Judas Maccabees appointed men to build a new altar with uncut stones in accordance of the law.
They repaired the sanctuary and purified the surrounding area in and outside the temple.
"They reconsecrated the temple with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals. All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven, who had given them success" (1 Maccabees 4:54-55).
They repaired and purified the temple, and after completing the task they decided to have a dedication ceremony and light the great lamp (1 Maccabees 4:49-50).
What is omitted from the biblical text is that the men looked everywhere for oil, but found only a small flask that contained enough oil to produce light for a day.
Miraculously, this oil lasted for eight days, giving them enough time to obtain new oil to keep the menorah lit.
This year the Jewish celebration Hanukkah or the Feast of Dedication (Josephus Flavius refereed this as the festival of lights) begins on December 2 and runs through 10 December.
Jesus is the light of the world and his light always burns for love of us. Jesus cleansed the temple of the "marketplace" it had become. The people asked Jesus, "What sign can you show us for doing this" Jesus responded: "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). The Jews did not understand that Jesus was refering to himself. Matthew 26:61 speaking at the trial of Jesus by the Sanhedrin says, "This man said, 'I can destroy the temple of God and within three days rebuild it".
Jesus foretold the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem stating, "You see all these things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down... When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, a person on the housetop must not go down to get things out of his house, a person in the field must not return to get his cloak. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days. Pray that your flight not be in winter or on the Sabbath, for at that time there will be great tribulation" (Matthew 24).
Jesus accurately predicts the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. by the Roman General Titus. This was the result of the Roman/Jewish war of 67-70 A.D. Many Jews were crucified, it would have resembled a huge forest. The Church had already left Jerusalem by this time and actually set up it's headquarters in Rome!
Jesus is the light of the world. Revelation 1:20 Jesus says, "This is the secret meaning of the seven stars you saw in my right hand, and of the seven gold lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches".
As our Jewish Brothers celebrate the miracle of the menorah this December, let us remember that Christ is the light and he radiates in his Church the seven lampstands. The seven angels of the seven churches seems to be the pastor of each church.
Revelation 2:7 says, "Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that is in the garden of God".
This could be a Eucharistic promise as Jesus is the tree of life. The garden of God might be a reference to the Church. The Catholic Church is the Kingdom of God on earth.
This Advent, as we prepare for Christmas and Jesus first coming to the world through a humble virgin Mother, we look for his Second Coming when he returns to judge the living and the dead. May he find us with our flask of oil full and ready.
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The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.
By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21). By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.
The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. Even these evergreens have a traditional meaning which can be adapted to our faith: The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing. Holly also has a special Christian symbolism: The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns, and one English legend tells of how the cross was made of holly. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ. Any pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection. All together, the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new, everlasting life promised to us through Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, who entered our world becoming true man and who was victorious over sin and death through His own passion, death, and resurrection.
The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum to the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Savior. Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.
The light again signifies Christ, the Light of the world. Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. Another tradition is to replace the three purple and one rose candles with four white candles, which will be lit throughout Christmas season.
By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas.
In family practice, the Advent wreath is most appropriately lit at dinner time after the blessing of the food. A traditional prayer service using the Advent wreath proceeds as follows: On the First Sunday of Advent, the father of the family blesses the wreath, praying: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” He then continues for each of the days of the first week of Advent, O Lord, stir up Thy might, we beg thee, and come, that by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The youngest child then lights one purple candle.
During the second week of Advent, the father prays: O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure minds. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The oldest child then lights the purple candle from the first week plus one more purple candle.
During the third week of Advent, the father prays: O Lord, we beg Thee, incline Thy ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The mother then lights the two previously lit purple candles plus the rose candle.
Finally, the father prays during the fourth week of Advent, O Lord, stir up Thy power, we pray Thee, and come; and with great might help us, that with the help of Thy grace, Thy merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The father then lights all of the candles of the wreath.
Since Advent is a time to stir-up our faith in the Lord, the wreath and its prayers provide us a way to augment this special preparation for Christmas. Moreover, this good tradition helps us to remain vigilant in our homes and not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
1. Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day!
2. All thy works with joy surround thee,
earth and heaven reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee,
center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
flowery meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in thee.
3. Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine.
4. Mortals, join the mighty chorus
which the morning stars began;
love divine is reigning o'er us,
binding all within its span.
Ever singing, march we onward,
victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music leads us sunward,
in the triumph song of life.
This all started with a little girl's donation in the hat. What a great set up and back drop! Perfect for the beginning of Advent!
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The following is a true story that took place in the Old West. I can't help but think of the great movies made for so many years. God bless you all!
I have served in the Army for more than 26 years. Much of my witness involves the Military. The following takes place at Ft. Irwin, California at the National Training Center (NTC):
I remember a particular Thanksgiving I spent at NTC in 1985. I was a Medic supporting one of our unit's when my Squad Leader came and took my Field Ambulance (FLA) with all my gear in it. He told me to hang tight where I was until 20:00 and then walk towards the Command Post (CP) where they would be waiting for me. I waited there until 20:00 as instructed and then walked to where they were suppose to be waiting for me.
Now we were set up on a mountain range encamped on the other side of this valley when I began my walk. I went to the location to find that everyone had moved out. The problem was that it was by this time getting dark. I looked back across from where I began and took off for that place only to find that I could not find it.
It all looked so much the same. I went back and forth across that valley five or six times trying to relocate where I originally took off from.
I found myself in a difficult situation. I was now lost out there at NTC on foot with only one canteen of water.
It was dark. I could not find any sign of light or anything. I kept walking thinking I should run into something somewhere. Off in the distance I could hear tanks barreling down and I certainly didn't want to be hit by one of those bad boys.
I kept walking, I was sweating alot as it was still hot and humid even at night there in the Southwest American desert. I kept watching for rattlesnakes as I certainly didn't want to walk into a nest of those things out there.
It was so dark I could not find anything that had any lights or any camp. I was in real trouble but I kept moving. I was out there all night long. I prayed, I sang, I thought badly of my leadership, I thought of home. Most importantly, I was determined to survive.
They were shocked to have a Soldier walk in the way that I did. I was so thankful to have finally found anybody out there in that place. What I remember taking from this experience was to never do that to one of my Soldiers, but also to never give up.
I trusted in God to help me through that long evening. People have died out there in training accidents where Soldiers get lost. That happened not too long ago at Ft. Hood when a Soldier got lost doing a Land Navigation course.
Needless to say, I was so thankful to God for being there with me through that ordeal. He has been with me alot in my career!!!
He is also with you, even when your walking in darkness and you can't see the light. Where there is a shadow, there is some light. The Lord Jesus loves you so much! Keep Him in your sights at all times and He will help you through the darkness!!! God bless you all!
This video is based from Revelation 1:9-20! I hope that you enjoy this, it is powerful!
Monday, November 25, 2013
He was the 3rd successor of St. Peter and the 4th Pope overall.
St. Paul writes Philippians 4:2-3 stating, "I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to come to a mutual understanding in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my true yokemate, to help them, for they have struggled at my side in promoting the gospel, along with Clement and my other coworkers, whose names are in the book of life".
It is interesting to note that St. Paul is clearly speaking of the unity of the Church. Notice that Euodia and Syntyche are urged to work together as one. St. Clement is a coworker with St. Paul spreading the gospel for the kingdom of God.
This is the basis and foundation of that apostolic tradition. This is a great example of that apostolic authority being exercised through that apostolic ministry. They are one team.
As Pope, St. Clement would stress the importance on this foundation writing to the Corinthians stating "You were sincere and uncorrupted, and forgetful of injuries between one another. Every kind of faction and schism was abominable in your sight. You mourned over the transgressions of your neighbors: their deficiencies you deemed your own.” (First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 90 A.D.)
St. Clement defends the apostolic authority writing, "For you did all things without respect of persons, and walked in the commandments of God, being obedient to those who had the rule over you, and giving all fitting honor to the presbyters among you."
Hebrews 13:17 states, "Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be no advantage to you". This is the apostolic tradition.
St. Clement writes to the Corinthians giving an early example of the Bishop of Rome interceding on behalf of the Christian unity. The Church at this time was suffering from massive persecution by the Roman.
Despite this persecution, St. Clement is strong on his defense of the Ministers of the Church writing, "Our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect knowledge, they appoint those who have already been mentioned, and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry. As for these, then, who were appointed by them, or who afterwards appointed by other illustrious men with the consent of the whole Church, and who have ministered to the flock of Christ without blame, humbly, peaceably and with dignity, and who have for many years received the commendations of all, we consider it unjust that they be removed from the ministry.
St. Clement interchanges the usage of the title of bishops and presbyters as above the order of deacons. St. Peter writes, "So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:1-3)
What is important is that the apostolic tradition is clearly shown from through the scriptures and the authority of the Apostles and their successors. As St. Peter was martyred for the Faith, so too was St. Clement.
The Roman Emperor Trajan captured St. Clement sending him to Chersonesus (Ancient city in Greece) to work in the stone quarry.
According to early accounts St. Clement became a voice for his fellow prisoners. Because of the lack of water and the sufferings being levied upon Christians, St. Clement knelt down to pray when the Lord Jesus gives him a vision. The Lord appeared to him as a Lamb on a hill.
St. Clement responded to the vision running to the scene where the Lamb was and he struck the ground with a pickaxe and out came a stream of water. This story reminds me of the miracle of St. Bernadette who dug a spring miraculously where the Virgin Mary had instructed her.
The Lord Jesus was able to reach many people through St. Clement with many conversions of the local Pagan population.
St. Clement was blamed for the many conversions and was taken out on a boat into the Black Sea where the Pagans tied an anchor to him and threw him into the sea.
He gave his life as a testimony and witness for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. St. Clement's Feast day is November 23rd.
Today, St. Clement's remains are honored in Rome at the Basilica of San Clemente along with St. Ignatius of Antioch. Recently, Deepertruth members, Ross Hoffman and Margie Sindelar were among others who visited this site.
People go to the holy sites of the martyrs in Rome and how powerful it is to see the historic evidence of the Catholic Faith. Jesus said, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
What a great blessing it is to know that the Catholic Faith has safeguarded the apostolic witness, through the witness of the Saints, giving us the fullness of Truth.
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Sometimes it feels like life is a series of storms. We know the Lord can calm the storm, yet sometimes the Lord tells us that his grace is sufficient.
This Spring early summer we have seen some really bad weather, please keep those in prayer who have been most impacted due to these storms.
Sometimes these storms might be something that other people might have impacted your life.
A marriage might be in trouble, children are affected, a close family member or friend might have suffered a great loss.
No matter what the problem might be, Jesus can always calm the storm. Sometimes we must ride the storm out. We got to hook up our ship and dock it to the Church who will help us through the storms of life.
With Mary, Our Mother, she offers a Motherly protection. Padre Pio called the rosary the weapon.
deepertruth wants to encourage you to hang tough and not give up. Things can be tough, no question about it.
The Lord established His Church to help us through the storms.
He is with you through it all. The Song, "Be Not Afraid" reminds us that Jesus is with us through the stormy sea of life.
That was my theme song when I went to Korea for a year. No matter what you might have done, Jesus will forgive you.
No matter where you are, Jesus is right there with you. He calls you and wants you to visit Him at Mass. May the Lord bless you and keep you and protect you all the days of your life!
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Sunday, November 24, 2013
- *BEST OF DTB #122* The Catholic Defender: We Want A King
- *BEST OF DTB #112* The Catholic Defender: I kneel before the King
- The Catholic Defender: Band of Survivors
- He was a friend of mine
- The Catholic Defender: Great is Our God
- The Catholic Defender: My Deliverer
- * BEST OF DTB #208* The Catholic Defender: The Great Commission
- The Catholic Defender: Fullness of Truth in Tyler Texas
- No good deed goes unpunished
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 04:18 AM PST
Posted: 23 Nov 2013 10:30 AM PST
(Editors note) The last calender Sunday of the Liturgical year is the Feast of Christ the King. Pope John XXIII instituted this Feast to remind modern man that no matter how technical and sophisticated man becomes, Christ is still the King.
“In his old age Samuel appointed his sons judges over Israel. His first-born was named Joel, his second son, Abijah; they judged at Beersheba. His sons did not follow his example but sought illicit gain and accepted bribes, perverting justice. Therefore all the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, ‘Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us” (1 Samuel 8:1-5).
This is a most important scripture because the people of God were asking for a man to be placed in a position to judge the people. Up to this point, God was their King, he lead the nation using Judges such as Samuel.
Previously, at Mount Sinai, the people gathered to hear the word of the Lord given to Moses, “On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God answering him with thunder. When the Lord came down to the top of Mount Sinai, he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up to him. Then the Lord told Moses, ‘Go down and warn the people not to break through toward the Lord in order to see him; otherwise many of them will be struck down. The priests, too, who approach the Lord must sanctify themselves; else he will vent his anger upon them”.
Moses received the 10 Commandments from the hand of God, the bible says, “When the people witnessed the thunder and lightening, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they all feared and trembled. So they took up a position much farther away and said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, or we shall die’. Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid, for God has come to you only to test you and put his fear upon you, lest you should sin. Still the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the cloud where God was” (Exodus 20:18-21).
Up to this time, the Lord had been speaking to Moses, but the people were able to know that the Lord was with them, leading them, a cloud by day and fire by night. Samuel marks the end of the time of the Prophets and begins the time of the Kings.
Saul would be the first King of Israel, but because of his disobedience, his throne was given over to another, King David. This is highly important because God promised David that his linage would last forever.
At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel told Mary “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom there will be no end”.
Jesus literally is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He is the Priest, Prophet, and King. What the people could not accept at Mount Sinai, Jesus fulfills, what the people couldn’t accept at Ramah, Jesus again fulfills.
Today, we have largely lost the concept of a King because of our democracy. Our society wants to make the Church a democracy. That will not happen as the Catholic Church is the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus is the head of the Church, however, until He returns, Jesus placed St. Peter in charge, the keys of the Kingdom belong to the Pope.
One of the constant struggles of the Church is to spread the word of the Lord to all the nations. The past 2,000 years, there have been much progress, yet, we have much to go in accomplishing our mission.
The Roman Empire was brutal for centuries against the Church. This past Christmas, my wife got me a movie entitled, “The Eagle” staring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. I really liked this movie and I came away with a unique perspective as it is centered in about 120 A.D. Britanica (England).
Rome had been developing countries, building roads, conquering much of the known world. The Lord would certainly utilize this opportunity to spread His Church. There were some attributes that the Romans held that were strong bonds. Their word was their bond.
In the movie “The Robe”, Richard Burton starred as a Roman Soldier who crucified Christ and the story is about the Robe and it’s affect on him. When he came to terms with who Jesus is, the Soldier offers St. Peter his sword, his possessions, his whole being.
That is important and this was plainly seen in the movie “The Eagle”. The Quest to regain his Father’s honor, Marcus Aquila with the help of a slave, went into the highlands to retrieve the golden eagle lost by his father in a battle. The story builds when they find the eagle.
The Church would ultimately convert the Roman Empire about 200 years later with the conversion of Constantine, who served in Britain. I have been raised to have a deep love for America and the Flag of the United States. The Church is to go to all the nations and bring the gospel to all who will accept it.
Jesus uses the cultures many times to reach the nations. Jesus is King of Kings and this can convert cultures. The Blackfoot Indians on their Reservation during the season of Lent would carry crosses 7 miles doing the Stations of the Cross. The oldest to the youngest capable for the journey would carry crosses wearing ancestral clothing.
The Polish have a similar tradition. Honor and integrity are important attributes to have as did the Roman, Christ restores all peoples into a friendship with God through His Church.
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Posted: 23 Nov 2013 09:30 AM PST
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”.
Kneeling has always been seen as an act of surrender to God, a sign of deep respect and reverance.
Psalms 95:6 says, “Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us. For this is our God, whose people we are, God’s well-tended flock”.
In the Mass, we are truly “God’s well-tended flock”. In the Mass is found the true worship of God through the liturgy.
In the Old Testament, we see King Solomon kneeling before the Altar of the Lord. 1 Kings 8:54 says, “When Solomon finished offering this entire prayer before the altar of the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands outstretched towards heaven”.
The Altar represents “holy ground” because this is where the great sacrifice continues before the assembly. God’s presence is made manifest before all through the invocation of the Priest.
Artists have shown this sign of surrender in many paintings, I love the scene with Charlten Heston in the movie “The Ten Commandments“!
God calls out, “Moses, Moses, He answered, ‘Here I am’, God said, ‘Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob’. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God”.
Quite simply, to kneel is to bend the knee, to fall or rest on the knees. That is what I picture Moses doing as he takes his sandles off.
Is there a time in your life when you recognized the power of God and simply went to your knees? Maybe an extreme situation?
At Mass we kneel at the consecration of the Eucharist. We recognize God working and as his presence is made manifested at the Altar in the form of bread and wine.
In the New Testament, we see kneeling as a sign of respect and great reverance. Matthew 17:14 says, “When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him (Jesus), and said, ‘Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him’.
Jesus cures the boy, however, he tells the Apostles, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you”.
Mark 1:40 states, “A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, ‘If you wish, you can make me clean”. Moved with pity, he (Jesus) stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean’. The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean”.
This is another scene where tradition plays a role is the story of the man born blind whom Jesus heals.
There are many such stories in the New Testament where Jesus encounted the sick, the lame, and the blind. Jesus heals them all.
The Church has always believed in the Divinity of Christ and because of this has always placed Jesus as the object of worship.
We believe in the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever amen!
John 9:35 says the following, “When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered and said, ‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘I do believe, Lord,’ and he worshiped him”.
Like the scene with Moses, I can see this healed blind man kneeling to Jesus with gratitude.
There are a lot of such images found in the bible especially surrounding Jesus.
This also reveals the kind of adoration people gave Jesus. Jesus was clearly being worshiped as in the this scene.
In the early Church, kneeling signified penance. So thoroghly was kneeling identified with penance that the early Christians were forbidden to kneel on Sundays and during the Easter season, when the prevailing spirit of the Liturgy was one of joy and thanksgiving.
In the Middle Ages kneeling came to signify homage, and more recently this posture has come to signify adoration, especially before the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Kneeling is also a sign of respect as seen when a Knight is being elevated or even if a heavenly manisfestation such as the Blessed Virgin Mary or an angel appears.
Our worship is to God alone, therefore, we do not kneel before images or apparitions, but we recognize God at work through them.
There is a distinction of worhip given to God alone, and the respect given the heavenly realm.
Often times you will see an image of children kneeling before the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Kneeling is seen here as paying honor and respect with attention to the message that comes from Heaven.
Any true heavenly manisfestation would not allow you to worship such an event unless it was Jesus personally speaking such as the case with St. Faustina when Jesus appeared to her giving us the message of the Divine Mercy.
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Posted: 22 Nov 2013 08:30 PM PST
“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When it’s branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away”.
It seems that mankind does not learn from the past. Jesus words were fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem on the 9th of AV, 70 A.D. Yet, the spiritual rebellion that cause the destruction of Jerusalem is growing today in our own time. Jesus continues to warn:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man”.
The United States is being swept away by a new age, progressive agenda that sets itself in contrast to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result, the Catholic Church is being made war upon. It has been a process in the making from the early 1900′s with the Progressive Movement.
President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free”.
In 2010, while I was still deployed in Iraq, my Brigade Chaplain warned me that the Gay Activist had already approached the Military Chaplaincy.
They instructed the United States Army that the Chaplains will have to modify what they preach from the pulpit. This with the consent of the present Administration.
Is this not an attack on the Constitution of the United States? Is this not the beginning of an outward offensive. Obama does not fear public distrust in him, he has a willing and open media to shield him.
Storm clouds are coming and Christians are going to be forced to comply or they will be punished.
This is only the beginning as we have set into motion events that anything opposing this will be met with denial, with the force of the United States Government.
Consider the future of the Supreme Court. The influence that Obama will have on the Court will be greater even than President Roosevelt.
What lead to the taking of the bible and prayer out of public schools will continue with the legalizing Gay Marriage, Abortion, and Obama-care.
The Progressives will not stop until they silence the Church. They want to put in jail those who would refer to homosexual acts as sin. They want to remove the Church from having political influence which opposes their extreme left positions. We are refereed to as the “far-right” when in fact, they themselves are far -left.
The Progressives have packaged themselves as “centrist”, mainstream. America used to be considered center right as a nation, but it has had a dramatic shift.
People who were once known for being strong traditional family supported Obama nearly 75%. We are not in the process of losing our soul, we have already lost it.
Our only hope is in Jesus Christ if we are to turn things around.
Our struggle is only beginning, this is not a time for the Church to hide under a bushel basket. It is not a time to compromise our faith and values. It is time for us to take a stand for Christ, souls are at stake.
The Virgin Mary at Fatima warned against this very thing, this very threat and we have not listened.
Maybe we simply thought that this was for Russia and Eastern Europe? This could not happen in America? Well, it has happened as a result of our falling away from the Faith, for compromising with evil and embracing it.
There will be a Band of Survivors who will stand up for Jesus Christ and his Holy Church even though our voices will be diminished in the public eye. Yet, Our Lord and Our Lady is standing here with us. The following is very possible: as we are setting our path in motion that will be difficult to reverse:
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Posted: 22 Nov 2013 07:37 AM PST
There are few events in our nation’s history that shook the nation like what happened 50 years ago today. In the modern, live TV age, it may be that only 9-11 is on par with it.
The 60′s band The Byrds recorded a song expressing a nation trying to come to grips with this awful tragedy. To this day, I would say that He was a friend of mine is one of my top 10 all-time favorite songs. So moving, so powerful, so profound in it’s simplicity and harmonic strength. This dirge of a fallen President speaks to all of us and makes us examine our hearts and minds, searching for what God could do, if not for the barbarity of man.
On September 10th, 1964, not yet 10 months from that tragedy, my mother gave birth to a baby boy. My father named him John Fitzgerald Benko, in memory of our fallen President. Now, I am 49 years old and my father is gone and I have only the memories of him left. There are good memories and there are bad memories and both leave much to ponder.
For better or worse, many people invested great hope in the Presidency of John F. Kennedy. He was perhaps the last President elected before this age of perpetual hatred. John F. Kennedy certainly had his faults, this cannot be disputed. However, at his core, I believe he was a profoundly decent man (even if a weak one) who truly wanted what was best for the country. Whether or not you agree with that, we must agree on one thing- John Kennedy’s assassination was no work of one man with a grudge. It was a conspiracy. I do not know how this could plausibly be denied. The assassination of President John F Kennedy was a professional hit. I say this, fully convinced that the arguments of a so-called magic bullet have been debunked. I have seen the scientific analysis and re-creations and am convinced that the Warren Commission was right about 9 wounds being caused by that single bullet. To me, that only adds to the evidence of a conspiracy.
Of course, not addressing the 3rd shot, in the program does not affirm the consequent but it sure does raise eyebrows. Suggesting that the 3rd shot came from the rear just does not pass the eyeball test. At frame 313, we clearly see a shot impact the front of John Kennedy’s head and his body slammed backwards and to the left.
Audio and eye witness accounts, plus the plain visual evidence, confirm that there was a second gunman. That, by definition, is a conspiracy. There are not many who would disagree. What most people disagree about is the who and the why. That is the biggest point of conjecture and controversy. Was John Kennedy killed by the KGB or the CIA. Was it the Mafia or were the Cubans behind it? Some have plausibly inferred that J. Edgar Hoover was behind the assassinations of, not only JFK, but Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, JR as well. Finally, there are those who point to Lyndon Johnson, claiming that his thirst for power caused him to want the Presidency by any means necessary. In this lifetime, I doubt we will ever know who all the persons were who carried out this diabolical act. We can know, however, the one person who was behind it: Satan.
His diabolical fingerprints are all over it. For me, it is hard to argue against the fact that the assassination of John F. Kennedy hastened America down the path of socialism and secularism. John Kennedy was, after all, a man of faith and a man that believed in America as it should be. LBJ, his successor was not. In JFK’s famous inaugural speech, he challenged America to ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. He also said, those who seek to gain power, by riding the back of the tiger, will one day find himself inside. I am firmly convinced that John F Kennedy’s inaugural address stacks up against the greatest few speeches in American history. It is impossible to comprehend that this man belonged to the same party that is now run by Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
It is said that Saint Padre Pio has verified that John F Kennedy now resides in paradise, having received sacramental absolution the night before his death.
When you ponder the fact that 41 of our 44 American Presidents have fallen, it is sobering to contemplate that John F Kennedy is the only President who we can be assured was saved. This is not to say that no other President isn’t possibly in heaven, some could very well be.
However, let’s face squarely this fact. There is only 1 certain path to heaven. There is only one Ark to which people can flee to, safe from the powers of hell. Only one has the foundation of the Apostles, built by Jesus. Only one has the Sacraments instituted by Christ.
Was John Kennedy a perfect man? Far from it. Yet, he belonged to a perfect church. That institution endowed with Divine perfection, even as it filled with sinful, imperfect men. While JFK was not a perfect Catholic, he, nonetheless was not a schismatic and openly defiant Catholic in the mold of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. If what Padre Pio said was true (and I believe it was), John Kennedy was still guided by the Holy Spirit, through his church. If John Kennedy was still a faithful and malleable Catholic, it is quite possible that his assassination was the extinguishing of the last real chance for America to cooperate with God in setting our house in order.
This is not to say that some Presidents that followed did not attempt to show at least some godly example (Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George W Bush for example). It is simply saying that if Holy Mother church had more of an opportunity to work through this man, who knows what we could have accomplished towards feeding the hungry and making the world a better place. That may indeed be what died that day, half a century ago.
Today, a host of warring factions, each as evil as the other (radical atheism/secularism, Islam, fanatical Protestantism/Zionism) has our nation in a perpetual state of paralysis and war. There doesn’t seem to be a way out. The assassination of John F Kennedy certainly isn’t the beginning or the cause of this gridlock but did it extinguish our last real hope of keeping it at bay?
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Posted: 19 Nov 2013 11:00 PM PST
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 13:16-17).
Last night as I was with Our Lord in Eucharistic Adoration, I was thinking about the above scripture.
For thousands of years, the people of God earnestly awaited for the coming of the Messiah to follow him.
Finally, in time and space, the Messiah did come and he gave us great signs and wonders. What a great time to be alive in the history of mankind.
We are living in the springtime of evangelization bringing the word of God to the nations. People today who live in bondage welcome what they see of Christ in us, and listen to Jesus Word as they hear us today.
Jesus said , “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).
I am so thankful for my Catholic Faith that the Lord Jesus Christ calls me to serve him by virtue of my Baptism and Confirmation.
To serve our Lord during this time of the final countdown reaching many people who are open to God’s presence that we can see and His Word that we can hear.
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”, so that the captives can see who are blind, so that the deaf can hear his voice.
At a time when people are calling for a false rapture, the truth of God continues to march on until the Day of the Lord when He does return.
The Parousia will come but until that time, we continue to do God’s will fighting for the salvation of the lost.
The Catholic Faith was built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Today we are the Church. Be encouraged no matter how bad things might seem because our God is too big to fail.
St. Paul writes,”Concerning times and seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, ‘Peace and security,’ then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).
There is no escape except through the Catholic Faith. If we are vigilant through all our tribulations the thief will not catch us sleeping.
To be blessed today, we need to keep our eyes open and our ears listening for the voice of the Lord. Do not detour from the Lord’s straight and narrow path that lights our way.
Jesus still speaks through the “Bark Of Peter”! The Catholic Faith is the one true Faith commissioned by Christ and sent by Christ to go to the Nations.
There are no good rabbit trails that will lead you home. When the news reports about preachers calling for a “Rapture” on this day or that hour, just remember that such false prophets will come.
Be encouraged because Jesus said that his people know his voice. It is his voice we follow by being faithful to his Church.
If you know anyone who has left the Catholic Faith, invite them back. Pray them back, stand strong for love of God and love for the Church.
Work out each day with the desire to serve Our Lord. There are many Prodigals out there to be found under just about any rock you can imagine. Work towards bringing them home to the true Rock of Christ!
Posted: 17 Nov 2013 11:00 AM PST
As we close out the “Year of Faith”, I am reminded that Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
We are moving into the Season of Advent after next week. We will prepare for the coming of the Lord into human history.
With his coming into the world he has become our deliverer who will save his people from bondage.
Consider the bondage that many have willingly fallen down into. It is interesting to note that when a Catholic leaves the Church, they are seen as “fallen” Catholics or non-practicing Catholics. Have you ever heard the statement, “Once a Catholic always a Catholic”? It is true that a person can never erase their Baptism, they can still renounce it.
Many times at Mass I will have to fight back tears for family members who have abandoned the Faith of the Apostles.
I’ve given my story before and some of you have read the following before:
“One particular dream had the greatest impact on me. After a major debate in the room where I took on a number of those attacking the Catholic Church, I went to bed troubled. I slept hard, but I dreamed that God’s Church, the Catholic Church, was dead. I felt such despair, and sadness I began to cry. I felt that the Church was in ruins and that Christ was sheding tears for His Body, the Church. I never felt such anguish, I cried so much that I woke up out of my sleep totally wet from crying. My pillow, the bed, and the blankets were all wet. I sat up as it took me a couple of minutes to realize it was a dream. I recalled my Confirmation that took place in Blue Springs Mo on September 23, 1968 by Bishop Sullivan. I renewed my vows and told the Lord that I will be a soldier for Him. I will not betray Him and leave the Church even when people around me do. I will do my best to remain loyal and stand for Him. A promise that I have tried to keep since 1978″.
I often run into people who have “fallen” away from their faith and wondering on their own. I recall the 21 year old lady who I met at Seton Hospital who had left the faith for radical feminism.
She had accepted the liberal system of abortion and rejected the King of kings who loves those they “choose” to kill.
I recall the lady I met at Wal-Mart who identified me because of my Alabama hat. She was a Kansas State fan and challenged me about the upcoming game between Alabama and Notre Dame. We talked about her apostasy from the Catholic Faith for more than an hour.
There was another lady I met at HEB, a chain grocery stores well known in Texas. We talked about her “Falling” away from the Catholic Faith out in the HEB parking lot.
As a Father, if one of my children were to “fall” away from the faith, how glorious it would be to know that someone around the world were able to reach them back for Christ and His Church. That is a motivating factor as Christ Himself world leave the 99 to find the 1 who has gone astray.
Jesus is our deliverer who calls us and leads us away from the bondage of sin.
Jesus is not simply just a system of rules and regulations, but it is an actual encounter with the Risen Lord, an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict XVI, in his first encyclical states, “We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, that gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”
Like the encounter that changed the life of the women caught in adultry, Catholics receive the same powerful impact through the Sacrament of Confession, the Ministry of reconcilation.
Each and every Mass is an encounter with the Risen Lord, to renew the Covenant through the power of His Name.
This is why for me this can be emotional because of loved ones who no longer go to Mass, when I see children it reminds me when my children were young.
Today at Mass, a Father carried his new born child, only two days old, to the altar of the Lord. That was me at one time! I took all my children to Mass from the time of their births until they left home.
In the end, I can only be accountable for myself, even though I am responsible for others. Ultimately, we all will be accountable and so it is our responsibility to let your light shine before others, “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father”.
This Christmas Season is a renewed opportunity to offer ourselves as a perpetual gift to the King of kings, to our Deliverer.
In this journey of Faith, may we continue to march forward doing his will.
My Deliverer is the Good Shephard:
“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name. Even though I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage. You set a table before me as my enemies watch; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflowes. Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come”. (Psalms 23)
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Posted: 11 Nov 2013 01:00 PM PST
Moses once said, “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen. This is exactly what you requested of the Lord, your God, at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘let us not again hear the voice of the Lord, our God, nor see this great fire any more, lest we die” (Deuteronomy 18:15-16).
A prophet like Moses has come, one who is much greater. St. John writes, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).
As important it is that the Father sent his only begotten Son into the world, it is important to understand that the Son so loved the world that he sent his Church into the world. The connection here cannot be missed especially through the covenant the Lord has made with his people.
Jesus said, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus instructs his Apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so for nine days they awaited until Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came upon them in tongues of fire and they spoke to the world through tongues and languages.
From this point forward, the Catholic Faith went out from behind locked bolted doors and took the gospel to the nations. This event took place 1967 years ago today.
The Holy Spirit continues to hear the voice of the Lord and keep the Church in step to the Lord’s will (John 16:13, John 14:26).
I was once asked by a Non-Catholic why the Holy Spirit could not move in a Protestant setting.
I answered him this way, “The Lord sent the Church into the world to baptize the nations and to teach them the gospel. Even the Baptism that most Non-Catholics use comes from the Catholic Faith. These people are being baptized into the Church. However, because their understandings have deviated through rebellion, their teachings are not truth. A person can receive the Holy Spirit yet because of their bended minds, do not understand or know the voice of the Lord”.
His response was, “St. Paul said, “And no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’, except by the Holy Spirit”. He asked me what this meant, so I responded this way:
Isaiah 29:13 states, “The Lord said: ‘Since this people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from me, And their reverence for me has become routine observance of the precepts of men, Therefore I will again deal with this people in surprising and wondrous fashion”.
“Jesus recalls this warning, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts” (Mark 7:6-7).
Through the power of the Spirit, when we say Jesus is Lord, we must bend the knee! Jesus must be Lord of our lives, not just in principle, but in fact. As a Non-Catholic, can you truly call Jesus Lord when you deny the Church he established? Can you call Jesus Lord when you reject the Church’s teaching on Artificial Birth Control? Is the Lord sovereign? It’s easy to give “lip service” but it is totally something else to put this in practice.
St. Paul says, “For the grace of God has appeared,saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. Say these things. Exhort and correct with all authority. Let no one look down on you” (Titus 2:11-15).
We cannot call “Jesus is Lord” by the power of the Holy Spirit while at the same time still living these worldly desires. The anointing of saying “Jesus is Lord” comes from God. If it doesn’t come from God it is still “lip service”
After about three months of discussion, my non-Catholic friend was recieved into the Catholic Faith.
Posted: 10 Nov 2013 08:41 PM PST
This past weekend (November 8-9, 2013) I attended the Fullness of Truth Conference held at Tyler Texas.
I was joined by Paul Mathers and Jeff Hutchins representing the St. Paul Street Evangelization team from Dallas Texas.
What a great weekend this was with many opportunities to meet people around the State of Texas. We distributed a lot of pamphlets filled with information about the Catholic Faith.
The Fullness of Truth is an organization that has been putting on such conferences promoting the Catholic Faith. They have had great Catholic Apologists speaking at these Conferences.
Paul Mathers and Jeff Hutchins both were important players promoting St. Paul’s Street Evangelization.
People as far away as Houston Texas became interested in this evangelization.
The Fullness of Truth also is centered on evangelization gathering a strong Marian following called the “Circle of Mary”.
Leaders of the Conference lead the Rosary, the Divine Mercy, and at the end Holy Mass. This is always very important. We had two featured guest speakers, Jesse Romero, John Martignoni and a special talk by Bishop Joseph Strickland.
His talks were entitled “Did Jesus Start the Catholic Church?” and “Christianity: Religion or Relationship?”
These are great talks and I encourage everyone to ask for them at St. Joseph’s Communication out of West Covina, CA (626-331-3549).
Jesse Romero will be a featured member of Deepertruth very soon and what a great blessing to add Jesse to the team.
John Martignoni was the other major featured guest speaker. He spoke at the luncheon the evening before on the importance of marriage as covenant and the connection with the Eucharist.
The Fullness of Truth shares a prayer for the New Evangelization:
Lord Jesus Christ, You have given your Church the mission to proclaim the Gospel to all the nations.
May our efforts to fulfill this mission be guided by the Holy Spirit so that we might be a leaven of new life, salt of the earth and a light of the world, worthy missionaries and faithful to you.
Make us valiant witnesses to the Faith of the Church and inspire us to speak the truth with love.
May we bear into the world the hope of God, which is Christ the Lord, who rose from the dead and lives and reigns with Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, Pray for us!
St. Peter and St. Paul, Pray for us! St. Therese, Patroness of Missionaries, Pray for us! St Thomas Aquinas, Pray for us!
Evangelism is the most important mission of the Church, which includes the family, taking care of those who are sick, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, visiting the prisoner. All this is important.
When a sinner returns back to the truth, they will save their soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
To restore the vineyard is the goal and for every lost sheep returned there is a celebration in heaven.
That is the real miracle! To restore the lost to the table of the Lord.
I want to encourage anyone interested in helping out with the St. Paul’s Street Evangelization, please check in your area for a local group. At this point we are in more that 80 cities across America and it is having bearing great fruit.
Look for the sign that has the “Catholic Truth” heading on it and you should see some very excited Christians wanting to talk to you.
Ephesians 2:19-20 states, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.”
When you proclaim the Word of God, you are actually prophesying for the Lord. Please understand the importance to proclaim His Word to your Family, to your Friends, and those who really need to hear it. God bless you all!
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Posted: 10 Nov 2013 08:52 AM PST
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